Sunday, September 9, 2012

Desperate Times

  Today I took a roll of painter's tape and some aluminum foil and covered my baby girl's window. That's right, folks ... I feel like it's hitting rock bottom when the nursery starts resembling a college boy's dorm room, but that's where I find myself.

  Napping, obviously, still isn't going so well. Lately, I'll get one or two glorious days a week where she'll still do a two hour nap at some point during the day, but most days the best I can wish for is three 20-40 minute naps. I'm actually a lot less frustrated with the situation than I was a couple of weeks ago. I'm more willing to let her catnap, and when Liam is awake I'm investing a lot less time in trying to coax her back to sleep, which is really helpful for me emotionally. I think I'm becoming more and more okay with the fact that this just might be the way things are for the next two or three or ten months. My mother-in-law tells me that both my husband and his sister were tricky sleepers, and I'm pretty sure my sleeping habits as a baby nearly put my mom in a mental institution. Now that I have a tricky sleeper she won't tell me when it got easier with me, but I'm pretty sure I remember her saying once that it was somewhere between 15-18 months. Oy.

  If this is what it is, I'm not going to like it, but I think we can all survive. For the past two weeks I've worried less about her sleeping and I've focused more on helping with her tummy issues. I've eaten dairy-free for almost two weeks, and I haven't had any caffeine in a week. I've started giving her tummy massages once or twice a day and gripe water whenever she gets the hiccups or seems to be uncomfortable. All of these measures do seem to be getting us somewhere. She is noticeably less "grunt-y" when she's falling asleep, and her sleep (when it actually happens) is more peaceful. Yay! Now that I am beginning to feel more confident that her sleep issues are actually sleep related, and not just due to discomfort, I feel like it's time to really try my best to figure out the sleeping thing. I don't want to be a psycho person about it - if it's just something she's going to have to outgrow, so be it. However, I know it isn't ideal for a little baby to never sleep during the day. Her little growing brain and body need rest, and I really want to do whatever I can to help her get it (without completely neglecting her brother). So, I'm working on a plan.

 The first part of the plan was the aluminum foil. I know I could get black-out drapes, but those are either kind of ugly or more money than I want to invest in them right now. Don't get me wrong, the foil is an eyesore as well, but if I leave the blinds shut, you can't see it. I'm also going to work on finding a new sound machine for her, and would love any recommendations. The one we have for Liam's room won't get loud enough for her, so we've been using a little battery-operated one. It works great, but we're well on our way to being the sole supporters of at least one Energizer employee with how often we have to replace the batteries (don't ask me what I was thinking when I registered for a battery-operated sound machine). I'm also going to continue letting her nap in her vibrating bouncy seat and sleep at night in her nap nanny (she's much less choke-y and gurgle-y when she sleeps on an incline).

 The last part of the plan (for the moment) is to borrow Healthy Sleep Habits Happy Child from the library and give it a shot. It was recommended by several people after one of my sleep woe posts, and I've read some reviews online that make me think I may be able to get on board with it. So, that's the gameplan for now. I'm definitely open to receiving other advice, given one stipulation: 1) Please don't tell me if you disagree with sleep training. Not sleep training hasn't been working up to this point, and with a toddler in the house I simply cannot sit in a quiet room and rock her for an hour every time she needs to sleep. And she doesn't like being worn, so she won't sleep in a carrier or sling. And she won't fall asleep in her swing. And she won't stay asleep in the carseat once the car is no longer running. Oh, and yes, we do swaddle (with muslin blankets during the day and with the Miracle blanket at night). I do use a pacifier to help her fall asleep during the day, but she doesn't use one at all at night. So, there you have it ... anyone have any other suggestions?


kaw said...

Hang in there Stef! You can do it. And you're a GREAT mom!!

Here's the sound machine that we use.

We love it because it gets loud AND it run on batteries if the power happens to go out. This is a very important feature to a noise addicted family.

Carol said...

Oh, Stef! I will pray for you guys. We use an old iphone for a noise machine, which has worked well for us. Also, when the girls were little, I would swaddle them with the miracle blanket even in the day for their daytime naps. I am hoping and praying that it gets better!

Devi said...

Hi Stef.. I think all of us who have kids have been in these situations.. It took about 4-6 months to get a regular napping rhythm going with our son, and I remember feeling a bit desperate in the first two months.. I just want to encourage you - you're doing a great job.. and all you can do is try anything and everything, day in and day out (that's what I did.. and I didn't have a toddler to care for on top of that)

I do think that patient persistence pays good dividends in the end. That book by Weissbluth is a good one (and based on research as opposed to some of the other resources out there).. but you trust your instincts.. you know your daughter best.

Ruffin said...

Hey girl! My brother's new baby is a tricky sleeper and has stomach/reflux issues as well. They finally found something that has really helped. It's the Fischer Price Rock-n-
Play Sleeper. It props her up a little bit as she sleeps, hugs around her more snugly then a crib(makes her feel more secure) and it gently rocks if she moves. They take it everywhere with them. Definitely worth a try. Here's a link:

Praying for some good sleep for you guys!

Ruffin said...

Will just told me that they have this model (Same brand, just a little bit more expensive model. He said it's softer.)

BrookeS said...

Girl - I feel you completely on the sleep situation... my child was the WORST at sleeping! I mean, it was downright miserable. She would not sleep without being held and was waking up 4-6 times a night until she was 5 months old. A W F U L!!!

Then I read the book Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child, and WOW, 100% turn around, super fast. I can honestly say within 7-10 days we had a baby who would nap on her own (for over an hour, multiple times a day), put herself to sleep and only wake once to nurse in the night. That book was a miracle worker for me...everything I had tried failed miserably!

Praying for you and your family. It is so hard! And try to remember that it wont always be like this :)

Jennifer McHam said...

My advice is to try your best to ignore the "overly helpful advice of others" as much as possible and just do/try what works for you. I've tried it all (aluminum foil included); we've been through everything from hours of rocking/bouncing to over an hour of cry-it-out. Nothing has worked consistently with Kaden, no matter how much WE were consistent. I've just had to accept that it isn't MY fault he doesn't sleeping consistently. He didn't really nap (other than catnaps) until he was 7 months old and even at 16-months he doesn't always sleep through the night. Naturally, the sleeping thing has gotten better with time. No book/method has been the answer for us, just time. Now he sleeps with an air purifier, CD player with classical music playing and a fan. He is very sensitive to outside noise so these help to block it out. Just try not to beat yourself up over it or get too frustrated by what people or the internet say to do! And FYI - Kaden has never been a good sleeper and it hasn't hurt his growth or development at all. In fact he is ahead in both of these areas compared to other kids his age. I think one reason why he doesn't sleep well is because he is so smart and active. He doesn't want to miss out on anything by stopping to sleep! Hang in there momma, I can't imagine how hard it is for you with another child in the house (I'm so thankful Kaden is my first and hopefully my second will be a better sleeper)!