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?