Thursday, August 05, 2010

Babies


It's no secret, so you might as well know....I'm not a baby person.  As hard as I try to have a positive attitude about babies--about my baby--it's tough.  I LOVE her to death, but if someone offered me a time machine that would transport me a few months into the future I'd take it.  I would say we've been doing pretty well, some days even great.  And I measure that by the amount of anxiety I feel on the whole...and so far my anxiety about Lamp and her lack of a schedule has been pretty low.  But all it takes is one day (that would be yesterday) and I find myself full of doubt and worry (what if she does this for months?  This could be normal, but what if there's something I'm doing or not doing that would solve everything?)  

And the problems I'm referring to?  Sleep of course.  Here's the crux of my worry...she's hard to get to sleep and to stay asleep.  At night she does OK, but in the day not so great and the naps seem short lived. So far her demeanor is perplexing.  She's a good baby in the sense that she is calm when she's awake (as long as she's not hungry or tired) and therefore you'd think she'd be easy to get to sleep, but so far it's a complete guessing game.  She can be very, very tired...and I'm soothing her and nursing her and she's nodding off....and it still can take an hour.  Or more.  And if I try to put her down while nodding off?  Forget it...she's instantly awake.  Sometimes she falls asleep in her carseat while being walked or while riding in the car...but sometimes not.   So needless to say I spend a lot of time holding and feeding her.  Hours.  A day.  And that gets old quick.  Now perhaps 5 weeks is still too young to say whether or not she's a good sleeper...and perhaps it's true that babies really are at their peak fussy period from 5-6 weeks and thus this recent upswing in sleeping difficulty is right on schedule, but whatever it is I don't like it.  Now perhaps you're thinking...So what?  It sounds like she doesn't want to go to sleep, so let her stay up?   Then I have a very over-tired girl on my hands and getting her to sleep is all the more difficult.  Grrr....

And in case you're wondering what I've tried...well what haven't I tried?  Yes I swaddle.  I use Mylicon and Gripe Water just in case.  I burp her.  I've darkened her room and use white noise.  I try to make sure she's not awake more than 2 hours (and usually start soothing to sleep long before that) and I encourage pacifier use.  

So please... humor me... reassure me.  This is normal right?  Or at least not un-heard of?  Does it just pass or should I be more proactive?  What tricks can you pass along?  (She doesn't like the swing fyi).  I'm a fan of Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child but so far I'm struggling to find anything really helpful.  Do you think it's too early to start to train a baby to sleep with a bedtime routine (but not crying it out...yet).  Or if you have no advice, at least help me feel better by sharing your frustrating baby stories.  Thanks.  

Arrgh, this too shall pass, this too shall pass....


26 comments:

  1. So frustrating. My son Preston slept the first few months of his life great, and then one day he woke up and I had to work, work, work to get him to fall and stay asleep. I am a firm believer in the book Babywise. Preston is a great sleeper now and he has finally gotten on a great schedule. I'm a firm believer in schedules.

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  2. Ug. The not sleeping is the worst. I swear by the miracle blanket. I only used it on my 3rd, but seriously fixed all sleeping issues over night. And, I passed it on to a girlfriend who now swears by it too. And it is now my standard shower gift. It isn't cute, but wow. It is the one thing I won't do without if I have another newborn. http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=the+miracle+blanket&x=0&y=0&ih=11_7_1_0_0_1_0_0_0_1.55_140&fsc=-1

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  3. Mine went through a sling phase, where she fell instantly asleep in one (and I still had my hands free!) Bouncer was nice too. Most of all just tons and tons of prayers! She'll get there.

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  4. (Sorry, this is long! Take what you want from it, or don't...it doesn't bother me either way.)

    I could be totally wrong, but your sweet Lamp sounds a lot like my oldest son was as an infant...which is a tiring, but wonderful thing! He was very alert, and always wanted to be part of the action. We had a heck of a time getting him to sleep, and staying asleep.

    After 2 weeks of doing what the baby books said, I threw it ALL out the window, and went with my gut...which may or may not seem dangerous :) I figured that Heavenly Father sent me this baby boy for a reason, and it must be that He trusts me to do what is best for him.

    That meant several things, but in terms of sleeping (don't cringe!), it meant letting him sleep on my chest many times in the early night or early morning (I know, they say DON'T co-sleep, so I would only do this when I was NOT exhausted.) I know they do this with preemie babies, I think it's called "skin-to-skin" or something. It really helped him. He craved the connection with me or my husband. Which also meant I spent hours during the day (too) holding/playing/reading to him, etc. (You might want to try a baby wrap? www.mobywrap.com)

    I know it sounds crazy, but my son was showing us his strong (amazing and wonderful) personality from DAY ONE. When he was 4 months old, I remember telling my mom, "I swear he's bored!" Yup, I was right. Ever since he was a brand new baby, he's been going going going! (I was so exhausted from him as a toddler, I took him to two pediatricians to see if he had ADHD. They both laughed at me, and said he was FINE, just smart and very active/alert.)

    I completely feel your pain if you can't fix the sleeping issues. I shouldn't tell you that my son is 10 now, and he STILL hates to go to bed. We literally have to run him ragged every day, just so we can have a full night of sleep. We used to joke all the time that he's really twins!

    I'm guessing here, but I think it must mean Lamp has a dynamite personality, and she is READY to conquer this crazy world ;) Hang in there! (I'm a nut for babies...I wish I hold Lamp for you when you need a break!)

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  5. The frustrating part is that things will work with some babies, but not with your child. Some babies will get on a schedule quickly, some will not. Some don't want to sleep as much as others and don't like to be swaddled. Mine NEVER would fall asleep in my arms. The more I rocked and held them, the more awake and excited they became (I must be too much fun). So sometimes I had to put them down to cry it out for a few minutes just to get a break (not forever, of course, as newborns). Sometimes they would fall asleep in the crib in those few minutes, sometimes not. They started liking the swing around 3 months. Then they had to sleep in the swing or carseat until 6 months. I think of you as the most experienced because Beanie was such a challenge. You are the best expert on your child. And if you don't ever figure it out, she will change in a few weeks anyway.

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  6. This sounds normal to me, but it still stinks. I'm sorry.

    This is what I did with audrie: put her in my bed and nursed her lying down after she was out for 10 minutes, I would roll off my bed and sneak out. I would check on her often to make sure she didn't magically learn to roll at 7 weeks. I would sometimes do the same thing on a blanket on the floor. I know it sounds crazy, but she would sleep for an hour (which was awesome cuz she wasn't the best napper before that ).

    Eli was a totally different story - naps only happened in the moby wrap.

    Good luck!

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  7. I agree with Christina... I'm a stranger to you, but found your blog through Little Green Notebook. My third practically lived in the sling (I used a ring-sling) for the first year and 1/2.

    However, I do remember the days of thinking that I was never going to sleep more than 1 1/2 hours at a time again. Ever. But, somehow, they do, and if you stick to a schedule, Lamp will figure it out and you'll get some rest. Eventually :-)

    Hang in there - I'm praying for your precious family!

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  8. I scoured the baby books and hounded the pediatrician and called my mom and called my sister and called my friend who all gave different advice. I prayed and cried and cried and got really frustrated. Then I decided to go with my gut. Jury is still out on how it will go. Parenting is without a doubt the HARDEST thing I have ever done.

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  9. With the "every baby's different" disclaimer, I'll just say J was a bad sleeper from the first day out of the gate and still is. *Nothing* worked for us. She still (at 3) wakes every couple of hours through the night. She still takes an hour to get herself to sleep. She gave up naps before she was 2! It's hard (really, really, really hard). The only thing I will say is that it did get easier when we gave up and just chalked it up to her personality & composition. It truly is "just the way she is." And obviously we love our little one more than anything on the planet, but I'm really hoping that the sleep stuff you're going through now is just a phase and not "just the way she is" too. Hang in there.

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  10. I loved your last photo by the way. So romantic!
    For me, it seems like with babies there is this constant adjusting and re adjusting. You have to find just the right combination of sound, rocking, sleep location, etc. My newest babies slept in the car seat a lot. Then one slept in the swing a lot. It seems like right when I'd get in a good rhythm, though, the baby would get a cold or we would travel and all would be lost! Good luck. I am not a fan of the tiny baby stage either. I am too stressed and sleep deprived. I love your blog honesty!

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  11. Here's myt little sleep schpeal, for what it's worth (ditto to Adrie's disclaimer).

    For the first two months, do whatever it takes to stay sane. Sleeping in a bouncer, on your chest, in a car, on the floor--whatever it takes. Months two to four, start to aim for a good sleep pattern (falling asleep on her own, drowsy but awake) but realize that it WILL NOT happen every night, and that's okay. From four to five months on (if your goal is to get your baby to sleep on their own all night, which is not everyone's goal and that is totally okay) you have to be a bit of a stickler. I think Healthy Sleep Habits is a good book, as is Happiest Baby on the Block. I am not a fan of Babywise, and actually opposed to it (the American Academy of Pediatrics came out against it a few years ago. It probably works for most common sense people, but too many were following the letter and their babies ran into big problems).

    As far as the fussy part goes, you are spot on. All babies, no matter how good they are or how good their parents are, get more fussy around six weeks. (http://www.purplecrying.info/sections/index.php?sct=5&sctpg=20&) Babies in Africa who are papposed and nursed all day long, babies in England on a tight schedule. Doesn't matter. It's mother nature. But, for those babies that are tough I think Lactobacillus reuteri can be a life saver. They've found that 'colicky' babies tend to have somewhat disrupted gut flora. Lactobacillus (a probiotic) can sometimes change that. You use 1/2 teaspoon of the powder a day. If you can't find the reuteri, any of the probiotics will do, but that's the one specifically studied for colic. It was incredibly helpful for me (I'm not really a baby kind of gal, either...and a colicky one doesn't help).

    Lastly, the best advice my sage pediatrician gave me was that just because today was a good day, it doesn't mean that tomorrow will also be good. And the same goes for bad. One day at a time. She'll be sleeping soundly before you know it. Hang in there.

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  12. The adjust/readjust comment could not be more true for me! Just when I think we have it down, it changes just a little bit. Teething, growth spurt, vacation, weather... you can never really re-create the same exact conditions every single night.

    PS we're now at my parents' place and it's been rough! I'm having Jared pack the baby sleep books when he joins us in a couple days. Haha/sigh.

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  13. I learned with my super colicky baby who cried every night from 12-4 am that 45-50 minutes was her max awake time. After that she was ready for her next nap...and that included feeding time.


    Good luck. Hang in there. So sorry.

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  14. I'm sorry Amy. Violet took A LOT of soothing! The only way she would sleep for the first 3 months is swaddled tight, in the swing, in a dark room, with white noise. CRAZY... I was so jealous of mom who's babies would fall asleep in their arms and transfer to the crib just fine. We went through so many D batteries!
    6 weeks was the worst. It might magically get better next week...I hope so. Hang in there. You're doing a great job :)

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  15. Hi Amy! I have enjoyed reading your blog ever since your Mom shared your story with the ward. This is my first comment, though. However, I love the book "Secrets of the Baby Whisperer" by Tracy Hogg. It's very respectful of both the baby and you. It's amazing how well new moms do being so sleep deprived! Maybe the book will give you a new idea.

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  16. Oh my goodness thanks for all the advice. And even more, thanks for the moral support. As I read through all these stories and the ups and downs of babies it amazes me that any of us survive parenthood and childhood for that matter.

    Ellen--exactly! You'd think after Beanie I'd be fine dealing with almost any sleep issues... especially so early and with a baby who is also so much more pleasant otherwise. But that's sorta my point--I just get all worked up and anxious over having babies. I feel like other people have a greater inner strength or somehow just deal with it better, because even with this baby I feel all out of sorts and frustrated.

    Christina--Yes I've used a sling too and luckily that works and allows for some hands-free afternoons.

    Abbie--I did just that today. Except instead of leaving after 10 minutes, I stayed for 3 HOURS to make sure she'd sleep. See....I'm obsessed with sleep. Which brings me to my next point....

    Is anyone else obsessed with sleep? I'll do whatever it takes to get those LONG naps. Granted, when everyone leaves I won't be able to sleep with Lamp for 3 hours while my toddler does-who-knows-what...but since I'm a big believer in sleep begets sleep, I have a hard time not doing everything in my power to maximize any and all sleep. Anyone else like this? Or do you just do what you can and then call it good no matter what happens?

    Carrie--Wow. See, that just sounds hard BUT I really admire your attitude about it all. I have to say, if it were me I think that sleep issue would send me into a depression. I don't mean that sarcastically,I'm serious. Which is why I say again, I sometimes feel like I just don't have the same inner strength as some people to deal with these things...

    Deb--arrgh! Yes traveling is hard. Even when you have other people there, it's not the same as having your husband who understands and knows the babies almost as well as you do. I'm so sorry.

    And thanks to everyone else for the really good comments.

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  18. Sleep. It's amazing how the outcome of my day hinges on whether Eva is sleeping well or not.

    What you're going through is so normal. Holy cats, when you said that it's an hour long process getting Lamp to sleep, it was like I went back in time 6 months! It would take an hour, and then 15 minutes later she was awake. So exhausting for both mama and baby.

    When Eva was about 6 weeks old, and only taking 15 minute cat naps, I was a mess. I called my girlfriend one day and just sobbed. That's all I could do. Then I picked up my sad, over tired baby and started the whole process over.

    Thankfully, by the time she was about 3 months, she was able to get on more of a schedule. Up for 2 hours, nap for 2...and so on throughout the day.

    It sounds like you're doing a great job. Keep doing what you're doing, and hang in there. Those first 2 months are such a fog.

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  19. I'm so glad you asked...who doesn't like to talk about their sob story?! I feel for you. Julius slept great the first night of his life in the hospital and didn't do that again until he was 8 months old! I know that's not encouraging...but what I'm saying is I think it's very normal. (By the way...Of all the books I read, I liked that book too.) Before 4 months we just sucked it up. Then we tried letting him cry himself to sleep at about 4 months...after about a week I decided he was still to little. It wasn't working...he didn't get it yet. Sometime later I heard you shouldn't try that until about 6 months old...but I don't know if that's true or not.

    All I can say is...patience. We tried absolutely everything you could possibly try. Nothing worked. He wasn't sleeping for more than 3 hours at a time at night, was almost impossible to get back to sleep when he woke up and to top it off...he wasn't even sleeping during the day. Ken would leave for work and I would cry because I was so tired. But we just kept trying to keep him on a schedule as much as possible and when he was about 6 months old just let him cry himself to sleep every night...sometimes for a couple hours. Sounds awful...but it was worth it. I think for Julius it was a combination of our efforts and just being ready. He is still a light sleeper (he gets it from Ken) and I think it just took him longer than some babies to figure out the sleep thing.

    Buy ever since 8 or 9 months he has been an incredible sleeper. We drop him in the crib wide awake, hugs and kisses and he falls asleep all by himself. He's almost two and sleeps from 8:00 to 8:00 and still naps for at least 3 hours a day. But it was a long road and I'm not looking forward to switching him to a toddler bed! I think I'll keep him in the crib with the tent on it until he's like 5! Hang in there.

    I literally didn't get more than three hours of sleep at a time, day or night until he was 8 months old. Needless to say I was a zombie and and didn't want any more children at that point.

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  20. Wow. I remember that 5-6 weeks of age is a HARD time! You'll get through it though. As everyone always told me, it DOES get better! Just look at Beanie and see how far she's come. Lamp will learn. You will get your sleep again too. You are an expert on baby sleeping but she is not yet. Hang in there. I noticed for myself that everything is so much harder when I have to wake up over and over in the night, and once that time came when I could sleep through the night again (because my baby learned how to), my brain worked better and my emotional well-being was a lot calmer too. Remember, you're not crazy, just tired, and that is NORMAL!! Hang in there. You'll figure out what works for Lamp.

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  21. I feel you. It's been almost 8 months and I don't have a sleep schedule down. Lately, I've been getting up two to three times a night to nurse. Help me. When he was about 2.5 months he started to projectile vomit every night before bed and that lasted a month and a half. It sucked. So, needless to say I'm not great at sleep advice. My first one loves it, my second one kind of likes it, He just likes to be near me. I think your baby is adjusting to living outside of the womb and it really will take about three months to get it down. My friend let her baby CIO at 2 or 3 months and she said it worked and it's been heaven for her.

    What sort of worked for us, was the Baby Bjorn. Che would put baby Buster in the Bjorn and cover it with a blanket and then walked or jogged around the house until he fell asleep. Then he put him in bed with me or in your case you could put her in the cirb. I think the Bjorn has worked better then the wraps to be honest. I've tried all sorts of wraps and the babies both seemed happiest in the Bjorn.

    Good Luck!

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  22. 5 weeks? Normal. Lovely and normal. My babies are easier to put down after about 7-8 weeks.

    I say just go with it. Snuggle, nurse, hold, love, she'll grow into a schedule and out of fussiness soon enough.

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  23. My advice is to accept any help that comes your way, and don't be afraid to ask for it!
    Speaking of...
    what can I do?

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  24. Ha! Miciah was fussy when she was awake AND super difficult to get to sleep. :) Love the baby stage. Ugh.

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  25. Have 7 kids. My 16 week old was hard to put down. The dvd Happiest Baby on the Block helped a lot, as did the Miracle Blanket and the Moby wrap when nothing else works. Stick with it, eventually something works.

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  26. My girls both LOVED being awake, so sleep issues have always been a struggle. My second didn't really regulate her sleep schedule at all until she was about 4 months old. Even then she would still be really difficult to initially get to sleep. Then I stumbled upon a miracle for her (and our family). She would usually fall asleep in the car, and it always had to be dark with white noise. So for the first 12-14 months of her life....ugh, I hate to even admit it....she took every nap and slept part of many nights in her car seat in the bathroom with the bathroom fan on. For over a year. I know it sounds crazy, but after awhile she would fall instantly asleep the minute I put her in there. It worked at other people's homes as well. I would be at book clubs or leave her with a friend and they could always put her down for a nap. And she would sleep for 3 hours. If she slept in a crib, she would wake up after 45 minutes to an hour, because she was a light sleeper, but being restrained strapped into the carseat, she would just go back to sleep. Everyone thought it was crazy until they saw it work month after month after month. I even have a friend who used to mock me but now puts her baby to sleep the same way. I don't recommend doing it for nearly as long as I did, but hey whatever works. My daughter is now 19 months old and she is a dream. She is so happy because she always gets enough sleep. Honestly, this was a miracle for me and for our family, and I do not use that term lightly. She would NEVER sleep if she wasn't in the bathroom. She now sleeps in a crib fine. The transition was pretty easy, because she had learned to fall back asleep during her naps. I also recommend the book Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child. Good luck finding what works for your girl! Your baby is beautiful.

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