April 16, 2013

sleeping like a baby

You know when someone gets a really good night sleep.  A really really good night sleep.  And they tell you they slept like a baby?  Well, they have certainly never had to sleep with a baby.  Because in my experience?  Babies don't freaking sleep.


It's hard not to feel like I'm doing something wrong.  For some reason Elsie just will not give me a good night's sleep.  First we started with the whole newborn thing, having to wake her every few hours to eat because she wasn't at birth weight (yet had I known how fast she was gaining I would have totally stopped waking her much earlier).  Then she would wake on her own every 3 to 3.5 hours.  No surprise.  She was gaining weight and inches like crazy (nearly 5 pounds and 4 inches in two months!).  Probably still is.  Of course she would want to eat.

Then we moved onto getting a good stretch from about 8 or 9pm to 1:30am.  Not too shabby.  Except I don't go to bed at 8pm.  And then?  She'd be awake for 1.5 to 2 hours after that first night feeding.  I fought her back to sleep several nights.  I was grateful that she had a good stretch going at the beginning of the night.  But I still wasn't getting much sleep.

Next we move to her not being awake in the middle of the night.  But exchange that for being difficult to get down after her last feeding.  I would feed her between 8 and 8:30pm, and then Christopher would try to put her to bed for me.  She would fight it until 10:30 or 11:00, so sometimes I would end up feeding her, and whether she ate or not she'd be up again at 1:30 to eat.


For a very brief week or so (I know she isn't quite ten weeks yet, a week is a significant portion of her life actually!), she was going to bed by 9:30, waking around 1:45, 5 and up for the day around 8 or so.  That I could handle.  I was starting to feel slightly human again.  Of course I still complained, wishing we could make that first feeding closer to 3 or 4, and then she could just get up a little earlier.  But now I would give anything to have that 'schedule' back.  If I wanted I could get up before everyone after that 5am feeding.  Take a shower, be on my computer, etc.  I liked that.

Now?  Now we don't have a schedule at all.  She doesn't seem to settle for more than two hours at a time.  She will be in and out of sleep from 9:45 until 3 or so, feeding here and there during that time (not knowing if she is truly hungry, just not sure what else to do at 2am), and then sleep until maybe 6:45.  Neither of us are getting any solid rest.  I've tried side lying nursing and bed sharing, but we still don't really sleep.  I still think she fights the swaddle sometimes.  So maybe while she is sleeping like crap we should just go without it.  I don't know.  Or maybe moving her to her crib would help.  Or trying to just rock and soothe her during the night instead of feeding her.  I'm sure having a better night time routine would help, but I don't even know how to go about that.  It seems like her 'last' feeding for the night winds up being anytime between 6:30 and 8:30pm.  So I don't know when to start a bedtime routine, especially taking Ryann's routine into account.  In theory I would try a dream feed before I went to sleep, but so far it hasn't worked out.  I have no idea.  She is pretty much fighting going to sleep for night and naps all around.

Oh and naps are throwing me for a loop too.  We are trying to follow an eat, wake, sleep pattern.  And for a while it was going really well.  She'd eat, we'd play, and then she'd sleep until pretty close to her next feeding, going 2.5-3.5 hours between nursing sessions.  Now she'll sometimes nap for maybe 30-45 minutes and wake up.  I never know if I should try to get her to go back to sleep, assume she's hungry, or what to do.  I've had my moms help for a while, so usually I go in and rock the rock 'n play and she'll go back to sleep for a bit, but I don't know if that is the best thing to be doing.


I know rocking her to sleep might not be the best choice, but she also seems to have no ability to self soothe.  At least in the swaddle anyway.  As soon as I wrap her up she is pissed.  But with her arms out she is a little frantic too.

Gah.  I'm just lost.  I didn't want sleep to be such an issue this time around.  But it is.  I know nobody can really give me any answers.  Just venting I guess.  This too shall pass.


Amanda said...

Growth spurt? I know my little man was really tough around that age. I remember him waking 9 times over the course of a 6 hour span. I was a walking zombie. Try some cluster feeding maybe? I never had luck with dream feeds but my son would eat for like 2 hours straight with 15 minute breaks between feedings (he is/was exclusively breastfed). Another thing to try at this point might be the swing for naps? It was the only way I could get my son to nap between months 2-4 and keep my sanity. I just couldn't spend an hour rocking just to have him sleep for 20 minutes! After that we transitioned to the the crib and nap trained and it worked out pretty well. He still wakes once a night (morning really) now at 7 months old but that seems manageable. He typically wakes around 5:30 to eat and I just get up for the day then. He goes back to sleep and wakes for the day around 7:30.

Paige said...

boo :( I feel your pain, I was there too for many months. At least she naps during the day. My son would hardly sleep during the day and wake up many times a night. But it's true...remember it won't last forever. Are you having any caffeine? I didn't have any coffee for the first few weeks and at 2 months I started having one coffee a day and it made such a difference for me.

Stephanie Doyle said...

I don't have any advice, but I have felt your pain. She will get through it sooner than later. Hudson was waking up multiple times a night until 5 months and then all of sudden started sleeping 10-12 hours straight and never has gone back. Hang in there, there is hope!!

Ashley@MarriedLane said...

sleep problems are so tough :( I'm sorry you're having a hard time! They aren't babies forever, and she'll learn to sleep on her own eventually. Keep your chin up, and don't forget to take care of yourself! Ask a friend to come over for an hour so you can nap. A rested momma is a happier momma!

Stephanie said...

Prefaced by the fact I don't have children but I came across this blog post with some science included on baby sleep. Perhaps it will ease your mind. http://www.grumblesandgrunts.com/2010/03/is-he-sleeping-through-night-part-two.html

Anonymous said...

I feel you- you need to sleep when she sleeps (and Ryann isn't around and/or napping too!) Forget about the blog for a bit (we'll forgive you!) or try to get some guest posts lined up so you can have a break!

The website Troublesome Tots was a really good read for me when Scout was having some sleep issues. The biggest revelation to me was I was keeping her awake too long! At 10 weeks, she should only be awake for an hour to 90 minutes (and that includes feeding time and changing time and putting back to bed time!)
She also just did an article about the Eat Play Sleep thing...she doesn't recommend it for breastfed babies.
Worth a read- and yes, this too shall pass :)

Aja said...

Brutal. Evie was the same way at this age, and frankly not a great sleeper until we sleep trained at 6 months. Next time around, I will definitely be more lenient and use the swing for naps if that's why it takes. Maybe you could try that? At least so you get a decent break in the day and she takes a good nap.. This will pass! Good luck, I know it's rough!

Kim3278 said...

Have you tried looking up to see if she is going through a wonder week? I thought this thing was absurd and then I read it and was like OMG...it is sooo true. Bless your heart. I hope you get some relief soon. My little went through the same thing and I wore her all the time. From morning until night. We nursed every 1.5-2 hours until she was 7 months old. http://www.thewonderweeks.com/ There is app for it too! Best wishes mama. Hang in there. She is a doll!!!

Sarah said...

I'm a BabyWise attemptee. I'm convinced it helped my little guy sleep through the night at 8 weeks (and put himself to sleep at night, too). The naps? Naps take Herculean effort and damn it, I lack that strength (and I don't have a toddler on top of that). But I love this blog and her practical tips. I've been trying this 4 S's sleep training thing for nap time. It's a work in progress, but worth a shot! http://www.babywisemom.com/2009/04/sleep-training-four-ss.html

My son went through a phase between 10-15 weeks where his neediness made me bonkers. He just recently grew out of it, so hopefully Elsie does too!

Kristal said...

I'm going to give you the most annoying response ever: that's totally normal.

I'm sorry. I know it sucks because Isaac was the same way. But waking often, feeding a lot through the night, not being able to self soothe: all are healthy and normal newborn behaviors.

I also completely remember the frantic feeling of wondering what the heck I should do. But at this point, she us changing so fast, nothing really makes a difference. So just keep responding to her and soon, she'll find a groove.

Chelsy said...

I say do whatever it takes to have her sleep and nap, even if thats rocking her to sleep, having her nap in a swing or rock & play! Good luck!!

Frannie Uitto said...

If it makes you feel any better I feel like you just told my story word for word. I can remember feeling like I failed over and over again every day trying to figure out this sleep thing. I do think it has 90% to do with age and 10% routine. Other than getting some age on her, the one thing that worked for us was a bedtime routine. I know people thought we were nuts, but even as early as one month old we had a bedtime routine nailed down. My daughter always had a feeding at 7:30 pm. I breastfed during the day and this feeding was a bottle, mainly so my husband could help when needed. But anyway, around 7 we started bath time, then gave bottle in her room and rocked her to sleep and then put her in her pack n play when she was asleep. We had many, many nights where she woke up minutes after we put her down and we had to rock her back to sleep countless times, but after a couple of weeks of doing this she got the hang of it and miraculously started only getting up once in the night and then around 4 months old she started sleeping through the night completely. Even after a year she still goes to bed at 730 and has the same nighttime routine.
Obviously, do whatever works for you, but it always helped for me to hear what other people were doing. It sounds like you have a solid schedule down, so if anything I tell you all this just to let you know I have been in the same boat. That was always comforting to me: to at least know I wasn't the only one drowning out there and my child wasn't just an unexplained mystery. :)
Elsie is beautiful and you are doing a wonderful job with two precious babies! I see lots of people struggle with baby #2 and you do it effortlessly! Way to go, Mama! :)

MommaBird said...

Hang in there! I know sleep is so hard in those first several months for both you and Elsie. She is adjusting to this world and you are adjusting and adapting to her ever changing needs. Be easy on yourself and know that this will pass.

As for bedtime routine, I honestly did not start one until around 3 months. And it was more of a bedtime cue than a set routine. Another thing that helped us was to not turn on the light for night time changes (we used this glowing turtle that displayed stars on the ceiling and that was enough light to change and BF) and I tried to not engage/talk during the time. So basically just making the nighttime feedings as boring as possible. A book I really liked was Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child. And like another commentator mentioned, she might also be going through a growth spurt/wonder week.

Hang in there!

Candence {The Lowe Road} said...

Have you heard of Moms on Call? Their method helped me get my daughter on a schedule and sleeping through the night by 6 weeks old. Their methods encourage setting a bedtime routine with a bath (every night to establish end of the day) bottle and bed with a swaddle and sound machine. It worked like magic for us! There is no "crying it out" like Babywise. Just a healthy routine that helps baby thrive. Check them out!


Anonymous said...

Isis Parenting has a good sleep support resource. They do weekly webinars that they archive and make available on demand. You might browse what's there and see if there's a particular topic that could shed some insight. http://www.isisparenting.com/page/webinarssleep

Renata C. said...

Hi there!
I am going through almost the same thing with my almost 3 month baby #2 right now. My first one was pretty much the same and I swore this time I would do it better and avoid rocking him to sleep, etc etc-- I am doing the exact same thing all over again, it just happens! why? because you just try to do your best and that is it. You're right, nobody can give you advice really, because no one knows your baby better than you do -- even if it doesn't feel like that sometimes. But cut yourself some slack, and don't judge yourself by saying "I know I shouldn't be doing this" or "I know this is bad" -- you're just trying to see what works and that is all you can do.
The only thing I would suggest is to try to get some sleep at ANY COST, even if that means going to bed as soon as she falls asleep and you don't get to have any ME time. Life sucks without sleep, and baby will get better eventually, she just will. But you have to try and rest, and life will seem better.

Amy said...

Someone once told me that babies under 3 months are incapable of developing habits. I don't know how true that is but hung on to it for sanity. With that in mind, I say do what works and rock her to sleep. Soon enough the phase will pass...good luck!

Becca said...

My daughter is just 10 months and we go through periods of absolute chaos around sleep. It is hard, but they are constantly changing - growth spurts, cognitive leaps, etc - and sometimes it is hard for them to settle down and get comfy. Hang in there!
Around Elsie's age we tried a pacifier out of sheer desperation and it definitely helped. She started sleeping longer stretches and putting herself back to sleep much more often. The only times we go back to hard times is during a developmental change - like when she was trying to crawl, she would wake up trying to crawl in the bed.
Just try to remember that it is nothing you are doing wrong. She is a baby, and babies are notoriously bad sleepers.

Shea and Kay-Marie said...

Totally feel for you. For me I was doing the whole cosleeping thing and it worked great for a while, but she became extremely needy because of it. I think she is just that kind of baby anyway so that is not necessarily what is going to happen. But I do know I had wished I had been a little better about sleep training and routine from the beginning. And WOW there are some great ideas on here. I can't wait to try with my next one. All in all I agree with what has already been said sleep every moment you can sacrificing everything for those few minutes. Sleep is important. And I wish you the absolute best and I hope Elsie decides to give you a break soon. I know how rough it can be with baby and toddler juggling acts. I hope this stage passes soon :)