Help! The sleep I should have had is attacking the skin under my eyes!

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And that is the refrain of my days. Along with:

I need a nap.

He won’t go to sleep.

He’s not even sleepy.

He wakes up alllll the time.

I haven’t slept through the night in ages. Like last summer. Before the child started dancing on my internal organs every night.

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I was convinced there was no solution for my madness. I thought the options for making the baby sleep better were quite limited. I thought there was the ‘cry it out’ camp and the ‘the baby will figure it out eventually’ camp. I certainly didn’t want to let my baby scream himself to sleep, but recently the ‘figure it out eventually’ side was not treating me so well.

We were waking up numerous (I didn’t want to know how many) times at night. Every couple hours or so, I wasn’t sure. It wasn’t really that bad, (Ranger will go back to sleep as soon as you feed him basically) but that is disturbing enough to the rest of us that I wanted my sleep back!

My mom told me about “The No-Cry Sleep Solution” by Elizabeth Pantley. I picked it up from the library and devoured it in two days (it would have been a sitting, but you know, children). Reading the introduction just about made me cry with happiness. Seeing charts of babies initially sleeping similarly to mine and later charts with massive amounts of improvement was just mind boggling and thrilling! (crazy the things a tired momma will go crazy about right??) some of these kids started out waking up 6-8 times a night and went down to 0-1 in a month or two. So crazy. I would be happy with him waking up just a couple times. Once sounds like heaven.

Did you know infants are classified as sleeping through the night if they sleep 5+ consecutive hours in a night? I didn’t. Ranger has done that a total of twice in his life.

Needless to say I have started putting my newly found treasure to good use.

The first step in the miracle worker’s book is to record a starting point so improvement can be qualified, We charted naps, bedtime routines (or lack thereof) and nighttime sleeping patterns all for our knowledge and amusement (or demusement?).

We did this yesterday and last night. It turns out that Ranger is getting close to the recommended amount of sleep in a day, but not quite. (I can promise you his momma is not!)

Some of the things I had to pay attention to were: how many times he woke up, how he woke me up, what time, how long awake, what the longest stretch of sleep was and the total number of hours estimated slept (I say estimated, because my foggy brain couldn’t really remember exactly when the sleep monster fell back asleep each time.)

This is what I found:
Went to sleep at: 9PM
Woke up at: 8AM
Total number of awakenings: 8
Longest sleep span: 3 hours
Average sleep span: an hour…duhduhduh…
Should be getting 10-11 hours a night, got about 9.5.
He doesn’t have a consistent bedtime routine or time and he only nurses and bounces to sleep.
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I would say he’s a normal baby.

But here is my plan (based on the ideas and directions listed in the book) to improve on that normalcy and give these parents back some sanity and energy.

  • Fill that daytime tummy! By filling his tummy more in the day I can be sure he’s not really just hungry at night and hopefully eliminate some of the feeding
  • Make sure he naps well and make a naptime routine.
  • Initiate a bedtime ritual about an hour before bedtime: bath (optional), jammies, pick up toys, read 4 books, sing 4 songs, nurse?
  • Establish an early bedtime: 8 or 8:30. And put the baby to bed immediately when he shows signs of being tired. This happened quite early today so he was in bed and asleep by 8 for the first time in his life.
  • Help him learn to fall asleep without help by:
      -introducing a “lovey” (basically a toy or blanket he can get attached to so as to make him feel more comfortable waking up without mommy or daddy). We chose two of his stuffed animals.
      -bed time words: “it’s time to sleep” “it’s sleeping time
  • change his sleep association away from sucking by: not feeding him while he’s asleep, shorten the nighttime nursing
  • Helping him fall back to sleep in the crib in steps: step 1: putting him in when just asleep, step 2: putting him in when almost asleep…etc.

Hopefully these ideas will get him in more of a routine and able to go to sleep without nursing eventually…and maybe eventually sleeping in his crib for at least part of the night. For now, we are following these tips for 10 days and then doing another evaluation night to see how we’re doing. I will check back in on the 22nd with our update! :)

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I also shared this at the Parent ‘Hood linkup that is happening weekly!
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8 thoughts on “Help! The sleep I should have had is attacking the skin under my eyes!

  1. I’m interested to hear how you get on!! My daughter actually was a dream from the start and by 3 weeks was sleeping about 13 hours a night without waking up(crazy child), but would only nap in the day if you held her and nursed her into a nap and then didn’t move. Her night sleep lessened to somewhere between 8-10 hours as she started napping in the day on her own the past 2 months or so, but this week she’s been up and down countless times in the night, wanting to stay awake, not even a nurse or laying beside us has helped and she’s not napping for as long in the day either. We’re all feeling the effects big time, so I totally feel for you having had to deal with that for weeks, months even day in day out! Big hugs mama, I hope this helps him sleep soundly. If my daughter keeps waking like she’s doing, I may start keeping a chart to see what’s happening with her patterns.

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  2. I am so glad I found your blog through Hungry Runner Girl! My son is 6 months old too (almost 7) and his sleep has been TERRIBLE. I tried cry-it-out for naps, but honestly it’s not something I wanted to do and I was desperate. It also didn’t work for him….at all. This sounds like the perfect solution! I will definitely be keeping track and will also try some of the tips with my little boy. Time to check out that book!

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  3. Oh good luck! Sleep issues are THE WORST! Hang in there :) It doesn’t last forever. I promise, you WILL eventually get a good night’s sleep again. Each of my three babies had different difficulties and different things worked with each one. One slept all night and wouldn’t take naps (the CIO worked for her). One had GREAT naps and woke up frequently in the early morning hours. The third one napped like a dream and woke up INSISTING on nursing every two or three hours till he was 20 months old!! No amount of CIO, or coaxing or Ms Pantley suggestions worked at. all. for that one :) But eventually they figured it out. Keep trying different “methods” and you WILL find something that works for your baby. God bless!!

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  4. Hang in there! Peabody was a very, very wakeful baby until about 7 months. It was the putting him to bed earlier that finally worked for him, and I mean REALLY early. I think at one point he was going down for the night by 6 PM. It meant he got up around 5:30 in the morning, but he would sleep all night, so it was pretty awesome even with the early rising. And even now, both of my kids are usually in bed by 7:30 pm. This works well for them and for Al and me. The alone time together in the evening is pretty awesome.

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