We. Are. Tired.
If you're a parent, you probably understand the struggle of getting a small child to sleep through the night, or through a nap, or through ten minutes, for that matter. Or perhaps you're one of the few parents blessed with a child that has been sleeping through the night since the day you brought her home. If this is you, please count your blessings and give the rest of us some sympathy!
We've really struggled with Lucy's sleeping. She's an absolutely delightful child when she's awake. She laughs, she plays, she hugs and kisses quicker than you can wipe the slobber off your face. But when it comes time to nap or go to bed for the night, girlfriend wants to SNUGGLE and be HELD. She'll fall asleep just fine but getting her to stay asleep is a completely different ballgame.
I tried the "cry it out" method when she was pretty small- maybe 1 1/2 or 2 months old and I gave it a good 25 minutes. She. Screamed. She was far more stubborn than I and I ended up going in to get her. It was later that week that we took her in and found out she had some pretty severe acid reflux. We put her on baby Prilosec and our pediatrician told us that excessive crying (i.e. letting her "cry it out") could lead to lots of swallowed air and an increase in gas, which in turn would create a more uncomfortable baby than with which we started. No good. So, I decided I didn't want to let her cry herself to sleep, I didn't mind holding her and I would do the best I could.
Fast forward four months and we're still struggling. What's confusing is that some days she'll sleep for 2 hours at nap time, no problems or through the night without a sound. Other times, she'll be sleeping for ten minutes and wake up. I've tried for HOURS to get her to go back to sleep, to no avail. This, my friends, is sooooo frustrating. Especially when mama is running on little sleep herself.
Nate is a wonderful helper at night. He gets up and helps with changing and swaddling while I get ready for a 30-minute rocking/feeding session. At that point, there's not much he can do, so he goes back to sleep. But he has to go to work the next day and be productive so sleep is a must for him. I can wander around the house in my pj's like a zombie all day if need be, but that isn't an option for him. I also hold onto the hope that I'll maybe, just maybe get a small little nap if she decides to sleep. He helps big time on the weekends, letting me sleep in and playing with his sweetie on Saturday mornings.
The inconsistency is getting very old and very exhausting.
We've been calling our friends with small children asking for advice. Here are some things we've already considered:
* growth spurt
* new foods SHE eats
* foods I eat that don't agree with her
* too much dairy
* too cold/hot in her room
* acid reflux- increasing the dosage (Dr. approved, of course)
* learned behaviors "if I cry, mom and dad come pick me up"
* try sleeping her on her stomach? When she sleeps through the night, we find her on her belly. Hmmm...
* have already read "Babywise". I'm still not sure what I think of it. Clearly we're not using it.
**It's easy to think you've "done something wrong" when your child still won't nap well or sleep through the night at 6 months. I'm learning to give myself some grace. This is a season and it WILL get better.
I'm trying some dietary things first to see if we can make her more comfortable as far as the acid reflux goes. I also started letting her cry herself to sleep today.
*Nap #1 this morning, she cried for one hour. I checked on her every ten minutes, rubbed her back or stomach and whispered quietly that it was time to sleep. She would smile at me and be quiet as a clam. As soon as I left the room, screaming ensued.
* Nap #2 this afternoon, she cried but after 20 minutes, she fell asleep. I'm not sure if she was so worn out from this morning and not sleeping, or if she is already starting to figure out that she needs to sleep. I'll take it. She's been up there for 2 hours sawing logs and I have been INCREDIBLY productive. You wouldn't believe how much sewing I've done. :)
If you have advice, please feel free to chime in. If not, and you're still reading, congratulations.
Parenting is HARD sometimes. But for all the struggles, the only thing you need is one little giggle or smile to make every frustrating thing melt away. This little girl has completely stolen our hearts. It's hard to imagine life without her. We sure do love our little Lucy!