Monday, August 29, 2011

Seeping....or lack thereof

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:

* teething
* 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!


  1. Hey Heather,

    First of all hugs to you! I feel your pain x2 :) I constantly have people asking me if my girls sleep through the night yet, and I always smile and say not yet. They're only 10 weeks though, so I have faith it will come in due time, but I have to admit I'm not sure it will happen soon.

    Second of all: the most important thing to remeber is that you're doing the best you can and that if sometimes you have to let Lucy cry, you have to. With two daughters, there are moments where tears happen, but I always remind myself that I'm doing the best I can! I would say that letting her cry it out (within reason) is maybe the best place to start - always being careful of course that she doesn't get too worked up!

    Good luck! Please share any good advice you get with me ;)

    The other Heather!

  2. I think the most important thing to know is that this is not your fault! Babies really, truly are not meant to "sleep through the night" for quite a while. In our high-paced, American culture we put a huge emphasis on this milestone, but in other countries it's not that important. I don't say this to discourage you, but so that you know it's really not abnormal for your little one to be struggling with sleep. I would recommend The No-Cry Sleep Solution. I'm really against Babywise, but once again every baby is different. The No-Cry Sleep Solution was really helpful to us. It gives you gentle ways of putting baby to sleep and helping baby stay asleep. However, if you are wanting something that will make this happen in a weekend, this is not the book. It's a gradual process, but it works. Dr. Sears also has some great info on sleep :
    Lastly, relax! I know that it's exhausting when baby will not sleep consistently. Be willing to let some other things (like cleaning) go and just enjoy your baby girl. Hope this helps :)

  3. I am probably the last person to give sleeping advice (so I won't). Simon, who is now 3 1/2, did not sleep through the night until he was 18 months old. Not once. Now he will sleep all night, but we have a heck of a time getting him to go to sleep in the first place. Ian, who is 20 months, goes to sleep and sleeps like a champ (but he hasn't always).

    The most helpful book by far for us was *Bed Timing* by Marc Lewis and Isabela Granic. It doesn't necessarily advocate for any one method over another but instead talks about development stages and when to try something new and when not to bother (e.g., between 9 and 12 months is one of the hardest times to change anything, might as well ride it out until after 12 months). If I remember correctly, I think Lucy might just now be at the first "good time" to try.

    Give yourself a ton of grace. Nobody, nobody, nobody has this figured out. And the bad news is that when you finally do find something that works chances are you'll have to tweak it in a few weeks. Boo, right?

    FWIW, with Simon, I nursed him to sleep and then tried to lower him into the crib -- he'd cry and we'd start all over. Repeat until crazy. Never let him cry. I don't regret that, but it was exhausting to be sure. Even now we "have to" lay down with him until he falls asleep and then sneak out. Ugh -- working on changing that. With Ian we did the same until we read that book at about 13 months (a developmentally "good" time). We did the Ferber method (I think) where you let them cry for 5 min, then check, then increase the intervals. It took something like four or five days. Now we snuggle for five minutes (my fave five min of the day often), lay him down, and fetch him happy in the morning.

    I do think that a lot depends simply on the personality of the kiddo. I don't know that we would have had the same results with Simon even if we had done things the same way -- still, guess which child we hope #3 emulates sleep-habits-wise? :D

  4. P.S. I have to laugh that your title is "Seeping" and not "Sleeping." That's perfect. Sleep deprivation for sure. ;) Hope you get some relief soon, mama.

  5. Oh boy oh boy does this bring me back. Granted, we never had the reflux problem, but we had the sleep issues too. Crying it out SUCKS. I questioned myself about a gazillion times throughout the whole process. But it totally worked in the end for us.
    Read this, it totally reminds me of you!

  6. Heather, are you sure its acid reflux? When we had similar problems with Kimi then it has almost always been flatulence. We use some baby medication which we bring from Germany and it always helped almost instantly. We have some of that stuff here, in case you want to give it a shot...
    Axel (from across the street)

  7. My daughter had reflux and we used baby prilosec, too. She was super hard to get down. We tried the cry it out for MONTHS, and it was the most horrible thing ever. I have read babywise, Dr. Sears and No-Cry Sleep Solution. Definitely for us the recommendations by Dr. Sears and the No-Cry Sleep Solution helped us the most.

    Because we had Maddy in bed with us until she was 9-10 months old, most of my family feared she would never learn to fall asleep on her own and sleep through the night.

    It took till she was 1.5 years, but she did sleep on her own in her crib and start sleeping through the night. We also were able to take her off meds around that time.

    She's now 3, and most days, bedtime is awesome and she does great.

    There is hope! But it's super hard in the meantime!