Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Crazy Land of Baby Sleep

Loud noise pumps into the room via speakers. A straight jacket restricts your every movement and 2 hands hold you down against the bed. A gag is shoved into your mouth and held there. Could you sleep like this???

This is just about the only way my 4-month old daughter can fall sleep.

Of course the "loud noise" is white noise. The "straight jacket" is her swaddle and the "gag" is her pacifier. And I am "holding her down" with gentle pressure. I STILL don't think this sounds very comfortable but ah.. Welcome to the crazy world of baby sleep..

If I so much as even move my hand that I have holding down her lower body her legs immediately quiver as I'd she just .. can't .. hold .. back .. the urge to .. Bam! Both legs fly into the air. She must have some type of baby-restless-leg-syndrome, although in her case I think it's more like baby-restless-whole-body-syndrome! When the nurses show you in the hospital how to swaddle wrap your baby pay attention! In our household an unswaddled baby is a wide-awake baby. Of course she needs the velcro swaddleme blankets and still gets out. Little Houdini. Although I don't know why she breaks out because the second she does she's awake and scratching her face, crying, asking to be bound back up again, so I oblige and we all try again.

If I think she is finally in deep sleep mode and try to remove myself delicately, her eyes snap open & she thrashes her head around rapidly from side to side like shes trying to give herself shaken baby syndrome (seriously does anyone else's baby do this? Cuz it freaks me out!) as I silently curse myself for being so impatient - Because how dare I try to remove myself after half-sitting half-standing at the edge of my bed like a flamingo hunched over her cradle for only 10 minutes!

(holy run-on sentence batman!)

I feel like if someone could just invent weighted swaddle wraps & some sort of pacifier holding contraption she could sleep trough the night! Or at least sleep though the evening, wake to eat, sleep through the middle of the night, wake to eat, and sleep through the morning.

Actually forget sleeping through the night, we're working on sleeping through 1 show! Especially if that show is Conan.

When I finally get away I damn well better fall asleep myself in the next 5 minutes because an hour later I'll be getting up again to start the charade all over again. And this is a good night. Don't even get me started on a bad night! ( it involves hours of trying to get a sleep session to "stick" after LO falls asleep at the breast which she clearly just needed to fall asleep and not eat )

When other parents told me to "sleep now because you won't be sleeping once the baby comes!" and all the other baby sleep advice/warnings - I laughed it off. I didn't take it seriously. I figured we'd be up a few times in the night but nothing I couldn't handle. I can't even remember what went through my stupidly smug head or why I thought this wouldn't apply to me. Probably something about how her cradle would be right next to me and I was breastfeeding so I wouldn't have to go downstairs to make a bottle and then into a nursery to feed her like all those other silly parents. And don't get me wrong that does help ALOT but there's more to middle of the night baby shenanigans than eating. There's the middle of the night crib party at 3am. There's the waking-up-as-soon-as-you-set-them-down-syndrome and of course the 45 minute sleep cycle curse. I feel a bit gipped because what they show on TV isn't true - at least not for breastfeeding moms and at least not for the first 6 months. (The couple lies in bed, the clock reads 5am. The baby cries over the baby monitor. After having been asleep since midnight. The wife stirs, wakes the husband and says your turn hunny!) HA! In our house there are no turns - but don't worry - I have informed my husband that he will have his "turn" when she is older. Monster-in-the-closet duty will be his. Along with nightmare duty. Wet-the-bed duty. And one-more-glass-of-water-duty. Although he could do that for 4 years and it will still never equal all the time I've spent awake with Mia in the first 4 months!

So all of this to say, when someone warns you about the perils of baby sleep - listen. Shuffle that pregnant belly of yours over to bed and snuggle down. Because unless you get blessed with one of those mysterious babies that somehow "sleep through the night since 5 weeks old" this WILL be you in one form or another!

Side Note: To those for whom the first few paragraphs sounded harsh - Don't worry - baby gets plenty of nightime snuggling and nursing time! We definately practice attachment parenting in this household and I am with her 24/7 but I am too paranoid about SIDS to have her sleep IN the bed with me - right next to me is the next best thing though! And eventually my need for more than 2 hours of sleep means that she needs to learn to fall asleep in her cradle - (or fall back asleep after falling asleep nursing and being moved to her cradle) peacefully - no CIO here!


  1. I was totally against CIO too & my daughter was not going to sleep on her own, but was staying asleep all night starting at about 10 months. Well @ 13 months, bam! She flipped the script - after 2 months of trying to deal, we tried Ferber & it made a HUGE difference. There was minimal crying & now she falls asleep - and more importantly - stays asleep (or at least puts herself back to sleep if she does wake up during the night) all night. GL to you - sleep "issues" are very stressful!

    1. Thanks for your posting! 13 months is definitely different than 4 months and it sounds like there wasn't much crying involved so in your case it seems like it was exactly what was needed! Hopefully I can find something that works as well for my daughter - I think getting her eczema and food allergies under control will help a ton because she wakes up in pain from her itchiness :(

  2. your post (although stressful) is written so funny! we had similar issues with feeding to sleep, but just worked on that transfer harder when our little guy turned 6 months. prior to 6 months we exclusively co-slept. i know you said you were worried about SIDS, but check out my post about co-sleeping. it actually prevents SIDS. i wasn't sleep deprived at all during those first months and i totally attribute it to co-sleeping. try it out- it's worth a shot :)

    cosleeping post-

    1. Thanks for your comments! We actually did co-sleep twice in the past few days out of desperation. I was fighting my fear the whole way lol. It does feel soo amazing! My daughter wears a Snuza monitor 24/7 so I feel like it would go off if anything happened - yet I still get scared! haha.

      I don't know if you've heard the toxic gas mattress theory in relation to SIDS but it makes a ton of sense to me and that was one of the main reasons I was afraid to co-sleep. She has an organic mattress, mattress waterproof pad & sheet (all from Naturepedic) and the first few months I have been pretty obsessive about her ONLY sleeping there - swaddled and on her back. She has eczema and some allergies which just make me feel even more like she is very sensitive - mommy instinct I guess!

      Her grandma actually dropped her Snuza yesterday in a parking lot while changing her diaper - and when we went back and found it, it had been ran over - ugh - so now co-sleeping is on hold for a while until I get a new one.

      Oops - didn't mean to write a whole new blog post! lol

  3. Hey! I'm so glad you stopped by my blog because now I get to come read your's! I understand the swaddle love. I got so paranoid when people said we needed to start transitioning out of it at 3 months. HA. No way. We swaddled until a couple days ago when I started using the magic sleep suit. I'm hoping it makes the transition easier.
    Good luck! :)
    Brittany (Healthy Slice of Life)


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