Apr 24, 2012

grrrr baby sleep {and why I'm never going to lose those last 10 pounds}




Colin had his one month check up last Thursday, and his pediatrician was very pleased with his growth and development. C is just over 11 pounds, which is a pound and a half over his birthweight. Yay! He's alert and interested in his surroundings, and the pedi declared him "a good American boy."

Among my many questions was what we should be doing to eventually get this boy to nap. Our pediatrician said it is a good idea to start working on naps, but he didn't really offer very much in the way of how to do this.  I have read the books; our previous pedi recommended Babywise when I asked him this same question concerning Cara. I also read Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Baby and the Dr. Sears Baby Sleep Book. Yes, I have read at least three books on baby sleep, asked another doctor, and I have an older child, and yet I am still asking about baby sleep. I just don't get it, and so far, nothing has been helpful.

The books really just suck. Mostly they say "put your baby down for a nap." What exactly does that mean? Because when I have tried to put either of my babies "down for a nap," all they do or did is cry. A lot of crying. I have found nothing in any book that offers a next step.

Some people would probably say that this is where "cry it out" should start. My response to CIO is no. No. I am not a big softie, attachment parent advocate, or an idiot, but it goes against every fiber of my being to sit around listening to my baby cry without doing anything. I can handle about ten minutes of crying before SOMETHING MUST BE DONE.

Mornings are generally pretty awesome around here.  Getting Cara to school in the morning isn't all that stressful, and Colin is usually in a good mood because his tummy is full and he hasn't had time to get overtired yet.  After we take Cara to school, Colin and I usually take a 30-45 minute walk.  Sometimes he sleeps on the walk, sometimes not really.  When we get home, I feed him and start trying to get him to sleep for a nap.  And this is where our day has been taking a turn for the worse.  For the past few weeks, Colin has spent most of his time crying and resisting napping until I give up around 3:30 or 4 and put him in the car for a drive.  And, let's be honest, when you have spent a majority of your day trying (unsuccessfully) to soothe an overtired, miserable baby, it's really hard to deny yourself a milkshake.  Because what else are you going to do now that you finally have that baby asleep?

This pattern has to end.  I hate seeing Colin so miserable, and obviously, I am not going to lose the rest of this baby weight drowning my sorrows in milkshakes.  How do I get my baby to take restorative naps in his crib (or another stationary sleeping place) so that he's not spending his whole day crying and driving his mommy to insanity?

13 comments:

  1. poor thing! naps can drive a mother crazy - I'm dealing with this with jack now. All I can say is that I keep thinking "the definition of insanity is repeatedly taking the same tactic and expecting a different result" - maybe try to change up your routine, like waiting to take the walk to see if he then falls asleep and stays asleep longer??

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    1. Haha! Clearly, I am insane.

      Seriously, I think I'm going to wait to walk until later in the day and see if I can get Little C to nap right after we take Big C to school. I read on a website somewhere that some babies can only handle one hour of awake time before they become overstimulated...could the length of endurable awake time vary?

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  2. Kate and I were talking about this last night, and we remember it being bad with B at first. No real nap schedule, and when he finally DID fall asleep it was on one of our chests... which meant one of us was resigned to napping as well. Oddly enough he was fine at night, just no naps. Swaddling worked at night but not at nap time; it was as if the child was "nap resistant" save being attached to one of us like velcro. He definitely NEEDED the naps though, because if we tried to motor on with the normal schedule he was a hot mess.

    I can't say what changed, I just know that eventually he was OK with being separated during nap time, and before we knew it he was almost asking to be put down. Alone. Which was marvelous for Mom & Dad. I'll ask Kate if she can think of anything specific that we changed up to get him sleeping during nap time. I do know that we were both 100% on point with our schedules to the end that friends thought we were insane. "What, it's 11:58? OK, lunch is finished, see you later, it's nap time..." I think that it was the consistency that eventually got him on track. And we also let him nap in his bouncy seat a lot, because he seemed to sleep there better. The crib just gathered cobwebs for the first few months until he was "ready" for it. You might consider putting him down in a different position. Heck, if the car seat works, then maybe napping upright is his thing. Or maybe you've already tried it. Either way that's all I have right now.

    And do not stress about the milkshakes for a single second! Like I told Kate post-pregnancy, you just went through what is probably the single most physically stressful event known to (wo)mankind. I think that you deserve whatever the heck you want right now. The pounds will come off when they come off. Just wait until both Cara & Colin are mobile! Then it's going to be, "Remember when I had time to get a milkshake...?"

    Hang in there, both of you! Hope to catch up with you all and see the little guy soon!

    -Nathan & Kate

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    1. That is exactly what is going on over here: fine at night (swaddled, sleeping, easy) but nap resistant during the day. Cara was pretty much the same way. Perhaps this is more normal than the books want us to think. I guess if new parents read this in the books, they might get a little scared! :-)

      You are right about those milkshakes. No stage lasts forever and I need to try to find ways to enjoy each one. If the milkshake is how I enjoy this stage, then I should slurp them up with no guilt!

      We would live to see you guys soon!

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  3. Hugs to u!! My little girl was the same. We used the moby wrap, it saved us, and my sanity. I put her in there and would go for a walk or do housework (vacumming always did the trick) and just leave her in there to sleep. Once asleep i could sit and xheck emails have lunch or whatever but transferring her out didnt work til after 6 months old. U r lucky he sleeps in the car! My experience is 'self settling 'is very rare until they r a lot older. Anyway this is what worked for us. I hope u figure out what works for u soon in the mean time enjoy those milkshakes guilt free pls! Love ur blog x

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    1. It's funny that you mention vacuuming in the Moby...I definitely put that boy in the Ergo and vacuumed my entire house yesterday! :-)

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  4. I did the CIO method when my babes were a little older but totally respect your not wanting to, you gotta do what is comfortable for you and your baby. The only thing I can suggest is to let him in his crib (or designated napping place) and go in at maybe 5 minute intervals to pat him but try your best not to pick him up. When they get "rewarded" with mommy taking them out of the napping situation, it just gets even harder to break. Not that you can't try to soothe him by patting etc, just try not to remove him from the crib. Then leave and come back again in 5 mins. This is just a suggestion to maybe try, I know you and Colin will work out the best routine for both of you. It's so hard to be sleep deprived but remind yourself that this stage won't last forever.

    Best of luck to you!

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    1. Thank you, Krista! I can handle crying better once the babes are a little older (just ask poor Cara; she rarely gets any sympathy for the crying unless she's hurt!), but the little five-week-old baby cries are so heartbreaking. I just wish I could read his mind to figure out what he wants!

      That's a good suggestion for getting him to sleep in his crib. I'm packing that one away in my baby sleep toolbox for sure!

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  5. Roland didn't nap in his crib for awhile after he was born...and he sleeps like a champ now (except when he is teething). If we couldn't hold or rock him in the day, he would sleep in his chair, he would sleep on the boppy pillow, he would even sleep on a blanket on the floor (I think that mostly he wanted to know that he was in the same room as his mommy or daddy). It wasn't until the end of my maternity leave (I took 8 weeks) that we were able to put him in his crib during the day...and even that was inconsistent. I am a scheduled person, so I have to admit that it drove me a little crazy when he insisted on sleeping on me, but in the grand scheme of things, that phase passed quickly with little work/effort on our part...he simply had to be ready to sleep on his own in the day.
    I don't know if that helps, but I thought I would share my experience with Roly.
    --Katie J.

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  6. I honestly don't remember what I did about naps, but I do remember the "put your baby down for a nap" advice seeming totally useless.

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  7. Baby sleep...or lack thereof is serious business. Our little one would cry and cry and we were desperate to soothe her. Wearing her definitely worked for a bit to calm her and help her drift of. But what really worked was bouncing on a yoga ball, either in the ergo or our arms. Now she didn't easily transition from out of this " sleep crutch" we did it for REALLY long time, holding her while she slept. We probably should have put her down sooner....

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  8. Just to add one other little tidbit.... I ate a lot of chocolate mini eggs.... A lot.... Wishing you well....

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  9. wish i had an answer, i am going through the same thing with my almost 3 week old :(

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