Thursday, March 20, 2008

She (doesn't) sleep like a baby

In the hospital I slept with Birdie whenever I could (the policy is no rooming-in when both parents are sleeping. don't get me started.) She loved it. I loved it. I've never felt anything better in the world than having my newborn daughter sleeping on my chest.

When we came home, Birdie did pretty well sleeping in various spots. At first. By five weeks, she decided not to sleep in her crib, bassinet, or boppy. She would sleep only on me or in her carseat. Ok, fine. We all needed sleep so I let the carseat thing go even though I didn't really like the idea. Then she rejected the carseat too and would only sleep with me, on the boob. She was very tired from not sleeping (so was I!) and it made us both cranky. By the evening, she seemed very tired and would not be soothed (rejected pacifiers and our fingers and could not reliably find her own.)

At six weeks I decided to try double swaddling since she seemed to need to be swaddled but could break out of even the tightest hospital burrito. I put her all wrapped up in her carseat next to my bed and she slept a nice stretch.

In our experience, once we find something that works, it'll be all wrong very very soon. At two months, she would no longer sleep in the carseat, but would finally, for the love of the sandman, she'd take a short nap in her swing. But then she outgrew her swaddler.

So, I went to the big baby store and found a larger swaddler and all was right again. I also found a sleep positioner that worked wonders. The ones with the two movable blocks on the sides didn't seem very sturdy, but the one that worked for us was a one piece deal that has sides you can bend up and a headrest that can be inclined a little. It was like a little cup, and she lovesd it. She slept (once) from midnight until 7:15 am and I woke her up! That was a one-time thing, but overall, her sleep got much better with a good swaddle and being in her positioner.

Then we went to CA at three months. She was doing so well with night sleeping (waking to eat once or twice, then around six or seven she'd join me for a light rest and snuggle until we were ready to get up) that I thought maybe when we came home it would be time to transition her to her crib. No such luck. When we came home, Birdie seemed to have a hard time adjusting back. She was waking a little more. Then a lot more. Things went from bad to worse.

Now, at four months, she will not sleep. She wakes up after 45 minutes (or 8 minutes, 16, 30, 75, or as soon as you lay her down.) She has been fighting the swaddler, so I figured it was time to give it up. We went cold turkey, because the one-arm thing just frustrated her more. She doesn't take a pacifier and isn't good at soothing herself to sleep. She also doesn't settle with back patting/rubbing, soft talking, or pretty much anything I can do. I put her down, she cries. Period. When she's down, there's no making it better. So now I have a baby who's a challenge to nap, won't be swaddled, and won't sleep unless she's with me, on the boob.

I was looking back at my notes on sleep and at six weeks I wrote that although I loved sleeping with her, I was always worried about covering her with blankets. It's this exactly all over again. I'm getting cranky and feeling quite sleep-deprived. My head hurts.

Co-sleeping is not a long-term solution for us.
We do have a routine for bedtime.
I don't think it's hunger or gas.
There's no way to know if it's a tooth until one comes through.
I've read about the four month sleep regression, but I'm not sure what I think about it.
I have mixed feelings about CIO techniques (and their variants) for four-month-olds.

I've started to read Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child and think she may be overtired because of her crappy, irregular naps up until now. I don't agree with everything I've read, but I do think good sleep is crucial. Birdie may not be able to explain the problem to me, but I know that I am feeling the effects of not sleeping, so it only makes sense that my little baby is feeling it too. I can see that I may have missed some of her sleepy signs and have probably been keeping her up too long and too late.

We've started an earlier bedtime. So far, she's still in bed with me each night (and even though I don't want her to sleep with me, I also love snuggling with her,) but for the last two days at least she's had a decent morning nap (and in her crib!)

It's a good thing this doesn't have to make sense or be coherent, because my brainpower is seriously low right now.


Furrow said...

I'm so sorry. That sucks. We found that Zo would sleep peacefully in her baby papasan because it would snuggle her tightly. We let it go until she started to outgrow it. Well, first we propped it up with a pillow so she wouldn't fall out, but then we finally had to find another way. Enter tummy sleeping. She'd been napping on her stomach since she was around 4 weeks old. We'd always watch her while she did it to make sure she was breathing. I worked like crazy to get her rolling over, and when she got there at 3 months, we started letting her sleep on the belly all night. Because, you know, then she could get herself out of a breathing bind, if she needed to. Works great. How does Birdie like sleeping on her stomach? Have you tried it?

I think my next baby may get to be a stomach sleeper from day one, if that's what s/he is into.

twirl said...

She used to seriously loathe tummy sleeping, but now she's doing it for naps (all of what? two days' worth now.)

No position has worked yet for nighttime sleeping.

Cat, Galloping said...

The earlier bedtime can be magic. Gatito used to go to bed at 6pm!

Jamie said...

Have you read the books Babywise and Secrets of the Baby Whisperer? If not, you should. They've been a Godsend at our house. My little Bo is the same age as Birdie and while we are having a bit of a regression right now, overall, it hasn't been too horrible with the sleep stuff. *I just jinxed myself -- I'm sure I'll be up all night with him now.*

Angie said...

Oh my, sleeping- right now Rylan is sleeping on his dad's chest and that's where he's been for almost 2 hours! I wish I had some advice, but I don't know how to do it myself!

Rachel said...

I love the Healthy Sleep Habits book. I still follow my instincts, but it definitly helped at least understand how sleep develops.

For the most part LG sleeps 11-12 hours at night, he has since 11 weeks and is now 4 months. He doesn't settle easily either. We found that the early bedtime is key. If we don't get him to bed right when he gets tired, he gets up early in the morning or once during the night.

Naps are a problem though. If I make any noise in the house he wakes up. I've been leaving a radio on for background noise and that seems to help some.

Good luck!