Hush little baby…

So, we’re taking this weekend to get our baby girl to SLEEP. Because, for the last almost five months of her life, her longest stretch of sleep at night, on average, has been two and a half hours, and during the day, 45 minutes.  And trust me, she gets enough to eat.  Take a look at her thighs. 🙂

Unfortunately, I have to blame myself for this one. Since she made her debut in January, I’ve used every prop in the book to get her to sleep, from walking and rocking to shushing to strolling to swaddling to nursing and, finally, to bouncing with her on an exercise ball. And the exercise ball is what worked.  So….for the last five months I’ve been bouncing and bouncing and bouncing….and bouncing even in my flippin’ dreams.

You see, she’s a cryer. When she was born (and Cam was the same way), the nurses’ first words were, “Wow she’s really got a temper on her!”  Both Kate and Cam were literally THE loudest babies in the hospital.  And I can’t take crying.  So I’ve relentlessly worked my butt off to get her to sleep without crying.  And I’ve paid the price for it. Now she absolutely cannot soothe herself as she cycles through sleep.  She completely relies on me.   And I’m wondering how I got here.  I did the exact same thing with Cam (strolled him around in his carseat, which is where he slept until he was 7 months old) and the transition to the crib with him was a nightmare.  I SWORE that my next baby would be in the crib from the minute she was born.   But, like I said, I just couldn’t take the crying.     One of my favorite momma bloggers, Alice Callahan, PhD, expressed it best in her blog, Science of Mom, when she wrote, “I believed that my success as a mother was tied to my ability to stop my baby’s cries, as quickly as possible.  If she cried, I felt that I was failing.” Yep.

I miss Cam, though!  And I feel like I can’t be the mommy I want to be to either of my babies since I’m still getting such little sleep at night.  I’m exhausted and irritable with my whole family, and our current situation just isn’t healthy for any of us.  Kate and Momma both need sleep.  Both babies need a more patient and productive Momma.  Cam and Momma need more one-on-one time.   So I’m finally putting Alice’s sleep research to use after having read her article about  listening and responding to your babies cries  over a month ago.  Basically I’m letting Kate learn to self soothe by letting her cry, but by sitting by her crib the entire time and offering frequent reassurances.

Yesterday was tough.  She cried for close to 45 minutes before she fell asleep for her first nap, but the crying time gradually decreased for each nap throughout the day (and one of her naps lasted an hour and a half!).   Luckily, my parents offered to keep Cam for the weekend, so I’ve been able to sit by her crib for the entire time.   Her longest stretch of sleep last night was 8 hours. I repeat, 8 hours.  Put her to bed at 6:00, nursed her at 9:00, and she didn’t eat again until 5:00.  She did fuss now and then between those times, but I waited five minutes before going to comfort her, and by the time I got out of bed, she was asleep again! It was literally a dream come true.

I’ll keep you updated on her progress! Send good vibes our way that we conquer this before our big move!

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Momma’s Ruby Slippers by Kendra Canty is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License

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6 thoughts on “Hush little baby…

  1. Wow, I’m so glad to hear that you found my posts useful and that you’re seeing BIG improvements in Kate’s sleep, and yours as well, I imagine! I’ve been a little worried that my post puts undue pressure on parents to try to stay with their babies while they work on falling asleep, because I know that this doesn’t work for all babies and parents. I’m happy that it seems to be working for you. I think it is a nice middle ground where you can provide some support to Kate while also gradually giving her a chance for more independence in her sleep. Awesome! Thanks for linking to my blog, too!

  2. I went through the exact same thing with Nora! She slept in our bed until she was over 7 months old, because like you I couldn’t listen to her cry without it breaking my heart. Like Kate needing to be “bounced on the ball,” Nora needed to be nursed to sleep — in our bed. She’d wake up every time I turned or shifted to relieve my stiff shoulders/back so I’d try my best to stay still. It was what made her happy (or at least what didn’t make her cry) so I thought I was doing what was best. After 7 months of getting, at most, 3 hours of consecutive, mediocre sleep, it really started taking a toll on both my marriage and my patience and energy as a mama. At that point, I realized I needed to re-evaluate. I read the Sleep Sense Program by Dana Obleman, referred to me by my Parents as Teachers consultant, and after only 4 days it was a total 180. It sounds like the approach you read about is pretty similar to that which I read. I’m glad you found something that is helping. I know what a relief that is! Thank you for sharing… it’s always nice to know we are not alone in our struggles as mommies! Best of luck to you and Kate!

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