Sleep Training

This past week was really rough on J and I. Ben would scream his little head off, we’d run in, pick him up, either nurse or rock him to sleep, and then try to put him back in his crib. The key word there being “try.” As soon as he touched the mattress, his eyes would pop open and he’d scream bloody murder again and we’d then have to repeat the process. Inevitably, he would end up in our bed because we both just got so tired that even crappy sleep with a squirmy baby between us was better than no sleep.
Friday night, we decided to change that.

One of my friends sent me a link on how she sleep trained her son, and told me that she had really good success with it.

Here’s the gist:

Instead of rushing in when your baby wakes up crying in the middle of the night, wait outside the door and go in when the baby isn’t crying. In the beginning that might be the breath between screams, but that’s ok. The point is for the kiddo to learn that when they’re quiet is when they get what they want. You also want to go in frequently at the start of this, so they really start to make that association between being quiet, and mom/dad coming back. As they start to catch on, you can lengthen the amount of time between visits.

Also, even though your precious angel is screaming like they’re dying, you’re supposed to have a smile on your face and act like nothing is wrong. So, when you go into the their room, enter relaxed and smiling, and lean over the crib, pat the kid and say “Good baby! Your’e going to sleep! I’ll be back soon!” and then turn around and leave the room.  

At this point Ben started to scream louder, and J was looking at me like I was nuts to even suggest this approach. But, after sticking with it for 30 minutes, Ben was asleep again. We only had to do this once more around 4 in the morning, before it was time to get up for the day.

The next night went very similar, but the crying didn’t last nearly as long. We also had to repeat the process again at 5:00 in the morning.

Last night, Ben woke up at 12:30, but was asleep again at 12:35, and slept the rest of the way through the night.

As a side note, during the first night when we went in while Ben was quiet, I came over to his crib and saw that he was sucking on the edge of his blanket. It was the cutest sight ever, probably even more cute because I made that blanket for him – so it really melted my heart.

And, on another note, we found that using Scout while sleep training both of our kids really helped. We would turn on the “Nighttime Music” each time we went in,and in two nights, Ben now associates that with sleep, not even kidding. You turn that music on while he’s in his crib, and his eyes close. Henry learned to turn the music on himself at around 10 months, and I’m hoping Ben will too.
I really hope that Ben keeps this going, and that J and I really start to feel rested again. It’s amazing what a solid night of sleep can do, and I can only imagine what a string of solid nights feel like.

Zombie

I am a zombie. My baby is turning me into a zombie.

Sunday night, J and I got <5 hours of sleep.

Monday night, J and I got <4 hours of sleep.

Tuesday night J and I got < 3 hours of sleep (this was a sick day for me, because I literally could not function in the morning)

Wednesday night, J and I got <6 hours of sleep.

I feel like all I can do is shuffle around and grunt/groan. I literally fell into the bathroom door this morning as I got up to get ready for work.

I really have no idea what to do to fix his sleep. Most of the time he goes to sleep really well. We’ve even started to lay him down completely awake, and he will put himself to sleep with almost no crying.

But then, he’ll wake up anywhere from 30 – 90 minutes later and start screaming his head off. We usually let him cry for 10 minutes to see if he can put himself back down to sleep, but he doesn’t. I’ve tried going in to check on him and reassure him that he’s ok (without picking him up), and he cries harder every time I leave. He escalates the crying to screaming every time I leave the room – I tried that approach for 45 minutes with no winding down of the screaming at all.

I’ve tried letting him cry, but he literally will not stop, and I can’t stand to hear him scream, cry and shriek, choke and cough, which then causes him to cry even more. When J and I went into his room last night to finally pick him up, his blankets and sheet were wet from his tears – and that just broke my heart.

I’ve got to come up with a sleep solution for him that we can implement this weekend… What worked for you?

It’s a good thing he’s cute…

Month 7

Dear Benjamin,
You are now 7 months old! I can hardly believe how big you are and how much you’re growing. Babyhood really does fly by, and while I’m a teensy bit sad that time is flying by so much, I’m also amazed at the little boy you’re becoming. You’re one incredible little boy. You smile, talk, laugh, and chuckle all the time. You really are a very happy baby. That’s not to say that you never cry, you do. You have a really solid pair of lungs on you, and you know how to use them. You have three big triggers for crying: 1. Being tired, 2: being hungry, and 3: tummy time. Of course you cry at other times, but these are the biggies.


You are doing so well on solid foods! You will pick up and eat just about anything we put on your mat. The other night you had refried beans and avocado – we were all eating tacos/taco salads, and you just dived in, and you looked adorable with refried beans smeared all over your sweet little face. You love crackers and pretzels, and we’ve noticed that if you’re getting antsy and bored, if we give you food to suck/chew on, you’ll be a happy camper for a solid 5 minutes. You dad keeps saying that you’re very food motivated.     


This past month you got your first major sickness. On Sunday, January 1, you developed a lot of congestion – like a lot, and it seemed like it came out of nowhere. On Monday, you developed a fever, and on Tuesday morning you were crying, unhappy and not nursing well, so your Gram took you to the doctor. I was thinking that you had signs of an ear infection, but the Doc said that your ears were clear and it just looked like a virus. So, you came home, and we treated your symptoms (saline, suction and fever reducer) and just tried to make you more comfortable. As the days wore on, you just seemed to get worse and worse. Your fever was hovering at over 103 without a fever reducer, and only came down around 101 with one. You became so lethargic, and were just pitiful looking, and by Wednesday night I decided you were going back to the peds the very next day.


I was literally in tears in the waiting room because I was sure they were going to send us to the emergency room with you. Your breathing was labored because of your severe congestion, you weren’t nursing well at all anymore, and I was having to pump to keep my supply up, and you looked like a rag doll with how lethargic you were…I was so worried about you. We were at that doctor’s office for over 3 hours. They tested you for RSV (which came back positive), they tested your pulse ox (which was around 94), they tested your white count (28,000). They gave you tylenol in the office. Then the Doctor came in and thoroughly looked you over. For most of the exam you were in my arms asleep, and the doctor was kind enough to keep you there while she listened to your lungs and heart, and peeked in your ears (and of course you had a double ear infection). They decided that they were going to give you two shots of an antibiotic, one in each leg, and then have you come back the next day to see how you were doing. I got a phone call from the doctor that night to make sure you were doing fine. She was also kind enough to give us a print out of everything they did and results in case you needed to go to the ER over the night. 

By the next day, you had perked up a lot. You were still pretty sick, but you had moments of your happy self that was shining through. You were then started on a 10 day course of a strong antibiotic for your ears. I can’t tell you how relieved I am that you’re better. I hate it when you’re sick. 


Your Dad and I have started to sleep train you…at least we’re trying. We need to be more consistent with it, but consistency is really hard to do at 3:00 in the morning. The good news is that we pretty much (knock on wood) have it so that we can lay you down and walk away at night. I’ll nurse you to sleep, but you usually always wake up from transitioning you from the rocking chair to the crib. But now we can lay you down, cover you with your blankets and walk away, and you’ll put yourself to sleep. Middle of the night doesn’t go so smoothly. I’m hoping that you will learn to sleep completely through the night soon….


You’re sitting up really well, and you’re getting better at tummy time every day. You’re tolerating it more and more, and I have seen you start to try to get your knees up under you too, which is awesome! You still haven’t rolled over from your back to your tummy yet, and I’m hoping that it’s just around the corner. Your pediatrician did say that if you haven’t done it by your nine month appointment they’ll look into getting you physical therapy like your brother had.


I think that you are one amazing little boy. I love every moment that I get to snuggle and cuddle you and hold you close. You are my light, my love and I’m so happy that I get to watch you grow up. You mean the world to me, and you always will.


Love,

Momma  

Another Sleepless Night 

I’m getting to the point where I’m having a love/hate relationship with work. More specifically, with time off from work.
I work at a year round school, so we have a lot of breaks throughout the year – which I used to love. Right around the time you start to get exhausted and feel like there’s no end in sight, a long break comes up. I used to relish those breaks! A two week fall break, a few more weeks, and then almost a full week off for Thanksgiving, and then in three weeks we have two more weeks off for winter break. And the spring is pretty similar.

Before you get angry and stop reading, there is a downside to this. What is it, you ask? It is the all important Baby Schedule.  

My mom takes care of Ben while I’m at work. When I’m off of work, I take care of Ben (no big surprise there). But, though similar, we parent and take care of him differently, and he notices.  

This past week he was with me almost 100% of the time for Thanksgiving break. Yesterday was my first day back at work, and he resumed his schedule with my mom. Nothing much changed when I got home from work, but last night…..oh last night….it was awful.

The kid did NOT want to be put in his crib. He wanted to be held, and snuggled and cuddled. He wanted to fall asleep nursing and then stay there, boob in mouth, all night. Any time that we tried to move him to his bed – he would wake up screaming before he had even touched his bed.


At 11:00 last night (2+ hours into getting him to go to bed) J and I gave up, and moved him into our bed, where Ben slept peacefully the rest of the night. J and I on the other hand, slept horribly. We’re reduced to sleeping on our sides facing Ben. We stayed incredibly aware of blanket placement so that it didn’t get anywhere near his face. And, every time Ben woke up, stirred, kicked or twitched, we woke up lightning fast ready to lull him back to sleep so we could get back to sleep.

And when the alarm went off at 5:35 this morning….I wanted to cry. I still want to cry. I’m at the exhaustion level where the tears are right behind my eyes, but nothing is wrong other than the fact that I’m tired.

Anyway, this is an incredibly long post to say that I believe Ben is compensating for being away from me all day by wanting to be with me all night. And, as flattered as I am (obviously this means that I’m awesome), I don’t think I can take much more of this special treatment.  

I’m tired. I want a nap, but as a parent of two, that’s just not going to happen….

Trade Offs

One of the hardest things for me about being a parent of young children is catching up on sleep. There are times when I desperately want to go to bed early; where I want to get into pjs and crawl into bed an hour after I get home from work. But, of course that isn’t possible. Instead, I have to make sure that my four year old has his homework done, has had dinner, and get a bath, brushed his teeth, has a story and a song and gets tucked into bed with a kiss and a hug and warm “I love yous.”
I also have to make sure that my four month old is warm, bathed, and fed. I have to ensure that he’s snuggled and loved on. I try to make sure that he’s apart of Henry’s story time, and that he’s close by when I’m singing to Henry.

Then of course there’s the house hold chores that need to be done each night. Cooking dinner, cleaning up from dinner/ doing dishes. Putting leftovers away and making lunches for me, J and Henry. Washing my pump and bottle parts, and packing my pump bag for the next day.

It honestly feels like the list is endless, and that from the moment I get home it’s all a whirlwind to get everything done, and hardly any time to just enjoy the time with my boys (including J).  

I know all of these feeling of inadequecy, sadness, exhaustion and loneliness are due to me just being tired. But, it’s part of the job right now to just make it through, and keep pushing forward. These hard times with the kids is a phase. I know that it will pass, and I’ll look back and wish I had more time with my kids as babies.  

There are definitely trade offs to being parents. Right now I’m trading sleep for the chance to love on two beautiful boys who light up my life.
  

Sleep Like A Baby

I don’t think I will ever understand baby sleep.
I really feel like as soon as you are used to one routine, things change. For the past several weeks, Ben has been waking up 2 to 3 times a night. This was becoming so common that I would often wake up a few minutes before he did because my internal clock was expecting it!

Last night was different. Instead of me waking up because my baby was crying and hungry, I was waking up because my baby wasn’t waking up….That’s right….I couldn’t sleep because I kept expecting to be woken up any moment….a moment that didn’t arrive until 4:30 this morning.  

I woke up multiple times last night and had to lull myself back to sleep each time. If I remember correctly, J even woke up with me, and he got up just to make sure that Ben was ok….and he was…he was just sleeping. You know, that thing that all parents want their babies to do. But, when it happens it then creates so much anxiety that us new parents (and new again parents) still can’t sleep because we NEED to know that everything is ok.

I’m actually wondering if this post is making any sense. My sleep deprived brain isn’t firing on all cylinders. And that’s funny, because my brain should be well rested….