Tuesday, March 15, 2011

7:40 -- The Battle for Sleep

Who knew the one of the most basic human needs, SLEEP, would be the most stress-inducing thing I've ever experienced? I love to sleep. My husband loves to sleep. You'd think our offspring, with her super-mellow disposition, would also love to sleep. You'd also think shows like Animal Hoarders wouldn't hold an audience for very long. You're wrong on both accounts.

A hard-fought victory won.

L.E. hates to sleep. She hates to nap. She thinks of her crib as a prison. Before her crib, she thought of her bassinet as a torture device. I don't know if she's worried she'll miss something or what but every night before bed, I'm armed for battle.
At first we thought the brace was keeping her from sleeping through the night. I mean how comfortable can you be with your legs splayed out, wrapped in Velcro, and it's 85 degrees out? But once she had a taste of the sweet candy that was bracelessness, we could no longer blame her DDH for the lack of sleep.
I've read the books. I've listened to podcasts. I've tried it all: Ferberizing, Weissbluth (he's worse than Ferber), co-sleeping (not good when she kicks), swaddling, not swaddling, white noise, playlists, special stuffed animals, Goodnight Moon, etc etc etc. I would make a goal to stick to a new method for 2 weeks because that's what all the books suggest. Yeah. Have you ever put a crying baby in a crib? How long did you let them cry? That's what I thought. As much as I wanted to lock myself in the basement and  let her "cry it out" upstairs, I just couldn't. The basement isn't sound-proof.
T and I were fighting. We were inconsistent. I was tired. He was tired. So tired. We both sleep-walked through our daily lives, hoping nobody would notice we were like zombies.
We gave up on the methods. I was desperate and even considered paying $200 an hour for a sleep expert's consultation services. After countless well-meaning advice, we became resolved to the fact that one of us would be up with her each night. Why not trade-off? Whatever night was your night with her was your whole night. If she woke up once, you're lucky. If she woke up 3 times, not so much. Whatever, it worked. Getting her down was easier with a big bottle, her playlist and a Giraffe from the makers of the Sleep Sheep. We had a routine and I got used to seeing her in the middle of the night. It became less of a battle.
Then one night a miracle happened. Our pediatrician suggested she eat something protein-heavy right before bed. So I gave her a jar of some pureed turkey-vegetable thing (yes, a jar. I can't make ALL of her food. What am I, a super-mom?) She ate the entire jar, a few scoops of yogurt, some of her puffy snacks and topped it off with an 8-oz bottle of milk. For the first time ever, at 11 months, L.E. slept 8 solid hours. But, of course, we were up all night waiting for her to wake up!
Since then, we've continued to power-feed her before bedtime. As she explores more foods throughout the day, like eating the school lunch at daycare, she's become easier to get down for bedtime. Last night she slept 10 straight hours. And so did we.
Naps are a completely different story. I don't think her daycare teachers are paid enough for how much she fights them during naptime. They have better luck with swaddling than I ever did (safe swaddling!) but she's still always the last one down and the first one up. I hope that as she gets more active, she tires herself out more. On the weekends, we usually just drive her around and she naps in her carseat. Hey, whatever works, right?

1 comment:

  1. oye. we were there. we were sooo there.
    But with O it was because of his ears. We had no idea just how bad his ear infections were. when he got the tubes he slept the entire night through... he was 19 months. it was like a miracle happend. We just (at 2.5) stopped the drive around trick for naps with him and prayed for a good transfer to the bed..

    J is such a better sleeper and only wakes up maybe once and often sleeps all night. we did nothing different with her than we did with him.
    crazy personality differences...