Posts Tagged ‘ sleep deprivation ’

Is it Time to “Mom-Up” About Sleep Training?

Tuesday, September 4th, 2012

At 7 months, I decided it was finally time to say goodbye to my “hired” village, and as my friend and Babble blogger Cassandra Barry likes to say, “Mom-Up.” I had to get rid of my night ladies. Places in Africa needed water wells for god’s sake. I think I could have built/dug 20 so far if I hadn’t employed my gals.

It’s just that with Fia, I was such a wreck from no sleep and no hired help, that I kinda lost my sh-t. We Ferberized her at 4 1/2 months. I became evangelical about the beauty and benefits of sleep training. With Emmett, I’ve done the opposite. I have managed to find all sorts of excuses–some valid, others not–to put it off.

He has reflux. He has gas pains. He’s farting too much. He must be in pain. He’s pooping too much. He must be in pain. He’s not pooping enough. He is constipated. He ate too much. His tummy hurts. He didn’t eat enough. He must be hungry.

This little dude has me weak in the knees with his ridiculously happy temperament that it’s been hard to think about letting him cry.

But the real reason I haven’t done it is I’m not tired! I think in order to go full throttle on sleep training, you have to reach the brink of insanity and misery. Or be falling asleep at red lights. Or have your husband threaten to check you into the psych ward.  Instead, with 8 hours of sleep a night, I have bounced happily through his infant stage, feeling pretty damn good as our bank account dwindles.

Phil and I both started talking about sleep training oh, about 4 months ago. Emmett would sleep happily on one of us while we watched every episode of Storage Wars, The Daily Show, and Breaking Bad. I wasn’t frantically going to bed at 8 pm, hoping to get a 3-hour stretch of zzz’s.

“When are we going to sleep train Emmett?” Phil would ask. “Soon,” I’d say, sipping my wine, not taking my eyes off the TV.  Neither of us were exactly motivated.

At 10 pm, we’d hear the knock on the door and in came our night help.

Frankly, with that set up, I didn’t want to “Mom-Up.” I mean, no one gets an award for lack of sleep, so for me, this was the right decision. To a point. But then it became a bit ridiculous. A little too easy. And I knew it was also in Emmett’s best interest to learn to put himself to sleep. Not to mention we needed our house back. And to some extent, our freedom. I didn’t want to travel anywhere because I knew I’d be the one losing sleep. Having a night nurse does get limiting–in an upper-class-problem kind of way.

So, with this 3-day weekend, we decided it was time.

Night 1:

This one was pretty bad. We put him down at 8:30 pm. He was up at 10:30. I changed his diaper (was only wet). He was up again at 11. I went in and tickled the back of his perfect neck (god I love that boy). He fell asleep until 1:30. Then started to wail. Fia woke up and started wailing too. Phil was running one way, I the other. It would have been comedic if it weren’t the middle of the night. Phil got Fia back down then came into Emmett’s room. I was sitting there rocking him.

“What are you doing?”

“I thought he pooped,” I said, knowing he hadn’t.

“Look, we are either doing this or not. If you can’t handle it, go down and sleep on the couch, and I’ll do it.”

“No, no, you’re right. Okay.”

I put him down (asleep) and walked out. He slept until 3:25. Then we let him cry for an hour. But before everyone freaks out at my cruelty, it wasn’t like he wailed for an hour. He would calm himself down and have 5-10 minute bouts of sleep. Then gear up again. Neither of us went in.

He slept until 7. The worst night was over.

Night 2:

Much better. He woke up at 10:30. I changed his diaper. He slept until 4 a.m. Cried for 7 minutes. I didn’t go in. He put himself back asleep until 6:30.

Night 3:

Down at 8 pm. A small crying fit at 3:30 for 5 minutes. Not a peep until 6.

I think we are there. And I am feeling this tremendous sense of freedom. I’m already planning our next two trips. As happy as Emmett was, I think he’s even happier now. He too is getting the sleep he needs. I also get to say I’ve “Mom-ed Up.” At least in the nights. No way am I getting rid of my daytime help. I still think Cassandra will be proud.

It also goes to show that there isn’t just one “right” way. This is a good lesson for my judgmental self. I was so sure that Ferbering at 3-4 months was the only way to go. Until I read Bringing Up Bebe. Then I thought I should have done everything differently to have my kids sleeping through at 4 weeks via “The Pause.” I was cursing myself (though by Chapter 6, I was annoyed by the book).

But now I have a baby who is sleeping through the night, who can still take naps on me during the day or sleep on us occasionally while we watch TV. I have flexibility to do what I want when I want. And for me, that’s the true definition of “Mom-ing Up.”

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To Swaddle or Not To Swaddle at 6 Months? (Milestone Monday)

Monday, July 30th, 2012

Okay, Emmett is now 6 months old. Besides being the world’s most hyperactive, happy baby, he is still not sleeping enough. I get 20 minute cat naps a couple times a day. Last week we had 8 straight nights of 10-hour sleep. I was getting hopeful. I mean, a habit is 3 days right? Well, not with this guy. On night 9 all hell broke lose.

I think it’s a combination of getting older, and thus more active and stimulated and also the gas pains. Ahhh, yes the flatulence. Lots of it. The other night he woke up hitting himself in the face, pulling his legs up and down like a speed freak, and arching his back. He was screaming too. I knew he wasn’t hungry. The boy had taken 12 ounces between 5-8 pm. That’s an insane amount (hmmm…too much maybe? Could that be it? Now I’m starting to feel like an idiot writing this blog).

At any rate, I pushed and pulled his legs and rubbed his belly for 30 minutes. Then the alien farts began. I say alien because I’ve never heard anything like it. 31 farts. In a row. (I had nothing else to do at 3 a.m. but count.) Then he began to laugh maniacally. I guess I would too if I had just released 30 fart bubbles.

I needed to calm him down. He was so wound it was hard to even change him (and this is the case even during the day). Phil was sick so I couldn’t wake him up to help. I pulled out the old Velcro swaddle from his newborn days and wrapped him up like a straight jacket. Suddenly he went limp. My little guy was completely tuckered. He slept for 7 hours. I slept at the edge of the bed so I could see him in his crib, lest he try and roll over. He didn’t move. A couple times I checked to make sure he was breathing.

I decided to try the swaddle with naps, since Cleo or I can keep an eye on him. He is so wild it’s the only way to restrain him from himself. I know sleep begets sleep, and I’m not kidding: he needs to chill out.

With the swaddle, we are on day two with consistent naps. An hour in the morning, 45 minutes around lunch, 90 minutes in the afternoon. This is far beyond what I’ve had since his birth. And it’s setting a schedule. But what to do about the swaddle? He can roll over easily and pick his head way up. Part of me thinks what is the danger? If he rolls over, won’t he just rest his head to the side? I ordered the miracle blanket to see what I think. But I also don’t want to do something stupid.

I hate to compare my boy to a dog, but he does fart like one, so here goes: dogs can be trained to sit, be still, lay down. I almost think with such a hyper infant, I need to train him to calm himself. If I don’t, I’m going to have hell on my hands when he starts to crawl, or worse, walk. Thank god he does all this with laughter or I’d be committed. But still, I gotta figure this out. Any ideas?

 

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New Baby Update

Thursday, February 2nd, 2012


Emmett's First Days

I have a son. Wow, that’s fun to say. And here I was worried about changing diapers with a penis underneath. So far I’ve been peed on twice and haven’t minded a bit. Emmett is so cute and cuddly–as I guess most newborns are. So where to begin?

The hospital stay, while not a spa, was nicer than Columbia Presbyterian in NYC. And this time around, I decided to have Emmett sleep in the nursery all 4 nights. With Fia I was terrified of letting her out of my sight, yet at the same time, terrified I’d screw up in doing anything. I think most of us new moms can relate.

I have a major obsession with my sleep. When I don’t get a solid chunk, I start to disintegrate. With Fia, I lost my marbles right out the gate, since it was a 36-hour labor followed by a C-section. With Emmett, I decided to stay ahead of the sleep curve and the pain curve.  That meant getting 6-7 solid hours a night in the hospital (well, maybe 5, then 3 more. The nurses would laugh when they’d see me making my rounds at 2:30 a.m. to check on my little dude) and taking pain meds. It has made a huge difference in my mental state. If only my physical one could match it….

I’m finding recovery really hard. Everyone says a scheduled C is so much easier. And to some extent it is. However,  I took “easier” to mean that I was basically going in for a flu shot and getting a baby in return. Um, slight miscalculation on my part.

After the surgery, I bled a lot. I was already anemic going in. So that didn’t help matters. I was really really sore too–more so than I expected. Again, thinking it was as simple as a shot.

Taking it easy at home is really hard for my type-A personality. My in-laws are here to help which has been great. But I’m a clean freak and I still feel the need to keep things organized, clutter free and crumb-free (there are constant crumbs on the counter, the floor, etc. That’s what my friend is having me try homeopathy for–to lessen the obsession.) Maybe I’m extra obsessed right now because it’s the only part of my life I can control. So in trying to do that, I’ve also had a few setbacks–the first day and a half I did too much. I ended up feeling dizzy and short of breath. Which put me back in bed. The crumbs and mess around the house were driving me crazy. But in the end, the crumbs can wait–they’ll have to.

Much more to write about. Baby’s first doc visit, the transition with Fia, breastfeeding issues, our decision on circumcision–to name a few. So more to come! Thanks again for all the well wishes.

Here’s a picture from the study in which I write this. He is sleeping in his swing… life is good.

Sweet Dreams My Boy

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New Year’s Resolution/Effigy for Sleep Deprivation

Thursday, January 5th, 2012

Burn Doll, Burn

No, it’s not voodoo. Nor am I a witch. It’s called an Effigy. We held it on New Year’s Eve. We had about 8 people over for dinner and a friend of ours had the idea.  She had us write down on a piece of paper what trait you want to get rid of and burn it in the fire. She gave specific instructions: We had to make a man-doll out of newspaper, which our talented animator friend Rich did. Then we put all our pieces of paper in his head (not Rich’s) and burned him (not Rich)–along with our badness.

New Year's Effigy

Now, there are a lot of traits I should get rid of. But not many that I want to get rid of. Like, I know I’m too obsessive about crumbs and cleaning. I know I have irrational fears. But I don’t really want to let go of those. At least not yet.

However, there is one trait that I do wish I was better at dealing with: lack of sleep. I just suck when I don’t have my 7-8 hours a night. And that’s what killed me when Fia was born. I was a mess. I felt like I was in Guantanamo Bay. There is reason they use sleep torture as a POW technique.

I never got angry with Fia during those first 3 months (which surprised me. I didn’t even get frustrated with her). However, there were many times I hated my husband, his family…even my friends. Everything felt like a burden. I just wasn’t myself. I cried a lot. I was an emotional wreck. However, having had plenty of experience with depression, I still don’t believe I had postpartum. I honestly think it came down to severe sleep deprivation (which is why I say sleep training saved my life).

I wish I were one of those people who could go on 5 hours and be fine. Just suck it up. But, for example, I am already calculating when I need to go to bed on January 24th for my January 25th C-Section. (We need to be at the hospital by 5:30 a.m. for 7:30 a.m. surgery.)

In college, I never pulled an all-nighter. I was better off not studying than staying up all hours. It’s how I’m wired. I’m one of those people who can fall asleep on a flight before the plane takes off and not wake until we’ve landed. Sans drugs. I know it’s a gift. But it can also be a curse.

I hope my little effigy/resolution takes the edge off a bit. I hope I can go with the flow a little more with our new guy. I do have experience now, and know that “this too shall pass.” That it does get better. But if  I don’t deal well, then you’ll see a lot of dark posts–or a bunch that don’t make sense. Or nothing at all. Because I’ll be in my own Guantanamo. Stay tuned.

 

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Milestone Monday: Sleep Training Revisited?

Monday, November 7th, 2011

Author’s Note: Join me every Monday as I share Fia’s ongoing milestone (mis)adventures–from potty training to talking to everything in between.  Mayhem and mischief guaranteed on Milestone Monday!

Okay, so I’m a self-declared sleep Nazi. At least I have been since Fia was 4 1/2 months and we did Ferber. Worked like a charm. Got a few hate comments from my blog on it, but I stand resolute. I believe sleep is the best thing for her and myself and I have never backed down. I haven’t had to. She has consistently slept through the night. Until now.

I can attribute it to a few things: a huge move from Brooklyn to LA; having her routine completely uprooted; having my in-laws here the last 10 days showering her with constant attention (which I have no problem with). But in the midst of all the chaos surrounding us, we have lost the sleep. It could also be that this is a milestone regression. I hear that some tots hit a certain age and you have to re-Ferber. She is 23 months now, and I’d say the sleep started to go downhill a month ago.

I have held off on re-training because I wanted us to settle in. And here’s my dirty little secret: when she wakes up at 2 or 3 a.m., the only way to get her down now is to lie with her. In other words, co-sleeping. Gasp! And whereas before, in those early months, I was terrified of rolling onto her and never slept, now I actually cuddle into her warm little body and doze off nicely until 5:45 (which blows, but she goes down at 7 pm, so I can’t expect much better).

When my mother-in-law was here, I could hand her off and go back to bed until 7 or so, feeling rested. Now I don’t have that luxury. And with the new baby on the way, I know I can’t begin co-sleeping. It just isn’t our thing. Sleep is far too important to Phil and me.

I guess my question is: do I start tonight? Or wait another week until we have a little more routine? I fear that the longer I wait, the worse the habit will become–like it is with her pacifier now, which I swear I’m going to get rid of before her two-year old bday next month (that’s another one I’ll be looking for advice on).  Maybe I just dive in tonight??

So for today’s milestone, I feel like I’ve gone backwards a bit and am looking to you all for advice and insight. I have a crib tent that I will put on so that when we do re-Ferber, I won’t worry she’s going to climb out.

 

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