Archive

Tag Archives: sleep

Sleep, glorious sleep.

Sleep, glorious sleep.

 

It’s so confusing. You should just let your baby cry it out and then you can all sleep. Or maybe, your baby will be traumatized for life if you let her cry herself to sleep. What to do?  Despite the claims of one of my high school friends, sleep is in fact a medical necessity. We all need sleep. My daughter is now 19-months-old and I’ve learned a few lessons the hard way. I hope that you can learn from my mistakes so that you can get some well-deserved rest. Some of these tips seem obvious now but are not always so obvious in the crazy postpartum haze. Also I might add that the phrase “sleeping the through night” can be misleading because pediatricians generally consider a 5-hour stretch of sleep to be “sleeping through the night.” So, although some parents supposedly have babies who sleep for 12 hour stretches without any intervention, this probably isn’t what you should expect.

Babies (and adults) need a consistent sleep schedule —

Going to bed, waking up, and napping at the same times each day will help babies know what to expect, and be prepared for sleep when it is time to sleep.

Create a calming bedtime routine —

The bedtime routine helps baby prepare for sleep. Something simple like bath, jammies, teeth brushing and story time works well. Again, this advice also works well for adults. I found that in the newborn days when I had to get up every two hours to nurse, it still helped me tremendously to stick to my own bedtime routine of brushing teeth, washing my face, and getting into pajamas so that I could still feel normal.

Babies need to learn to fall asleep on their own —

This was a very difficult and important lesson for me to learn. Although newborns cannot fall asleep on their own and usually need to be rocked or nursed to sleep, between the ages of 3 and 6 months babies begin to have the ability to self-soothe. If you continue rocking or nursing your baby to sleep past this point, they will need you to help them fall back asleep when they naturally wake up in the night.

I got into the habit of rocking Marie to sleep when she was a newborn, and continued to do so until she was about 10 or 11-months-old when I realized we all needed to sleep better. At that point we had gotten into the habit of co-sleeping (I’ll leave that for another post), so we just taught her to fall asleep on her own by lying in bed next to her until she fell asleep. This did involve some crying. But I didn’t feel bad about it because we were right there with her and I knew that this was a skill she had to learn. This has improved our sleep quite a bit during the rare times when she is not teething.

Babies will probably not sleep all night if you nurse them at night —

This is the step we’re working on now. My daughter is certainly old enough not to nurse at night, but since we’ve been co-sleeping, it’s hard to avoid. At the same time, if you’re co-sleeping then night nursing might not disrupt your sleep very much. If you’re not co-sleeping then it certainly will! When and how to night-wean is up to you. Different babies have different needs — my daughter is very thin so I’ve always wanted to feed her as much as possible. I just found a great article that recommends attempted night weaning by 8-9 months and that sounds realistic from my experience. However nursing at night can be very comforting for babies who are painfully teething, which typically continues off and on until about age 2.

 

 

 

sleeping beauty

you sleep so sweetly
in the warm afternoon sun
what do you dream of?

 

NaPoWriMo Day 22! I guess I’m in haiku mode. I wrote this and then realized it was a haiku afterwards. Now I’m afraid I must wake the sleeping beauty or she will not want to go to bed at the appropriate bedtime.

Teething is very sad for all parties involved. Baby Bear is currently teething (again) and/or sick. She has a nasty-sounding cough, which I think is caused by all her teething drool. Last night at about 12:30 a.m. she would not stop screaming. Usually she will easily fall back asleep if I nurse her, but this was not the case last night. Finally I just got up and sat with her on the couch so that my husband could sleep. After awhile of this she fell asleep and I was able to go back to bed and sleep with her head propped up on my shoulder. She still woke up every few hours after this until we finally got up around 7:30.

It’s days like this that I’m thankful that I don’t have to go to work. Although sometimes I feel like parents who work have it easier, since they get to have a life away from their child. The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. (Not that I had the option of going back to work — I got laid off during my maternity leave).

Anyway, I look forward to the time when Baby Bear has all her teeth AND sleeps well all night. I also look forward to the days when she is potty-trained and no longer puts everything in her mouth! And most of all, I’m excited for when she can talk and tell me what she’s thinking and feeling. She is 11-months-old already so I know those days are coming…slowly.

Now I have to go stop her from climbing the bookshelf.

Dear Baby Bear,

We seem to have a problem. You want to wake up every 2-3 hours at night, and I don’t. I miss the days when I used to get a blissful, uninterrupted 8 hours of sleep and wake up ready to seize the day. Now I spend my days as a half- awake zombie.

I realize that you’re a baby and you don’t really understand what’s going on. The world is new and exciting, and sleeping through the night is a concept you’ve yet to appreciate. Also, I know you don’t like sleeping in your crib, but it can be awkward when you sleep against me, causing my right arm to fall asleep and my left arm to fall off the bed.

Could you try sleeping for longer stretches at night? Maybe even in your own bed? And if you do wake up –– no need to cry. Just go back to sleep and in the morning, I promise we can hang out. What do you think Baby Bear? I guarantee that you and I will both feel better.

Love always,

Mommy

I want to make new friends, but I’m too tired. Plus I forget how.

Probably the first step is to leave the apartment. Which I actually have been doing quite a bit lately. Mondays Baby Bear and I go to sign language class, Tuesdays to the library and on Wednesdays it’s yoga. We try to keep a busy schedule. Hence, I have not been updating my blog.

Going to these activities is great. They provide fun ways for Baby Bear and I to interact, and allow us both to see a little bit of the world. I’m feeling much happier than I did when we sat at home all the time.  However, I kind of wish I could make friends with some of the other moms in these classes.

But how to make friends? If I’m being honest with myself, I’ve never been great at making friends even in the best of situations. Maybe it has to do with being an only child. Or being really nerdy. Whatever. Either way, I’m just an extrovert wannabe.

This is not to say that I don’t have friends. I do. I have some wonderful friends. But it has taken years to make them.

I’ve read How to Win Friends and Influence People. It helped. I now have a general sense of how to converse at a dinner party. If you haven’t read it, the basic gist is: 1) smile 2) ask people lots of questions 3) remember their names 4) give compliments 5) never tell someone that they are wrong – even if they are.

Number 5 is kind of hard. Working on that one. All of them can be hard when you haven’t really slept much for 6 months, actually.

I have made one new friend lately. We’ve been spending a lot of time together. Some might say we’re even best friends. She’s not potty-trained yet, but she does have an amazing sense of humor. Her laugh can light up the whole room.

Me with friends — yes, I have them!

 

I know I’m very lucky. Baby Bear is quite an easy baby, who loves to smile. Last night I went to bed at 10 and didn’t wake up until 4:45 a.m.! She was still asleep, but I woke her up to feed her anyway. She’s only 11 weeks and is still supposed to eat at least every 6 hours at night. Then, she went right back to sleep after that and slept until 8 a.m.

I’m so thankful that she’s such a great nighttime sleeper, because I really cannot function without good sleep. I’ve never been one to stay up all night cramming for an exam or writing a paper. I always figured that staying up all night to study for a test does more harm than good.

One thing that is a little difficult with Baby Bear is the frequency of diaper changes. Last night, I took her with me to a baby shower. I only stayed for about an hour, and I had to change her diaper three times! After three diaper changes, I figure it’s probably time to go home. They were all just pee diapers. Every time she pees while awake, she gets fussy and demands a diaper change. So I frequently change her diaper three or more times in an hour. Probably adds up to 15-20 diapers a day. This is expensive and quite exhausting. Many parents seem surprised by this, so I’m assuming that a lot of babies either don’t complain when they have a wet diaper, or just don’t pee as frequently. The upside is that I assume she will be potty trained at an early age. I’m hoping by age 2 — fingers crossed.

In her early weeks of life, we also had the occasional projectile poop during changing. Once I was changing her diaper and she let out a projectile poop that flew across the changing table and hit the door a few feet away. Wow! Quite impressive. Sometimes she also has fountains of pee while I’m changing her, that spray all over herself. I’m just glad Baby Bear is not a boy!

The best is when is when I’m changing her poopy diaper, then she pees all over the changing pad, and then spits up all over herself. The trifecta. She used to spit up frequently during changing. Now she doesn’t spit up as often, probably because her stomach is bigger, and I have also been more vigilant about burping her.

This is the life of a new mom. Cleaning up poop, pee and throw up 20 percent of the day, and breastfeeding the other 80 percent of the day. Reminding yourself to take time to shower, brush your teeth and eat three meals daily. But when I look at my beautiful little girl, it’s all worth it.