Saturday, September 26, 2009

sleep "training". day 1.

6.15--bedtime wrangling
7.10--falls asleep in crib (nursing, rocking*)
7.40--wakes up crying**
8.10--falls asleep in crib (rocking)
9.15--wakes up crying
9.40--falls asleep in crib (nursing, rocking, shushing)
9.55--asleep in crib (rocking)
11.20--asleep in crib (rocking)
12.50--asleep in bed (nursing, diaper change)
4.05--asleep in bed (nursing)
5.35--asleep in bed (nursing)

* rocking entails holding him in my arms while bouncing in the poang chair, slowly standing up and swaying him while next to the crib and then finally rocking gently as i lower him into the crib while on my tiptoes so i can keep my chest close to his. the crib was lowered because my 7 month old can pull himself up.

** crying is an understatement. more like wailing, shrieking, back-arching, kicking, fist-flailing, red in the face, tears streaming down, misery.

after leon was brought into the bed last night, he slept really well. unfortunately, i woke up at 7 am to find him crawling over me. he was seconds from plunging to the ground. i've spent the past 3 weeks a nervous wreck, always checking him at night and during naps. it takes me at least an hour to fall asleep at night, and i rarely sleep deeply because of the extreme anxiety. plus, i'm sick with a cold, and i have a conference paper to complete in the next few days.

the crying was really really tough. in general, he cries frequently day and night, so that wasn't new to me. but trying to get him to fall asleep in the crib and seeing his little fists reach up for me while tears streamed down his face. so so sad. i could only do it for a minute at a time, not because i wanted him to cry it out, but because i was frantically rubbing his back, telling him it would be ok, hoping he would miraculous fall asleep. that didn't happen. my emotions ranged from sadness to frustration, and finally anger. at points during the evening, i wished that he had never been born. at other times, i would cry because i knew he was suffering (withdrawal) and i didn't want to be an enabler anymore.

aside from his propensity to crawl/fall off the bed without warning, the main reason why i'm trying to get leon accustomed to the crib is because nursing in bed hasn't been working for the past 2 weeks. he nurses so frequently that his diaper becomes full. this makes him uncomfortable, therefore it's difficult to fall back asleep. a diaper change really upsets him. it's a vicious cycle. he also cries at night, which is probably connected to the diaper issue. so my goal is to nurse him less frequently, maybe 2-3 times at night. it is impossible to stop nursing him as long as we're sharing a bed. the smell of milk and accessibility are huge obstacles. plus, i would rather he got most of his food during the day, which hasn't been the case for the past month.

honestly, i would have thrown the mattress on the floor, put up pillows in front of every hard object in the room, and nursed him to sleep for the next year if that's what worked for us. but the wet diaper and lack of interest in nursing during the day have made me reconsider my approach. i also want matthew to be able to help out more with bedtime. a reliance on nursing makes this difficult.

this obviously isn't a 'no cry sleep solution,' but i knew from the beginning that there would be crying. i'm trying to keep it at a minimum, but i would like leon to learn different ways to fall asleep. we're going to be traveling quite a bit in the next few months, so relying on one method is not a good idea. i love him to pieces, more than i can ever verbalize, so listening him to cry and toss his head from side to side as he chases sleep is very hard to watch. i don't think he's 'manipulating' me or that rocking him to sleep and maintaining night-feeds is going to turn him into a maladjusted unpleasant 3 year old. i just want him to sleep better and for longer periods so that he is well rested and happier rather than hyperactive and incredibly cranky.


Catherine said...

Far out, you must be a wreck. I really feel for you both (and Matthew as it will be affecting him too). Dumb question No. 1 - have you tried putting him to bed earlier, maybe even 5pm? From what I have read and experienced, babies may wake up shortly after going to sleep if they've been put in their bed already asleep. But you have the whole co-sleeping thing to factor in too.

I have definitely had times where I have become a scary mother during those small hours, on the verge of doing something I would regret. I have to admit I have squeezed her a little harder than I should have, and also flopped her down in her bed a little more forcefully than I would like to admit. When it's tough, it's really tough.

When I was doing those rough nights, I would try and picture women dotted all over my neighbourhood going through the same thing. It's not a case of misery loving company, more a case of knowing I wasn't the only one going through it. Trust me, you aren't.

Lucy will do a sleep dance (a version of a rain dance) for you and Leon.

famapa said...

a friend of mine had similar problems with her little boy a few years ago and she went with him to a cranial osteopath. once he had a bit of corrective (gentle) manipulation he settled much more easily.

it might be that leon is a bit un-aligned which might make breast feeding uncomfortable, hence he feeds for a shorter period and then has to feed soon after as he never seems to get a full satisfying feed... and sleeping might be uncomfortable too.

it's just a suggestion, I mean what do I know :)

I hope you guys settle soon, it really sounds like you could all do with a breakthrough!

halfandhalf said...

Erica I am sorry you are having such a tough time -- you're so patient and I'm so glad you're writing about it, as I can imagine it's difficult to share and even more difficult to go through. Obviously Zooey is much younger, but we watched Happiest Baby on the Block, and those techniques really work in getting her to sleep. And I know there is also Happiest Toddler on the Block as well. I can lend you the Baby version if you don't have it. Just let me know. And let me know if you need anything btw. I'm here!

Stephanie said...

Man. I wish there was some sort of magic gummy bear sleeping potion I could send by mail so that you guys could all get a good night's sleep.

If I was closer, I would bring homemade soup. Take care. xo.

Catherine said...

I second the cranial osteo too. I always meant to take Lucy and Audrey. Is he a spilly feeder/burper? Does he seem gassy?

erica said...

thanks for all the ideas!

he isn't a spilly feeder or particularly gassy. i think he isn't a good nurser during the day because he's too distracted. at night, he definitely gets more than enough milk. he is super hyperactive, which i think is linked to his over tiredness.

the co-sleeping is a huge issue for us. i wish we had a decent second bedroom (without a really noisy lightwell) for him.

he just spent 20 minutes screaming in the car, which is my fault because he went nearly 3.5 hours between naps. normally i make him nap every 2 hours, which is much better. he usually gets cranky about 1.5 hours after waking up, and it takes me 30 min to put him down for a nap. sigh. i really wanted to get out of the house and run some errands.

i tried the Happiest Baby on the Block methods with leon when he was younger, but he didn't seem to take to the swaddling and shushing. i'd love to see what the toddler version says.

yeah, i admit i've squeezed him a bit roughly and unceremoniously dumped him on the crib, too. not to mention the other really scary thoughts that go through my head on occasion. this has been the most difficult test of my ability to keep it together.