Thursday, July 21, 2011

Sleep - my new nemesis

When Colin was first born, he didn't cry.  While his Apgars were 8 and 9, Mike, the delivery nurse, and myself have no idea how he actually got such numbers because he wasn't much of a crier.  When we came home from the hospital, it was probably well in to his second week of life before he actually screamed - he was just always a mellow little boy.  He woke up every two hours to eat but I was okay with that because he would wake up, I would feed him, cuddle him, and have him back in bed in about 15 minutes.  I felt like his sleeping was going well because he was up for such a short amount of time at night and (after the first few weeks at least) I was feeling somewhat rested.  I knew how lucky I was and I wasn't counting any chickens before they hatched, but at the time I thought things were going along quite well.

Around 4 months, I realized that Colin was waking up more for habit than for hunger every 3-4 hours every night.  He'd want to eat around 10 PM (after falling asleep around 6:30 or 7:00), then again between 1 AM and 2 AM, again at 4 AM, then again between 5:30 and 7:30.  In talking to other friends with infants and doing a little bit of reading, I realized he wasn't necessarily hungry, just used to getting up at those times every night.

Napping was another struggle.  No matter what I seemed to do, he would only sleep for 40 minutes at the most.  It wasn't such a problem until he was between 3 and 4 months old so I just kind of went with the flow.

Just prior to going on vacation, I had gotten Colin sleeping 7 hours from when he went down until his first wake up - making it around 2 AM.  I had tried feeding him around 10 PM before I went to bed but he still woke up at around 2 AM so I just went with it.  That had him waking up at 2 AM and then again between 4 AM and 5 AM, but I was excited to be getting 7 hours of continuous sleep on his part (not for me of course because I wouldn't go to bed until 10ish).  Then we went on vacation - which is the downfall of all sleep schedules.

Upon returning home from vacation, Colin was getting up every 2-3 hours every night.  I was at my wit's end and had no idea what to do about it.  I tried calming him down with soothing but always seemed to give in and just feed him because I knew he would fall back asleep that way.  Nights I had to work the next day I would just give up around 12:30 or 1 AM because I knew I couldn't be getting up that much so I'd just bring him to bed with me because it's really easy to nurse a baby who is lying right next to you.  But after being in a complete brain fog all the time, I realized I had to do something.  I'm not one for sleep training, per se, and I really don't like the idea of cry it out, but I knew that somehow, Colin needed to relearn how to put himself to sleep (did I mention he started it for the first time around 5 weeks old so I knew he was capable of it).

I won't go in to all the books I read, all the websites I visited, all the Baby Center community boards I read, and all I personally processed here and now but I will add some thoughts through posts here and there as to what worked for us and the process I went through to get where we are.  As with everything, I know that all is evolving and just when I think I get it that he'll change it, but as of right now, Colin is putting himself to sleep at the beginning of the night and in the middle of the night if he wakes up (which for the past two nights has been around two times between 1 AM and 3 AM that he puts himself back to sleep from and another wake up at 4ish when I do feed him then since it's been usually at least 6 hours since he's eaten last).... all in time to go on vacation again.  Let's hope that somehow I keep his sleep moving in the right direction this time. . . yeah right.

And naps have been a whole other story that I definitely don't have time to tell right now because I'm going to bed.

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