Tuesday, February 12, 2013

the beginning part II: sleeping

 photo e391bd61-f772-4334-bbb7-b727bce29be6_zps3ea5c177.jpg 

I first shared with you my breastfeeding journey so far. Now I'd like to document a story with far more bumps in the road. The parenting topic of the day is...


Ahh, precious shut eye. I really became a fan of sleeping my freshman year of college. Naps took on a whole new meaning. I could go to a 9am class, grab an early lunch, and sleep 'til dinner. Getting a big girl job and entering the real world wasn't too hard for me because as much as I like sleep, I like being productive. I can get up early or stay up late if I have to. The first few months of my pregnancy I was dragging. I'd go to bed at 6pm. Not kidding. The second and third trimesters were much more enjoyable, as only a handful of minutes of sleep were lost each night due to a full bladder and hip pain.

Enter: Paxton. From the moment my water broke until he was a month and a half old, I was tired.

0-3 weeks: Paxton only slept while being held. He would wake up instantly and start crying when put down. During the day this was inconvenient, but okay. Both sets of grandparents were here for a week and half and JD was off work for a week after that. At night we had to trade off holding him, though he preferred to sleep on Daddy. He was waking up to eat every 3 hours. To make things easier, we simply camped out in the living room and slept on the couch, floor, and recliner. Occasionally, we could get Paxton asleep and transition him to his swing without a scream-fest. This was always a big success and resulted in a great hour or so of sleep for the both of us. We swaddled him with aden + anais muslin blankets. I got pretty good at it, but never truly mastered the skill. JD never got the hang of it. He was not taking a paci during this time. Our pinkies did the job nicely, and since we were holding him anyway, it wasn't that much of a bother.

4-5 weeks: We started using the Summer SwaddleMe blanket more often. The velcro made it more difficult for Paxton to bust out of. He started sleeping in the swing fairly well so we began spending nights in our bedroom again. He was still eating at night and most times he would put up a fuss when we tried to put him back to sleep. In addition, the swing made a squeaking noise that kept me awake. JD was back at work, so during the day he took his naps on me. Still not taking a paci.
6 weeks: My parents visited and brought 2 of the best gifts EVER. The Soothe and Glow Seahorse came from my aunt whose daughters used it for both of their babies. The Rock 'n Play Sleeper (which we call a hammock because we were too sleep deprived to think of the word "cradle") came used from my mom's co-worker. These two products combined resulted in a couple miracles. First, Paxton fell asleep NOT in our arms! At this point we were getting pretty good at the transition from arms to swing, but it was still a tedious act.

7-8 weeks: I went back to Ohio with my parents for a visit and the second amazing event occurred- he began sleeping through the night regularly. I was super nervous to be on bedtime duty without JD, but Paxton went easy on me. He was sleeping from 10ish-5:30ish.We were using the SwaddleMe blanket all the time and the Seahorse for bedtime. He started taking a paci so we usually used that, too. We were also occasionally using White Noise Lite (the airplane setting) if he was fussy, but mainly a simple "shh" noise with our mouths would do.

At this point we stopped referring to his age in weeks...

2 months: This was when we really got into a routine for naps and bedtime.

+ swaddle
+ paci
+ put in the hammock
+ white noise (on a timer to go off after about 10 minutes)
+ "shh"-ing (in the following rhythm: shh-shh-shh-shh-shhhhhh)
+ rock the hammock slowly
+ seahorse for bedtime


He was sleeping through the night from about 9pm-7am. No night feedings.

3 months: Around this time I started putting him in his bassinet for naps. I wanted him to get used to sleeping flat on his back before he outgrew the hammock and would be forced to! He didn't have any problems with the transition but I did start rocking him to sleep in my arms again. Basically the same routine as above. We kept him in the hammock at night because we knew we would be traveling for the holidays and the hammock would be his bed during the trip.Still sleeping through the night, ~9pm-7am.

4 months: We transitioned him to his bassinet at night. He was cool with this so we decided to make the move to his crib. We have super squeaky floors so it was nice to have our bedroom back and not have to hop around like crazy people trying to avoid certain spots.The first few nights he woke up a couple times but just needed the paci put back in his mouth. He would almost always have his arms out his swaddle by the morning.

4 1/2 months-5 1/2 months (present): He wakes up every night about 3 times. I'm usually the first to hear him through the monitor. JD's a deep sleeper, but I also think he has selective hearing and can tune out the baby sounds! I get up, go in his room, re-swaddle him, turn on the white noise (and set the timer for 10 minutes), put the paci back in his mouth and leave. I don't turn on the light, I don't talk to him, and I don't pick him up. I think this is key. The next time I hear him (which is usually about 2 hours later) I make JD ask JD nicely to repeat this process. If I hear him a third time I may repeat all this again or I'll change and feed him. It depends on the time and how awake he really is...I swear half the time he's just crying in his sleep. I've had to do 5 or 6 middle-of-the-night feedings in the last three weeks. I've read about sleep regression in babies of this age, so I know I'm not alone. I'm also attributing this phase to a growth spurt. The last two nights he has slept great so hopefully we're at the tail end of this thing!

His naps have not changed. The first one of the day comes 2 hours after waking up and is the longest- 1 1/2- 2 hours. Thereafter, he naps every 3 hours for an hour at a time.

Waking up from a nappy.
(follow me on Vine: sdenen)

We are using the same process to put him to sleep:

+ swaddle
+ paci
+ pick him up and rock back and forth
+ white noise (on a timer to go off after about 10 minutes)
+ "shh"-ing (in the following rhythm: shh-shh-shh-shh-shhhhhh)
+ seahorse for bedtime

Since he's almost 6 months old and has been on basically the same schedule since he was 2 months, I'm wondering when it will change. Should I try to cut out one of the shorter afternoon naps? Should I look for signs of hunger rather than automatically nurse him every 3 hours?  He's also going to grow out of the velco swaddle soon...and then I don't know what we're going to do! He cannot keep his hands away from his face long enough to fall asleep. We've tried and lost the battle each time.

UPDATE: After his evening nap yesterday he began chewing on the velcro part of the swaddle and made his gums bleed. He wasn't in pain but the sight of that red slobber alarmed us first-time parents. We decided to stop the swaddle cold turkey! We wrapped him in an aden + anais blanket to try and keep his arms contained. He eventually fell asleep and slept 10-6, but the process was a struggle. 

Thoughts from all you moms out there are on any of these topics are appreciated :) We'll also be asking the doc about this stuff at the end of this month.

Tips for new moms: It gets better! I seriously thought that first month was never going to end. I lived in pajamas and lived on the couch. Even though some days I still find myself in sweatpants when JD gets home from work, it's more of a personal choice :) And even though 8am is considered sleeping in, I do feel rested which is something I was afraid I would never feel again.


Erin said...

So even though I'm not a mom yet, this was super informative! I'm glad you posted it :) Alsoooo- my sister is in the process of adopting and I think I might just have to get that adorable seahorse for her new addition when that happens!! :)

Nicole Depies said...

We are lovers of the seahorse! I suggest it to all of my friends when they registering for their new babies.

We actually use white noise all night long, and our daughter has been an amazing sleeper and sleeping through the night since one month old -- not sure if we were just blessed or if that helps! Cameron never liked to be swaddled or use a nukie when she was that little so that world is foreign to us. It might be totally different with #2's arrival in June.

He just might be in a growth spurt, and that's why he is getting up to feed more frequently? Don't let him get used to the feedings though, or that is going to be bad news for you, mama!

Good luck :)

Emily said...

I'm not a mother either, but it's nice to read these for the very distant future.

I say keep trying different blankets, sounds like a growth spurt. I know I mostly ALWAYS sleep with a fan on of some sort. The noise is comforting. Maybe try a sound machine for longer than 10 minutes. :)

Mateya said...

We quit the swaddle cold turkey as well and moved to the Halo sleep sacks. Those work great for us.

Hayden went through a spurt where he would wake up 2 times a night as well around 4 months. Thankfully he quickly went back to normal, but when he did wake up, I think the key is to just NOT go in there. I don't know if you are a fan of CIO, but I just set a timer on my phone for 5 minutes and turned the monitor off so I didn't have to listen to him cry (breaks my heart)! After the timer went off I turned the monitor back up so I could hear/see him and every time he was already sleeping again! So basically I was going in there for nothing, he just had to put himself back to sleep! So if you're feeling tough, give it a try! :)