Sunday, November 19, 2006

Who's Crying Now?

Limelet has really been quite good as far as nighttime sleep. He's slept for most of the night pretty much since he was born. Most nights he's awoken only to eat a few times and go right back to sleep. But at about 4 weeks, he started fussing and crying at 9 or 10. We thought it might be digestive, some kind of colic-related thing, a dairy intolerance (via my milk), and so forth. We bought mylicon for him, and I even cut out dairy for 10 days just to see if it helped.

However, the clue as to what was really going on came when Daddy was gone for evening soccer on two occasions--then Limelet went right to sleep. Turns out that he was grown up enough to start being bothered by our nighttime routine: changing clothes, chatting, straightening the bedroom, reading out loud, and all our normal pre-bed bother.

So since then we have been getting him to sleep at night by doing something soothing right before bedtime, like around 8pm. The thing that has worked is if I turn out most of the lights in the kitchen and play his lullabies CD, and walk around with him in his sling. Usually nursing. This has not only worked pretty well, but the time spent walking him around before he falls asleep has diminished from 2 hours to 15 or 20 minutes.

So nighttime sleep has not been too bad. The problem has been daytime sleep. Supposedly, babies his age take approximately three naps for a total of approximately 4-6 hours. What he does, is to take about 20 10-minute naps. Unless I'm carrying him in the sling (and I generally have to be walking or at least standing up), in which case he may actually sleep 1 or 2 hours.

This may be great for some cultures, but it's really not working for me. There is really very little I can do that involves walking continually around the house for hours at a time, and I don't care what they say--the sling does kill my back after a while and I am wearing it right. (For nursing, anyway--it has to be a lot lower so he can actually reach the nursie with his mouth, and he nurses all the time when he's in the sling. My own fault, I'm sure.)

Sometimes when he falls asleep I can put him down for his nap--a few times he's slept 1 or even 2 hours, but only if I put him on the Boppy (within eyeshot, of course, so he doesn't slither down into the hole and smother himself with his own neck.) Usually the naps in the bed last about 20 minutes, maybe 45.

I've been reading The No-Cry Sleep Solution, and it says quite a few things that make a lot of sense. This includes that babies need a (flexible) routine so they can sleep better both at night and in the daytime, and that they generally get sleepy for night sleeping a lot earlier than many new parents think, like maybe 7pm or so instead of 8 or 9. And also that making sure he gets his naps will help his night sleeping, and vice versa.

Our own experience with keeping the baby up too late and then having him get overtired and fussy seems to bear this out. So I've been trying to implement a specific bedtime routine for him to associate with going to bed: bathtime, walking in the sling, rocking, and down to sleep. I want to reduce the "walking in the sling" time as a necessity for getting to sleep, because it's impractical and my back is killing me. But if he begins to associate other things with sleepytime, too, then it seems that we could reduce that.

However, it seems that this weekend he associates absolutely nothing with sleep. I don't know if it's because Daddy's home all day and it's too exciting, or what, but he only slept today when I was walking around Kroger with him in the sling. Well, scratch that--he fell asleep pretty quickly a whole lot of times throughout the day, but then didn't want to sleep any more than absolutely necessary, even though the entire day he was often sleepy and fussy. He woke up the second I put him down, or even the second I put him in Daddy's lap in the rocker.

Currently TheLimey has taken over walking him around in the carrier--which usually puts him to sleep instantly--as I just spent the past four hours trying to get him to stay asleep and I was getting really frustrated. That is counterproductive and not fun for either of us.

I just checked on them, and he's still awake despite lots of carrier walking. Usually he falls asleep by now, even though I may have to start the walking at 8 or 8:30. I really hope I can start to get somewhat of a routine established, but of course it's going to be a holiday week, which messes up all kinds of stuff.

I'm really thirsty, and haven't had dinner today, and it's already half an hour past my bedtime, let alone his.


Blogger PostCards said...

You don't know me (I'm a friend of Library Squirrel's) and I know you haven't asked for advice, but I'm the mother of two small children and a faithful devotee of the Baby Whisperer. I've found that her methods are practical ("start as you mean to go on" is one of her basic principles), honest and they take everyone's needs into account. You're right...sleep begets sleep! It can just be so difficult to get the 'sleep' ball rolling!

Hope you don't mind that I peek in on your blog from time to time, even though I'm a stranger...We won't be having any more babies so I must live vicariously through mums like you!

5:36 AM  
Blogger liz said...

Oh no, I don't mind at all--I figure that the people I already know have gotten tired of my complaints, so anyone who voluntarily reads them is actually doing me a favor!

Yes, I have seen the Baby Whisperer books in my Amazon recommendations, and I think they are pretty sympatico with the other techniques I've been trying. I might actually get that, too.

I think just it's a matter of, as you say, getting the ball rolling, and developing a routine instead of all these catnaps where he's just always tired but never asleep for long.

On the other hand, I know their circadian cycles simply don't consolidate for a while, so it's partly just patience, too. (He is just 2 months old after all--I guess I can't expect to force him to sleep when it's convenient for me!)

7:39 AM  

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