Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Sleeping Beauty

Is JaiseAnn sleeping any better?

This is a question I get quite often...ever since I let the whole wide world know that we were having major sleep issues.

The answer is yes and no.

On our vacation in July. This is the last time JaiseAnn slept relatively well...just before she started rolling over
I am honestly grateful that I shared my struggle so openly on this blog and with people in my every day world. It helped me to see that we weren't alone. And while people with 14 month olds that still don't sleep didn't make me feel any more hopeful about the future, it did help me to see I wasn't alone--that I wasn't doing something wrong. Our situation looks and is very different than many people's but it's not wrong.

I kept thinking...I'm not an attachment parent. I'm not a cry it out parent. I don't fit anywhere and I'm doing it all wrong. After not feeling so "out there" or alone in our situation, I was able to step back and realize something. Nighttime parenting is still parenting. I still have to make choices as JaiseAnn's mom about her well being, my well being, and my family's well being. It helped me to realize that the way that I'm handling the sleep situation is the best way for me to parent JaiseAnn the way that I want to and for me to be as rested as possible.

I often fail at this even though I don't leave her to cry, we still have our fair share of struggles and many a cuss word has slipped through my lips in angry bouts of exhaustion. I'm not proud of those moments. At all. And I don't excuse them. But they happen. Overall, I've come to terms with our situation a little more and I embrace each evening just like each day...I'm parenting my child and I'm doing it in the way that works best for me. It's not ideal. And I don't love every bit of  it. But it's the way it works best. There are many different parts of each and every day that are hard and not ideal. I don't love every bit of my days...but the harder parts come with the package of parenting, morning or night.

As I've let go of some of the "this isn't how it's supposed to look/be" attitude go and just accept where we are, I've been able to tap into my intuition just a little more. This has resulted in putting JaiseAnn to bed differently at night. Now instead of taking 3 hours to get her to sleep, it takes anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour. I was able to sort of able to come up with a plan for the future that sometimes makes me feel hopeful (but truthfully sometimes gives me anxiety).

She consistently takes 2  1 hour (sometimes 1 1/2) naps in her Ergo--even if they are interrupted. She used to take 30-45 minute naps consistently. We feel like we make progress in a 2 steps forward 3 steps back kind of way around here. I'm hopeful that this slow (and often painful) road will lead us to some sound sleep eventually...without too many tears.

She still doesn't get drowsy and she still doesn't seem to understand the concept of sleep. She wakes at least every hour, if not more.

She doesn't nurse to sleep very often any more. I rock her in her Ergo for naps and I lay her down in our bed repeatedly until she falls asleep at night. (It sometimes takes an hour, but I'm there with her and I provide comfort as needed. I'm more comfortable with this than leaving her alone to cry).

Even though she falls asleep in the Ergo for naps, she still wakes up after a half an hour and needs to be rocked to fall back asleep. Occasionally she will take an entire nap in the Ergo without waking (again, progress in a 1 step forward 3 steps back kind of way).

On Sundays I lay down with her after church for a nap. I willingly nurse the entire time (since Sundays are rough on both of us). She still wakes up after a half an hour and will not go back to sleep. It's not being on me or near me or even nursing, something about the Ergo keeps her asleep. She will not take a long enough nap to be restorative otherwise.

At night, even though she essentially puts herself to sleep, she still wakes after 1-2 hours. We have had some three hour stretches but they are inconsistent. She's in our bed and nurses at least 7-8 times throughout the night. Sometimes she'll nurse, pull away and roll over, only to wake up after a few seconds/minutes and want to nurse all over again. I've started withholding from her when that happens. She throws a massive fit and we all lose at least a half an hour of sleep. Once she falls back to sleep that way, she usually wakes up shortly after anyway and I usually nurse her at that point...both out of exhaustion and sympathy.

Some people can nurse while sleeping and be fine. I cannot. I don't sleep well in the nursing position and I am very well aware that JaiseAnn is nursing so I am usually awake and waiting for her to unlatch. If I've gotten a good start on sleep, I usually can nurse and sleep more soundly throughout the night, but if I haven't gotten a good start, our night is usually rough to start.

When she was a newborn I truly thought she was sleeping too much. I repeatedly did Google searches for how much sleeping she should be doing because she was never awake. Jokes on me. 
Overall, I am hopeful but still struggling to a degree. Most days are better than they used to be, by far. I don't fight the situation we're in as much anymore and amazingly, that has helped me to wake up each day more rested. I find it miraculous that I have the energy every day I need. I consider it a tender mercy.  And while I wish she didn't nurse constantly throughout the night, I do enjoy having her in our bed. For the short time that she was in a crib in her own room, I missed her. I do like having her near me.

I still welcome any advice but please note:

*At this point, the crib is no longer an option. She will be in our bed until she goes to a toddler bed (any suggestions for that are definitely welcome). I will not be purchasing a crib for our next baby. We will buy a co sleeper, but not a crib. I have come a full 360 on that and I want my baby in my room.

* We have tried scheduling and I do operate on a "schedule" with JaiseAnn because she doesn't ever seem tired or drowsy, I have her take naps and I do bedtime by the clock. However, I am convinced that a schedule is not our problem. She truly doesn't get the idea of sleep. She wakes up and is more than willing to go back to sleep OR stay awake and play. She doesn't wake up wanting to go back to sleep and she wakes up very easily and usually cheerfully.

*We have tried a sound machine, ceiling fan on, ceiling fan off, teething remedies, 100% cotton pajamas, bedtime routine every night, and she's eating solids. We have attempted a "lovey" but she just doesn't take to it. She doesn't take a pacifier either.

*I know that some people think refux, tummy troubles, temperature, teething, etc...? The thing is, JaiseAnn does not demonstrate enough sleeping consistency for me to even tell if she is having additional problems. She's been a poor sleeper for so long that I don't assume it's more. She did see the doctor to rule out any medical need for frequent waking and there was none that our doctor could find.

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