30 March 2009

I am a Zombie

The majority share in the sleepless market should by rights belong lately to Gauntlets, with her beautiful and very new baby (Happy One Week Birthday, BabyGirl! :D).

But we're having a little situation in these parts. I have a feeling that the name of Ferber might well be met here with a chorus of "Let him be anathema!" So how do all you kinder, gentler people get your 12-month-olds to sleep for more than an hour or two at a time at night? Nothing but nursing will get us back to dreamland....

This has been progressively worse lately. Teeth might be a factor (the lad has only 4 to date, so we assume he'll eventually get some more), but there are no telltale swollen gums.

Bottom line: Sleeping Boot Camp is coming soon to a baby near us. He needs better sleep. I need better sleep. Dad, who happens to be rolling inexorably toward the end of the busiest season of the church year, needs better sleep. (Which is one of the reasons that The Family Bed is not a solution under consideration here. If it works for you, great, but it ain't a-gonna help us a-tall at this point.)

If I needed another reminder of the fact there is a God, and I am not He, I am full mindful lately of how very humbling the need for rest is. Not the least of our God's incomprehensibly awesome and incredible comforting attributes is his endless and compassionately energetic wakefulness.

21 comments:

Rebekah said...

Sleep is a life skill everyone needs. Sometimes kids are easier to toilet train than others. Some kids are easier to sleep train than others. Sometimes these things get unpleasant for everyone. I'm sick of being made to feel guilty by parenting PACs. It's your life and your baby, and I wish you all the best.

Jody S. said...

Maybe if nursing is what he wants, might he be getting ready for a growth spurt? And sometimes, for teething, there are no telltale signs? Have you introduced any new foods lately that might upset his tummy? I wish you the best, but have no great answers--only questions. You're the mommy and you know best, even in the zombie state.

Marie said...

It helps me (or at least assuages my guilt) to remember that mothers aren't called to make everyone happy. It's a constant struggle to balance between the wants and needs of all of the members of a family, and to watch out for one's own health, without succumbing to selfishness... Sleep is a need of everyone in the home. While I'm not usually an advocate of "the end justifies the means," if the end is a sane, happy family, and the means is a little crying (with frequent reassurance that mom and dad have not jumped ship), it seems to make a lot of sense.

BTW, Ferber is spoken of as a saint in our home! Good luck, and God speed!

Dakotapam said...

What worked for us was to turn the bedtime routine over to Dad. I nursed the 12 month old (never younger for this) at dinner, gave a bedtime snack of crackers or whatever older kids were eating and then put him in his jammies and handed him to Dad. Dad popped baby into crib, sat on the floor with a hymnal and sang. Some nights he sang for what seemed like hours. He would always get through at least Evening Prayer and a hymn or two. Baby would usually cry through it. But Dad was there and patted a butt and sang, and prayed, and sang some more. Eventually baby boy would sleep, and I would have the dishes done. He would still sometimes wake at night, but only once and would nurse right back to sleep. The good thing was that he learned to associate sleep with something other than nursing, and he was not ever just left alone to cry. Somehow the Dad just had more patience (and time on his hands) to take care of this, and was glad to do so for a month or two.

Joy said...

I have all same-gender, as do you, RM. My #2 was a trained night nurser--every hour till age 1-ish. I remember begging the peditrician for something between Sears bed-sharing and Ferberizing. Apparently I was so zombi-fied I don't remember what we did or how we got through it! Do what you gotta do, girlfriend. Ibuprofen isn't evil. :)

Melrose said...

I didnt realize we both had one of the same age, mine will be 1 in about three weeks.

I dont know how anyone bedshares with one of this age, because for us it's an issue of safety! (And no, I dont feel like putting my mattress on the floor!)

As for the "gentler mommy" approach, I think the middle line for us has been something similar to Dakotapam. It's amazing how much quicker baby responds to dad since he knows he can't get "the goods" from dad. I too took care of baby's nursing needs, though about 10 min before bedtime and then we do family prayer/singing. After that Dad and I put each child to bed with a song and leave the room.

Baby loves his paci so assuming he's really tired (if he's not we let him stay up longer) he'll usually go right to sleep. Since his bed had been in our room, we first moved it out and I continued to nurse on demand until I was sure he was confident and secure in his new room (about a week). Then, when he awoke I let him fuss until he sounded like he was getting upset and then I went to him, did not make eye contact, gave him his paci, laid him down, and covered him up. Then I left. He screamed his head off so I went potty and got a drink of water. A few min later I did the same thing as before. I couldnt believe it but he went right to sleep and didnt' wake until 6.

He's been doing wonderfully, but still occasionally wakes and needs a soothe with a pat and his paci. Dad has been a real trooper about going in and baby always goes to sleep faster knowing mom is not available for a middle of the night snack. Good luck and trust your mommy instincts. When you greet them with a smile in the morning and shower them with kisses, the night is forgotten.

Reb. Mary said...

Thanks, all. 'Tis liberating indeed to be The Mom and know that no one size fits all. Why did I not know that as a first-time mom? :P It's so nice to be able to save the guilt trips for more important matters, ha ha.

I guess I'm really just rather curious as to whether the hard core nurse-on-every-demanders and/or bed sharers ever actually get good sleep, or if they're willing to admit it if they don't, and what they do when they finally get desperate enough to need more sleep... :D

I'm still waiting to bring home a baby that voluntarily or at least relatively peacefully sleeps on his back, in his bed, and through the night before a year old...As Rebekah so astutely notes, "Sometimes these things get unpleasant for everyone." :O

Shannon @ Some Fine Taters said...

"I guess I'm really just rather curious as to whether the hard core nurse-on-every-demanders and/or bed sharers ever actually get good sleep, or if they're willing to admit it if they don't, and what they do when they finally get desperate enough to need more sleep... :D"

Er...I don't know that I'm quite a "hard core nurse-on-every-demander," but we do nurse on cue (while recognizing that there are limits & Mom says "no" or "wait" sometimes), and we do bedshare (#1 until 2.5, and #2 until 2.5 and counting).

Yes, I actually do get good sleep, believe it or not. So does Papa, but he can sleep through anything.

I also get @ 2 yrs of lactation amenorrhea.

And the wee one moves on as she is ready.

Reb. Mary said...

Shannon, this time around I've been a demand-nurser too, particularly in the daytime, and I've been pleased at how well and how naturally that shook out and rolled with our days. Sleep-deprived me is just looking for ways to get my nights back right now... I'm glad to hear that you get good sleep out of your arrangements :-) Maybe my kids just thrash around more than most? I dunno :)

Shannon @ Some Fine Taters said...

You currently cue feed w/hourly nightwakings and don't cosleep?

I know you say family bed is not an option, but what about a bed for baby where you can comfortably sleep as well? Think mattress on the floor (same room or separate) or??? Put baby to bed on mattress and go to bed in the marriage bed. When baby wakes, then proceed to cosleep w/baby. Then husband and baby both get to sleep with you and everyone's sleep is less disturbed.

Have you read The No Cry Sleep Solution? Or The No Cry Sleep Solution for Toddlers and Preschoolers? If not, I recommend them! (Disclaimer: I have not actually used the Pantley pull-off, but the books gave me perspective when I needed it!)

The bottom line is the best sleeping arrangement for your family is wherever everyone gets the most sleep.

Jody S. said...

As another co-sleeper mommy, I, too, was curious about how you nurse so frequently and don't co-sleep. How is this actually done? Do you actually get out of bed every hour to nurse and then fall into bed again? I second Shannon's recommendations. . . at least until Easter is over ;)

Joy said...

None of my kids have slept on their backs, and I don't blame them. Thankfully my pediatrician doesn't make an issue of it. BUT--my babies sleep in a crib next to my side of the bed till they're 1-ish, which is far safer than tummy-sleeping in another room.

I'm willing to admit I never got good sleep bed-sharing. I'm too terrified of someone rolling on the baby.

Dakotapam said...

With boy two we had to bed share. I have been a cue nurser with all of my kids and he was a huge infant (10 lbs 15 oz at birth). He was my neediest, clingiest, hungriest baby...and we finaly decided he would have to sleep in our bed or we would be zombies. All of my other kids nursed on demand, but that mostly meant they nursed a ton during the day and got up once or twice at night, in which case I was happy to get up, watch an infomercial and crawl back into bed. William could not sleep without me. He did eventually grow out of this! At almost age 10 he has not slept in our bed for at least 7 years! We almost miss a babe in the bed...now we invite the four year old in on occasion!

Rebekah said...

I get out of bed to feed the baby, even during bad stretches. I absolutely cannot sleep with a baby in bed (I also cannot sleep with a baby latched). I'm too afraid to sleep, so I lie awake for hours. Then I finally conk out from exhaustion and wake up from that dead sleep having no idea where the baby is, which HORRIBLE and makes me completely freak out. Dad cannot sleep with a baby in the room, so I sometimes sleep on the floor in the baby's room. I know co-sleeping is great for some people, but we just can't make it work.

Joy said...

God bless ya, Rebekah. My man has th opposite problem--won't wake for WWIII.

Pamcakes, just say 11 pounds. It's okay. :) Has it been 10 years already since I ran out of our apt to meet you?

Rebekah said...

Dad could sleep through a space shuttle launch, a doom metal concert, or Chinese New Year, but not me trying to feed the baby.

Joy said...

Guess that's why the ladies lactate. :D

Melrose said...

I want to know how cosleepers continue to cosleep once baby is moving and playing?! Someone please answer this!

My eldest coslept beautifully from day one. I occasionally woke up freaked out because I was in a deep sleep and didnt know where baby was and I also awoke countless times with a sore shoulder from laying funny around baby. But when he hit 10mo he suddenly started waking up at all hours to climb on daddy like a jungle gym. He also figured out how to crawl straight out of bed and hit his head on the way down (twice). I could not sleep from this point on. So he found himself in a crib.

For my second we did the arms reach cosleeper from about day 5. It was so nice to bring him into my arms, nurse, and put him back at "arms reach" but also know he was in his safe space. This made the transition to a crib flawless.

So Im curious!

Reb. Mary said...

Shannon and Jody, it's only lately that nights have been so interrupted. Believe you me, had hourly wakings been the norm for this whole year, Something Drastic would have happened before now :0

>>The bottom line is the best sleeping arrangement for your family is wherever everyone gets the most sleep.<< Ah, if only everyone could be so nonpolitical on this topic!
I usually default to some sort of cosleeping in the early months, when the waking/sleeping boundaries are pretty fuzzy round the whole clock anyway. But after that it ceases to be the most universally-somnolent option for us.

And what on earth is a "Pantley pull-off"? This I shall have to google :-)

Dakotapam, that's a good reminder that eventually, they do move out (of bed, home, whatever :) ) .

Jody S. said...

When they want to nurse, they are still. We've never had one wake at night like that. Or if so, it was limited to a teething time, growth spurt, full moon, or some other random reason we have no clue about. I have heard that some babies go through short phases when growing or approaching some milestone (like walking) that they just have to "practice" at night.
If one of our little ones woke at night, we checked diaper, fed/nursed, etc. It's always better to do as much as possible in the dark in bed with whispers so they get the idea that this is sleep time--not tv time or reading time or playing time.I think if my little one started the jungle gym maneuvers, Daddy would just be firm and have him lie down (to cuddle and share a quiet song if necessary). If co-sleeping is going to work, Daddy HAS to be on-board 100%.

Kelly said...

Checking in from Zombieland myself - but we've got tooth #4 coming in which accounts for the constant popping on and off at night which has messed up my sleep this week.

We bedshare and under "normal" circumstances I am well rested. If I had to get up every time E wanted to eat or snuggle I'd be dead.

I also second the No Cry Sleep Solution - the pull off hasn't worked for us, but I'm lazy and don't stick with it. It's easier for me to roll over and nurse than try to calm a quickly escalating screamer in the middle of the night.

Hope you find a good solution soon!