08 August 2010

Deep thoughts

You know that thing where you wake up, and no one is crying and everything is fine, and then 10-15 seconds later the baby starts crying?

I did that with our first baby, and it felt like maybe there was one thing I was doing right. I had some inexplicable connection to this baby whom I was completely failing in every other way.

Then for the next three this didn't happen at all and I thought, well, the other stuff is going better, but now I'm just a jerk. No more magical baby connection.

Well, it's back on Baby 5. And so now I'm wondering if it's actually the baby who has the mysterious power. Because what do I think of as soon as I wake up for no reason in the night? The baby. So maybe it's actually the baby whose brain hears my brain thinking about him, which then causes him to wake up.

If this theory is correct, I'm going to have to keep extra close watch on Babies 1 and 5.

I was having this awful dream that Mom was awake and not feeding me.


HappyFox said...

I love your photo caption.

Anonymous said...

The photo's a classic, the high forehead, the ESP. I for one welcome the new infant overlords...

MooreMama said...

Scarier than Babies #1 and #5 is the thought that #s 2, 3, and 4 could have that connection with each other/communicate with each other in the same way....

Erich Heidenreich, DDS said...

I don't sleep well at all, so I often get to observe these and other strange nocturnal phenomena. One thing I have noted is that when some infants wake in the middle of the night, they let out a little peep of a cry first and then are quiet for a up to a minute or two as they fully awake. Upon full consciousness, recognizing their solitude and hunger, they finally sound the "feed me!" alarm.

Not all our infants have done this, but our current #7 does. Your phenomenon could easily be explained by that first little peep of a cry waking you without your actually hearing the sound of it. Then, moments later, you get the official "get mom" wail.

Just a theory. ;-)

Untamed Shrew said...

Since this happens with all my kids, my theory is that I'm a worry wart. They sleep quite well as newborns. By 9mo, they're up every hour, refusing to go back to sleep without the almighty breast. "Trained night nursers" as my ped would say. I don't know that it's best to keep the infants uber-dependent on me (I'm cranky enough when I DO get sleep), but I can't stand the sound of a baby crying. Co-sleeping makes mom and baby happier, but I'm a nervous wreck with the baby in our bed.

Any suggestions? The few times I've let a 9-12mo cry it out, I was guilt-ridden when the crying stopped. She wasn't "self-comforting," she was giving up hope.

MooreMama said...

We don't cry it out at our house. Not the infant, and not the toddler. (but I get accused of spoiling my kids on a regular basis) And we don't co-sleep, but Katie's cradle is beside my bed, so I can hear her breathing and I assume she can hear me. At 16 weeks old, she's sleeping most nights in her crib in the nursery next door - and the nights that she's in there are the ones that she wakes up at 12-ish and 4-ish. In the cradle, she just wakes up once, about 2. Unfortunately, she's about to outgrow the cradle...

The toddler didn't sleep through the night until she was a little bit past her first birthday. I would nurse her to sleep, so I knew she wasn't starving, then sent her dad in to comfort her back to sleep for all but the 1:00 wake up, where I would go in and nurse her. THen, after a week of that, I sent dad in for the 1:00 wake up, too. She was sttn in two weeks. (which was great, because I had a heavy case of the first trimester tireds).

I'll be the first to admit that my kids are far easier on me than I deserve, but that's what worked for us. As a disclaimer, the Toddler has regressed to middle of the night wake ups in the last few weeks, but it's more related to my return to work and her taking her Mama Time where she can get it.

Untamed Shrew said...


Spoiling is what happens when you put something aside and ignore it. :)

The crib stays next to my side of the bed until they're 1-ish. Maybe that's one of my many parenting mistakes. This baby is due around Thanksgiving/early Dec. Maybe I should move the crib in with the other kids once school is out. That way if baby wakes everyone, it's not quite as big of a deal.

Leah said...

Untamed Shrew - One trick I learned from my sister-in-law on my very first baby (and I'm sooooo glad I did) was to teach them YOUNG to sleep through the night. So at four or five months old, I move the cradle into the bathroom or walk in closet attached to our bedroom and let them cry it out whenever they wake up in the middle of the night. I admit it's hard when you first start - listening to them scream their little heads off for half an hour (or more) until the tire to a wimper and fall back asleep. But after a week or two they learn - mom's not coming. And after "the treatment" they were trainned for good. Not one of my kids has had waking-up-in-the-night problems since.
Some moms just can't do it, and you know what, maybe they're nicer moms than me, but my kids all seemed to turn out alright (sort of ) and so did my sister-in-law's.
I think what makes it work is doing it SOONER rather than LATER. Because once they're older and they understand what's going on, they will make the job WAY harder on you.
Oh, and none of my kids ever starved.

Leah said...

Untamed Shrew - I guess my kids ARE spoiled. (according to your definition)

Untamed Shrew said...

Leah, I doubt I could do it. There aren't enough bra pads in America to absorb the leaking that would result from me listening to a 5mo scream every night until she either gives up hope or collapses from exhaustion. (Not to mention, I might literally go insane and hurt someone.) I may be at a hormonal disadvantage, but it's a biophysical response: baby cries, make it stop. Hey look! A wide-open mouth and a dripping breast. Perfect.

Again, I'm not convinced this is the best way. There's got to be something between trained night nursing and crying it out.

Leah said...

Untamed Shrew - Very true.
I should have listed possible side effects in the small print.
I had totally forgotten about that but now I remember I used to sleep with a towel (or two) under me during "the treatment", but I think once the baby stopped waking up in the night (which actually DID happen after a week or two, miraculously) I guess my body sort of trained itself too.
No crying = no triggering of side effect!
But, like I said, it's not for everybody. (like most of my other sister-in-laws)

lisa said...

U.S. - I know this wasn't what you were asking about - but I thought I'd insert commercial here since it triggered me thinking about our upcoming birth:


I CANNOT sleep soundly with a baby in the bed with me. I've always been a light sleeper and will probably die that way - a 90 yr old woman hobbling around my house still hearing a crying infant in my sleep :P

But, having baby "next" to me but not actually in the bed with us, has enabled me to get sounder sleep when I do sleep for those precious two hrs in the first few months.

Disclaimer: Babies only fit in the bassinet portion safely for about 6 months.

Untamed Shrew said...

Thanks, Lisa. (Eesh, that thing is expensive for only 6 months of use!) I do use a real bassinet (about 40 years old) for 3 mos or so, and then the crib is next to my side of the bed. I'm like you--always hear a crying baby when there isn't one. I honestly think it's because I'm so terrified of being negligent.

lisa said...

Yeh - pretty much :) It was a gift to us and one for which I was most appreciative. You can use it for 1.5yrs as a pack-n-play/sleeper on regular (low) setting and I found the "mattress/pad" thingie sturdy.

We have a cradle at the in-laws we use. I can't help but hum "rock-a-bye-baby" when we use it :)

Pam said...

I agree with Erich. I think I wake to the baby's moving when he/she is starting to stir, even before making actual noise. On the other hand, I am not a great sleeper either, and I sometimes wake when the baby is sound asleep... almost (almost!) want to wake her up to nurse just because I'm already awake, so's I don't have to wake up when I don't wanna. And I've done it, but sometimes they wake up again anyway. :oP

On nights, I haven't done the total cry-it-out since my first one, and it's because at 10 months I had inadvertently trained him NOt to be able to sleep by jumping up to nurse him every time he made a peep. That's when I was much younger and more ignorant, LOL.

I do try to transition wee ones to sleep through early on by not immediately responding when they make a noise, and often they settle back in to sleep. Sometimes I let them cry first, and I have learned to tell if it's a cry of needing to be picked up NOW (hungry or air in tummy or diaper change) or if it's trying to go back to sleep. Since my babes do cry as they are trying to sleep, it's easier to tolerate the crying if I can see that he is on his way to sleep and my picking him up would only mess up what he's trying to do himself.

On the arm's reach... we had a full size that was a gift after our 6th was born. It bit the dust last year when I had left it set up and older children used it as a trampoline. :oP For this one I bought the bassinet size plain one b/c we don't have room for the big one. I have found it to be worth the $$ for the period of use, b/c my rest and peace of mind are worth a LOT. Besides, they are very sturdy (with normal use that is, waaay moreso than your typical pack n play)and it's likely I'll be using it again at some point. Ha ha

Katy said...

Leah, good for you! My MIL attributes her kids' sleeping so soundly (even now) to letting them cry it out.

The cosleeper works well for me and my babies. I never really wake up, and they don't either. I sleep differently with an infant (more alert?), but I feel just as rested. I could never survive waking up every 3 hours for 20+ minutes, then doing it all over again, all night long, even only for the first 5-6 months. I don't know how you ladies do it.

Plus, I'm always hoping amenorrhea will go beyond my usual 6 months :)