Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Great Sleep Debate

Maybe I'm just a first time mom or maybe Lincoln is just difficult I don't really know but sleep can be a bit of a challenge in this household.

First off I should say that I personally think that Lincoln is a fussy baby. From what I've heard from other mom's and the other babies I've been around just further prove that he's a little more on the fussy side. How I would describe Lincoln is that if he isn't sleeping he's crying. I am told he isn't colicky because he is consolable, which he is for the most part.

Now in the last 3 or so weeks his fussiness has gotten better. He will contently look around in his lamb seat or rock n play for about 20-30 minutes at a time, so I'm able to do more things around the house.

When he was younger he literally had two states of being, sleep or scream. The only real way he slept was if someone was holding him. For the first month or so he would sort of sleep in his co-sleeper next to my bed in about 1-2 hour increments and then wake up needing to eat. Then by 4 am he was done sleeping on his own and wanted to lay on my chest, which i allowed because lets face it he wasn't going to need/want me like that forever.

At 3 weeks we started swaddling him which offered me a lot of piece of mind. The hospital we deliver at doesn't recommend swaddling so we didn't, I held off for as long as I could but I couldn't take the every 30 minutes of waking up crying. Once we swaddled him he started to sleep in about 2.5-3 hour spans at night. Hallelujah!!

Then a couple of weeks after that I noticed when he would go to sleep in the co-sleeper next to me, he would still startle himself awake again, even being swaddled. His whole body would jolt forward, this would in turn wake him up and he would scream and the only thing that would really calm him down was to lay next to me. 

I am slightly ashamed to say it but Lincoln does on occasion sleep with me. Sometimes it's all I can do to get a couple of hours of sleep. Granted for me they aren't the best hours of sleep but they are better than nothing at all. 

Well after getting some suggestions we borrowed the fisher price rock and play from a friend of mine from college and let me just say it's a lifesaver! The first night we had it he slept for 4 hours straight. Then in the next couple of days he slept for 7 hours, but that was only once!!! Of course he hasn't slept like that since but still!

It seems like we have this cycle of him getting better with the sleeping then he goes back to his old habits. Currently his sleeping consists of usually somewhere between 10 and midnight he goes down. He will sometimes wake up at 2 for a feeding, then again at 4. A couple of days he has woken up at 6ish for another feeding but then will sleep until around 9 or 10! I for the most part I keep him in the rock n play, but by 4 or 6 I usually put him in his swing, because he seems to sleep the best in there. There have been plenty of nights where I just give up and bring him to bed with me. It's bizarre because he literally calms down the minute he is next to me and will sleep for 4 hours like that. He must really love me :)

I'm a little worried that having him sleep somewhere other than a flat surface of the co-sleeper or his crib could be hurting his chances of sleeping in his crib one day, but it's the only way he sleeps, and I'm a little nervous to put in back in the co-sleeper for fear he will be up every 30 minutes again, and I have a fear of him coking to death. The rock n play really has been a lifesaver. But let me tell you how silly my side of the bed looks with a co-sleeper, the rock n play and a swing all lined up...

Given all of this I started to read babywise. In reading it I have come to find that they have some really great suggestions about a routine and schedule for baby. Such as feed the baby, have baby awake for about 30 minutes then put baby down for a nap. I've tried this schedule for the last few days and it really does seem to work! They say with this then baby will start sleeping through the night between 7-9 weeks.

My misgivings with this book is that they say you should let baby cry to sleep. This could take anywhere from 5 to 45 minutes. I'm sorry but I'm just not ok with letting my baby cry for 45 minutes. Being that Lincoln is fussy, he cries a lot, so I usually only let him go for about 5 maybe 10 minutes before I try to go and console him. It just seems un-natural to let a baby cry for much longer. I am of the mindset that babies don't cry just to cry...they need something. However there are times where its OBVIOUS that he is fighting sleep and if I were to leave him alone for a few minutes he would fall asleep...during these times its 30 seconds or less and he's out!

My other misgivings is that the book basically makes me feel like I'm doing EVERYTHING wrong. They  basically said Lincoln is fussy because he doesn't sleep enough and I don't let him cry it out. Well as stated before I'm not comfortable with the crying out thing, and no he doesn't sleep all that well due to his startling thing. So in the last few days I've started to swaddle him for his naps and this seems to help with the naps, but not necessarily with the night-time rest. I still swaddle him but he can sometimes still wake up SEVERAL times a night. One night he was literally up all night. I only got 1 hour of sleep...

Also I'm not so sure I want him sleeping through the night...what an odd statement I know...but if he goes longer than 5 or so hours I really start to hurt due to me breastfeeding. SO if I'm going to be up to pump I'd rather just feed him because he empties me better and faster than the pump does, plus I have to be more awake to pump. What I would like him to do is sleep for a solid 5 hours wake to feed and then sleep for another 4-5 hours. What's really draining me is when he wakes up every 2 hours to eat. I'm about over that!

My biggest worry is that I'm doing him a disservice by having him sleep in the rock n play or swing. Am I hurting his chances at ever sleeping in his crib? However the last 2 days I have swaddled him and put him in his crib for his naps and he does ok with that, sleeping anywhere from 1-4 hours...
But I just don't know when I should start to try and put him back in the co-sleeper or start putting him in his crib (I'm emotionally not ready for that). I'm also afraid that Adam will just put him in his crib and let him cry all night when I go to working nights in 2 weeks. This worries me because Adam says I've created a monster, but I don't think so, I just think he needs more attention and love from us.

So anyways if anyone has any suggestions for me, I'd appreciate them...hopefully I'm doing right by my baby, I just am not overly confident in my ability as a mother I guess and I really just want to be the best mom to Lincoln.

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