Wednesday, November 3, 2010

We’re Like the Walking Dead

Those are zombies, right? I hope so…otherwise I just referred to my husband and I as dead walkers…creepy!

Anyway…my child doesn’t sleep. No, that’s not true. He does sleep. He just doesn’t sleep for longer than 4 hours at night. Seriously. That’s three feedings between 7p-7a. And that’s not so much sleep for us…since we share in the feeding duties now that it’s all formula all the time. I really thought that once we switched to formula that it would last him a bit longer than the breastmilk was lasting, but not so much. Maybe it’s an urban legend that formula is more filling?
Either way, Jax used to sleep from his 8p feeding (after bath time) until 2am. Like clockwork. You could have actually set a clock by that schedule. Then he would go from 2a until 5a…not so long, but ok since we got a good stretch of sleep during the first part of the night.  Then, without any warning, he switched the schedule up on us, as babies are prone to doing. One week it was 130a and 430a…and the next week it was 1a and 4a…and now some nights it’s midnight or even 1130p when he’s waking up to be fed that first time.

I don’t know what happened. I thought that it was the cold that did us in…you know, too much snot, not enough suckage with the booger-sucker-thingy? But he’s a lot better on that front and still hasn’t gone back to his old sleeping schedule. He’s gone as long as 4 hours…maybe 5 hours one night…but no more 6 hours stretches. And if he does (by some miracle) end up sleeping longer, it only happens one night…there’s no repeat or encore performance for us to enjoy.

So we’ve had to start sleeping in shifts. You know, one of us takes the first part of the night and the other goes into our extra bedroom (Tanner’s room) and sleeps like the dead. Then in the middle of the night, we swap. It works for us, except that there is a big disconnect with your spouse when you don’t get to sleep next to each other. And when you’re trying to do a 30 Day Intimacy Challenge, it’s even harder. I feel closer than ever to my husband, and can’t enjoy one of the best things about our relationship…sleeping together. In the literal or figurative sense.

I’m really not complaining, or I don't mean to complain. I understand that this is part of having kids...they don't sleep.  I was a horrible sleeper as an infant, a fact that my Mother reminds me of often. Especially when I’m complaining about how my own children are or are NOT sleeping. She tells me that I could speak in complete sentences before I ever slept through the night. At least I know that she understands, right? I suppose, except for the fact that back in those days, they at least let you do rice cereal or solid foods SO much earlier…heck, even with Jenna, the norm was to start solids at 3 months. Now, it’s 4 months if you’ve got a wayward doctor…but more likely 6 months if your doctor keeps up with his/her medical stuff. Lucky for me, I’ve got a 4 month believer…and I feel that Jax is ready as he stares at our food intently now when we eat.

But no one can tell you for sure that eating more than just formula/breast milk will satisfy their bellies and keep them sleeping for longer periods of time. I remember Jenna being a difficult sleeper. I want to say that she got better after starting solids…but mostly I just remember how bad the whole bed-time routine with her was. So I intentionally started sleep training Jax from a young age…and he does well with putting himself to sleep – I just rock him until he’s drowsy and then I put him down. He usually wakes up when I lay him down, but soothes himself back to sleep with either his paci or his fist (no, he still hasn’t gotten the hang of just the thumb!).

Given all of that, I don’t think that it’s sleep training that we need to do. When he wakes, it’s a hunger cry and he eats the whole contents of the bottle. I can’t increase the amount of formula in his bottles, because if we do, he doesn’t eat any more than he’s currently consuming so it’s just wasted formula. He’s obviously filling up when he’s least, that's how I interpret him not finishing his fuller bottles.

When it’s not a hunger cry we soothe what we can and let him cry out what we can’t soothe. I think that we’re tackling it all okay…but maybe you have suggestions for me? Maybe we’re trying too many different things?

I don’t think that it’s a growth spurt…as it’s been going on for almost a month now. That’s one hell of a growth spurt if that’s what it is! He’s starting to drool more and more, but I don’t think that he’s quite into a teething stage, so that isn’t the problem either. At least, I don’t think any of this is the problem…

Can you tell me anything to try that I haven’t already tried??? The magic crack baby blanket does still work…and he’s adjusted to using the larger ones now too…so I no longer fear the day that he outgrows that one blanket. And we’re also sometimes getting him to sleep without being swaddled at all. Sometimes he likes it, sometimes he doesn’t. We play it all by ear…

So what are we doing wrong? Or am I just destined to have those kids that just don’t sleep? I’m sure it’s payback in some form for all the stress that I caused my own Mother…don’t you just hate that evil woman? (Payback, not my Mom…just to clarify!)

Now I understand why some employers groan aloud when a woman employee announces that she’s expecting. It’s not just the pregnancy that you have to get through…or even the maternity leave that causes problems. It could be the first year of parenthood that so many parents get through on little to no sleep, barely functioning at their “day jobs” while drinking 18 cups of coffee just to get through the 9 hour day. Yep, that could be it!

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Natalie said...

I wish I knew the answers but Ricky is doing the same...3 feedings from 7pm - 7am. So I'm no help at all. Sorry!

Nikkolish said...

Yikes, girl! I wish I had some magic solutions for you, but my daughter was a terrible sleeper. I tried so many things in the first year of life, but she would only sleep in the car or when one of us held her. That was awful!

I think taking shifts is a good idea, and hopefully it won't last too long. I might try the cereal and see how it goes. I doubt it can get any worse than it is now!

I'm thinking about you. Hang in there...eventually it will get better!