Thursday, December 13, 2012

The War on Naps

Oh little boy of mine. I'm sorry you're the third kid, I know you really got a bum deal here. I want to hold and snuggle you more, but time it is a bitch. You want to nap and sleep but five days of the week you get scooped up and strapped in and driven back and forth, back and forth. I'm sorry dude. I wish you could have a better routine, believe me you. But this kindergartener sister of yours has to be taken to school, then picked up from school, then we have to get your daddy, and occasionally we require groceries. Life is hectic dude.

I am hardly an expert on baby sleep. I may have three kids, but I have fought my way through naps and bedtime for six years. Alana was a serial catnapper. She wanted to be held and I struggled to find that window of opportunity where she was asleep enough to be moved but not too asleep so that when I put her down she would wake up. At night after falling asleep sitting up in the living room many, many times I finally just gave in and let her sleep in our bed. I was just so tired. She never slept, peacefully and completely through the night, till about 2 1/2. Ava napped fine. She would sleep in her swing and I would put her in there awake. Sometimes she would complain, but never for more than five minutes. I did this till she was one and was kind of too big for the swing. Then I ran out of ideas. One year olds don't nap as much and she kind of fell into a routine of being rocked to sleep, but either way I had to hold her. She didn't sleep well through the night until I was pregnant with Witten when she was just past two. Its a wonder I even wanted more kids with the way these girls were at night.

I was finally to the point where all children slept peacefully through the night. FINALLY. Then I had another baby. Dumb, but worth it. And I'm tired. I sleepwalked through many days when the girls were small. I let them in my bed and they kept me awake and had to be soothed back to sleep. That's annoying. I want a kid who can self soothe, but I don't want to leave him screaming in his bed to get him to that point.

I NEED to sleep train this boy. The poor guy takes half of his naps in his carseat because he falls asleep when we are going to pick someone up from somewhere. Those are fine though. Some of his naps I put him down drowsy but content and he might occasionally complain, but he goes to sleep without much fight. Then there are times when he has fought off sleep very intently and falls asleep nursing.

Today he didn't really want to  nurse, he wasn't hungry. And he was cranky. And tired. So I put him in his bouncer seat and strapped him in and faced him towards the window so he couldn't see me or Ava. And I left the room. He was pissed off, but I outlasted him and his cries of child abuse. He fell asleep after crying, but he slept less than an hour. He used to take long naps, now it seems like they are all short (under an hour). He also used to sleep for at least 4 hours after he went to sleep at night but 3 out of 4 nights in the last week he has woken up after about an hour and a half and not wanted to sleep unless someone was holding him. I don't hold him when he sleeps during the day, so this confuses me. He will fall asleep, but no matter what he wakes up all mad after we put him down. It doesn't even have to be me holding him, he will sleep if David has him. But someone better snuggle him or we will pay for it.

I haven't really "sleep trained" any of my babies. I want to, but I find myself lost. I'm tired and 2am Jennifer is not nearly as persistent as 2pm Jennifer. And I don't want to fully let him "cry it out" because we live in a two bedroom duplex. If he is up screaming all night he will keep us all awake in our house, and I'm afraid he will wake up the neighbors on the other side of the bedroom wall too. I need to find some kind of balance. He is six months old, I know he could sleep for longer, at least at night.

I need him to sleep longer, for everyone's sanity, even his own. Babies who sleep are much nicer than babies who think they need to nurse every 3 hours at night. I don't know if I will wean him right away at one, he's almost six months already and I feel like that has flown by. I don't want him to need to nurse to sleep though, its just annoying.

If someone wants to come to my house and sleep train my baby that would be awesome. I'd pay you, like $20. If I had $20. But really, I need help. Any super useful advice that doesn't require me to leave my very angry little man baby to scream for 20 minutes? Any magic potions or secret weapons to get a chubby and hungry guy who  needs a midnight snack to sleep longer? Help, or take my baby at night so I can sleep.


Heather said...

Oh man, sleep training is a bear. Hugs! We used an adapted version of babywise for all of our kids and my kids are amazing sleepers. I didn't liek the whole cry it out thing either but some crying is necessary. We adapted it to giving them 5-10 minutes before we went in to help settle them. And a routine with this method is essential. Eat, Play, Sleep. Probably not helpful to you since you say you are always on the go. :/

Jennifer said...

I agree that a little crying is necessary. If he is just complaining I ignore him, but if he is all out screaming he will not calm down unless someone picks him up. We do have a fairly standard routine though, and all of our driving places happens at the same time everyday. I'm hoping to buy a second car and that will make it so he only has to go somewhere once a day, maybe falling asleep in the car (hopefully).

Napping is adaptable, I just want him to sleep for longer stretches at night. I think I'm going to have to bite the bullet and just sleep train him during Christmas break to get him to self soothe more at night. Wish me luck!

Brian and Janette said...

So sorry! Not fun at all. Agree with Heather. Some crying is necessary. And, I'll even add, occasional screaming might be as well. He screams because he wants picked up. He wants picked up because it's soothing. It's difficult for him to learn to self-soothe if he's never given the opportunity to learn to do so. essence...I'm definitely NOT an expert. :) I'm not saying to avoid attempts to comfort during those tougher times, but maybe limit your comforting to occasional check-ins (every 5 to 10 minutes...or maybe spread each visit out by a little bit longer each time...stroke his face, tell him it'll be okay and then leave), rather than picking him up, until he falls asleep. Anyway...I don't know if any of that makes sense at all. But my experience has been that by the 3rd or 4th night, they're usually much, much better at it. As for the neighbors, you may just want to give them a courtesy "heads-up" and ask for their patience. There are some really good books on this topic out there, if you haven't already tried that route. Sorry...this post is all scattered. Bottom line...GOOD LUCK!!!


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