Laney's Sleep Schedule

Posted by  | Wednesday, November 14, 2007  at 2:03 PM  

While pregnant last year, I was working full-time until 5 days before my c-section, so I had zero time to invest in reading up on how to put your baby to sleep. But sleeping sounded like common sense to me. I thought that's what newborns do best anyways. Why do I need to HELP her sleep? Heck, I was NESTING! In my free-time after work, I was walking trying to stay healthy, cooking, going to birthing classes weekly, Church Small Group, and then cleaning like a mad-woman from my second trimester till the end, huffing and puffing all the while. Who has time to read, I asked myself. When Laney was born last December, what a RUDE awakening I had once I got home.

In those first few weeks, I read here and there, as much as I could. I don't know how I stayed awake, to be quite honest. I cried for the first 3 months of Laney's life pretty much several times a day. Not because I had the baby blues(they only last 10 days), but because we had the worst nursing problems in existence. I was determined not to give up, which made it hard and burdensome on me. So, imagine how tired I was on top of crying with gusto every single day. I kept reading Babywise, THE MOST recommended book to me by the way, and it said from very early on, to let my sweet child cry it out. I remember being so torn, for I didn't know what I wanted. I wanted to sleep so badly, but since I had such a merciful heart, I couldn't bear to listen to my newborn baby cry.

When Laney was two months old, I was encouraged by so many of my friends to let her cry out. Despite the fact that I felt like a trader to my heart's cry and my motherly instinct, I was tired and decided to try it when Laney was two months old. You have to keep in mind, Laney had terrible reflux. Whether there was acid in there or not, her spit up was constantly erupting and in VOLUMES. Hands down, we've had a rough six months, yet an incredibly joyful first year all the while. Laney cried so hard that she started to choke on her spit-up. Instantly, things got really quiet. Of course, I was standing RIGHT THERE at the crack of her door, so I peeked in only to see her arms and legs flailing about and panic screaming from her facial expression. She was choking. I rushed in, picked her up faster than the speed of light, and instantly regretted my decision. I KNEW, right then and there that I was not a peace with the CIO method. Through trial and error, you eventually discover yourself as a new mother. I didn't know WHO I was for a while, but I was slowly growing into my motherly-self. I LOVED rocking her to sleep, stroking her hair, singing to her, praying over her. I was a stay-at-home mom, so why miss those precious moments? I wanted to seize every one of them, for I knew how fleeting was her infancy.

At night, Laney was sleeping enough for me to survive, if I had naps during the day. But, just like Leah and Samuel, Laney started to wake up more and more at night around the 7th and 8th months. I felt like a rag doll. I was EXHAUSTED to the extreme. I also began to feel the beginnings of bitterness toward my husband, since he was getting good sleep, and I was busting my tail twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. This was one area where I was spiritually attacked and in spiritual warfare, for if you're not in God's Word daily, how can you truly fight the spiritual battle? I was so fatigued and knew that since my quiet times with the Lord were inconsistent, I had to do something. I wanted to do something! I missed my sweet, growing fellowship with the Lord! Hugh worked a really crazy work schedule into the wee hours of the morning half of the week, so he needed rest to recooperate as well.(You also must know that I was full-time pumping Mama by this time. Pumping is twice the work. Like I said before, I wasn't going to give up getting breast milk to Laney.)

At nine months, almost overnight, Laney's spit-up finally subsided. FINALLY. Oh, sweet finally! After sharing my heart with some friends about how I was feeling toward Laney, how I felt about myself and my lack of energy, how I wanted to throw myself a little pity-party b/c I wasn't getting any sleep, and the feelings I had toward my husband were only snowballing, I knew I had to make a change. Hugh, my husband, agreed to help out once a week and let me sleep-in, but really...how can I sleep in when I hear Laney crying in my ear through the monitor? Or when I'd wake up engorged/in pain and needing to pump? I'd lay there W-I-D-E AWAKE and anxious. All I wanted to do was to hold her, for I knew EXACTLY what she wanted. I was greatly encouraged to try the CIO method again, and this time, I knew that teaching her how to self-soothe was the only way to go now. I had read "The No Cry Sleep Solution" over and over for months and to no avail. I wanted to SLOWLY teach my daughter to sleep. I don't like abrupt changes in her little life, and I just KNEW there had to be a way to slowly teach our babies to sleep. I didn't have any more energy to research exactly how to do that, so one morning, we started the CIO method, tearing my heart out all the while. My main concern was that I NEVER wanted my heart to be desensitized to Laney's cry. I NEVER EVER want to be at that point, for crying was and still is Laney's only way to communicate. At nine months, I felt like I could discern her cries though. And that very night, guess who got a full night's rest? Me! Me! Me! (smiling!) It took a few days for the nights to be consistent and then about 2-3 weeks for her to self-soothe during naps, but now at 11.5 months, Laney knows how to soothe herself. She knows what to expect from naps to nighttime.

Would I change anything?

Yes and no. If Laney didn't have acid reflux, then yes, I would start to teach Laney to self-soothe around 7 months, when the problems started. However, knowing Laney had reflux, I would probably wait until she could no longer choke, which was what I did.
Secondly, another thing that was nice around nine months was that Laney could sit and stand/pull up. Have you ever cried(hard) laying down? If not, if feels like your head is going to explode. Imagine how a baby feels that can't move or get up to help ease the explosive pressure in their heads. And just speaking from my heart, I would not trade those moments of rocking, listening to her sweet sounds, feeling her breath, praying and singing over her for the world. Now, at 11 months, Laney is pretty mobile, so even though the snuggling is there and I cherish every single snuggle, post-nap moment, it's just not the same as when she was a newborn.
Thirdly, I think that nine months was PLENTY of time for me to master the cries of my child and to know her through and through. I knew what was a hungry cry, a hurting cry, a I want Mama cry. At nine months, Laney was pretty stout physically, and that gave me a peace of mind that she could make that kind of change. She could sit in her crib and play with her toys until she got tired and fell asleep. That's what she does now, and I'm thankful that I finally decided to go the CIO method when I did at nine months.

The number one thing that I decided in my heart from the very beginning was to try my hardest to not have any regrets this first year(for starters). I wanted to pray about everything and be at peace with all of my choices, despite if it was encouraged or not by the books I was reading and by my friends. I knew I'd learn a lot through trial and error, but I had to trust my motherly-instinct and follow my heart as well. Like every mother says, YOU have to follow your heart and your instinct and be at peace with your decisions, whether you make changes at 8 weeks or one year.
Thanks for reading!!!

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hollie,
I hear you girl! Landen as you know had reflux too, and our sleep training only worked after we started to have him sleep in his Papisan chair. It was the only way he wouldn't choke! So our little guy was sleeping in a chair until he was 5-6 months old. Praise God that she is past that now... and she is getting close to being one year old! I definitely think relfux makes things more complicated. -Courtney W.

Leah said...

Thanks for sharing Hollie! May I just commend you on your dedication to pumping for so long--I don't think I would have the strength to do what you have done. Praise the Lord for giving the strength! Now, a quick question: what toys do you put in Laney's crib? My girlie has always been a great sleeper, but with the onset of new teeth, her napping can be very irratic. I like the idea of putting something in her crib to distract her, but I don't want crib time to be playtime. Any suggestions/thoughts?

Anonymous said...

Thanks you so much for sharing your heart, I am going to share on a whole different level about our experience but since we adopted our baby I have a VERY different experience. First of all, Lydia was very trained at the orphanage to sleep and eat right on schedule. If she wasn't sleeping she way laying in her crib as there were 2 caregivers to 15 babies, they simply had no time to comfort so Lydia was a self soother to the extreme. Yet, that was not a positive in this case because it didn't matter what her cries were she was left alone (might I add that at 10 months old she had not even straightened her legs and she weighed 10 lbs.) When we came home she of course went through a tramatic time. When she would cry out I would rush to her side and try to comfort her and hold and rock her. Instead of responding as you feel YOUR baby should to the sound of your voice she cried harder and pushed to be put in bed. So I spent sleepless nights doing the opposite holding her tightly to my chest proving to her that she could trust me and her daddy and she would be comforted. We spent many hours "bonding" in that way and it was a very trying time as I know it must be to know how to respond to your newborn. I say all this just as an encouragement to all of you that no matter what method you choose be so thankful that your babies cries can be soothed by your heartbeat, your voice, your touch...Please never take that bond for granted. Believe me I did not have post-partum per se, but I did have an emotional roller coaster teaching my baby how to bond. Now at just barley 2 and 14 months has passed and I can't tell you the joy I experience when hear "mommy hold you {me}"
Thank you all for sharing and your dedication to the blog it is truly a blessing

AJ

Hollie said...

Courtney, You were my go-to girl when I didn't know what to do with the reflux. Thanks for guiding me and listening to me cry for an hour on the phone! Ha! Oh, the good ole baby blues. :)

Leah,
I have gone back and forth with sending/not sending the message that it's play time when I put her in her crib. But I can only control so much. I can't MAKE her close her eyes and go to sleep. I do however, want to send her the message that it's "night-night time" and that she needs to start winding down. Now that she's 11 months, I can't put just anything in her crib. I put her blanket, a stuffed animal, a soft newborn cloth book, her pacifier and maybe a rubber ducky or something like that. I only put toys in there that she can't stand on and jump out of her crib. She'll sit in there, talk, bounce(I hear her bouncing), play with her toys, throw her pacifiers out of the crib(ha), and then slowly after about 15 minutes (sometimes shorter, sometimes longer) she's calmed herself to laying down and then it's only a matter of time once her head hits the mattress. I also play the same lullaby cd that I've been playing for months and months on end, so that she knows it's time to go night-night. I start to play when I change her diaper and hold her to calm her down. I will sometimes try to give her a little bit of milk before she sleeps, since that is what we've always done and keeping to a routine is easier on them. A lot of times, she'll only sip on it and squirm. So, I try to stroke her hair and calm her down, tell her "it's night-night time", kiss her, and then put her in the crib. A lot of times, she'll stand up and watch me leave. Sometimes she'll wince and cry for about 2 seconds and once I close the door, she stops and starts talking. But here's my take on it all. If she plays for a little bit, that's fine with me. I can't control that. I know that if it was me, I can't just lay down and go to sleep. There's a lot on a baby's mind (hee-hee). But as long as she knows it's time to eventually go to sleep, then I've kept the main thing, the main thing. :)

AJ,
Wow. Oh my word Wow. I can't even imagine what that's like. I would cry rivers. I know that it hurt your heart, but that's true love and sending that message to her was of utmost importance and had to be done. Tough love, but look at her now. She loves you!!! I'm so thankful for people like you who adopt and transform these babies who have NEVER received love to be overwhelmed with it. You make me want to adopt, just thinking about those poor babies that are being fed physically, but don't have anyone to truly pour out love upon them and just hold them. That's unbelievably sad. Thank you AJ for your story!

Shannon said...

Great post, Hollie! We didn't let Mag cry it out until 7 or 8 months, and even then I was gone to a MK meeting, and Jeff was home, letting her cry. At 2 mo., I don't think I would let Lilly CIO. I probably will not let her CIO until she's older, like 6 mo or so. You are a wonderful Mom, Hollie. And I'm so proud of you for sticking to your decision to give Laney breast milk, even though it has meant so much work for you. Kudos, mama!

Now, I need some help! Anyone have suggestions for my situation with Mag, my 17 mo old? She's waking up again a few times ea. night, and can't self-soothe without a few ounces of milk. She'll even ask for it if you walk in the room when she's screaming. We don't want to go back to CIO right now, b/c our apartment is super small, and if she is screaming at night, she'll wake the baby. Help!

Hollie said...

Shannon,
Let me think about it and ask a few Mamas. In the meantime, readers give Shannon all the advice that you have! She needs some serious rest!

Christina said...

Shannon,
Does she have her molars yet? My 17 month old is waking up a lot recently too, but I'm finally seeing signs of his first set of molars coming in. She could be getting another tooth and those molars are beasts from what I hear.

That pain could be making her less able to self soothe (if she is in fact teething). Maybe try a dose of tylenol or motrin before bed for a few nights to see if it helps? I never like to resort to CIO until I rule out anything like pain from teeth or dirty diapers (which he has had at night recently too).

Just a thought based on what we're going through right now...

Shannon said...

Christina,
thankyou; that is something to consider. She HAS been bringing in teeth off and one the past few months, and I had forgotten that may be a factor.

Right now, we're not letting her CIO at night, at least until we figure out what's going on. Thanks for the advice - I'm open to any and all!

Anonymous said...

Hi! I don't know you but your blog was recommended to me by a friend and I have to say that I'm the mother of a two month old with acid reflux and it has been sooo frustrating, but reading your blog was so refreshing! I felt a lot like a failure after reading babywise and realizing that my baby Savannah NEVER follows it! I was so relieved to read the struggles of another mother of a reflux baby and realize that everyone goes through something like that. Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing your heart and your struggles as well as your triumphs. I am looking forward to getting past the reflux point so that I can experience the triumph as well, but I am also not too eager to let go of these cuddly days! :)

Lauren B & Savannah

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