Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Holy Grail

Nothing is more elusive than the holy grail of babyhood. That's right, I'm talking about sleeping through the night. With your first baby this journey seems like forever since you don't know how long it will take to get there. You pray you'll get one of those miracle babies who is doing it at 4 weeks, but of course you aren't that lucky. I almost don't believe people who are that lucky, but that's probably just the jealousy talking.

Nate was a rough baby. He was a mover and shaker and was not happy if he wasn't in motion. He loved the swing. He'd spend hours in it sleeping. In fact, all of his naps until he was 4 or 5 months took place in the swing. He co-slept (not by choice but because he wouldn't fall asleep without a boob in his mouth) with us until he was 3 months old and then I finally got him to sleep in his own crib. It took a little bit of crying (only 6 minutes actually), but I remember the first time that he fell asleep on his own so vividly. It was the second happiest moment (the first being his birth of course) I had in his short little life! From then on sleep starting going pretty well and by 6 months he was sleeping through the night.

Just to be clear, my definition of sleeping through the night is not the text book one. To me, it means falling asleep and not waking until the morning! None of this, oh they slept 6 hours in a row, call it good crap. Nate was sleeping from 7pm to ~6:30am by 6 months. It was great. He would only wake due to teething, peeing through his diaper, or the occasional bad dream.

Now cue baby #2. The arrival of lil Miss Arielle was different. She was a good sleeper from the start. She didn't need to fall asleep touching me. She hated the swing (go figure) and napped just fine in her crib or the bouncy chair. We co-slept for a little over 3 months, this time, by choice. She is calm and quiet; relaxed in every way. Here comes the but... She is still not sleeping through the night consistently. She did it 3 nights in a row right before we left for vacation, but then she was thrown out of whack by our trip. After returning, she got settled again and gave me 3 nights (usually waking ~6 am) in a row, but then began teething again. The kicker is, the nights she does sleep through, Nate will wake up for some unknown reason. I seriously think they are in cahoots! This mommy is tired and would really just like to go to bed and not have to get up until I need to be up for the day!

At 6 months I started to wait for the light at the end of the tunnel, but it seems that every time the light gets closer it starts to fade again. I long for the day that I can go to bed and know, with relative certainty, that I will be rested the next morning. When did your kids start sleeping through the night, and don't say 4 weeks or I might have to cut ya!

10 comments:

  1. So here's where I'm super worried about welcoming #2 shortly! T slept through the night at 6 weeks, and by sleep through the night, it was 8 hours straight. Everyone told me this was "bad" for a breastfed baby, but I simply let her eat whenever she was hungry. And if she preferred sleep over eating, I wasn't going to argue with her. She was a great sleeper for roughly 18 months to 2 years. Then it went (and still comes and goes) downhill from there. She's up 1 - 2 times a night now.

    I'm so worried that I was so spoiled with how well she slept from the get-go, that No.2 is going to give me a run for my money. I'm not sure how I will function with going back and forth between two girls who are waking throughout the night. Yes, welcome to parenthood. And yes, welcome to my "awakening" to how things usually go.

    I did read a book called Babywise with T. All the people at work with kids were reading it and recommending it to newbies like me....guess it was the consulting trend with how to "train" your kids to sleep. I think the concept is generally good. But I think I was lucky with T and it was more her doing than my reading and putting the concept to practice.

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  2. I think you know with Tommy it was fairly easy - he was giving us 8-12 hours a night by 4 months - and he has been happily and amazingly sleeping through the night ever since (even when baby Jack was screaming in the crib in his room!!)

    Jack has been my "problem" child. His reflux in the beginning made it hard for him to sleep for more than a few hours at a time - and we were never able to successfully elevate his crib to help him. He also had trouble starting solids which meant at around 7 months - a year he was waking simply because he was hungry. Basically he has been sleeping through the night on and off since around 7 months, but it has never been consistently (even now...as I think you already know). Wish I had some sage advice or helpful words, but we're still figuring this out with Jack ourselves!!!

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  3. Ha! What's sleep!? The holy grail is right! Elijah didn't sleep through the night until he was over 2 and asher was better, but also coslept with us forever! In fact? last night we had 2 little extra bums in bed with us!

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  4. I'm not going to answer the question because I don't want cut. ;)
    I do hope she starts sleeping through the night for you soon!

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  5. I was off work for 12 weeks with Drew and I think he started sleeping through the night right before I went back, but I don't remember how long he was sleeping at that point.

    The problem was we rocked him to sleep and by about 5 months he was just out of hand -- he would wake as soon as you stood up from the rocking chair and his naps were horrible so...I bought Dr. Ferber's book and we Ferberized Drew at 6 months. It was a rough couple of days but has been wonderful since then! I hope I didn't just jinx myself and I hope baby #2 gets Drew's sleep gene :)

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  6. Hey Kameron! We met at BlogHer! I, too, don't believe people who say their babies slept through the night at 4 weeks or something. Missy Mae started little by little around 6 months, and then we let her cry it out a bit in order to go the extra hour or two in the morning. Now she goes 5:30 to 5 or 5:30 without a wake-up, and Husband is on bottle duty in the morning. It's been working pretty well for us.

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  7. Oh, Kam! She'll do it. Evany is generally sleeping through, but will throw in some 4 am wake ups just to make me crazy every once in a while. But Jace and Seth? They were a year before they stopped waking up for milk at least once. Seth was older than that, I'm pretty sure. I know I was pregnant, anyway. He was tough. I thought he'd never do it. But it'll happen and then you'll start to miss not seeing her for 12 hours. Not right away, of course...you'll be jumping for joy for a while!

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  8. Somehow I missed this post. Olivia started sleeping through the at seven months, but, she has already started to wake up again. The doctor told us, without flat out saying it, that we should let her cry out since we know she can do it. He said that it sounds like our vacation threw Olivia off too. So basically, I have no words of wisdom because I'm going through the same thing.

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  9. Well, her breathing alarm was discontinued at 10 months, which means she'd gone at least a month with no apneic episodes. So, I'd say she started sleeping through the night around 9 months. She didn't go to sleep until 11-ish most nights and she's still a night owl. She never has slept more than 9 or 10 hours straight on any consistent basis.

    Of course, once she started walking, she would wake up during the night and start pacing in her crib. As long as she wasn't shreiking, we ignored it. She would eventually tire out and lie back down.

    Then, once we moved her to a toddler bed, she would wake up and rearrange the furniture. No, I'm not joking. We called her the Tornado. We had to pretty much gut her room, and use two baby gates to keep her in there. We had locks on the closets (and later installed alarms).

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What you talkin' bout Willis??