Friday, April 27, 2012

sleep like a baby

In the case of my baby, that means "never sleep at all. ever."

I have been, um, blessed with a baby who doesn't sleep.

I don't mean only takes two one-hour naps. I don't mean wakes up two or three times a night still.

I mean, his naps are about twenty minutes. I mean, a good night is him waking up every three hours. A bad night? Every 1/2 hour to 45 minutes. Those are lovely nights.

He's 10 months old.

There is a reason there are very few pictures of this boy sleeping and even fewer pictures of him sleeping blissfully on his own. And that's because it hasn't ever happened.

This boy of mine came into the world ready to go. He always preferred to stretch his legs and body. He was very vocal and very particular about how he was held. He preferred motion, though hated the car. He's my little monkey and it's going to be very interesting to see what sort of little boy he'll be.

I almost didn't post this. I annoy myself with all the whining about this baby not sleeping. If I wasn't living it, I'd think I was full of it, exaggerating and clearly doing something wrong.

If you run in any of the same online social forums I do, you might be rolling your eyes right now. You've seen me joke about it and try and take it in stride and you've seen me (mostly) cry and whine and moan about it. You're probably more than a little sick of it. But I'm putting it out here anyway.

Here's why: to have a baby who doesn't sleep. And I don't mean in the "exhausting 'cause you aren't sleeping either" sort of way, though that is certainly true. I mean exhausting in the "ON" all day and night sort of way. I mean exhausting in the way that the thought of nap time makes you want to sit down and cry because nap time has become such a battle.

And you know, you have the well meaning friends and family and support. Especially when you perhaps talk about it OVER AND OVER AND OVER (not that I do that or anything, ahem) and people are really, sincerely trying to help you. It's appreciated - the feedback. It really, truly is. But sometimes it can get frustrating too. you just want someone who understands. Who knows what you are going through. Who realizes you really have tried all the tricks.

Yes, I have tried wearing him. I wore him and wore him and wore him when he was an infant. Now that he is just about 30 lbs, wearing him for several hours a day while he naps can be painful., though I do often still put him in the carrier when I'm desperate for him to sleep. Sometimes it works, sometimes it does not. Also, sometimes I just don't WANT to wear him (gasp!) I just don't. Sometimes I just want him to sleep, soundly, by himself. This does not make me a terrible person.

No, I have not tried Crying-it-Out. Though we did set up a crib finally, and just last week I had to put him down for about 5 minutes and just walk away. He cried. I took some deep breaths, came back in and he nursed right to sleep and admittedly did sleep for probably his longest nap ever, waking twice to nurse, but sleeping for nearly 3 hours. Sometimes he nurses right down, without a fight (for his 20 minute power nap!) and there is no need or reason for him to be left alone to cry like that though. If I need to do that I will, but I'm not going to create a situation to do it in. The truth is I'm just not okay with it. Perhaps in a couple of months, but right now he's just a baby still. He is not doing this to manipulate me or to drive me crazy.

I've read No Cry Sleep Solution. I understand that clearly he is not cycling though sleep. The suggestion there is to catch him at the transition and settle him back down before he fully wakes up, thus allowing him to enter deep sleep and nap like a normal baby. I've done that too. It usually gets me another 5-20 minutes of nap time.

Yes, he actually does need to nap. No, he is not one of those babies that just don't need naps. Just trust me on this one. I mean, really, I'm looking forward to the day that he doesn't need naps anymore. Spending literally hours a day to get him to sleep, only to be rewarded with a 20-30 minute nap is certainly not my idea of a good time. I'm not doing this for fun. In fact, it's the least fun thing I can think of right now. Yes, he actually does need longer naps. There are times he'll take them. Sometimes in the car (though driving around is no guarantee he'll fall asleep, even when he's tired). Sometimes if he's being worn and most often if he is being held.

No, I did not spoil him. No, I do not believe that this is my fault. Yes, I wore him often, held him for naps and rushed to him when he cried. That is because that's what babies need. Babies need to be held, they need to feel secure. He has never liked to sleep on his own. Not even the day he was born. He protested, very loudly, from the start. He has never liked the swing. He has always preferred the warmth of someones arms. Wouldn't you?

Honestly, the night times would be bearable, if only there was nap time. Or perhaps the nap battle would be less exhausting if there was night time sleeping happening.

My next step is a pediatrician and chiropractic appointment.

I don't know what the answer is.

I am not putting this out there to give answers or advice.

I am not putting this out there to get answers or advice.

I just know that I've spent more time than I'd care to admit, scouring the internet for ideas, tips, tricks, solutions. I rarely find it. Not that I'm unsympathetic, because I realize all pain is relative, but coming across  information on how to get your 4 month old to sleep through the night, or posts about your baby only taking two one-hour naps a day - well, those things just are not the same. I'm sympathetic, really, but if this boy was taking two one-hour naps a day, I would be an elated mama.

I am putting this out there, for those other exhausted mamas, who might be googling furiously each day - looking for something, anything, to help them out.

I'm putting this out there to say that while I don't have the answers, I understand. There is a girl  I know, who understands me, and while it doesn't solve the issue, man oh man does it help. Just to know there is someone else out there who gets it. (thank you so much for listening to my constant whining!)

So I'm just here saying that I understand - I get it. And I do really, honestly believe that it will get better. It really will.


Anonymous said...

I know exactly how you feel. My daughter was like just like that. I almost lost my sanity the first couple years of her life, from lack of sleep. She wouldn't take a bottle ever either so I could never leave her with anyone to get some rest.
We tried everything too and nothing helped. She's 14 now and still sometimes has trouble sleeping but at least she doesn't wake me up anymore.
Sending you a big hug and hoping your sweetie starts sleeping through the night and napping soon.

Fleecenik Farm said...

I'm so sorry to hear about this. My little guy was like this. Not nearly as long as yours but I remember that deep sense of exhaustion.

We eventually found a cranio-sachral therapist, or a traditional osteopath would do the same. A little for him and alot for me helped a bit. Finally after a year he finally started taking naps.

Anonymous said...

I am one of those googling mamas and you just restored my sanity (a little... ) My one year old son is the same way and everyone keeps telling me that I must be doing something wrong with his sleep routine. Its nice to know that there are just some kids who don't sleep and take what comfort we can from that ! :-)