doing it wrong

I feel like we must be doing the sleep thing wrong.

Not that it sounds like anyone has figured out how to do it right in the first few weeks, but I really think that there must be a better way than what we are doing.

From the beginning we've said that we will do whatever it takes to get the most sleep. I was raised with a family bed, and figured thats where the baby would end up sleeping, but wasn't opposed to other arrangements. We inherited lots of other hand-me-down places for the baby to sleep - a crib, pack-n-play, bouncy chair, swing, etc, but decided to wait and see how things went before we set any of it up.

The first couple nights I nursed him whenever he fussed, and he stayed in the bed with us. I worried about having any blankets or pillows near him, so tried to set him on the far side of the bed in between feedings. That didn't work so well, so he ended up sleeping on our chests, which also prevented us from sleeping. ML figured out that the poor kid was probably cold, which made me feel awful, but was probably true, so we started dressing him much warmer for bed.

It was near impossible for me to fall asleep or stay asleep with Baby Cakes next to me, as I felt like I couldn't move around at all and every noise he made caused me to wake up. About a week in, someone suggested we move the swing next to our bed and put him in the swing in between night feedings. We tried that and I slept much better, but it was so much harder to get up out of bed to move him back and forth everytime he needed to nurse. And if I botched the transfer back to the swing I had to start over with the nursing. Exhausting. It ended up being easier to just keep him in the bed.

ML figured out how to swaddle Baby Cakes which has been wonderful and really helped him sleep for longer periods of time.

Luckily, we had the nursing figured out. I was able to nurse while laying on my side so we both ended up drifting off to sleep while he nursed, which was great that I didn't have to be fully awake, but made the transfer back to the swing a bit more difficult as I'd often rouse realizing that it was actually time to nurse again. And side nursing is awesome, with the exception that I have to hold my body 'just so' to ensure that my breast is perfectly positioned to Baby Cake's head. Not exactly relaxing.

We then ditched the swing, and tried setting up a baby bounce chair next to the bed. It was easier to move baby cakes in and out of the chair, but still hard to stay awake enough to make the switch after each feeding. We ended up having some success setting him him the chair as we went to bed, but I rarely made a successful transfer back into the chair.

Last week I randomly set Baby Cakes in the swing which had been moved to the living room one evening, and he liked it! It was right before we were going to head to bed, but we were afraid to move a happily sleeping baby. I sent ML off to bed, and I grabbed a blanket and curled up on the couch. I slept better than I have all month! The swing was across the room, and we had the air filter turned on high for the white noise. I didn't hear any of baby cakes's baby sleep noises, and didn't have him right next to me. It was glorious. And the best part is that he slept for 3 hours! THREE! He woke, cried, I jumped up, nursed him, changed him, and attempted to join ML in bed. Baby Cakes started fussing again so I came back out to the living room, set him in the swing and was amazed that he settled right down. I curled up back on the couch and we slept for another 2 hours!

I feel like we must be doing something wrong when a few hours sleep is such an achievement that it is worthy of the level of celebration that it elicited. It felt like a freakin miracle!

We've had a ton of success since then using the swing for daytime naps, and the first sleep shift of the night. Mostly though, baby cakes is sleeping next to me in the crook of my arm, swaddled up, partially under our comforter. I nurse one boob, then we sleep, when flop him to the other side and nurse the other boob, then we sleep, every hour or so.

The weirdest past for me is that I actually feel guilty wishing that I could just leave him in another room for the night. I just want to sleep. in a bed with my husband. peacefully. uninterrupted.  It feels wrong to wish my baby away like that.

I could go on and on about this sleep thing, but it has seriously become the center of my world. I know that there isn't any answer or solution, and that it will get easier, but my god, it is hard.



ousoonerchick said...

Have you tried a co sleeper? It hooks up to the side of the bed so they are sleeping with you but alone at the same time.

Stephanie said...

I agree a co-sleeper or bassinet next to the bed. It sounds like a co-sleeper might be your best bet though. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

We put all 3 of our kiddos in their crib in their room from day 1, so don't feel bad about feeling that way! I think we place too much guilt on ourselves as mamas. Do whatever works for you!

Anonymous said...

I had my daughter in the pack-in-play next to our bed for the first week or so while we had visitors then she went to the crib and has been there ever since. She ended up on a 3 hour feeding schedule so I was getting up twice in the night to start with but she got use to sleeping in her bed and would sleep well between feedings. We also put her in her crib for naps so it would be the norm. It's trial and error but don't feel bad about wanting more peaceful sleep. I was overjoyed on the nights she would sleep longer than 3 hours.

Lauren said...

This is totally normal. I was REJOICING when Noah finally started getting 3 hours of sleep in a row. Like, I would have thrown a parade if my vagina was in better shape at the time.

At the beginning you just do what you gotta do. And often that means you have to "fix" things later, but that's just what every parent has to do. And everybody's struggle is a little different. Like, newborn Noah never had any trouble sleeping in his own crib or the pack and play (because I literally could not even doze if he was beside me). But it took awhile for him to sleep longer than a couple of hours at a time.

Rebekah said...

This sounds very familiar :) We have a pack n play with a movement monitor in our room. I honestly do not remember her first two months with much clarity at all - I never got more than two hours of sleep in a row. Its tough. Just do whatever works for you. Wanting sleep is normal! I felt I'd be a better mommy if I was better rested...But such is life. If you've found a way to make your little guy sleep and you sleep too - just do it!

Augusta said...

the sleep adventures are significant in the lives of every new parents, it seems. You three are finding your routine, and probably when you've found it, it will change again. :-)

Liz said...

Sleep can be so hard with a new baby. We never co-slept because I always felt like our bed was personal space for my husband and I. That is a place that has always been off limits to my daughter unless the sun was up. Our new baby (2 weeks) sleeps in a pack n' play in my closet (attatched to our master bath-dors left open) at night and in his crib during the day. He would be in his crib in his room at night but I know he would wake his sister when he waked to feed at night. Do whatever works best for you and your family. If you put Q in his crib and he seems to sleep well than don't feel bad. I would just advise to be careful about sleeping in the swing or bouncy chair because that can be a hard habit to break when the times comes. I learned that the hard way with my daughter. However if that is getting you by now when nothing else works-go for it!

Marianne said...

Sleep is my number one complaint too! I sleep good with her in between us in bed but she only sleeps good there about every other night. Last night I got about 2 hours of broken sleep bc all night long she as making her 'pig' noises as i call them - grunting and squirming. Seriously she sounds like a pig. Mine is 6 weeks old now and I can say that when she gets to a sound sleep she is definitely sleeping for a longer stretch - 3-4 hours but it is such a random event.

I hope this gets easier! I feel like if I could just get 3 hours in a row twice in a night regularly I could take on the world - and in my old life I wasn't human if I didn't have at least 7 uninterrupted hours. Oh I really hate my former self.


Julie said...

I wish I had some advice for you, but I don't. I have one of those "urban legend" babies who slept through the night at 3 weeks.

I just wanted to say that Quinn is precious, and his little hat is adorable!

DeterminedDory said...

Foxy, I'm so sorry to have dropped off the face of the earth! Even after your last comment it has taken me this long to manage to get around to your blog and see how you are doing. Your little boy is BEAUTIFUL! As I'm sure you are already quite aware. I am just so happy to see that he's here and you are doing well. Congratulations, with my whole heart! Evan is almost 9 months old now and I'm back to work full time, but I promise that I will try to get on my blog and post some updates soon, with pictures. I will say that your sleep issues sound awfully familiar! Evan slept with us until 3 months old and I used a cosleeper bassinet that was awesome. It kept him close enough that I didn't have to move much to nurse him, but out of bed so I could sleep. But yes, a few hours of sleep IS an achievement, and you aren't doing anything wrong at all!! No matter how much advice you get from people (and you will get a LOT) just keep listening to your baby and do what he's telling you that he needs. You are doing a great job!!!

Miss Mac said...

I've been posting about this a few times recently and we've found our best "solution" for now... he sleeps for a 4 hour stretch in the rock and play sleeper beside our bed until the first feeding, then stays with us for the rest of the night, eh, I mean morning. It is hard. And everyone says "it gets easier." Still kind've waiting on that but at least (for now) we've found something that works for all three of us to get the longest stretches of sleep. Looks like your LO has no problem snoozing, lol- adorable!!!

Mindy K said...

foxy, number one, baby q is amaze and those cheeks are to die for. number two, sorry i haven't been around since i had my own little amazing ivf babe six weeks ago. working on the birth story, but check my blog! number three, and most important, "healthy sleep habits, happy baby" by marc weissbluth is a MUST have for sleep. my experience with both kids has been similar. they slept/sleep in a basinette in my room. noah stayed there til two months and emily will probably be about the same. noah STTN (6ish hours) once in the crib, and emily is STTN (5-6ish hours) now at six weeks. after noah moved to the crib i realize because i couldn't hear his every teensy sound, i wasn't waking and grabbing him to change or feed. i think that could be part of your struggle. you don't need to respond to every grunt and whine. i know they say not to wait to nurse until the baby's crying, but with emily, i don't get her out of the basinette until she's obviously awake and hungry. anyway the weissbluth method comes into play around six weeks of age, and i adhered pretty closely to it with noah, and he has always been a great napper/sleeper, and i will follow the same with emily. it basically is a sleep training model that says very basically that after two hours of being awake, it's time for baby to sleep. so emily wakes for the day around 8 or 9, and usually naps around 10 or 10:30. if she wake by 11 or 11:30, she's asleep again by 1 or 1:30. highly recommend it, so that when q's a little older, you can get him on a great routine!

Anonymous said...

Q is so adorable. Congrats! I want to kiss up those little cheeks!

As for sleep, well, I'm going to write what I wish I had known seven months ago. They all SAY it gets better. That is a damn lie. Tatoe slept better when he was a newborn than he does now. Here is what happened for us:

First there was the swaddle. It was lovely. He fell asleep more easily and stayed asleep longer. But he grew addicted to a nice, tight swaddle and it became a sleep association. He couldn't even relax without it. Blankets stopped working and we bought larger and larger swaddlers until he was about to outgrow the largest size. Then one night when we had finally managed to transfer him to his crib without waking him and go to sleep ourselves, he woke up with a muffled cry -- he had rolled over onto his face and couldn't roll back because he was swaddled. We took the swaddle away that instant and never looked back, but he still has so much trouble going without it that we have to physically hold his arms down when he's trying to go to sleep.

There was also the swing. Tatoe had reflux and needed to sleep upright so when he outgrew the bouncy chair while swaddled, we moved him to the swing while swaddled. That lasted several months until one night when he realized he could Sit! Up! and darn near toppled out of the thing despite the safety belt and play tray in his way. We moved him out of the swing only to realize that we had created a monster who was unable to sleep unless he was in motion. Even though we turned the swing off once he was deeply asleep, every little move he made had gently rocked him back to sleep during the time we used the swing for sleep.

He finally got used to sleeping still, but had to fall asleep in the crook of my arm. Now he refuses to go to sleep elsewhere. Babyboy has given his mama a wicked case of tennis elbow from holding him just so, trying to get him to fall asleep and stay asleep. We too are reluctantly cosleeping. It sounded like a great idea at first, but his every little noise, his every little motion, wakes me up. And even if I manage to get him out of my arms, he is a heat-seeking mama missile who gradually steals my entire side of the bed. :)

If I could do it all over again, we'd side-car the crib for the early days, then put the side on and gradually move the crib away from our bed. He'd never have been allowed to sleep elsewhere if we had known it'd be such a nightmare later on. We'd swaddle only loosely (a Woombie would have been ideal), and take away the swaddle before he was 3 months old and got so used to it. And if I still had to hold him to get him to sleep, I'd have gotten a tennis elbow brace the instant my elbow started to hurt. I ignored it for a month and my doctor says the damage and pain from it might be permanent now.


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