Friday, May 15, 2009

Mama's Losin' It

Seriously. I am going insane. I know I've talked a bit about Libby's sleeping (or really, lack of) and how it is making me crazy. Well, it is official. I am ready to go check myself into the loony bin (or a really nice hotel) until she is taking naps like she should.

I know that she needs naps. Everyone knows that babies need naps. Why doesn't she know it? I have been doing some of the things from Elizabeth Pantley's No Cry Nap Solution, and I think it would work a lot better if I had time to devote to it. But here's the problem, I have a 2 and 4 year old that need me. As it is, I am devoting most of my day to get Libby to take a nap. She goes down for 20-30 minutes and then wakes up. The book tells me to go in right before she is to wake up and put my hand on her back to help her stay asleep. Well, that doesn't work. So, I end up being in there for another hour either nursing her or rocking/bouncing/shushing her back to sleep. Another HOUR that my 2 and 4 year old are on their own. This cycle then repeats in another 30 minutes. This continues until she has had at least 1.5 hours of sleep. That is her nap for the day. Yep, that's it. I can't devote anymore time to it though because then it's time to start making dinner and my other 2 neglected children will let me neglect them no longer.

Now, on the rare occasion that she does sleep for more than 30 minutes, it is quickly interrupted by the older two again. Because, I go in to help her stay asleep and they come in (despite the stop sign on the door that tells them to...STOP). So, again, that wakes her up.

I need help. I am not willing to do cry it out. I can't do that. I have read way too much about the detrimental effects of letting your baby cry. But, I need help.

I love Elizabeth Pantley's No Cry Sleep Solution and the Nap Solution too. I think it is better suited for parents who just have one child, or a large age gap in their children. Because for us, it is just not working.

I really need help though. Please, help me. I am at my wits end. I am angry and frustrated and tired and cranky and my children are all paying the price for one not sleeping.

HELP!

14 comments:

Manic Mother said...

You poor thing. I am a fan of the cry it out solution, I had both kids regularly napping and sleeping through the night by 10 months. And it only took 2 days before they figured it out. Buy the book Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child. It offers a handful of different ways to help your baby, including no cry methods. Good luck!

Jen said...

You could maybe try pushing back her nap an hour, but I put my kids in bed when they're awake and let them learn to self-soothe themselves to sleep. I let my babies cry a little, but I am pretty weak and can only handle it about 10 minutes. I look at the time and then go do the dishes or something loud enough that I can't hear them crying. Most of the time, by the time the 10 minutes is up, they're asleep. If they aren't asleep, I go in, pick them up, make sure they don't have air bubbles or other problems, rock them for a minute or sing them a song and then put them back in their cribs. It is very rare, if ever, that they last another 10 minutes. They have usually worn themselves out by then.
Good luck!

Kelly said...

I'm in the trenches with you on this one. My 6 month old doesn't really nap either, only for about 10 minutes at a time.

A few thoughts:
My oldest was like this as well. At night, he would only sleep a few hours. His body seemed to only require 6-7 hours of sleep total in a 24 hour period. Once he was 18 months or so and VERY active, he began to sleep well at night (meaning 9 pm to 7 am) but never really napped.

Fundamentally, it was biology and a lack of an ability to self-soothe that was at play with M.

With my current baby, it's a lack of strict schedule that is at play. With my middle two, we could do bedtime and naptime at the same time every day, but we're on the go too much. I'm working on trying to get my life to line up so that we're home more, or at least that I putting her down on the same blanket in the same manner so that I have portable routine. This baby does not sleep well in quiet....so I often turn on a fan or run the vacuum, etc. as she's falling asleep.

Have you tried using white noise (like a loud fan)?

Best of luck....I feel your pain!

*Lissa* said...

Oh, hon, I know how bad that sucks!! I had sleep troubles with the twins, only it was at night -for the first two years!

I did find that letting them cry for a few minutes worked the best for us -usually they would go back to sleep.

I also agree with the above poster - white noise or some other type of "soothing noise" could help.

Do you have anyone that can help out for a bit so you can get a break and relax?

Hollie Wood said...

I got a video shortly before my six almost seven year old was born called Your Baby Can Sleep. It worked wonders! :) It really made sense to me. Since you have asked for opinions, I will give you an opinion. In the video it talks about sleep patterns. When we sleep at night, we have a routine, such as which pillow we use, the lights being out...think of your own patterns that help you sleep the best. When we are asleep at night our brains to some level are still awake and so if something breaks our sleep pattern, we wake up ie smoke in the room, our pillow fell off of the bed, a light being flipped on, something so simple as a child sitting there staring at you. Babies are the same way, they need a consistent sleep pattern. If a baby goes to sleep being rocked, having their back rubbed, music on, in a swing, being fed, if that pattern is broken they will wake up. I'm not sure I understand the whole coming in the room thing and putting your hand on her back. If someone did that to me while I was sleeping, it would wake me up. Wouldn't it wake you up too? I haven't read this persons book so I don't understand her logic behind it. Back to the video... When a routine is created, the baby quickly figures out it is wind down time, and it's time to go to sleep. I have all my babies next to me in a pack and play so they aren't left in their own room. But the video does this as if they are in their own room. Put the babe down awake, just like you are when you go to bed, tell her you love her, it's time to sleep, goodnight. Then walk out. When she starts crying, poke your head in and softly speak, shhhh, mommys right here. It's time to go to sleep I love you goodnight. Then wait two minutes and repeat the process, then five minutes, then seven minutes, then ten minutes, then fifteen and so on. You are not "abandoning" her to cry it out. She will know your stress level as only babies can know. If you're stressed to the max and beyond pissed, she's going to sense that. If you're calm and speaking softly, she's going to realize, Mommy is calm, everything is ok and be able to self soothe and go to sleep on her own. These techniques worked fabulously with my older daughter, HOWEVER, not so much with my last babe. (now 14 months old) By the time she was three weeks old, my husband and I were BEYOND exhausted. When I would talk and soothingly shhhh her, she would SCREAM loud enough to make your ears ring. It would make me think she was hurting. It was beyond frustrating. I had three other kids to take care of and when your baby won't sleep and stay asleep it creates a stress and a depression that I know you are familiar with right now. I didn't know what to do...the soothing techniques weren't working with her, they were making her MORE upset and angry. So I figured, if talking to her and shhhhing her were making her angry, then I would just not say anything at all. We went through bed-time routine as usual which included a bath, getting in pjs, feeding and then I loved on her, told her I loved her, put her in bed, tucked her in, said goodnight and turned the lights off. After a couple of minutes she started to cry and cried for 25 minutes and then fell asleep and slept for five hours instead of one and a half to two hours and then was awake for another two hours and so on through the night. It only got better from there and within a week, like the video said, she was going to sleep on her own and no more crying and screaming. I understand your frustrations Kim. It's a very low and depressing place to be. Every baby is different. I discovered that. You can't take one persons ideas and generalize for everyone. I hope I have given you some ideas. It breaks my heart to hear my baby cry, but realize you aren't abandoning her if you soothingly shhh her and say the same things to her. She knows your there and she will be able to sense your stress level. Good luck and I hope she starts sleeping for you. Take care! **HUGS**

Kim said...

Wow, I am so comforted to know I am not alone in my battle here.
I feel like I need to clarify something about the No Cry Nap Solution --
The theory behind going in at 30 minutes is that during her light waking cycle, she is waking and not getting back to sleep. So, what you're doing is essentially recreating the way that she fell asleep to help her stay asleep when she has that light waking. Does that make sense? I really love her book, and her methods have worked before with Seth...it's just not working this time and it is so frustrating!

Right now Jeremy is home for lunch so he is in with her trying to get her to sleep. Night time doesn't bother me one bit, it's the daytime stuff. This girl needs to sleep!

Michelle said...

Kim,
I feel badly for you, and I can sense just how overwhelmed you are. I'm so sorry. Unfortunately I can't offer you any advice because I have let all three of my kiddos cry it out with a lot of success, but I know that this is not an option for you. I just wanted to say that I hope something works soon. Could it just be that she really doesn't require the naps that you think she does? We certainly cannot bundle all babies into one category and say that they "all" need them. Perhaps she doesn't?

Good luck. I'm thinking about you.
Michelle

Kelli @ Gohn Crazy said...

I really feel for you on this one. I've been there done that. I agree that the NCSS works better if you only had one. I tried it with my son and it was VERY hard even just with a 3 yr old extra. I just took it as I could get it and if nap only lasted a little while well so be it. I also did have quiet time for my daughter while it was afternoon naptime so that I could devote more attention to her. Otherwise there were a lot of naps on the couch watching a movie. Hang in there. It's SOOOOOO hard but it will pass. *hugs* I don't think there was anything specific that really worked with us. I think it was more time than anything.

Tina said...

We have different parenting styles so my advice really won't work for you, because my children are much more independent from me than yours are. But for us? We never did a set nap time. We let the kids play and nap where they dropped. Sometimes that's in a box, sometimes on their bed, sometimes on the floor. We also have a dedicated play room for them, with a gate across the doorway. They could do whatever they wanted in that room but they had to stay in there, and often that is where they would drop and sleep. The living room is my room, not much playing is allowed in there for instance. The bedrooms are playrooms. Now at nighttime, Marissa likes to watch a video or something before going to bed. Dani was the same way. Dani is such an easy person to get to go to bed now. She puts her PJ's on and pretty much tucks herself into bed when she gets tired. I think Marissa will follow after her because she just lays in bed and goes to sleep when the video is over. I don't do the 'cry it out' either because I'm not forcing them to go to sleep. Sometimes they nap during dinner time... If I need to take them somewhere and they are tired, they can nap in the car or on the stroller etc. We just never really gave it much thought. I mean, I nap when I'm tired, not at a set time period, ya know? I know I tried the forcing naps with the oldest and it was a nightmare, so after that I just gave up. But it works for us because I'm not constantly being their playmate. I'm their mom. For our household that means something different than I know it does for you. Super hugs!

kate said...

Hi Kim,
I am sorry! I have been there and it is NO fun! I did end up resorting to crying it out for both kids and it was no where near as traumatic as I thought it was going to be...not saying that it is the right solution for you...No sleep is just hard! I am sorry!
Both our kids are in bed already. Finnegan skipped his nap today and had a massive meltdown at 6:30. Did you hear him at your house?
See you at the market :)

kate said...

p.s. I forgot to mention that both Finnegan and Maggie use a sound machine (set to white noise)...Finnegan does not really need his anymore, but I turn maggie's up super loud for naps (not night time). It has worked wonders for keeping her asleep with all of Finnegan and Shamrocks noise.
Good luck lady!

Midwest Mommy said...

My little guy has always set his own nap schedule. I can usually tell when he is tired. Some days he goes down at 10:00 in the morning and sleeps til almost 2:00 in the afternoon. Or he'll go down at 2:00 and sleep til 4:00. I have noticed that if I let him doze off a little, let's say in the high chair I have lost my good nap for the day. It is over. I swear if he falls asleep for 5 minutes and then is woken up it is all over for the day and he can't get back to sleep. So I try to catch him before this point and put him in the crib with a toy to play with as he falls asleep.
Good luck, I know it is so hard.

jodi peterson said...

Kimmers
Some kids just don't need the sleep like other-even though us Moms need them to need it! I wear the kids out and put the naps off thil they are so completely wiped out then they sleep. But this is a lot of work and I don't do it every day. Maybe she will come out of this "phase". Melissa did the same for about 4 months, it was hell. But then it ended....thank God!!

Heather of the EO said...

Oh lady...

All different people do this all different ways huh?

Both of my boys did this. No matter what I did, in their infancy, they just did not stay sleeping. I didn't have as much time to work on it with Asher and it was so frustrating. I thought it would never end.

But it did.

I think if you work on it as much as you can, and try to be as consistent as possible (without driving yourself or your other kids crazy), sooner or later it just HAPPENS. It feels like it takes forever, huh? Now we're in the waking at 5 or 6 am phase, and I wonder if that will ever end...blech.

I love No Cry too, but you're right, sometimes there just isn't enough Mom to go around to pull such things off.

So frustrating! I'm sorry.