We figured out a plan.

April 18, 2008 at 8:32 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 11 Comments

The past couple days have been so much better with the sleep thing – despite the fact that I was up with Baby O yesterday in the wee hours of the morning.

Why?

Because J and I figured out that it’s better to take care of him in shifts.

For a number of reasons, I am not ok with co-sleeping. I know that there are a lot of benefits to bringing the baby into bed with us – one of which is more sleep.

But I’m paranoid. First of all, I wouldn’t want to put him on top of our comforter, as it’s covered with Puck hair. And then I have this very irrational but real fear about SIDS. Or J or me rolling over in the middle of the night on top of Baby O. I’ve tried to nap with him in my arms in our bed, and I end up with nightmares about something happening to him. So I just can’t do it.

For those of you who can, my hat’s off to you. I just am not comfortable with it.

But J and I finally stumbled on a plan which, in the past few days at least, has worked well for us. J does a bottle of formula for the last feeding before bed/first feeding of the night, provided it’s before midnight. I pump and go to bed while he stays awake with the baby.

And I’m on duty for the rest of the night, whenever Baby O wakes up and needs to be fed.

I can’t tell you HOW MUCH BETTER I feel even with 4 hours consecutive sleep. Really, it’s made a HUGE difference in my outlook. I’m still tired – I feel like I could sleep for days before I feel like I’ve caught up on my sleep! – but during the day I no longer feel like a zombie.

Funny how it took us so long – almost a whole month! – to figure it out. But for now it seems to be working.

And I’ll tell you. Last night, Baby O ate at 10:30, and finally went down a little after midnight (gas, people, really sucks for babies, the poor thing.) But he slept through 4:30, when my aching boobs made it neccessary to get him up. Good thing for me he was hungry! And then he and I slept until 7:30.

Course, J is pretty tired today. So I think we’ll modify our weekend routine so that tonight I’m on duty so he can sleep, and tomorrow morning he’ll get up early with Baby O so I can sleep in.

But we have a workable PLAN, people. This baby might not actually turn us into raving lunatics from lack of sleep*.

*Also noteworthy this week: I’m with Oro here – Dr. Harvey Karp is a genius. We’ve managed to calm Baby O by a combination of a tight swaddle (I HEART this blanket), a pacifier, and laying him on his side, against my belly. INSTANT calm.

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  1. That’s the plan that worked best for us, and it really made a difference.

    I ❤ the 5 S’s and the MB!!!! Our MB was a gift, but I would have paid 10x the price of it for how well it worked for us.

    D

  2. that is a great plan. we learned early on that instead of me trying to do night feedings alone if we both took one, got them fed and changed and back to “bed”, we were both better off and we were sleeping. it’s not perfect yet, but it’s workable and that’s the most important thing.
    YEA for sleep.

  3. I’m so glad you’ve got a system that’s working. Memories of my daughter’s early months are hazing for many, many reasons, but I vividly recall moments of great exhaustion and frustration. Similar to your description for a few days ago, I recall several times standing in her room just crying, because she wouldn’t go to sleep and I was just too far gone. Fortunately, the few times it got that bad my husband would come it, walk me back to our bed and take over. I have to say one thing about the co-sleeping issue. I get the sense from your post that you may feel a bit defensive and I just want to say DON’T! I’ll start by saying that we did not — we couldn’t have b/c of the monitor my daughter was on for 6 months, but I wouldn’t have anyway. I know people who co-slept and it worked for them and that’s great. On the other hand I know people who co-slept and it was a disaster. My SIL and BIL couldn’t get their son out of their bed until he was 4. And to do it they had to first put a mattress on the floor in their room and let him sleep there for months. My SIL didn’t get a good nights sleep for years and it helped to ruin their marriage. Needless to say she did not co-sleep with her next 2 children. I don’t provide this example to bash co-sleeping, I know it works well for alot of people. But I also know it’s not for everyone. I 5 1/2 years of parenting I’ve suffered from alot of guilt myself. It’s so depressing to me how so many of us are made to feel guilty about the choices we make as parents, co-sleeping or not, breast or formula, what kinds of foods we feed our kids, whether or not we work outside of the home, etc, etc. So that’s my loooong way of saying I really hope you don’t feel any guilt about the sleeping thing. I can’t point to plenty of children who did not co-sleep (including my own) who are perfectly happy, smart, and loving.

    Ok, off my soap box. Hope you enjoy your newfound sleep!

  4. Yes — what Bean said! I felt exactly the same as you do about co-sleeping with my son. I was just too worried. Later, when he was an older infant (probably 8-10 months) I would do his early morning 5am feeding in our bed and then we would both sleep there for an hour or two, but my DH was off to work. Other than that, there was just too much about co-sleeping that I was not comfortable with. And we still had some sleep issues anyway, so I know they would have been much tougher if we had been co-sleeping too. Don’t feel bad about anything you are doing! What matters is that O and you both are rested, healthy and happy!

  5. I am glad you came up with a plan that works for both you and J. Does O get gas when he is breast fed or only with the bottle? If the bottle, have you considered switching bottle type. My ds had horrible gas (he was bottle fed almost exclusively) and we ended up switching to the Dr. Brown’s bottles and they helped a ton. Gas is really hard on everyone!

  6. Yes, yes….swaddling worked for both our babies, too. And nary a genetic link shared between the two, so I’m convinced it’s the swaddle!!

    I’m glad you’re getting a plan going. Sleep is key, for SURE!!

  7. The shift thing–very important. Heck, we still do this with our 9 year old on the weekends–one of us gets up with him (once we have exhausted the “play in your room until ____ o’clock”) and the other gets to sleep in. Then we switch and the other person gets to have a morning nap.

    It really does help to divide up the workload a bit (even if you still get the bigger portion).

    Sometimes I think the hardest thing for a new parent is for them to realize that over time their child doesn’t NEED them CONSTANTLY and that (esp. as time goes on) you can have a space, a moment that is yours.

  8. I didn’t really start co sleeping with my little girl until she was bigger–around 3 months–and I had more confidence that I wouldn’t crush her and also once we mastered the ever important nursing while laying down!. Now it’s much better. We put her down in her crib at bedtime and feed her again before I got to bed, then once she wakes up for another feeding, I put her in bed with us and then return her to her crib after the 6 am feeding. This way she becomes accustomed to falling asleep and waking up in her bed but I get the benefit of co-sleeping while nursing. We also have a guest bed and if she gets especially boisterous at night her and I will sleep in that bed together so that my husband can get rest to go to work in the morning–one of us gots to earn a living!

    But I totally get those who don’t co-sleep. If my girl would sleep for longer periods without needing to eat then I probably would have her in her crib, but there ain’t no way I’m getting my a#$ up three times a night! I would encourage some co-sleeping though–like naps and such. It really is special to snooze and cuddle and nurse with your baby like that and the window for doing it is so small cause you’ll wake up and Baby O will be a big boy.

  9. Ditto on the Miracle Blanket. Didn’t start using it til Baby L was something like 10 or 12 weeks, but I used it plenty after that. It was great.

  10. Love the MB too! We use it every night! Can you tell me a little more about your bf/formula/pumping schedule? Im having a hard time getting one set and want to do a combination of all 3!! You can email me at Kelster5@aol.com if you have time. (ya right)
    My baby is 14 days old…

  11. My baby is 7 months old now, but reading your blog totally brings back those first six hellish weeks. I know people kind of warn you about it, but not enough!!! The hardest thing for me was the breastfeeding. From all the books I read I expected it to be this sweet bonding moment between me and my son… no way! I would cringe every time I fed him from the pain, we saw 3 different lactation consultants, I pumped a lot, we stressed over his weight gain… a nightmare! I was so angry at all those books and all those people that said how sweet breastfeeding was!

    But gracious… once that six weeks hit, and he gave us his first smile… all was forgiven. And breastfeeding became that sweet bonding moment. And every day was and is more and more wonderful!

    We also read the Harvey Karp book. Its good stuff. And then we totally had the best plan to get my son out of co-sleeping into the bed. And then he started rolling around, and wiggling himself into the corners, getting stuck and whacking his head on the side of the crib. We didn’t like him hurting himself. So… he’s still co-sleeping. Side-laying breastfeeding, though. That totally changed my sleep quantity, because you really don’t even have to be awake to do the feeding!

    All that to say… sounds like you are doing awesome! Thanks for sharing all the personal stuff. Its neat to hear how you are doing things.


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