My Parenting Style: Sleep

Sleep. You never know how much you need it until it's gone.  Sleep deprivation has probably been the hardest part of parenting for Alex and I up to this point.  Nothing, I mean nothing can prepare you for it.  Some parents get lucky (I hated those parents that told me there babies slept through the night by 6 weeks or even 3 months), but we weren't so lucky.  Turner was a very gassy baby, and he had silent acid reflux, so he never slept well.  I tried numerous things in my quest to get him to sleep through the night, or at least 6 hours straight.  Here are a few things we tried and learned along the way.

Swaddling: I knew prior to having Turner that I wanted to swaddle him.  The Happiest Baby on the Block swears by it, so I thought I would give it a shot.  It worked wonders for us.  I mean don't get me wrong, it wasn't a miracle blanket that made Turner sleep through the night, but it did calm and soothe him.  I swaddled him for the first few months, until one night I found him face down in his crib still swaddled.  He learned how to roll pretty quickly, so the second I discovered this, I stopped swaddling him.  It was a tough transition to go from swaddling to nothing. 

Crib Training: After Turner was born he slept in his pack n' play bassinet in our room for the first few days.  I could NOT handle his little baby moans and groans through out the night, so I had to move the pack n' play to our living room (we were living in a 1 bedroom apartment at the time).  We then transitioned from the bassinet to his swing, due to his acid reflux he needed to be elevated.  I would turn the rocking motion on, and he would sleep SO much longer.  I remember being so worried that I would spoil him by letting him sleep in his swing and rock at night, so during the middle of the night I would sneak in and turn the strength of the swinging motion down in hopes he would sleep being still.

When transitioning from the swing to the crib after the first month or so, I put a heating pad in his crib, let it warm up and removed it just as I laid him down.  This is a trick I probably googled, but I think it helped quite a bit.  It beats laying him down in a cold stiff bed.  

Once we moved in to our bigger apartment, we permanently had him sleep in his crib in his own room.  We never had a monitor.  I did not want to hear him unless he was crying/screaming.  That may sound harsh, but it was for my sanity.  I remember being so anxious when I heard even the tinniest grunt, that he would wake up soon, and would want to breast feed (which felt like death, so I dreaded it).  Turner never slept in our bed.  This was off limits for us. I mean, don't get me wrong, there were nights when all I wanted to do was bring him back to my bed and cuddle, but honestly he never slept well with us.  

Stomach vs. Back:  I know the statistics, and what doctors advise, but Turner slept so much better on his stomach.  We waited till around 4 months to let him sleep on his stomach, because we felt comfortable with him holding his head up and rolling over.

Cry It Out: Well, this never happened. As a full-time working mom, the last thing I wanted to do in the middle of the night before going to work was listen to my child cry/scream.  Another reason we didn't try the cry it out method was because Turner was a tiny baby, and was in the 2 percentile for weight.  So, when he cried, I was worried he was really hungry.  He never ate a ton, so anytime he was willing to eat (2 am in the morning), I made sure to feed him.  Believe me when I say, I researched and read for hours on how to get a baby to sleep through the night.  

Taking Turns: Alex and I took turns on getting up with Turner, but even if Alex got up with him I would still get up (I think it's a mother's instinct to wake up and stay up thinking about your baby until they are back to sleep and not crying).  So, because of this, I usually was the one to get up. Alex could sleep through 30 minutes of crying before he would wake up. Seriously?! How do men do that?

Don't worry, I checked on him to make sure he was alive.  I turned his face to the side, but he moved it back to this position.

The Last Straw: Turner was about to turn a year old, and I had finally had it.  I told Alex it was time we let him cry it out (we had a few failed attempts).  That night we prayed before bed for peace, patience and strength to get through the night.  Miraculously, Turner slept through the ENTIRE night.  Seriously y'all, it was a gift from God.  He heard our prayers, and answered them.  From that night on he slept through the night, maybe a few nights in between where he woke up once, but we just had to stick his pacifier back in his mouth.

Sleep Aids:  We let Turner have a pacifier when he sleeps, and we also use a sound machine (ocean sound).  It's tough when we take trips to listen to the sound machine, but I'm honestly scared of not having it on. 

Bedtime Routine: We've never really tried a bedtime routine.  We just make sure he's at home by 6:30/7 to put down to sleep.  Between 5pm and 7pm he's extremely cranky.  At this point (16 months) his routine after we pick him up from daycare is eat, play/read a book, change diaper, put on pajamas and lay down.  He's really great about going to sleep on his own, minus needing the pacifier.  Once I lay him in his crib, he rolls straight on to his stomach and curls up in a little ball...so cute.

What tips and tricks do you have for getting your babies to sleep?! I would have a baby right now if I knew the baby would sleep through the night after a few months.  But, in the mean time I will enjoy my non-interrupted sleep.

1 comment:

Sharon said...

I could have written this post word for word! We're in the midst of it right now and some nights are better than others. This too shall pass right? :) I love all the sleeping pictures of Turner!