Wednesday, November 02, 2011

all about naps

i'm forewarning you that this post is not going to be very exciting, and for some reason its difficult for me to actually put this out there. i feel like since i'm doing this whole baby thing for the 3rd time, i should have my act together and know exactly what to do, but the fact is that i don't. and so i need some help. advice, or even just a good old fashioned slap in the face would do.

so. from the moment ava was born, she wanted to be held. all the time. this was okay during the first week when my parents were still here and we had plenty of arms to hold her in, but the day before they left, i realized that i needed help if i was going to be carrying a fussy baby around all day and care for 2 little boys. help came in the form of my moby wrap, which enabled me to keep the baby close to me, which kept her happy, and also have my own 2 arms to tend to the boys.

it didn't take long for my neck injury from my car accident to start acting up a little bit, since ava has never been a light baby. not only that, but there are certain things you can't do while wearing a baby (like bending over for instance) and i was growing weary of feeling like i was still pregnant. not only that, but i couldn't really hug or cuddle my boys and samuel especially began feeling very neglected. i didn't have time to help my baby to sleep in the babywhisperer ways that worked so well for my boys. i couldn't leave my boys (especially sam) alone for any long period of time, and even though the babywhisperer methods are gentle and effective, they generally take a lot of time. i had tried nursing her to sleep, rocking her to sleep, transferring her from the moby wrap to her bed asleep, and of course doing what all the books suggest, which is laying them down drowsy but awake. oh boy, that last one was a laugh! i know that it works for some babies (like my sam), but NOT for babies like ava.

i finally resorted to trying a modified version of letting her cry it out, where i would only let her cry for up to 5 minutes before going in and soothing her. to my surprise it actually started to work! and then, a few days later things got way worse. she wouldn't stop crying, even when i would try to soothe her and she'd often get so worked up to the point that she would gag and choke. when i did some research online, i found that crying it out is not recommended for infants under 4 months because it increases the stress hormone in their brain and makes it difficult for them to calm down. oops. i felt AWFUL. even writing about it now is hard for me because i've never been a fan of that method anyhow, and to use it on my itty bitty newborn makes me feel like such a bad mom.

from that point on my goal was to rebuild trust with ava. she would cry sometimes even when i'd bring her in her room, so i just wore her in the moby non stop for weeks, then gently started trying to transfer her to her crib as she slept. i had some success with this at times, but for the most part, she'd just awaken about 10 minutes after i had layed her down.

she is now 3 months old and i'm exhausted. because she is more alert and aware of her surroundings, having her fall asleep in the moby is becoming more difficult. when i'm at home, i have to turn on the exhaust fan on the oven to create white noise and i can no longer do noisy chores like dishes. i'm constantly hushing the boys because she awakens to sharp noises. not only that, but she is waking up after 30-45 minutes and not re-settling usually takes about 15 minutes of me bouncing her and shushing loudly (on top of the oven exhaust fan noise) in order for her to fall back asleep and finish her nap. she occasionally will tolerate being rocked to sleep, but always awakens after 30-45 minutes in her crib.

with sam, who was a pretty textbook baby, short naps didn't bother him much as long as he got a nice long one in at some point during the day. with ava, who is very much like her brother tristan was as a baby (touchy, sensisitive, easily over-stimulated) it isn't so easy to just let her get by with 30 minute naps all day. not only does she become over tired and melt down, but her night sleep is very affected by her day sleep, so the better she naps during the day, the better she sleeps at night. on a perfect nap day, she will often even sleep straight through the night, so the incentive for me to get her to take decent naps is incredible!

i'm sort of breaking down, though because i can't be away from my boys for 45 minutes in order to rock her to sleep, and i can't keep wearing her so much because now my ankle, which has screws in it, is also starting to act up from walking her all day long. i started using sam's nap time to do the long rocking session, but that just means that tristan is all alone every day for that period of time and he needs his mommy time as well. the 45 minutes where she is napping in her crib are often taken up by me running around like a chicken with its head cut off, emptying the dishwasher, sweeping the floor, doing laundry and generally trying to keep my house from looking like a major earthquake hit.

so. what do i do now? i'm seriously considering trying to rid my mind of the knowledge of how important naps are and just let it all go and suffer my losses by having broken nights of sleep. i'm fearful of doing this, however because as emotional as i get now, its even worse when i'm sleep deprived. still, i'd be spending more time with my boys and less time shushing them. i really don't want to try letting ava cry it out again, even in a month when she'll be able to tolerate it better because of her sensitive personality. i don't think she'd stop crying and i'm just not going to go there yet.

okay, that's about it. i know that this too shall pass, i know that things will get easier, but you know, its been a long 3 months and hearing those things right now just don't really help. i need some tangible things to do to help the situation. things with samuel seem to only be getting worse and tristan is now super attached to me, to the point where he cries when leaving me. i sort of need to fix this soon.

thanks for reading.


Lovella ♥ said...

I'm just going to pray that God gives you wisdom and strength and maybe someone who can come along side of you and be there with you. I always feel that when women open up and share. .the load is lightened.

Heather Head said...

Praying for you Heidi!

Kari said...

Heidi- I am so sorry. It sounds so rough! I don't really have a whole lot of advice because I cannot seem to get the nap time schedule down and I only have 2 kids. My only two suggestions are to use the miracle blanket to swaddle and to put a mobile in her crib that she can look at to help her fall asleep. You probably already have both of those things, but they helped both of my kids be able to fall asleep on their own. Our mobile has animals that rotate in and out of some rainforest leaves, plus lights to watch and music to listen to. Other than that, all I can tell you is that I am praying for you and your boys!

Darcy and Sharon said...

Do you have a swing? Lots of babies absolutely love a swing and fall asleep in there quite easily. It would free up your arms anyway

Anonymous said...

Heidi, I don't know if this will help or not, and you may have already tried this, but my sister's baby wouldn't sleep either, until she put him on a strict schedule for feeds and sleep.

I understand how torn you feel. I experienced a little of that when Micah was born b/c he was so fussy and I didn't want him to cry it out, so Joshua sometimes watched way to many cartoons.

And you are not a bad mom, by the way. You are a fantastic mom. you need to believe that, even if it may not feel that way to you.

i'm praying for you to. wish i could do more to help.

Charlene Ravensbergen

Leanne said...

Oh sigh. This post brings back soooo many memories, and not good ones. The only thing that I can possibly think to suggest is the swing, because sometimes it was the only thing that Owen would sleep in during the day. We would swaddle him tight in the miracle blanket, put on the white noise and he would rock, sometimes for hours - we used it at night too. It doesn't last too long because of the weight limit, but it may help to establish a sleeping routine?
Many many many thoughts and prayers for you.

Anonymous said...

Kaiser was a tough sleeper, too. Not only with naps, but also during the night (he still doesn't sleep through except once in a blue moon - quite literally). While I was still nursing him, I would pump ahead and then Mark would take two or three of the night shifts to help me get some good sleep. Once he was weaned, Mark would take night shift almost always - even though he worked full time days. Is it possible for Josh to do that? That would free you up to partake in the "no worries about naps" routine.

We also had a humidifier in the room for the white noise and moisture - that helped a lot! Kaiser's crying would escalate until he was out of control, too. We tried the cry it out method for a bit when he was about six months, but it made _me_ so upset to hear him so upset so we nixed that pretty quickly.

One of the first thoughts that crossed my mind while listening to your long, tired sigh was whether Tristan could help with this at all. Is there a fun book that he likes to "read"? Would he be up for cuddling Ava while he reads this book to her just before her naps? If it becomes a habit, she might begin to read the signs, it would be a calming moment for all of you (if she's into it) since you'll have a few minutes to take a breather and Tristan can be part of the solution.

I can't tell you how badly your post made me want to just come over and play with the boys so you could have the Ava time you need. Or cuddle with Ava so you could have the boy time you need. I'll be praying for you, too.

-Tamara L

kelly ens said...

HUGE hug to you, friend! I remember Taeya being a challenging baby...but i could focus all my time/energy on her and i still didn't know how i'd survive. i love the baby whisperer, but i'm convinced she did not take into consideration any children after your first....HOW is one to do the PU/PD or shush-pat with two littles running around????
i don't know what to suggest for you, Heidi, but i pray that God will give you strength for each little task of each day!!! and that she will sleep :)

Thoughts on Life and Millinery. said...

After reading this, I've decided I like Sam the best of your brood.
A kid who will sleep like he did is my idea of a fabulous child!

Praying your wee Miss will come to treasure beauty sleep soon.

Jordan and Breanna Abeel said...

I am kind of a nap freak, and I think they are important for a little one's development. They also extremely impact their night sleep as well. I used the book, "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child." The book doesn't recommend the cry-it-out method until they are older than 4 months. But until then it stresses to not let your baby be overtired. The first nap of the day should be about 1-1 1/2 hours after they wake up, then from there they shouldn't be awake for longer than 2 hours at a time, actually, it is best to put them back down more like 1 1/2 hours after waking up from the previous nap. Watch the clock, and try to not let her get overtired, it helps tremendously. According to the book, this is their natural sleep/wake rhythm. A little crying is okay too if you ask me. I have 3 little ones, 3 days a week, and I know how difficult even that can be though!

Claire said...

Haven't checked your blog in a while. I'm sorry you are having a hard time. It sounds like you are feeling overwhelmed and exhausted and just want some clarity about how to help your sweet girl in a way that meets everyone's needs. What about nursing her to sleep on the couch while you read to the boys and then lay her down once she's in a deeper sleep? Or moving the rocking chair into the room the boys play in and rock her in there? Or let them do puzzles/colouring/lego in her room with white noise on while you lay her down? Or will the boys lay down and snuggle you while you lay her down? J used to love to snuggle me along my back while I laid E down and nursed her on the other side. good luck and I hope you find something that will work out well!

Thoughts on Life and Millinery. said...

Doing grand baby prep shopping, looking at the swaddling sleepers. So...did Tristan ever start sleeping without being swaddled?

I remember you having to make one to fit him when he had grown past the store bought sizes.