Baby sleep debate

Thursday, October 3, 2013

As I write this, I am going on about 5 1/2 months of less than 5 hours of a sleep at a time, so I apologize in advance for grammar/spelling errors and the fact that this post might be all over the place.  The lack of sleep is starting to affect my quality of life.  I forget things, I get agitated easily, I do stupid/careless things, I mess up at work and I am tired and hungry all the time.  The other day I scheduled a meeting (booked the conference room) and forgot to actually invite people to it.  I was sitting in the room by myself when I realized that I didn't invite anyone.  Face.  Palm.

My 5 1/2 month old son, who is the size of a 1 year old (for real), has decided that sleeping is not very high up on his list of his priorities.  He doesn't sleep at night and he doesn't do anything more than take small 20-30 minute cat naps throughout the day.  Lately, his pattern has been as follows:

6:30 PM - Bath
6:50 PM - Book
7:10 PM - Nurse, side lying
7:15 PM to 7:45 PM - Either lay with him in our bed until he falls asleep then transport to his crib or pick up put down in his crib.  He kicks and thrashes until he finally passes out.
8 PM to 11 PM - Sleep, B
9:30 PM - I go to sleep
11 PM - B wakes up to nurse, side lying
11:15 PM to 1 AM - Sleep, B (my husband puts him back in his crib)
1 AM - Attempt giving B pacifier in his crib, fails
1:15 AM - Nurse, side lying until we both fall asleep in our bed
1:20 AM to 3 AM - Sleep, B
3 AM - B wakes up, give him pacifier
4:40 AM - I wake up to get ready for work, B sleeps with Dad
5:40 AM - Wake B up to nurse before I leave

Things that I know I am doing wrong:

1.  Co-sleeping.  My husband and I swore up and down that we would not co-sleep.  That was until I found out about how real the effects of sleep deprivation are on a person.  We didn't want to co-sleep because we didn't want to be that couple that can't have sex because the kid is in bed with us.  I didn't really even take into consideration the risk of suffocation/SIDs, which I was reminded of the other day that I am a shitty parent for letting B sleep in our bed.  The only real reason that we started co-sleeping was because when I nurse the baby at night, in bed, we both fall asleep.  I am working/commuting daily from 6:30 AM until 4:30 PM.  I need some sleep.  The only way I get any at all is if I nurse while lying down.  I feel like we need to take a "vacation" from work to train him to sleep.

2.  Letting him lay with me to fall asleep.  After nursing him before bed, I lay with him on most occasions and hold down his arms because he bats them up and down like a wild animal.  Pinning them down does help him fall asleep faster, but I know the we need to let him learn to comfort himself.

The other night I put him down in his crib at bedtime, turned on his B.aby E.instein Fishy Music Box and attempted to let him put himself to sleep as I watched on the baby monitor.  Little B decided to flip onto his stomach and proceed to pivot so much that both of his legs became stuck in the crib slats.  By the time I came upstairs to rescue him, he was so flipped out that he was flailing and banging his head on his mattress while crying to the point that he could barely catch his breath.  So yeah, that was an epic failure.  I had to rock him for 20 minutes so that he could calm down enough to fall asleep again.

The past two nights he has been sick.  He developed a stuffy nose, watery eyes, sneezing and twice he has vomited (they told me I would know the difference from spitting up and vomiting and I didn't really believe them, but now I do).  He hasn't has a fever, though.  The poor babe has trouble eating or sucking on his pacifier because he can't breathe out of his nose.  We gave up on any type of sleep conditioning (training seems to be too controversial of a word these days) until he is better.  The past two nights, I have gotten a combined 7 hours of broken sleep.  Not good my friends, not good.

I have asked advice from several friends and family members and their responses for what I should do range from total CIO (cry it out) to attending to baby's every cry so that they keep trust in you (how they know that baby trust is associated with letting them cry to sleep is beyond me).  Usually people who are adamantly against CIO are very passionate about it, but the opposite is also true.  My mom is very passionately for CIO and claims that it worked for all of us and that none of us had serious attachment issues.  She is right.  We all slept through the night at early ages and were breastfed (I always get "give him cereal in his bottle and he'll sleep longer"...ummm no thanks).  We were also made to CIO at early ages.  My mom said it took 2-3 nights before we were able to "self-soothe".  She mentioned that it wasn't easy to listen to us cry and that she cried, too, but it was worth it.

Findings from a Temple University study that came out late last year, suggest that leaving babies to CIO is not harmful to them and helps them learn how to sleep on their own.  This NY Daily News article sums up the study.  Honestly, I am not sure how much actual scientific research they are using here to make that claim because, even after researching, I can't find the actual published study results.  I think that this method most definitely makes it better for the parents quality of life and many times a happy mommy/daddy equals a happy baby.  I am not sure that they went into disproving that it can cause psychological issues later in life, I think they just set to prove out that letting babies cry it out helps them to sleep better.

I belong to a FB group of mothers who miscarried babies that were due in April 2012.  Members of the group have left because their views on the topic caused major verbal arguments.  A few of them said it bothered them so much to hear about others abandoning their babies at night that it made them cry.  Drama, much?

An article in Psychology Today, Dangers of “Crying It Out”,  backs up the claim that children are generally damaged when being left to CIO. In summation, the article states that babies that are left to cry are more likely to have higher levels of stress and anxiety, lower self-confidence and less trust of others and the world around them.  The article even claims that the caregivers can become desensitized.  Read the comments after the article if you want to see fireworks.

I don't really feel passionate about any type of sleep conditioning.  You should parent your child as you see fit.  Everyone is going to have different views on exactly what should be done.  I don't know why people have to get so up in arms about how other people get their kids to sleep at night.  I personally don't want to give my baby cereal or formula to help them sleep at night.  If you want to, that's fine.  I hope it works out well for you.  I won't judge you, so you don't judge me, please!    

I don't think I will every be able to completely let B cry it out unless I get completely desperate.  I have been researching hybrid types of sleep conditioning, which I hope might be able to work for us.  Stay tuned, hopefully I can come up with the magic bullet.  Until then, I am going to continuing walking around in a sleepy, foggy haze.

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3 Responses to “Baby sleep debate”

  1. Oh friend, its so awful...being so tired. I am a huge schedule mama...and used CIO methods for both girls. Avery is 12 weeks, and on a schedule already. She does get up for a feed at about 4 a.m. But once she hits 13 pounds I'll cut that bottle out. I don't know if its luck with both of em or the sleep training that worked...but I sure hope you finds what works for you...whatever the method. Email me if you want to talk more about it....

    1. Thank you!! I may be emailing you this week. Exhaustion doesn't begin to describe it!

  2. Hi there! New follower here. I had to comment because so much of this sounds exactly what we're going through with our 4.5 month old. Between the side-lying nursing in bed, letting her fall asleep there, the CIO conflict, and the baby Einstein not helping so much, it's such a familiar story! I don't think I'm as sleep deprived though, you poor girl.
    We tried to let her CIO when moving her to her crib at 4 months, but that was a few disastrous nights of her screaming and crying to the point of vomiting, coupled with all the guilt and worry that I'd damaged her somehow. Since then I just let her fall asleep with me, and try to very carefully put her in her crib once she's down. But so many times she startles herself, starts to scream, and I have no choice but to bring her back to my room and start the whole process over again. It's exhausting. I know it's "cheating" to let them fall asleep with us but I don't know what else to do. For the most part I can get her down and she stays asleep throughout the night, but we do have our off nights. And of course day time naps are a crapshoot, especially for my babysitter, who can't nurse her to sleep.
    One thing that seems to keep her asleep is her white noise machine. I don't know if your little one is into white noise but ours has loved it since birth. The baby Einstein wasn't doing anything, her sleep sheep wasn't helping (they all shut off after 30 minutes), so I had to run out and get her a d'ohm white noise machine. It's the only thing that seems to help, somewhat.
    I hope you find some sort of solution soon!