How it’s going: Sleep

Ah, sleep.  The bane of every mother’s existence.  No?  Just me?  Long gone are the days of anxiously hovering over baby girl’s bassinet, wondering if I should wake her up to feed her or let her sleep.  They’ve been replaced with begging, pleading for my daughter to close her eyes for longer than a few minutes at a time.

For one thing, baby girl hates to go to sleep.  I mean hates it.  Every time her eyelids get heavy, she starts to whimper, then fuss, then scream.  She whips her head from side to side and forces her eyes wide open, wrinkling up her forehead with the effort.  For another, we haven’t had two consecutive days with the same sleep routine–ever.  And not for lack of trying.

If you had asked me this past weekend, “How’s baby girl sleeping?” I would have dissolved into a puddle of tears, run–screaming and pulling my hair out–away from you, or possibly gone into a corner to rock and mumble to myself.  A few weeks before that, the same question would have been met with a sunny “We’re making progress!”

What happened in between?  Two things: 1) My family visited.  Our days no longer had any kind of routine.  She’d sleep for an hour or two in the ergo, but naps at home were almost non-existent, and bedtime was disrupted by having so many new faces and voices around.  And 2) The antibiotics I was prescribed to try to get my right nipple to heal gave baby girl diarrhea and gas, even though I was specifically told there would be no side effects for her.

What followed were days of struggling to get baby girl to nap, followed by nights of her refusing to stay asleep, no matter what I tried.

And I’ve tried everything: rocking, patting, walking, swaying, singing, bouncing, shushing, swaddling, white noise, silence, putting her down, picking her up, pacifier, nursing–and if you think I’m forgetting anything, I’ve probably tried that too.  Nothing was working, I was a nervous wreck, and baby girl would scream every time I tried to get her to sleep.

Hubby was more worried about me than the fact that his daughter was overtired and sleep deprived.  He offered–several times–to take over bedtime duty, but she’d scream even louder with him.

Finally on Sunday, I sent Hubby to the pharmacy for gas drops.  They seemed to help, and baby girl went to sleep at 9:45 that night–a drastic improvement from 12:30 the night before.  On Monday, it was like someone had flipped a switch.  She was suddenly taking consistent naps of 35-50 minutes, and she woke up much happier.  She was out for the night at 9:20.  Tuesday was a holiday, so Hubby stayed home.  At first, it was a disaster.  Every move he made on our creaky floors would wake baby girl, just as I had gotten her to sleep.  But then…she slept for two hours straight!  And then another two and a half in the afternoon.  It was like a miracle.  That night, she went down at 9:05.

Yesterday she took another two-hour nap, along with a few shorter ones, but by bedtime, she was having a hard time again.  I fell asleep next to her while she remained wide awake.  It was after midnight again before she finally stayed asleep.

Today, I’m going back to the gas drops, despite Hubby’s protests.  (“You mean she has to keep taking them every day?”  Yes, that’s the general idea.)  If that doesn’t work, it’s back to pulling my hair out and rocking in the corner for me.

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8 thoughts on “How it’s going: Sleep

  1. I’ve slowly learnt the secret to parenting is persistence. Just try keep to your schedule as much as possible and it will get better. It’s hard now but you will be ok. If you can then let daddy take her and you go out. Even if it’s a short walk around the block to clear your head. You might be surprised and hear that she calmed down as soon as you left and honestly,you need a break away from everything to regroup or you will end up in the corner. Your first instinct is to take care of her needs but I found with my son that he was picking up on my frustration and it just made things worse which was when I decided to take care of mommy so I could take care of him.

  2. Like you we were “getting there” a few weeks ago and then the last 7-days have been horrendous (not quite like your situation, since D has been an excellent sleeper since day 1, but pretty darn close). After a week of copious crying, I have begun to connect the dots… when does D cry? Every single time we try to get her to sleep. Especially at night. And for HOURS. And then I also realized something else… we ran out of Gerber Soothe Probiotic drops some time ago. When we started them I saw a HUGE difference overnight. If gas is the culprit you should definitely try these. I love them so much I’m gonna step up our game and actually get the type of baby probiotics you refrigerate to see if that will help with the witching hour crying. OH and a 2-hour nap? What’s that? (LUCKY!)

  3. Yeah, sleep. The topic is enough to start wars over an has ended many a friendship (similar to feeding).

    Here’s what I think: do what works. The gas drops seem to be the key, so buy many bottles and do what needs to be done. I can’t promise it will fix everything in the long term, but I can promise that it will get better (we went through something similar). In the meantime, do what works for you (no guilt) and only take advice that you’ve asked for.

  4. I used gas drops with both my boys. If that seems to help, DO IT! We also used gripe water for our youngest during colic and had some success with it. You need to do what you can to get through a tough time–Don’t feel judged or like you’re copping out! It will get better!

  5. My daughter was a terrible sleeper. At 2 and a half, she’s still not a great sleeper but she sleeps through the night (10 hours) 60 or 70% of the time. Anyway, all I can say is things will get better. Hang in there. Seriously, they’ll get better.

  6. I’m so sorry for your horrible sleep or non-existant sleep for a time. I truly hope the gas drops help. I too have written many (ok, a few, but it sure felt like TONS!) sleep-related posts. Now that I am getting more sleep, the world is better (usually). You’ll get there. She’s still itty-bitty!!

  7. Use the gas drops if they are helping! They can make her feel better, and aren’t going to hurt her. “When in doubt, gas drops!” was a favorite phrase for us to laugh about when the girls were a few months old. And eventually, they outgrew needing them. For sleep, we used the book, Twelve Hours Sleep by Twelve Weeks, by Suzy Giordano. I liked it because it was a happy medium between no-cry and cry-it-out sleep solutions. It offers plans for breastfed babies as well as bottle-fed. Also, it is a SUPER fast read, which is obviously important (and light enough to hold in one hand while feeding, etc.!) Good luck! 🙂

  8. The probiotic drops help too and they are more natural. I see Steph mentioned them too. We had a phase of using gas drops and/or probiotics. Thankfully it passes as they develop more. Unfortunately though, new issues pop up, like teething. Talk about restless sleep.

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