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.