Jun. 25th, 2011 12:29 pm
kellianne: (Default)

This week has been so full of Niko promise and happiness, you guys!

I hit rock bottom a little while back with his nap and night schedule. We were literally laying down with him at least an hour before every nap and then an hour and a half for night time sleep. It was a full time job on top of all our chores, work and MOST IMPORTANTLY- play time! SO- I decided when my brother visited that it was time to start Niko's transition to being a one nap a day dude. I used Joey's visit and all the activity we were doing to start distracting Niko from his afternoon nap, and eventually started nudging his morning nap (which was always the easier nap) a bit later.

The results are amazing. We now have him in bed around 7:30 every night. He still has some night wakings, but Buster has been working on gently night weaning him by taking my milk factory out of the picture. So
B is always the nighttime parent until about 6, prior to then Niko is offered a bottle of formula if he seems really persistent, which he rarely drinks. Around 6, I nurse Niko- then we all cuddle and snooze until 8 or so.

Last night dude slept for over 9 hours on his own. I feel awesome. I don't expect that sort of sleep from last night forward, but just the fact that it happened tells me that we are on the right path.

It feels so freeing to have him down by 8, too. I have a night life again! I feel almost comfortable inviting people to sit for the evenings now, which I didn't feel confident about before, because he often wasn't down until 10- and by then we'd be too tired to do anything, and he'd be up by midnight anyhow. SO! Those of you who offered might just get a call soon!

Thanks for your patience with all my short tempered tweets and entries on this matter. Not sleeping is not good for these bones of mine. I'm hoping to see some of my health (mental and physical) get back on track during the next few months.

Also, thanks to my lovely husband for continuing to put up with me. [ profile] busterbenson is FAR more patient without sleep than his wife.

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPhone.


Jan. 8th, 2011 02:06 pm
kellianne: (Default)
It is really hard for me to read attachment parenting information on sleep. I was in complete agreement with all the information provided on them, and still feel as if it's so very important to soothe a crying baby.

But never letting an 8 month old baby who wakes up literally 20 times a night cry? I'm finding it to be impossible.

Lots of people ask how we're coping. I guess we're just doing whatever it takes with our "persistent personality/ high maintenance" nighttime baby. I am trying to gradually get our little crane to sleep on his own using baby steps. This week in particular, we've seen a lot of success (finally) when we put him down in the pimped out pack and play that's next to our bed and pat him to sleep. But sometimes, like today, he gets other ideas of how I should be playing with him when he is clearly ready to nap.

I let him cry for 10 minutes today. I hate doing it. I can hear his every little breath in our one room house, so you can imagine how connected I feel to his cries. He does not like to be left alone, ever. This is where the attachment parenting information really gets me... they talk about how your child will be so much more confident of your love and support through co-sleeping and never letting them cry... but I have not found this to be the case with Niko, at all. Niko doesn't like to be left alone, ever. He wants his parents, or anyone- really, to be at arm's reach. This isn't tough for us while living in our small space. But whenever I am out of eye sight for even a second, he starts to whine and cry. It breaks my heart that he would ever think that I am going to leave him there. I tell him all the time that I would never leave, but of course he couldn't understand.

Anyhow, I had to let him cry a little to get my point across. This was after reading him three books, nursing him, rocking, singing several songs, and patting him for 15 minutes. He cried for 10 minutes and then I pat his back for 5 more minutes and he fell asleep for a whopping 40 minutes. Whoop-de-fucking doo because every book I read tells me that any nap that is under an hour doesn't count. Whatever. Mind you, it took me 40 minutes to even get that nap out of him.

But, you know, even falling asleep in the (pimped) pack and play after crying for 10 minutes is a MAJOR improvement over what he was doing even a month ago. He wouldn't even sleep in that thing for the longest time. We had to make a serious issue out of it for naps and general sleeping without us after he crawled out of the bed and landed on his little face a few weeks ago (I can't tell you how much that broke my heart). It's how to keep him asleep that is the bigger problem. He doesn't want to stay asleep for more than an hour at a time and if I don't nurse him back down at night, he'll completely wake up and think that it's PARTY TIME. I am trying to sleep between 2am and 7am on the couch downstairs while papa takes over co-sleeping so that he can't just have the boob at his beck and call whenever he wants it, every half hour or whatever. Mostly because this WAS NOT WORKING for me AT ALL after several weeks of waking up every 30 minutes. I am not exaggerating when I tell you that I was contemplating jumping off our building regularly at 3am.

Anyhow. Gradual night ween. Some crying. This no sleeping thing the hardest thing I have ever done, by far. I truly do feel as if we are saints for coping with this as well as we are. I would be utterly thankful for a baby who only woke me 4 times a night. I feel HATE for people on parenting boards who write things like "my baby has slept through the night since she was 6 weeks old, but now that she is 6 months, I am SO READY to get her to stop needing to be rocked to sleep all the time!" WTF?? Do you even want a baby?!

And that, my friends, is how sleep is going over here at the Benson house.
kellianne: (Default)
I nursed Niko down for a nap for the second time today. I did it yesterday, too.

I did it because, after a few days of trying to let him fall asleep on his own, he just looked depressed. I felt depressed. Buster, I'm sure, felt a little depressed. And things weren't getting any better. So maybe sleep training just isn't right for us, at least right now.

I feel like sleep training is something for families who have kids who have rooms. Houses. With. Rooms. Not one big loft, where cries echo and break your heart into a million pieces. And even then, if we had a house, could I guarantee that Niko wouldn't look lonely and sad after an afternoon of crying himself into every nap? Probably not. I think he's just the kind of kid who is extra loving, and needs some extra attention.

I'm exhausted. I'm getting horrible sleep. If Niko wakes up 4 times a night to nurse, that's a *good* night. But I was doing ok with his "good" nights before I got sick. I really was. It's only been since I got this terrible cold that I have had a hard time overcoming, well, everything. Very slowly, I am on the mend. Very slowly, my patience is rebounding. Very slowly, I feel like maybe it's not Niko that needs to change so much as maybe it's ME who needs to change.

Reading mommy boards, it really bothers me that people seem to think that crying babies are trying to manipulate their way back into your bed. How can a baby manipulate anyone? Babies are their essential selves. They speak directly of their needs. A baby crying? He's saying, "I feel alone and scared." I can't have Niko feeling that way. Especially not when he can see me, right there, in the bed next to him.

Now that I've nursed him down for a nap? He's been sleeping for a solid hour and a half. He just doesn't get sleep like that when he falls asleep on his own. His head gets so wound up that he gets rattled. Last night, after I nursed him down to sleep, he woke after 3 hours (typically the moment I started to fall asleep) from a pretty serious nightmare. I couldn't let him cry it out after that. I want him to feel safe and warm.

I haven't given up totally on having him out of our bed for a while every night. I'm working on creating a better sleep environment for him in that goddamn pack n play. I might even make it into a tent with some softy glowing lights. I do need some alone time with my husband at night. And damn if a queen sized bed isn't too small for three people. But I am giving up on this whole idea that I'm doing something wrong if my child doesn't sleep for more than a three hour stretch.

I have a very nice baby. He's sweet, cuddly, and happy. He has a beautiful attitude and loves being passed around my beauty salon like a loaf of bread. He loves his mum and his pop and his cat. He loves his wooden cart and blocks. And he loves being nursed down to sleep, over and over, every night. Life isn't so bad.


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