Juna's got our number. At three months old, she is already putting it together and making associations. She knows now that swaddling + shush/pat = the dreaded nap. After our week of sleep-educating her, she decided she would no longer respond to our program. It began taking longer and longer to get her down for naps. She'd cry and cry being held over the shoulder until finally, out of sheer exhaustion, she would quickly fall asleep. As soon as she felt a shift in gravity towards the crib, she'd cry, and as soon as you picked her back up again, she'd fall asleep, exhausted, on your shoulder. It took about four cycles of this before she'd stay asleep in the crib, but would wake thirty to forty minutes later, upset and miserable.
It only took a couple of days of this before I declared a cease-fire on the nap battle. Bradford and I decided we would do more rocking, walking and bouncing to see if we could get her into a peaceful drowsy state while putting her down. I would nurse her to drowsiness, then transition her. This worked beautifully. We got some wonderful, long naps and life seemed happy again. For three days. Until, of course, Juna figured out our ploy. She began to fight her naps even with the much gentler (more time consuming) ways of getting her to sleep. This has resulted in lots of crying (from the both of us!), and an overtired baby.
Even our nighttime routine, which I thought we had down-pat, has been disrupted. I used to be able to nurse her and put her in her crib awake or asleep and count on her sleeping four to six hours. It now takes about forty-five minutes to get her to sleep at night, and I have to go in usually thirty minutes later to resettle her. She is waking three to five times during the night to eat, play or get her diaper changed. What gives?? Growth spurt? Teething? Sheer determination to stay awake and take on the world? We are in the midst of an economic crisis after all...
Bradford and I have had many discussions about the best way to proceed. Juna needs sleep, and so do we. If she slept great in our bed, our arms, her vibrating chair, her swing, the car or the stroller, I would have no problems using those as tools to help our precious girl get some rest, but she fights sleep no matter where or when. Despite appearances, she sleeps best and deepest on her own and in her own space, so we persevere.
This weekend was particularly trying as Bradford was out of town for three days, leaving me to tackle all naps and nighttime sleeps by myself. I vowed to stay relaxed and calm, and go with the flow. Upon advice from a friend, I decided that whatever it took to get Juna and I some rest, I would do. My first full day, I nursed her down for every nap, and it worked brilliantly. She even slept for two hours in the afternoon. I was thrilled! I found something that worked! Bedtime was not as successful, and she woke four times in the night to eat. Sunday was less victorious; she took three twenty-minute naps, and was miserable for much of the day. We had the worst night we've had since she was born, with five wake-ups that took at least 45-minutes for her to eat and get back to sleep. Finally, at 5:30a.m. Juna decided it was time to get up for the day. So, I've been up since then, going on maybe four hours sleep, as I have been every day for the past few weeks. Thankfully, Bradford has returned to share the burden of naptime, and the joys of Juna's happy awake time.
I wish I had some philosophical insight to share on what we're learning from this experience, or why this is making me a better person and mother. Instead, I will just say that this sucks. It's hard and it's exhausting, and it's heart-breaking to watch a little person that you love so much in pain from lack of sleep. We feel like we are back at the beginning, and have no idea where to go from here, so we are going to work the original plan, adjusting as we see fit for special circumstances. It feels like something we are all going to have to just outgrow, and to stave off the extreme anxiety I feel over Juna's sleep habits, I tell myself that this will pass. In the meantime, we are enjoying Juna's new developments: her sweet little voice babbling all day (and night) long, her fascination with her hands and feet, laughing at the cute baby in the mirror, singing along to Mommy's silly songs... As eager as I am for this sleep phase to be over with, I wouldn't mind if this little baby phase lasted awhile longer...
|who could resist this sweet face???|