Monday, August 30, 2010

Wanted: Naps

We have an amazing nighttime sleeper. She usually goes down for the night around 8, gets up about every 3 1/2 hours (or longer) for her feedings, and will sleep until 9 in the morning. Our night feedings are quick and easy: diaper change, feeding, burping, and then back to bed. We're usually done in about half an hour but they can take up to 45 minutes depending on how quickly Amélie's eating. Since we brought her home she's been sleeping in her bassinet beside our bed at night. Yet, I've been enjoying snuggling up and co-sleeping with her after her last night feed. We both tend to sleep really well during that time and I love waking up with her big eyes looking at me in the morning. Basically, we're golden when in comes to night sleeping! But...daytime sleeping/napping...a whole other issue.

Actually, our sweet little bean had been sleeping as we'd planned in her crib during her naps. I thought we had the whole schedule thing going really well. She'd eat, play for about an hour and when she started acting sleepy, I would wrap her up, hold her, and she'd fall asleep fairly quickly. I'd then put her down in the crib. Now, Amélie is resisting sleep during the day and sometimes her evening bed time. We still have the same routine of eating and playing, but now when I can tell she's sleepy and follow the routine we had before, she will fuss and cry...and cry at the top of her lungs! It's to the point where I have to put her in the ergo carrier and walk around for at least an hour in order to get her to sleep. Then, setting her down in her crib is like deactivating a bomb. I have to put her down slowly, carefully, and without removing my hands from her body for another five minutes. Usually this will work but other times she'll be up again in 5-15 minutes.

I mentioned Amélie's new sleeping habit to my brother and he said my nephew went through something similar when he was about the same age as her so I'm hoping she will get over it as he did.  I told my dad about our new issue, which, coincidentally began once he left us to go back to Guatemala, and he thinks that she's gotten used to sleeping in the ergo and that's why she has a hard time falling asleep otherwise. We've used the ergo almost every day since she got home because it's easy for me to walk the dogs and run errands alone and she's always fallen asleep in it. But, we've also used the stroller as often and it does not have the same effect. She also does not like the carseat! Sooooo....I'm stumped and frustrated.

Yesterday,  we decided to try putting her down in the bouncer, which, before today hadn't really proven to be a soother for Amélie. It proved to be successful during her second afternoon nap. I tried it again today and it didn't work. We've tried the stroller, driving, rocking her, the swing, the bouncer, lying with her, holding her and jiggling her around, swaddling her, laying her in her crib with her sleep sheep on, playing her lullaby CD, nursing her, the pacifier, singing to her, and other variations of soothing her by holding and none of these things consistently work. The ergo carrier seems to be the only thing that does actually work every time, yet she will still cry and fuss for a while before she actually falls asleep. It just breaks my heart when she cries. Those little tears make me feel so bad. So if there is ANYTHING, anything at all that I can do to prevent her from crying and shedding tears, I will do it.

Does anyone have any suggestions, answers, magic spells, prayers for us?


estefanick said...

It sounds like you are trying everything I can think of!!! I feel for you- Lindsey only wanted to nap on me or Mike. Like Amelie, she did fairly well at night time, but I spent LOTS of time with a sleeping baby on me.
I can tell you she grew out of it... she is a fabulous sleeper now, but still doesn't like to take long naps! HA!
Thinking of you... hang in there and good luck!! :)

Amber said...

We had a very similiar situation- especially with Owen. He was very tough and almost only slept in the bjorn or my arms. Tucker's similiar, but he's been easier. we had same trouble though with crib for months, but now he's a good napper- though some naps still short. At least you have the nights down- you probably don't need any tips because it's probably just a funky phase since she's already a pro slepper, but since you asked, here is a list of what helped us. We don't have great sleepers, so take it for what it is worth!!
Our key learnings are #1 to use loud rock n roll- Death Cab for Cutie specifically. They are magic. #2 Side sleeping with a light blanket wrapped around the kiddo & transfer only once baby is out pretty hard but not too long after they are out hard - be sure to have loud music on during transfer and after baby is down #3 Try laying her down on bed in this position and moving away vs. crib until napping becomes more regular. #4 Nurse to sleep in a rocking chair then cherish your time holding sweet baby #5 If you have a friend/family member available during nap time, use them to help - it really helps to have somebody besides mommy create a routine (at least one that does't involve nursing) #6 don't worry too much because day care providers are magical #7 try the same technique for 1 week straight at the same time of day after the same activties, ie... every morning after diaper, nursing, rocking in chair etc hugging tight, hold her to sleep. same thing next day, see ifit improves by a few minutes, and so on. routine really helps. it sounds easy, but i think we keep trying different things and then inadvertenly mix up the routine. so i think you need to try the same thing for awhile at the same time then later in the day for a different nap try something else for a few days.
GOOD LUCK! I hope something works.

Maggie said...

Oh I feel for you Nancy. Colin went through this phase at about 3.5 months old and I anguished, got frustrated, tried a million things, checked out library books, and fretted. We looked for causations, correlations, patterns, consistencies...anything that could reasonably explain why sometimes he would sleep well and sometimes he wouldn't. But we never found any magic answers. And then it passed. I think the easiest thing to change is YOU and your expectations. Most babies are not consistent and trying to use logic often fails. And babies cry. I know it breaks your heart but it doesn't always mean something bad is going on with her. She may just be blowing off a little baby steam.

If the ergo is working, then by all means use it. She is a wee tiny babe and it will be fine. We had all kinds of "bad" habits established early on and were able to easily break them with a couple nights of sleep training. Just do the best you can, take it one nap at a time, and know that it will change (she will get better at it!). Change is the only thing that we found to be consistent in those early months. Not the answer you were looking for, I know!

LinsyLou013 said...

Have you tried some kind of sound machine that makes waves or a heartbeat or some type of white noise? We used it with Niah and it was great! I just pulled it out today to try with Lily because she's starting to have trouble falling asleep as well!

Stephanie said...

I know it's frustrating, but Charlotte had the same situation where she'd only nap with me. She, like Amelie, was a great sleeper (still is!). And then around 2 or 3 months she started napping much better. Now she sleeps 12 hours a night and naps for 3 hours.

Sleep tricks are very personal because what works for one baby doesn't work for the other. Amelie is still so little, so it's probably too early to let her cry a little bit, although you can probably try it pretty soon if you want. I know it breaks your heart, but babies cry. Unfortunately, I don't think you can do a whole lot about it as long as she's not hungry, diaper's not wet, etc. Does she still respond well to the pacifier? That always worked with Charlotte. Anyway, take heart. She'll get over it soon. In the meantime, if she's willing to just sleep on you, that will work. I miss those days when Charlotte actually slept with me. Now she just keeps moving all the time.

Good luck!

Stephanie said...

Oh and one more thought. Charlotte napped okay when she was on our bed, or any bed. I'd nurse her there, she'd fall asleep (are you able to do the side nursing position?), and I'd let her sleep there. Until she starts rolling over, you don't have to worry about her falling off the bed.

Gabe said...

Nancita, I know its frustrating. You should try sticking to one method and keep working on that one. Corbin still fight sleep now 5+ months later don't be upset if Amelie keeps doing it too. I had to switch up method a few time too. Right now what really works for Corbin is I swaddle him, which he doesn't really like as much as he used to, then I'll lay on my side with his little head resting on my arm and I'll rub his back and kiss his forehead until he falls asleep. He still fights and cries when I do this sometimes but he'll eventually calm down and fall asleep. I've definitely perfected the laying him down without waking him up too. I had to show amberly how to do it. I support all his little body with one arm and I hold him head with other hand. That way I lay his little body down and I'm holding his little head up so I can slide my arm out without his body and head making any sudden bumps. Then after I pulled the supporting arm out I add the newly freed hand to the back of his head and shoulder and slowly lay his head down then he's out for the count. We usually put a light blanket over his bassinet too so its a little darker. He'll sleep for a few hours its nice.