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healthy sleep habits, happy baby

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
i posted a couple days ago, slightly defeated and overwhelmed after dd's osteopath suggested her sleep probs would be solved if she slept in her crib. then i erased my post, after i got a grip

but i still feel like i'm in nighttime parenting purgatory, or at a crossroads, or something like that... i could really just use some advice, opinions, anything.

at the encouragement of a couple friends i started reading weissbluth's healthy sleep habits, happy baby. i'm reading just parts of it, as dd is 9 mo. thing is, he makes some really strong points, which i cannot disagree with. dd has a physiological need for sleep, one that is not getting met. and as a result she has become extremely clingy, needy, irritable, and generally unhappy most hours of the day. this is a complete personality 180. she thrashes and cries in her sleep. she wakes 3-12 times a night. she only takes erratic naps that last anywhere from 15-45 minutes. she'll fight going down for up to 3 hrs, finally falling asleep as late as 10 and still wake up at 6, yawning, rubbing her eyes, and crying, crying, crying if i put her down for a second (or leave her with dad while i go to the bathroom). she's exhausted. it's obvious. and i read this book and all of a sudden this difficult phase we're going through makes total sense. she's not getting the sleep she needs. i want to get her the sleep she needs.

i'm open to not co-sleeping (though i really don't want to stop) but I'm not open to letting her cry. he recommends, essentially, letting babies cry it out for up to an hour. i cannot, will not, do this. i can't even do 5 minutes. but some of the logic behind it makes sense to me... but not enough that i can do it. i have two ideologies at odds: i do not think that being left to cry is an emotionally safe means to an end. but, i also think that dd wants so badly to stay awake that my constant attention to get her there is counterproductive. bedtime has become playtime. she will be bleary eyed, stumbling around the bed, but she still fights it. for hours. i want to meet her emotional needs, and i want to meet her physiological needs. all the responsiveness on my part is negated imo if i'm facilitating unhealthy sleep habits that are leaving her exhausted and a mess.

i don't know what to do. something isn't working, but i don't know what the answer is and it's really driving me mad. i feel like i'm failing her. there has to be some way to make this at least a little better. what do i do? can you sleep train w/o cio? any btdt mamas have any words of wisdom?
post #2 of 8
Have you tried in-arms crying it out? This is essentially where I am at with my 6 months old. As soon as I see he is tired (in theory, we have trouble with routines) I take him to our bed after doing our mini routine. As soon as he sees I"m trying to put him to sleep gets upset and cries. I hold him in my arms\lap and he cries, thrashes, is generally so upset. I just keep holding him and looking at him most of the time. Sometimes I jiggle him a bit but it only is at the point where I can tell the crying is winding down. At that point I hold him close (he is calmer at this point) and giggle him a bit and a lot of the time he will take the paci at this point. And then he will fall asleep. I still have some sleep issues though, that we are working on.

I had to make that mental decision that "he is tired and he needs to go to sleep. I'm going to stick through with this."

It isn't always very fun for me to sit there and hear him cry. But I do beleive crying in arms is OK and healthy. This one author helped me understand that I don't have to scared of all cries http://www.awareparenting.com/
post #3 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sungold17 View Post
Have you tried in-arms crying it out? This is essentially where I am at with my 6 months old. As soon as I see he is tired (in theory, we have trouble with routines) I take him to our bed after doing our mini routine. As soon as he sees I"m trying to put him to sleep gets upset and cries. I hold him in my arms\lap and he cries, thrashes, is generally so upset. I just keep holding him and looking at him most of the time. Sometimes I jiggle him a bit but it only is at the point where I can tell the crying is winding down. At that point I hold him close (he is calmer at this point) and giggle him a bit and a lot of the time he will take the paci at this point. And then he will fall asleep. I still have some sleep issues though, that we are working on.

I had to make that mental decision that "he is tired and he needs to go to sleep. I'm going to stick through with this."

It isn't always very fun for me to sit there and hear him cry. But I do beleive crying in arms is OK and healthy. This one author helped me understand that I don't have to scared of all cries http://www.awareparenting.com/
I agree that in arms crying is ok. Sometimes I think it is just a release. Have you tried swaddling? Yes, I know your baby is a littel big for this, but sometimes my girls get themselves so worked up they need to be lightly restrained. This helps them hold still so they can fall asleep. They get a little angry and try to escape, but then settle and fall asleep. It also can help them Feel safe when you put them down. Good luck!
post #4 of 8
You might want to try reading Sleepless in America? My daughter really really needed sleep and after 2.5 years, she still wasn't getting it. This really turned things around for us, she never had to CIO, and the night wakings resolved themselves. I wish I had read that and only that a loooong time before.

I did enjoy NCSS. It did not help her sleep in any way, but it validated my feelings that I didn't want to let her cry and I wasn't setting her up to be a miserable sleepless spoiled child because I didn't do CIO with her.
post #5 of 8
8-9 months was a really rough time for us regarding sleep. I could've (and probably did) written your post exactly. Have you looked into reflux or food allergies to cause her fussiness/wakefulness?

Sounds like you have a sleep fighter, and I have totally BTDT. DS is MUCH better now, started getting better around 10 months. Though there are still times he fights it, mostly he goes to sleep without a problem. I also recommend reading Sleepless in America. And throwing away the Weissbluth book.

A few things that were key for us--

*White noise
*Blackout curtains
*When he was tired, I made up my mind that he was going to go to sleep. We had a lot of "crying in arms" because that was the only way he'd go to sleep. I would hold him/rock him/nurse him/pat/shusssh/sing, etc until he finally gave up fighting and would nurse to sleep. If it got too overwhelming we went for a drive. We did lots of those.
*Having a loose routine to the day
*Lots of outside/activity time
*Daddy started taking over putting him to bed at night. I would nurse him, then Daddy would walk him around and he'd go right to sleep for him.
*Cosleeping and nursing laying down
*Napping with DS
*Having DH take DS for an hour in the morning so I could get a little extra sleep
*DH takes DS out on a Saturday morning "date" for a couple hours so I get some extra sleep

Recently we have nightweaned and transitioned DS to his own bed, with Daddy taking over nighttime. He took to it beautifully (he is 20 months old) and went from sleeping 1-3 hours (the 3 hour stretches were on a GOOD night we'd get one) to sleeping 5-7 hour stretches. This to say, it DOES get better and there IS an end in sight. Maybe not as soon as you'd like, but hang in there. Being responsive to your daughter at night will pay off.

post #6 of 8
Dd went through a similar sleep fighting stage around nine months. It was when she was starting to crawl and I think she just had a hard time shutting everything off (she still does but now she doesn't fight sleep, just wakes up every two hours ).

The ergo baby carrier (though I suppose any comfy baby carrier would work) saved us. At bedtime, which was flexible and depended on her tired cues, I would put her in the ergo, make sure all the lights were out, and have white noise going. I tried not to interact with her much so that she understood it was quiet, going to sleep time and not play time. It got so that I felt she was almost relieved to be put in the ergo- like, "finally I can just relax". She didn't fuss much with this technique and never screamed and cried.

Obviously every child is different, but this is what worked for us for many months. Dd has always like being "restrained", in our arms as she falls asleep (for the first eight months it was being held and bounced on a big yoga ball), and I can't imagine leaving her to cry in a crib, as you can't imagine doing so with your LO. I really would not put much stock in what anyone says about sleep if they are someone who advocates leaving your baby to cry it out for an hour (an hour! ). I feel that so many of these restless sleepless times are just stages and that when the stage comes to an end and baby starts sleeping better, the cry it out method (if it has been used as it often has when parents get desperate and are bombarded by CIO pressure) gets credence it doesn't deserve.

Good luck- I know how hard it is to be so tired and to feel like it's your fault your LO isn't getting enough sleep. It sounds like you're doing a great job during a difficult time....
post #7 of 8
The only thing I liked about Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child was the explanation of how much sleep kiddos really need. But, I could have gotten that from NCSS as well... the rest of the book seemed to really conflict with the whole tenor of my parenting.

Anyway, maybe your doc is right that your LO would do better on her own. The crib doesn't have to be in her room... it could be in yours, so she'd still be close. Some people just need their space when they sleep. My sister moved her son into a crib when he was about 9 months, and they both started getting much better sleep.
post #8 of 8
Just a couple of thoughts:

some infants will cry as they go to sleep but not because their parents CIO-- they just need the release, even when they are getting a loving response

some babies will sleep better in their cribs-- why not give it a try?

I yearn for the good old days with DS who would nurse to sleep. I didn't know how great I had it. This babe needs a lot more to go to sleep. Current plan is either being bounced on a yoga ball in the ergo or walked in the ergo or stroller. She is 9 months and really fighting it but can't get to sleep any other way.
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