Monday, February 03, 2014

On naps

I got a really great response on the last post about getting wee ones to nap! The consensus seems to be: 1) He's too young for sleep training 2) Do whatever works, for godssakes.

And over the last couple weeks I've come to a couple conclusions myself. Those are 1) Don't get used to anything, because the kid changes every day and 2) If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

That's not to say my kid is a napper, because he AIN'T. (YES, still with the capitals.) He WILL nap if I nurse and then hold him the entire time. I tried this one day last week and the kid got like four hours total in naps that day, which is stellar for him. However, that night's sleep was a nightmare, so I was like: Never again. I mean, I've decided I'll definitely nurse him to sleep (when that works, which is about half the time), but I don't have time to hold my baby for every nap. And I'd love to nap when he naps, but no matter how tired I am, my body has rebelled and will not allow me to sleep during daylight hours. No idea what is going on because I used to be a champion napper.

Also, I can't co-sleep because it terrifies me. I literally wake up every night in bed thinking I've suffocated the baby in the blankets. EVERY NIGHT. And I've never co-slept.

(Sidenote re: cats and babies. Maybe some cats are really cool with babies but my cats have sort of been dicks. They wake him up from probably 25% of his naps, so it's sort of a miracle I haven't sold them into kitty slavery by now. And today when I went to get G out of his crib from a failed nap, I came back out to find Simon (who is a CAT) eating my oatmeal.)

Graham does seem to be learning to nap on his own, SOMEWHAT. But he pretty much hates his crib for naps (and who wouldn't, the mattress is as hard as a rock. I understand we don't want our babies to suffocate on cushiony mattresses but seriously I could just use a piece of plywood instead of this mattress) and he FRIGGIN HATES being swaddled.

So this is my next question for you guys -- how long did you swaddle your kids? And is there any good way to transition out of the swaddle? I sometimes let him nap without one (right now, actually), but when I do it ends up being a short nap because he'll either startle awake or hit himself in the face with his hands. Graham struggles in his swaddle all night, every night. I put him down and a couple hours later he will have wiggled 90 degrees to the right as he struggles in his sleep to free his arms from the miracle blanket.

Also, out of curiosity, how long did you let your kid sleep in your room? G is still in our room but I'm weighing the pluses and minuses of moving him to his room.

Anyway, we're all learning and adjusting. Tomorrow he'll be TEN WEEKS! Double digit weeks old! Ten weeks since they sliced him out of me. It's crazy to think about. My husband asked the other day if I ever think about the birth because he'd just thought about it and was reeling again from the memory and I was like I THINK ABOUT IT EVERY DAY. I never thought I'd be a person who was obsessed with the birth of her kid, but I am. And not obsessed in a "how wonderfully miraculous" kind of way but more of a "oh the horror I can't believe I didn't die" kind of way. I think legions of women probably have post traumatic stress disorder from their birth experiences.

ANYWAY.

Guess who's awake?! Gotta go. Give me your best advice!


23 comments:

  1. When C was that little, he would NEVER sleep lying flat. I ended up letting him sleep in baby swings, those slanted baby hammock-y things that sort of bounce, or the car seat. I would put the car seat INTO the crib/pac-n-play, and call it good. Both kids were a no go for the swaddling. Sleep sacks rocked it, but their arms were still out....for THAT, I got nothin'. I could neither co-sleep NOR have the baby in the same room. I ended up sleeping in the living room with the baby in a pac-n-play ( the baby was farther away). Could never nurse lying down, either. ;) Oh! and btw...OUR cat lasted ONE MONTH into our first child. He lives on a big plot of land down in Morgan Hill now...true story! ;) ...and we're alllll better off!

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    1. I would get rid of the cats but then I would be one of THOSE PEOPLE. Like you! hahahahah... I promised myself I would make them part of the family, so they are. The most annoying members.

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  2. I would still swaddle if she would stay still. And she slept in one of those Fisher Price sling things until she was 4 or 5 months old, I think. And then we just slid her into her own room on the sling thing until her feet started hanging out of it and it was obviously too small.

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    1. I loved the cradle for naps and so did G. But I'm glad we've moved him to the crib for all naps so he'll be used to it.

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  3. Nap 'em where ever they'll sleep. One week, my son was like, "Swings FTW! Fuck yeah!" Then the next week he'd hate it. Same with bouncer, carseat/car ride/ etc. Do what works for this week.

    We never coslept in the bed because I fear suffocating baby with my massive breas-es-es-ess. (Yes, say it like that) but we absolutely loved our Arm's Reach mini CoSleeper crib thing. It rolled right up next to my side of the bed, I'd just lean over in the night, feed and lay 'em back down. It was the bomb.

    We slept together until they both were about 3 months old. Mostly because babies are effin' loud as sh*t and I'd wake up 50 hundred billion times a night. And also because I was going back to work and knew my alarm clock would wake them up.

    My daughter loved swaddling, my son hated it. He never liked it and would always wiggle out. Again, do what works...maybe 1/2 swaddle with arms out? And it's normal for babies to do 90degree or 180 turns in bed. Kids are weird-ass sleepers for sure. I once caught my daughter planking in bed. Legs over the side, straight out plank. WTF?!

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    1. Last night I fell asleep while nursing and woke up 45 minutes later and he was STILL NURSING. Sheezus. At least I hadn't accidentally smothered him.

      And yeah I think 3 months is a good time to move them. He is so loud, I barely sleep when he's "sleeping."

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  4. All three of my boys HATED being swaddled. I mean, maybe those first few newborn weeks, they didn't know the difference, but as soon as they realized they could move even a little, it was all over. And despite what the 'experts" say, my kids slept on their tummies. Because they won't startle awake and they won't hit themselves in the face and they will sleep. So, yeah, they slept on their tummies. They always had great neck control, so i wasn't concerned with them not being able to turn their heads, or like, suffocating or something. They never really spit up either, so that wasn't a concern. As for sleeping in our room - maybe for the first two months or so. Possibly the first three.

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    1. Oooh, a rebel! I'd try it but ... I'm so paranoid about the SIDS thing.

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  5. I swaddled mine until he was eight months old. He seriously couldn't go to sleep without it. When I transitioned him out, I swaddled him with one arm out, and then wrapped the Swaddle Me (fucking velcro! Yes!) around his chest and left both arms out. If babies aren't swaddled tight they will almost always hate it, so make sure he's in a straitjacket. Maybe he just hates it anyway. The Moro reflex will disappear at about 5 months, but unfortunately before then he will probably continue to startle awake/flail about.

    I had the Arm's Reach too, which I loved, but I'm with you on the cosleeping. The few times I fell asleep on my side nursing him, I would wake up in abject freaking terror. One time I woke up, grabbed my husband, and screamed: "Hold the baby! I have to find the baby!" and then started tearing through the blankets like a psychopath. I moved him out of our room at about five months, but I wish I'd been as smart as Sarah and put him in his room at three months. (My doctor told me he might be able to smell me from the cosleeper, which woke him up far more often. He slept much better in his own room at that point).

    A little fan in his room is a good idea. You have probably already heard that.

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    1. Oh god I hope I can get him out of the swaddle before 8 months but so far he really needs it. And still hates it with a passion. I have a Swaddle Me and haven't used it. WTF is wrong with me.

      And yeah we have an overhead fan in his room so might try using that to ease my paranoia.

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    2. I'm sorry he hates it! Mine was very happy in the swaddle, so it wasn't an issue. If he gets pissed off every time, ditch it around 20 weeks when his reflex should be gone and he won't be punching himself in the head with such fervor. Or ditch it now if you want. I only loved the Swaddle Me so much because mine is Houdini and would wiggle out of any swaddle I could put him in, except the velcro. He could not defeat the velcro.

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  6. We pretty much stopped swaddling a few weeks after he was born. Mainly because we were terrible at it and Eddie moved SO MUCH in his sleep, he'd wake himself up because he wanted to move in his sleep but couldn't. So we just put a stop to that and eventually he stopped waking himself up by smacking himself. I miss the little baby startles. They were hilariously cute.

    So if he doesn't really like being swaddled, I'd just stop bothering. He'll eventually stop waking himself up. I think at like 3 months is when they start getting on more of a routine of naps, though some babies just never care for naps. A woman in my condo building has a 5 month old and she was telling me how she's lucky to get a 20 minute nap out of her baby a day, but he sleeps through the night already. While Eddie was a great napper, but didn't sleep through the night until he was OVER A YEAR OLD. But no, I'm with you on not allowing tons of naps, cause it SO messes up nighttime sleep.

    Eddie was in our room until 6 months... and we should've gotten him out of there sooner. If only cause I think the noises my husband and I made, shifting in our sleep, snoring, what have you, woke Eddie up and only hampered that whole sleeping through the night. Won't lie. I cried the first night he was in his own room. I cried like a BABY. But. Meh. I got over it after spending a few nights doing nothing but staring at the baby monitor.

    And I might get hanged for saying this... but during those first few months, I whored out the swing and the vibration chair thingie like crazy. Whatever would get him to sleep to give me 20 minutes to myself was used. So maybe try those if your little man is a fan! Not ALL the time, but here and there might not hurt!

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    1. Why on earth would you feel bad about using the swing/vibrating chair in that manner? You really shouldn't.

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    2. I made the mistake of reading all the online things about "sleep aids" for babies and how it would ruin their ability to go to sleep without a swing/vibration/whatever and felt like I was a failure mom for using them. But they WORKED and now, looking back at it, I wish I never, ever would've read the internet. Talk about a place that makes you feel like a terrible parent. ;D

      If I ever have another, you can bet the swing and vibration chair will be my BFFs.

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    3. I wish the kid loved the vibrating chair and the swing, but he doesn't. The horror, right?! Ugh. And yeah the internet can be so judgmental. I tread lightly when googling.

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  7. At that age, Allie like the side-to-side swing. Sean like that crazy vibrating rocker/reclining seat I gave you awhile ago. Allie also was constantly waking up when I had her in our room, once I started putting her to sleep in her room, she slept through the night. Jason's an active sleeper and he snores like a mack truck, so he was constantly waking her up. I couldn't co-sleep either. Way too paranoid. (Still can't, and the munchkin comes into my room nearly every day at 6 a.m. or so. Once she's in bed with me, I'm pretty much awake.)

    Another thing we HAD to have in each kids' room were blackout curtains. GET BLACKOUT CURTAINS. Requirement for my kids.

    You might try swaddling his midsection but leaving his arms free. That way he gets the huggy feeling, but is free to clock himself in the face. :) He might sleep better. Or you can just toss them aside. You don't HAVE to swaddle him. The mommy police aren't going to read you the riot act over it. Also -- once she could roll, Allie ALWAYS slept on her stomach. Didn't matter that I put her on her back. So ... he could be a tummy guy.

    Good luck! Naps suck.

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    1. I wave my hand wildly in the air (like I don't care) in support of the blackout curtains. The blackout shades aren't very expensive and I don't know what we would have done without them.

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    2. We got blackout curtains for our room but I fear they are not quite black outy enough. I still definitely need to get them for his room because I agree he sleeps so much better in the dark.

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  8. J slept in our room next to my side of the bed in a bassinet until he was 3 months old, then into the crib in his own room! We stopped swaddling around 8 months I'm guessing, and then into a sleep sack, which we still use at 16 months. Maybe just swaddle one arm in? We did full swaddle, then one arm out, then both arms out, but still tightly swaddled around the waist and then into a sleep sack. Oh, and I nursed Jonas to sleep for bedtime for so long (11 months I'm guessing? no idea), but would not do it sometimes to make sure he didn't need me to fall asleep, but continued the majority of the time because it worked for us.

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    1. 3 months seems to be the consensus! I will have to try to gradually get him out of the swaddle. He struggles in it all night long. ugh.

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  9. My sister's doctor told her to keep the kid in her bedroom for the first three months. SEE HOW HELPFUL I AM EVEN WITHOUT HAVING ANY KIDS OF MY OWN?

    The capitals in this post were really inspiring to me.

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    1. THANK YOU. That is helpful, actually. :)

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  10. It's a well-kept, but slowly-emerging secret that many women do suffer from PTSD after birth. The worst part? We often perpetuate and continue the trauma by helpfully inviting our friends to their own, usually by saying things like, "I had _____, and I survived. The important thing is to get a healthy baby!"
    Well.
    We all know that is the most important thing. I mean...duh. But with the over-medicalization of the majority of births in the U.S., almost everyone gets treatment they don't *really* need. And I think we know it on some level. Which makes us feel horrible. And since misery loves company, and we were truly wounded by what happened to us, we try to make it sound ... less awful. We tell other women, "Hey--it didn't kill me! So you'll survive, too!".
    I have yet to meet the woman who actually felt comforted hearing words like this, but they're said all the time. I think our hearts are in the right places, but I cringe when I hear someone who's had a less-than-desirable experience tell someone that it will be just fine if she does too.

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