Tuesday, January 30, 2007

One Month

... and two weeks to go until the magic six week marker that everyone keeps telling me about.

No. Really. We have no right to complain. Our kid is pretty easy-going. He doesn't fuss unless it's to tell us he's hungry. Or when we are changing him. He hates to be naked. But he loves the bath. And oddly enough, he adores to have his hair washed. He can be all squirmy, maybe even crying, and then when we run the water over his head, he stops crying entirely and goes completely calm. At least we know that when we baptize him, he'll be good and calm. But don't ask me where he's getting baptized or when. As a life-long Catholic who pretends sometimes to be Episcopalian, I can't get past infant baptism, so we've decided we'd go for that. But where is another issue. And probably another blog post.

For now I want to focus on "attachment parenting." Cricket is really into this, preferring to be on us at all times. He will, on occasion, be content in his "baby papasan," but generally he sleeps more shallow and for less time in there than he does if he is on one of us. He likes to be somewhat upright in "weevil" position. ("Weevil": Legs tucked up under body, arms tucked down.) I suspect what he really likes is stomach sleeping since even when he's in the papasan, there is a lot of grunting and neighing going on. However, we've been indoctrinated to go "back to sleep," unless he's sleeping on our actual bodies.

It's somewhat surprising to me because certainly during his first two weeks in the NICU, there wasn't someone holding him 24/7 and he was perfectly content there to be swaddled and sleep in the pramette. Perhaps it was the lulling noise of the NICU that made him more content-- the bing-bing-bing of the machines alarming and the constant swooshing noises of ventilators and the bubbling of the CPAP machines is enough to make the most seasoned of insomniacs fall asleep, so I can buy that theory.

But it's not like we are keeping the house all quiet and still for him. The TV is on or the iPod or the radio-- something. We'd like to have a good hearty sleeper on our hands.

The first day home, he was fine in the co-sleeper, but now he has to be in the bed itself with us. Since I like the idea of sleep, this is where he ends up; either sleeping on Partner's chest, or curled up next to me, both of us on our sides. After the "mid" night [moo] (read about 2:00 am) feeding, he prefers for me to stay in the chair I am in, recline it back, and sleep that way. If I get up and try to get back into bed, he wakes and goes all kvetchy, spits up (more than he does in the chair), and requires more time at the boob (which requires me to get back to the chair since the only imaginable position for feeding right now is the football hold).

My back might do me in any day now. Plus, I like sleeping in the bed. I really do. But truth be told, when Cricket is in bed with us, I'm probably never really sleeping in the old way. I'm always aware that he's there and waking fairly frequently to make sure he's breathing and all nasal passages are unimpeded.

While this arrangement doesn't really bother me all that much, I do fear we're setting ourselves up. No matter what I read, I still feel that we're screwing ourselves for the future. At the same time, I think who cares, because as soon as he's bigger, I'll probably be able to get more sleep and worry less. But the daytime napping then worries me: If he ends up so he can't really sleep unless he's on one of us, it seriously limits my activeness. I know, I know: I have the sling, but there's only so much slinging around I can do too. Face it: between my boobs, c-section recovery, and generally poor core strength, the back is nearing its poor limit.

Anyhow, for now I love to cuddle with him, so I don't mind all that much, but only would like to be reassured we aren't screwing ourselves for future sleep. Which supposedly comes more frequently at six weeks?

Bah. He's fussing again, so I guess I better pick him up. *Sigh*/*Delight*

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Blogger Trista said...

wish I had comforting words for you, but we held Julia upright in a club chair (not even a recliner) every night for the first 6 months of her life.

Good luck!

2:59 PM  
Anonymous StaceyS said...

I could have written your post 18 months ago. Thought I'd post our experience FWIW. As an infant, our daughter slept better in between partner and I on our bed, and she fell asleep promptly too...so much so, that by 4-6 months of age, she declared with her screams that the crib and bassinet were no longer a viable option for her. The sleep was nice, and we loved co-sleeping with her, so our intentions of encouraging the crib got pushed to the back burner. Naps were awful once she was mobile because we were either destined to nap with her each time (not ideal since we have a 4 year old as well) or if we would sneak away once she fell asleep, we'd sometimes find her nearly falling off the bed (thankfully we invested in a video monitor). She turned 18 mo this month. She still cannot fall asleep on her own, cannot soothe herself back to sleep, and will not ever sleep unless one of us is laying next to her. She often wraps her arms or legs around us to make sure we don't leave without her knowing it. We are never able to leave the kids with family or a sitter for a moms night out, because she will not sleep without one of US laying with her. And when she wakes up midway thru either nap or night sleep, and we are not there next to her, she screams and won't go back to sleep without a fight. Even if we are laying with her, she often wakes just to make sure we are still there, which makes us worry she is not getting good sleep anymore. We've experienced both sides of the spectrum as our son was the complete opposite, loved his crib, and would sleep uninterrupted for 12 hours a night from the time he was about 7 months old. We still love sleeping with our daughter, but with her frequent wakings and inability to soothe herself back to sleep, it is becoming more difficult for any of us to sleep well or for any decent period of time. We've made a choice for our family not to let her CIO, so this year, we are working on getting her to sleep in her own bed. I hope you find this info helpful to make the right choices for your son and your family.

3:35 PM  
Blogger Homestead Mom said...

Hi there. I just found your blog, and have been enjoying it.

My partner and I have a 4 month old. She insisted on sleeping ON us for weeks; she has indeed begun to transition to sleeping next to us, between us, and lately has even been sleeping very soundly. We have the best luck when swaddling. Keep your chins up - it will get better! (Except that last comment by Stacey sounds a little bleaker. It's wonderful that Stacey & co can offer her the non-CIO option for now. Here's hoping it becomes more bearable soon!)

Homestead Mom

4:07 PM  
Blogger Michko said...

I had some similar issues with all my kids. I was bound and determined NOT to have my first in bed with us for fear of smothering him. Also bound and determined to keep him on his back to sleep. As a result, I was up probably every two hours. Like Cricket, he would sleep wonderfully ON me, on his tummy, with his legs and arms curled in. Turns out he was a tummy sleeper. Scared me to death, but I checked with his doctor and that's how he slept. The girls were the same way despite my best efforts to get them to sleep on their backs. I think co-sleeping is wonderful and our baby is 13 months and we still sleep with her in our bed sometimes if she wants, er, demands it. If you want to *try* to avoid some of the problems co-sleeping may or may not present later on, I suggest getting Cricket to sleep in a crib and/or bassinet at some time. Even if it's only an hour nap once a day or every other day. This may help him know that it's OK to sleep here, too. It will eventually, gradually increase and before you know it he'll be sleeping in his own bed for large chunks at a time. The CIO method does seem harsh, but I'm sort of a strict, tough love kind of mom and I think that sometimes kids (even infants (but not newborns!!)) need to know that they have to put themselves to sleep. It can be heart wrenching to listen to the little booger cry, but if you know they're tired, if they need to sleep and your back just won't take any more slinging, I say you have to do what you have to do. However, you do have to be sure to do what's right for you and for Cricket and if you simply know he won't sleep anywhere other than mom, then there's no need to torture yourselves or him. Ack, I'm rambling now! So sorry!

4:21 PM  
Anonymous Jenn said...

Nicholas was the exact same way. We spent many nights with him either on us or in bed with us. I was certain we were setting ourselves up for a twelve year old who wouldn't sleep in his own room.

Eventually I found he'd sleep in the infant to toddler rocker (reclined) with a sleep positioner around him. After about two months (I think) I was able to actually get him into the crib and there he has been ever since, save for a few naps in the swing.

5:56 PM  
Blogger Gandksmom said...

First off, the old way of sleeping is gone whether he's in bed with you or not. And the other thing that will save your night sleeping is learning to nurse in the side lying position. We had a co-sleeper. It was a very expensive diaper and wipe holder because other than the one time Katie slept in there, that is all we used it for. She slept right between us and once I learned to nurse her lying on my side, I barely woke up and just popped my boob in her mouth and we both went back to sleep. When she was about 3 months old, we bought a side rail and put that on my side of the bed and I would put her over there so that partner (who had to work) could get some decent sleep. Everyone was convinced that Katie would sleep with us forever but last April, when she was just a little over 3, she went into her own bed with no trouble. AT ALL. Of course by then we had made a committment to a family bed until she was ready and there were a few times when WE were ready, but it really went OK. I will say that family beds are only good if EVERYONE in the bed wants it to be a family bed. If you want more info on how we made it work for us, e-mail me (wendy6gill@aol.com)I also wanted to add that by a year old she willingly slept at MIL's house in her own bed there for naps and overnights. She also napped on the couch during the day until she outgrew her naps. FWIW

6:25 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

Whatever you need to do to get a baby to sleep in the first 12 weeks is fine. (Go read your Moxie on this one.) After that, you can start to decide what's right for your family. Not what's right for others, or what the books say or try to scare you into, but what feels right for the three of you.

One of the most reassuring comments I got when we recently asked about sleep on the blog was from Jody, mom of 5-year-old triplets. They did a combination of co-sleeping and crib sleeping with all three and each one has evolved into a totally different sleeper. One was tough to get out of the family bed, one didn't want much to do with it in the first place, and the third had some different twist. Now they're all pretty good sleepers in their own beds (the one who disliked the family bed is the one who ends up there the most these days, if I recall correctly). Just goes to show you that a lot of it is dictated by nature, IMO.

We started out with Natalie sometimes in the cosleeper and sometimes in the bed. (And I totally agree that sidelying nursing will REVOLUTIONIZE your life. It took me until about 6 weeks to get it, and I wasn't dealing with a c-sec, so I don't know what to predict for you, but keep trying at it.) She gradually transitioned to almost 100% cosleeping from about 6-9 mo, and within the last two weeks we've transitioned her to almost entirely sleeping in the crib. It's been pretty easy. I hope to write about it soon on the blog.

Right now, get your sleep any way you can. And enjoy snuggling with the little bug - all too soon he'll be crawling away from you and you'll wish he just wanted to sleep curled up on you again. Sniff! Sniff! :)

7:41 PM  
Blogger lagiulia said...

I don't really have anecdotes or advice, as our boys slept in their crib upon coming home from the NICU and have done so ever since. But I did want to say that sleep is a tough issue for most people, cosleepers or not, so you are not alone.
Also, I must say that your baby is one of the most beautiful babies I've ever seen in my life! I love the pictures and your words about life in the NICU. I hope that you continue to heal from your section and that the three of you continue to enjoy your life together.

8:43 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...

I'm a bigger girl and I was always terrified that I'd smother my girls because I sleep so soundly and apparently I move alot (according to some people)I opted to not let them sleep with me until older. My oldest only sleeps with me on the rare weekends (she moves more than I do!) and baby (who is a year old in 2 days OMG), has only slept with me once and that was because I was in sleep deprivation mode and she wouldn't settle and I could sit/walk/move.
I agree with..umm someone who said "its what works with your family", just remembering that it may become a habit that might be hard to break.

Just my ten Canadian pennies (whats that 1/2 cent US?) :-)

2:43 AM  
Blogger Kristin said...

Guess I should proofread..
...she wouldn't settle and I couldn't sit/walk/move.

2:45 AM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

Clarification on my comment and another thought:

When I said we got to a point where we were almost 100% cosleeping I meant in our bed. She's long since outgrown the cosleeper. But even from our bed it's not been a rough transition to the crib. So don't think that you're DOOMING yourself in the future by what you do now.

It also occurred to me that you might try other things besides the baby papasan if you're looking for ways he can sleep without being held. Some babies are very particular about their sleeping and soothing wants. See if you can borrow a swing or a bouncer if you don't have one. He may like one of those better than the papasan. Or the stroller, or the car seat - many things to try.

Good luck!

6:24 AM  
Blogger Nico said...

Ant went through a stage when he would only sleep on us. But at around 2-3 months I discovered that letting him fall into a sound sleep on me was inevitably dooming me to keeping him there - as soon as I tried to move him he would wake up. But, if I bounced him to sleep on the exercise ball and then immediately put him down in his crib, it worked like a charm.

If you do find that Cricket only likes to sleep on his tummy, I'd suggest investing in the Angel Care monitor, which detects the baby's movements while in the crib, and sounds an alarm if he doesn't move (i.e. breathe) for more than 20 seconds. In fact, I might suggest it anyway. It's definitely given me peace of mind.

I truly cannot believe he's a month old already!!!!!

9:10 AM  
Blogger Heather said...

I co-slept with mine until they slept through the night. Although my Youngest is 3 and she still doesn't sleep through the night, but she still co-sleeps so I guess that first statement is true.
Once they got to about 6 months they seemed to get too squirmy to sleep with comfortably, so I moved them to a cot then.
You do whatever works to get sleep. You can always teach a young dog new tricks if you want to change things around later.

12:11 PM  
Blogger NMsurrogate said...

I agree with Jennifer. Whatever it takes and whatever you are comfortable with for the first few months is fine.

That said, I let those months drag on a bit too long. I nursed on demand every two hours all night long for a year. Then I felt I was going psychotic and it had to stop. I think the sleep "training" would have been more gentle had we done a bit more to teach him to self-soothe earlier. But I didn't know that then and it turned out the way it turned out. You, Partner, and Cricket will find what works for all of you.

Best of luck. You are doing great, mommies!!!

9:31 PM  
Blogger LilySea said...

I was pretty cautious about not letting Nat sleep on us too often when she was little, but we did it at least part of the night about half the time anyway.

In hindsight, I don't think it much mattered much at this young. And even if it does "set you up" you can break the habit later. I don't think it's inevitable, though.

Nat did love her Amby hammock, and didn't start sleeping in the crib until 10 months, but since then, she's slept 11-12 hours every night.

Most of this stuff is the luck of the draw, though, I think. I just think Nat is a good sleeper. I don't think our choices hurt, but mostly I give her credit.

This little, though? Who knows what you've got. Too soon to tell. I'd just stay in triage mode and do what it takes to maximize everyone's sleep.

10:25 PM  
Anonymous Leah said...

You are not screwing yourself in the future...Enjoy snuggling with Cricket!! Once he's older, like 5-6 mo, try the crib. You might all be ready then. When Sam came home, he too slept only on my chest for the 1st few weeks and then he co-slept with us until he was 5.5 mo old and went into the crib with no problem. Good Luck with the house selling!

10:04 AM  

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