Saturday, October 15, 2011

the 4 a.m. shower

This is our normal bedtime routine:

We try to watch TV/read for class/actually talk while holding Henry on the couch.  He decides he would prefer to be held while we are standing. We take turns standing and rocking while singing either "Jesus Loves Me" or "I've Been Working on the Railroad." Over and over.

Henry starts to fall asleep sucking on his pacifier. Henry spits out pacifier and resumes fussy crying. Repeat 50 billion times. Daddy changes diaper and then swaddles Henry. Resume standing and singing routine. Finally Henry falls asleep around 9:30 on my chest. The slow walk to the bedroom begins followed by an even slower lowering into the crib. On a good night, he snorts, flutters his eyelids and falls into a deeper sleep. You can guess what happens on the bad nights.

Regardless, he is up at 11 at which point I pull him into bed and nurse him. He falls right back to sleep in my arms and I use a nifty roll maneuver to place him in between our pillows where he sleeps til 3 a.m. and then til 7 a.m.

At our two month appointment, I explained this routine followed by "I know our bed isn't the safest place for him, ok?" This was met with the uh yeah nod.

Instead of this chaotic routine, Dr. K recommended this sleep training process:

Start at 8 p.m. Change his diaper and put on his jammies. Sing him a nice little song and read a book. Nurse him and when he's 95 percent asleep, put him in his crib. He falls asleep in his crib therefore won't get mad when he wakes up in his crib. Happily ever after in sleep land. Obviously Dr. K got his kids from the perfect store.

The first night, as soon as he started fussing in his crib, Shea swooped him up saying "oh you want to sleep with us? OK!"

Last night we attempted to follow directions. After battling through song and dance (literally), we got him calm enough to look at a book. Swaddled and sleepy, we got him in his crib by 11 and there he stayed. Feeling pretty empowered, we went to sleep and didn't wake up until 4 a.m. I nurse and then burp him. I got my burp followed by a good 48 hours worth of milk spit up in my hair, causing me to start screaming for a towel. Mostly because I had just changed our sheets. And that does not happen often. Or ever.

Shea, handing me a towel: "So now what? Are supposed to put him back in his crib? Read him another book? Sing a song?"

Me, stripping off my clothes: "The only thing I am doing is taking as shower because there is baby vomit dripping off my hair and down my back."

Needless to say, Henry spent the rest of the night not in his crib, but in our bed.

Parenting fail.


  1. Having a routine, especially a night time routine has been THE BEST thing for us...and Christian. He usually has a feeding that falls between 5-6pm. I'll nurse him for half an hour, and then we take a bath. I get in the bathtub with him and he sits in one of these: - I fill the tub up so his back is at least covered in water and I just take a sponge and squeeze water over him. (Once a week I'll use soap). He LOVES it. This of course is good news to my husband and I because we live in Hawaii and are both surfers. Haha!

    Right after bath time (usually about 10 minutes), I wrap him up in a towel and massage lotion on his legs and feet, and a little on his arms and belly. Again, LOVES it. We then put him in his jammies - the long sleeve footie kind, and then I just walk around the apartment and say good night to everything. We recite a little prayer that we have on a "plaque" that belonged to my husband as a baby. And then I nurse him again, for probably 5 minutes, until he can barely keep his eyes open, swaddle him in the Miracle Blanket, and put him down in the bassinet. And he's out for the next 5 hours. Granted, he's in bed by 7pm so, he'll usually sleep until midnight/1am.

    We have the Arm's Reach co-sleeper - it's right next to the bed, so I can see him at all times, but not in the bed with us. I'm too paranoid to have him sleep with us, but granted we've never had to deal with colic/reflux issues.

    So I guess my point is, the routine has been wonderful for us. Tonight we veered from it because we had dinner at the in-laws, and yeah, it was slightly chaotic. I say stick with whatever routine works for you guys and eventually things will fall into place! Good luck Mama!

  2. This so sounds like our first couple of months. All of our friends had babies that went to bed at 7 or 8, so we thought Hadassah should too. We had the routine (although ours looked very different; she wasn't a fan of massage and bathtime was stimulating playtime for her, so both of those were out)...

    After our routine came the 3+ hour battle. Nursing, rocking, walking, singing, bouncing on the exercise ball, all with a writhing fussy baby. FINALLY she'd go to sleep and we'd lay her down (in an arms reach co-sleeper too!) and she'd pop back awake the second she was out of arms! Repeat... repeat... She'd finally crash for good at around 10 or 11. It was SO frustrating! I HATED having our evenings consumed with bedtime battles. It left my husband and I strained and punchy.

    Finally, some old advice came back to us - child-led bedtime. Josh brought it up and I thought he was crazy. His logic was she doesn't want to sleep till 10. Do we want to spend the 3 hours prior fighting her or enjoying her? So we "gave up" the 7pm bedtime. And it was glorious!! She just had a second wind in the evening (like we do). We'd let her stay up and read her cues for when she was tired and start bedtime then. The out-of-arms sleeping didn't work for us either, so I'd side-lie nurse her in our bed and slip away (we were very open to co-sleeping anyway, so this was an easy decision for us).

    Our bedtime routine turned from a 3hr frustrating battle to a peaceful 20 minutes of pajamas, walking while she gazed at her star lantern and daddy sang her songs, and snuggling and nursing with momma. Then she was out.

    Eventually, her sleep needs changed and her bedtime shifted earlier and earlier (at almost 1 year old, she crashes around 7-8pm). We've always stuck with the child-led bedtime and it's worked beautifully! She lets us know when she's tired and we enjoy her company until then.

    Also, don't be afraid to sleep with your baby. It's the most natural thing... just research safe ways to do it and give it a try. It saved us hours of sleep, and it still does on nights when she's teething or has a cold. I'd so much rather roll over to a slightly squirming baby and latch on for 5 minutes than have to get out of bed and go into another room to attend a ful-blown crying baby. Don't let people scare you out of it. It's safe and beautiful, if you choose to try it. If not, that's okay too. It's not a parenting fail either way. :)