Thursday, March 13, 2008

Sleep Precious Sleep

Many of you know that Emerson is not a great sleeper. She is such a healthy and happy baby that this has been the biggest challenge that we have had to face in her short 4 1/2 month life. I know that we are truly blessed to have such a wonderful child, however when you are as sleep deprived as our household is, getting your child to sleep seems like an enormous obstacle.

The problem isn't that Emy does not like sleep, it is that she cannot put herself to sleep without being rocked or held until she falls asleep. Emerson will have a "good" week where she naps in her crib and sleeps in her room pretty good at night. However, the good times have come to a screeching hault and now we are facing the worst times. She will only sleep on me...not with me, but physically ON me. It seems that we have committed the cardinal parenting sin of not teaching our baby how to fall asleep on her own.

I am not sure how it happened really. It just kind of snuck up on us. When she was a newborn I was bound and determined to have a great sleeping, scheduled baby. I had a great plan. Stuff just seemed to come up that interferred with the plan. Family would be in town, we would be out of town, we were moving, I would be sick, Emerson would be sick...whatever the excuses we now have a 4 month old who cannot sleep on her own.

So, Steve and I have made the tough decision that this weekend we are teaching Emerson how to fall asleep in her crib, without our help. I have read countless books on parenting and infant sleep. They all say something different. Some say, don't let your baby cry. Others say, let them cry until they pass out. I personally feel that there has to be a middle ground somewhere. I am not sure what our game plan is, but the sleep problems have to stop. I know that teaching Emerson to sleep on her own is going to be really hard, but worth it in the long run. She will be an even happier baby than she already is and her parents will be happier too.

So, if you have been through this and happen to have any advice feel free to email me or post a comment. Also, if you happen to think of us at all this weekend, please pray for Emerson's learning ability as well as both Steve and I to stick with the plan and get our precious angel to sleep.

Oh, and a big congratulations to our friends Travis and Chrissie. Yesterday they welcomed into the world their first child. A daughter named Thessalie Elizabeth, 7lbs 12oz, 21 inches, born at 4:24pm on March 12. Welcome to the world, Thessalie.



Erin said...

Hang in there sister, it may be a rough weekend but it'll be worth it!!!!!!!

J A Hynek said...

I had some sleep issues with Hank (my 1st) which begin when he was about 4 months old as well. This is normal actually - due to leaps in cognitive and physical development. We have had different sleep issues with John (my 2nd) now almost 10 months old. I can give you the following advice based on my experience so far with my boys.

1) Pick a sleep training method and stick with it. Jumping from methods to mmethd just confused the child and everyone ends up frustrated.

2) There are lots of different thoughts on this subject from lots of different professionals and people in general. None of them are wrong. you just have to choose a method that will work for you and your baby. Also, every baby is different. So what works for Emy may not work for your next child, if/when you are so blessed.

3) Sleep training = parent torture. Its no fun for the baby either. The 2nd night is the worst. After that it should get easier for everyone. However, you must keep you bed time and before bed routine consistent or you will end up starting all over again.

4) I understand the sleep deprived problem, believe me. When we brought John home, Hank was going through a phase were he was waking up 2 times per night. So between my nursing infant with the screwed up nights and days and my 2 year old, I got no sleep at all. Since you are able to stay home with Emy, you sleep when she does. Turn off the door bell and the phone ringer. You nap whenever she does. Even if if just cat naps. Some sleep is better than none. Don't worry about blowing your friends off in favor of sleep. Your real friends will understand.

5) Chin up - There is a light at the end of your tunnel. between 6 and 9 months of age, most children begin to settle into a more consistant 3 nap per day routine. Especially if evening bedtimes and mornign rise times are consistant. It will be easier for you to plan your day and get some rest as well then.

6) The sleep method we use is great. If you are interested, read "Sleeping Through the Night" by Jodi A. Mindell, PhD. Dr. Mindel is the associate director of the Sleep Disorders Center at the Phildelphia Childrens Hospital. Her book gives the physical and psychological background associated shild development and sleep and it's a very easy read. I finished the book in about 3 hours total when I read it the first time and I am still using it as a reference even now. This sleep method is fairly gentle on both parent and child as well compared to some of the "scream it out" methods. I nice middle ground I think.

Call or email me if you need/want to talk about this issue. I have been there myself so I know how frustrated and tired you are feeling. Hang in there -Jenni