A Turning Point?

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Si Si is tucked into her Moses basket, completely conked out from a day of short insufficient naps.  Oh well, at least she's been sleeping AWESOME at night (we're talking 11 1/2 hours last night, y'all!) 

Last night was a turning point for me I think.  I"m sure there will be plenty more dips in the road, but after going totally hysterical yesterday, Joe and I prayed and talked over Peet's coffee (Joe had a 5 shot espresso!) while my mom held down the fort. We decided things needed to change.  Here's what we came up with.

#1: We're hiring a sleep consultant.  Don't hate, please!  I know sleep trainers get a bad rap sometimes.  I never ever thought I would need one. But then again, I never thought I'd need an in-home dog trainer, or a lactation consultant, a doula, or a gardener. We tend to be a pretty "do-it-yourself" family.  But some things are better left to the pros! 

Anyway, here's how I see it.  Sleep is ESSENTIAL for infants.  Many infants are sleep deprived, which means they can't enjoy life to the fullest. They can't take in all the new sights and sounds without becoming overstimulated.   Think about it, it's annoying to be tired all the time . Well, to babies that annoying tired feeling is actually highly disturbing, hence the fussiness and crying when they are overtired.  I was shocked to find out that babies Siena's age can only be awake for 90 minutes at a time.  That means for every 90 minutes of wakefulness, they need to sleep.  And like clockwork, every 90 minutes Siena gets fussy and starts divebombing for my chest.  Wanting to "feed on demand", I always interpreted this to mean Siena was hungry, yet again.  Hence, feeding her every 1 1/2 hours --> absolute gordo baby.  She's the size of a 6 month old! Turns out she was tired and was searching out the booby to help her get to sleep.  A true "aha!" moment.

We're not hiring a sleep trainer for purely selfish reasons (although I can't deny the benefits to us!).  I really don't mind cuddling Siena for all her naps. When she was a newborn, I could watch netflix or search the net while she slept on my lap. Or just stare at her and pet her head. But now, she's so aware of the environment that she ends up waking consistently 30 or 45 minutes into the nap, drowsy and crying, unable to get herself back to sleep. I have to nap with her in the rocking chair in her pitch black room, and even then can rarely squeeze more than 45 minute naps out of her. By the end of the day she is totally zoned out and cranky. I am depressed from being locked in a dark room all day.  Joe is concerned that his wife is going nuts.  It's just a bad situation.

  We're hoping that we can break Siena of some habits (I'm not even going to call them "bad" habits, they are just habits) like nursing, rocking, patting to sleep.  They used to help her get shuteye as a newborn, and now I feel they are actually hindering her from getting the rest she deserves.  I cannot hold her forever, even if I wanted to.  Yes she might grow out of this phase on her own, but she might not.  It will be easier on all of us to nip this in the bud before her sleep deficit accumulates. 

Since she's just about 10 weeks, we will be using very gentle methods.  I know she is capable of sleeping through the night, as she has since 3 weeks, but will not push the night sleeping issue until later.  My goal is to help her learn to soothe herself to sleep, and stay asleep if she wakes up briefly between sleep cycles, especially during naps.  If all goes well, this may eliminate the need to "train" her later on, saving us all some tears. 

#2:  A new perspective:  I need to enjoy my baby girl, whether she's in a "hard" stage or "easy" stage (is there such a thing?).  I need to show her grace and patience, just as God shows me every day.  Jesus showed such tender care to infants, and I long to do the same. I need to stop using her crying or fussiness as a measure of my mommy skills.  I need to stop thinking of motherhood as an ego-booster or buster.   I need to snap out of denial and accept, no, embrace, that I'm a mommy now and always will be.  Because God gave her to me for a reason. I think that reason was to knock me to my knees.  It's working!

That's all!  Just thought I'd share.  I'll blog soon about our sleep training and let you know if we see improvements!

And thank you all for reading and commenting on my last post.  I have read the comments over and over, they gave me such comfort. 


angel March 27, 2011 at 11:13 PM  

i think this is such a good thing for you & joe! there's nothing wrong with turning to an expert for some help. :) so proud of you, mama bear!! <3

Rachel March 28, 2011 at 1:50 PM  

Knowing when to ask for help is a sign of strength! You guys will get through this.

I hope you're feeling a little more peaceful this week, dear. I'm thinking of you.

melandtony March 28, 2011 at 2:56 PM  

Kristin, I've always admired your strength and joy in hardship, and I can see it even through this time. Having gone through it myself, I know you're gonna be just fine. I remember the first 3 months too...and reading what you've written, i can really relate to you. It really is only a phase. At one point, Lucas didnt' sleep more than 45 min during the day and 2 hours at night. The world looked so gloomy cause i was sooo sleep deprived. But then i remembered his first 3 hour stretch, then 4, then 6...and then he slowly stopped crying as much.
I think i really grew through that and now I love him so much more! i'm here too if you need to talk to someone. =) mel

Lacey March 28, 2011 at 3:14 PM  

Woohoo -- sounds like a great plan Kristin! Doesn't making a decision and taking some form of control feel fantastic, even if it's as simple as an attitude adjustment!? You're a hero.

My Sweet & Saucy March 28, 2011 at 6:19 PM  

I am loving reading your blog! You are so honest and everything you say touches my heart! I'll be praying for you!

christina {simply modern weddings} April 4, 2011 at 11:37 PM  

i love reading your perspectives kris, they are so honest! i know that god is giving you the strength to be a better mommy every day and with every challenge!

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