Wednesday, February 29, 2012

A Tale of Woe from the Sleep Deprived

How can I blog about sleep without making it sounds like a pity party for myself? haha

Anyhow, prior to having the baby (and yes, even during pregnancy), what honestly separated me from sleep were my 3 pillows. I love sleep, I love sleeping. I love the thought of bedtime coming up around the corner, and I especially anticipated that feeling of no longer being able to keep my eyes open and just drifting off. I knew my body well enough to not overstimulate myself, not drink caffeine too late, and not take any naps during the day just so I can have that amazing, clearly passed out, deep uninterrupted sleep at night time.

Then came baby...

"sleep when baby sleeps"

I have never been so sleep deprived in my entire life! My eyes are heavy though im alert, i'm definitely not as sharp as i used to be, it takes me awhile to process things and critically think, and i have a short fuse. out!

The first week when Max came home, I slept in the living room as I just wanted to be near my baby resources (ie change table, kitchen, bathroom). Some level of paranoia existed at the time and he slept in the bassinette next to the couch, which was unfortunately lower than the height of the bassinette so I kept getting up just to see if he was ok and breathing! On top of that, I of course had to discover the art of breastfeeding- and at that stage, it was an endless marathon of getting up every 1-3 hours non-stop every night and day.  I was the food source. When people told me "sleep when baby sleeps" i was getting pissed off because when I did take the opportunity to, the baby would get fussy and then i would be woken up within minutes of lying down or not so long after the last feeding the baby with the infamously annoying phrase said by many to moms, "I think he's hungry," or "I think he needs to feed, soothe him."  How is one supposed to get any rest?!?

To boot, i'm convinced that with motherhood comes bionic ears! I swear I hear every whimper, cry, mumble, thrash, squeal, even if we're separated by square footage measuring in the hundreds! LOL!

As Max got a little older (i mean in weeks and days) I noticed that he was such a NOISY sleeper. Funny how i went into labor at 4am, and Max is a 4am thrasher! It's almost like clockwork when he would wake up, thrash, make the loudest noises, totally restless, and of course this stage also takes the longest time to settle back into his sleep phase. Some nights are terrible, some nights are great- I couldn't and still can't find a pattern into what would lead to the ideal fork in the road! so currently, I just deal with it and research endlessly on the internet for a hint of what to do or maybe even just a comment from another reader with their insight.

My current care plan which has been somewhat of a routine for a few weeks:
  • keep him awake and understimulated from 8pm. No more naps after 7 would be great  but he can get fussy so this gets bumped +/- 30 minutes
  • I try to feed him and essentially top him up as much as i can from 8pm-10pm (maybe even every hour, some times he takes it, sometimes he doesnt) so his stomach will be full and thus, in theory, will result in a longer sleep time range
  • if it's bath day, we bathe at 9pm (earlier if he's extra aggitated) as this calms him down. otherwise, it's sponge bath time
  • change into sleepwear around 9:30ish
  • wait for post feed digestion and burp
  • cuddle/rock/swing/hum- whatever is on call for the night to get him in that drowsy stage
  • once he's kind of limp and breathing more regular and less heavy, he gets popped into the bassinette and i quickly also go to bed as this first downtime is usually his longest and most deepest time (i approximate this time to be between 930 and 1030pm)
Mind you again, some days this works...some days it doesnt. the worst night took us 3 hours to settle him. I dont know WTF was up with that day but i would attribute it to me not having any idea as to what to do and most likely i didnt have a plan. I really hate those times when just when you put him down after a soothing session of greater than 30 minutes, he startles and is WIDE AWAKE again ready to party! Painful I tell you, especially at 3-4-5am!

he just needs to smile and I forget about all the frustrations i was feeling

Last night I discovered some new ideas on this whole sleeping process. 
  1. Firstly, the MORO REFLEX - this is the dreaded startle reflex (UGH!), but one way to bypass this is to put baby's bum down first. my imbalanced way of putting baby down head reclining more so than the bottom (although albeit probably not intentional) triggers this.  I was really conscious about this last night and lo and behold this reflex was minimized last night!  
  2. Secondly, SWADDLE the frickin child! I dont know why I was so abyss to swaddling. i clearly remember doing this once and it worked, but i think he rejected it the second night so i gave up on it. 5 weeks later (as in last night), i swaddled him again with the Halo Sleepsack and it was SUCH A GOOD NIGHT for him. The night was kind of sheity for me as i was so shocked at his peacefulness that i was waking up and watching him just to check if he was still breathing! Anyhow, i went to toysrus today and bought a bigger sized HALO SLEEP SWADDLER as he has maybe a week or so to go before he outgrew the newborn swaddler Janine gave me 6 weeks ago! I hope it's another goodnight tonite.
  3. Finally, the 5 S's from Dr. Karp that will trigger than calming reflex : swaddling, side/stomach positioning in the parents' arms, shushing, swinging, and sucking. I youtubed this and tried the side positioning and shushing and it worked! OMG! im going to try this more just so to prove to myself that it wasn't a fluke haha. however, i'm not even going to think or wish that baby will start crying just so I can test this out! (medscape article on 5 S's)


  1. I'm swaddle-averse as well, but my baby hates having her arms pinned down so that wakes her up too! I'll keep in mind the bum-first tip for avoiding the Moro - great advice! :)

    Oh, and so glad to read your blog, fellow Vancouverite - my kid's a CoalHarbour Baby!

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