Monday, January 17, 2011

The Sleep Situation

So, I've mentioned several times that Jude has had some trouble sleeping lately. I hate this, because he was really a great sleeper from day 1. He slept through the night early, and he had no trouble napping. I don't know what in the world happened, but one day it's like he just woke up and decided that he didn't like to sleep anymore. I think what actually happened was that I got into a bad habit of just letting him sleep wherever he fell asleep for naps. If he went to sleep in his swing, I left him. If he was having trouble going to sleep in his bed, I would put him in his carseat or his swing just to get him to go sleep. I think, when you have multiple kids, you kind of do whatever it takes to get them to both nap. At least I did. I feel like I'm kind of paying for that now. Jude does NOT like to nap in his bed. He also started waking up at night again a while back. I have no clue what that's about. I know Aubrey started waking at night again after she was sleeping through the night too, so maybe it's just normal, but the problem is that he never went back to sleeping through the night. At first I assumed he was going through a growth spurt, so I fed him when he woke up. Of course I want to feed my child if he's hungry even if it is in the middle of the night. However, lately it doesn't even seem like he's hungry. He doesn't even eat much at all before he falls back asleep. I've just been nursing him because it's the easiest way to get him back to sleep. Only lately, he wakes back up almost as soon as I get back in the bed. Of course.

Finally after a couple of weeks of trying to help Jude learn to nap in his bed with no success, I realized that he was just going to have to cry it out. Because he had always been a good sleeper, I was really hoping we wouldn't have to resort to that, but I didn't see any other options. One day I literally spent 2+ hours rocking him and trying to get him to sleep, and when he finally did go to sleep, he only napped for 30 minutes. I just cannot spend that long getting him to sleep everyday - I do have another child who needs my attention, after all! So, shortly after that day, we started letting him cry it out. It was so hard the first day, but it really hasn't been as bad as I was afraid it would be. Jude has caught on pretty quickly, and he's been napping much better ever since. Now when I put him down for a nap (or at night), he usually fusses/cries for a few minutes, I go in and soothe him, and he goes to sleep. Sometimes he doesn't settle as easily, and I have to go in to comfort him several times, but it's never taken him an insane amount of time to fall asleep. He is now napping, and we are all happier because of it. We still need to work on getting him to nap longer - he sometimes sleeps for over an hour, but it's usually only about 45 minutes. It's something, though, so I'm not complaining. We have also been letting him cry a little at night when he wakes up. I've still been feeding him when he wakes up, just because I would NEVER want him crying because he's hungry. If he's going to cry, I want to know that all of his needs have been met. We are going to work towards getting rid of that night feeding, though. I know he doesn't need it, because he has slept through the night several times lately. At this point, he is just waking up out of habit. Anyway, all that to say, we're getting there on the sleeping front. That's definitely been the trickiest part of our transition to 2 kids.

I do feel the need to say one thing though: I HATE hearing my baby cry. I think it's so unfortunate that there seems to be this unspoken (or sometimes it is spoken) line drawn between mothers who let their children cry it out and those who don't. I think there can be a lot of judgement on both sides. I also hate that I feel the need to explain and justify decisions I make regarding what is best for my child. Now don't get me wrong - I didn't feel the need to write this blog post to explain why we are doing what we're doing. I wrote it because this is our record of our life, and this is part of life. I just hate that, as I'm writing it, I'm worrying about how I sound and that people are going to get the wrong impression about what I'm like as a mother and that maybe someone might think that I don't love my child or that I'm insensitive because I let him cry a little bit. I know it shouldn't matter to me what others think, because at the end of the day, I know I love my child/children, and, more importantly, THEY know I love them. However, I just want to make one thing very clear: I would lay down my life for my children. I am FAR from a perfect mother, and I definitely make mistakes, but I can honestly say that I really and truly want what is best for my children. I guess all I'm trying to say is that I think it's a shame that "mommy wars" exist and that we can be so critical of each other.

So, that is where we are on our road toward getting Jude to sleep well! We can see the light at the end of the tunnel, and I think we are ALL going to be happier because of this :)


The Niemeyer Nest said...

Sleep is a necessity in life. Our children need sleep to grow and it is our job to help them get it! I did exactly what you have done with your kids with Evie. It's hard to listen to them cry but I need my sleep too. I feel like it's my job to help teach Evie to sleep. Saturday night she would NOT sleep at her grandparents so she slept with me in a twin bed. She slept but I was awake all night! Hang in there. Does Jude ever wake up Aubrey?

Amy said...

You do what you have to do! I'm sure I'll be there soon enough!! :)
Libbi NEVER napped, and i mean NEVER! until....the day she turned one. i am not even kidding. the day that turned one year old, she took a nap for the first time and she has (almost) every day since. (hopefully jude won't take so long to catch on) ;)
she did the whole waking up in the night thing after sleeping through the night for months, too. it was frustrating, because i knew she wasn't hungry, but a lot of times i would nurse her just so she'd go back to sleep. at the time, i was teaching so it was really exhausting. thankfully, jeffrey started getting up with her and that kind of cured the whole "nursing for no reason" phase. but, i think if it happened now, i would feel too guilty asking him to get up with her knowing that he had to wake up for work the next morning and i didn't. motherhood sure does come with a lot of "unknowns" doesn't it? :) thank goodness that we have the freedom to try different things to find out what works for our own children. after all, no matter what anyone says, YOU always know what's best for YOUR kids! :)

Nathalie said...

I remember when we would spend SO much time (anywhere from 30 min - 2 hrs) putting Emily to sleep, and I would think to myself "there is no way I could ever do this if I had another child to take care of!". I definitely know that we'll have to handle things differently with the second baby.

I feel the exact same way as you do with mommy wars -- it's too bad they exist and I do worry about being judged for things I do/say. Personally I feel that every baby is different, every family is different, and every situation is different. Of course we all love our children and we all do what we can or what we feel is best.

There is no doubt in my mind that you're a wonderful mother who loves her children more than anything. Keep up the great work, and thanks for sharing!

Sarah Denley said...

Well, since we discuss this kind of thing at length, probably weekly, there is not a whole lot for me to say. Accept that your are a great mother and your are giving Jude a wonderful gift by helping him learn to sleep!

J. Henry said...

You are doing a great job! We didn't let Caroline cry it out until 7 or 8 months and in my opinion, we should have started it earlier.

I am always so concerned with what people think of what I write on my blog & facebook so I understand you there! Every time I let Caroline cry it out I feel that terrible guilt and remember things I've read about damaging your child. Hate that part!

Whitney said...

I have been reading your blog for awhile now and wanted to say hi. I have an almost 18 month old daughter, and when she stopped sleeping through the night around 4 months we had to let her cry. For the last 2 nights she's cried at bedtime, which is so rare, but we had to leave her, and tonight was much shorter. I just wrote in a blog a few weeks ago that I usually don't go in if she fusses and wondered who would judge. I know what works for her just as you know what works for your children. After all her crying last night she loved me just as much this morning.

I have so enjoyed hearing about the joys and challenges of 2 children. Thanks for sharing!

Life on the Terrace said...

We are having very similar issues! I am glad you are starting to see some progress with this. We also had a baby that was a great sleeping but then during the last couple of months has started waking up all throughout the night again. Not only is it exhausting but I totally understand worrying about him not getting enough sleep because it is so important. I looking forward to hearing your updates on this!

Anonymous said...

I am def on the side of let them cry it out , sarah t

Ashley said...

You know we see eye to eye on this! Mommy Wars are horrid. Truly horrid. I can't WAIT to see you and have LONG talks like we used to!