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So Glad I'm Not Alone!

As if to reassure me even more that the past few months of sleep-deprivation roller coaster were totally normal, my girlfriend Abby’s drawn up a chart chronicling her first year of sleep deprivation –er, life- with her older son, Isaiah.

I’m so glad it’s not just me. Let’s just count this year of sleep obsession as yet another thing They don’t tell you before you have kids.

Click below to get the scoop -

Elusive Sleep: The First Child

The most frustrating issue during Isaiah’s first year was how to handle his sleep, or rather lack thereof. I often lamented the fact that he didn’t come with a manual for his make and model. I consulted as many books as I could find, looking for the answer. It seemed that my child defied the books! I searched message boards, too, and concluded that there are a lot of tired parents out there.

Following is an accounting of his sleep and my attempts to get more of it in his first year.

Age/Influential Book      Isaiah’s sleep patterns

Newborn                        Isaiah sleeps for long periods of time in the arms of his parents and family members or in the Baby Bjorn. At night he sleeps swaddled in the cradle, waking every 2-3 hours to feed. He often goes back to sleep easily.

2 months                         Occasionally Isaiah sleeps a 6 hour stretch. Abby sees the light at the end of the tunnel. However, he takes a long time to get to sleep. As soon as he is put down, he wakes up. We try unsuccessfully to introduce a pacifier and we stop swaddling as recommended by Dr. Sears. Isaiah must be very deeply asleep in order to put him in the cradle.

3 months                          Isaiah more reliably sleeps for a 6 hour stretch at night. Abby and Paul start feeling really good and a little cocky. (A little extra sleep goes a long way.)

4 m/Dr. Sears: The Baby Book       Isaiah becomes more alert and aware of his surroundings. Abby and Paul try to put him down when he is mostly asleep, drowsy but a little bit awake. Every time we put him down, his arms windmill (Moro reflex) and he wakes up, screaming. We revert to putting him to sleep by 1. nursing2. the special jiggle. Isaiah begins to wake up every 20 minutes at the start of the night and then increases to waking every hour, 2 hours and, at the most, 3. We try to catch him at the lighter stage of his sleep cycle and put a hand on him so that he doesn’t wake fully. When he does wake up fully, he is very angry to be awake. He is tired! We run to him, never letting him fuss. In order to get him back down we have to revert to nursing or the special jiggle. Because we are idealists, we like the idea of attachment parenting, and we bring Isaiah into our bed. Abby often wakes up tired with a stitch in her neck and her arm asleep from cuddling Isaiah.

5 m/Pantley: The No Cry Sleep Solution       Abby is stuck in the bed after 9:00 p.m. and Isaiah will only nap or sleep next to her. He likes to sleep with his hand holding her hair as if to say, “You will not go anywhere!” Isaiah still gets up several times a night to nurse. We are given “The No Cry Sleep Solution”. Abby goes through almost every recommendation in the book over several week including instituting a bedtime routine, introducing a pacifier (still refused), trying to get Isaiah accustomed to music at bedtime, and turning on a sound machine to block out noise.Isaiah still will not allow himself to be put down a little drowsy.

6 m/The No Cry Sleep Solution                    Abby tried to get Isaiah interested in a “lovey”. She buys the snoedel and wears it in her bra so that it might pick up her smell. As much as she tries to interest Isaiah in it, he honestly couldn’t care less. Mommy is still the only lovey for him.Abby is not sleeping well with Isaiah next to her. Abby and Paul decide to try to introduce the crib in a sidecar arrangement next to their bed. Isaiah sometimes sleeps in the crib next to mommy.

7 m/The No Cry Sleep Solution                    Weary but believing that it takes time to find a no-cry sleep solution, Abby and Paul slog on. Isaiah still wakes several times a night, although he goes to sleep a little easier. Abby and Paul put the side railing on the crib and begin moving it across the room, an inch at a time. Abby and Paul resolve that Isaiah will be an only child.

8 m/Dr. Ferber:Solving Your Child’s Sleep Problems         Abby and Paul finally borrow the Ferber book from a friend, although they were once adamantly opposed to sleep training. They agonize over whether to try it. They are very tired.Isaiah still wakes up several times a night. Abby and Paul blame it on teething, growth spurts, anything they can think of to explain it and put of sleep training.

9 m/Solving Your Child’s Sleep Problems       Abby and Paul break down and try the Ferber Method. It is painfully hard to hear Isaiah cry for most of a night. It takes several days, but eventually Isaiah sleeps most of the way through the night. Abby and Paul share a room with Isaiah. He can see them when he wakes up which complicates things. Abby and Paul become very good at playing dead.

10 m/Solving Your Child’s Sleep Problems     Isaiah reliably sleeps through the night. Abby and Paul still think that Isaiah will be an only child.


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