Thursday, August 9, 2018

SNOO review (sort of) - months 3 - 4

First SNOO post (months 1 - 2) here.

SNOO

So I should admit up front that I considered letting this series die a quiet death and never posting about baby sleep again because I feel like a huge failure. I basically gave up at week 11, which was my second week back at work (aka - no more naps during the day) and a wonder week leap, and I just gave in and started cosleeping*, which was never in my plan. But here I am posting this anyways, because even if it isn't really a review of the SNOO anymore, maybe it's still helpful to someone? Or maybe just acknowledging that babies are different and getting your sleep in whatever way works best for your family is okay? I hate to discourage people from the SNOO because it was so great for us during the first couple months, and I have heard from so many other people for whom the SNOO was a lifesaver. I should try reading those emails to Adrian to see if they can convince her.

Anyways, here are my notes from the last two months.

Week 9: 6/12 - 6/19 Started out strong, still getting those nice 6 -7 hour stretches in the SNOO at night. But it kind of fell apart towards the end of the week, probably a perfect storm of her getting all her two month vaccinations and being a bit fussy and me getting stressed about going back to work. We dipped back down to 4 hour stretches for a few nights.

Week 10: 6/19 - 6/26 My first week back at work and everything is kind of topsy turvy and we're trying to figure out a schedule. She decides she isn't into the bottle anymore (nice timing!) and we have a little regression on the evening fussiness. Still getting 4 - 6 hour stretches consistently at the start of the week, but shit starts to fall apart on Friday and then I realize we are entering a Wonder Week (since she was born a week late she goes through her leaps a little early, because they are based on due date and not birth date).

Week 11: 6/26 - 7/3 Wonder Week leap three in full swing, I'm not even attempting to get her to sleep anywhere but on me. We're actually relatively lucky because she mostly stays cheerful during Wonder Weeks (so far!) but she just cannot sleep on her own while she's going through a leap. She naps happily in the wrap during the day, but at night she hits a fussy wall and it takes a concerted effort to calm her down and get her to eat and fall asleep. Then if you try to put her in the SNOO she will sleep for maybe 40 minutes, then she's up and inconsolable. I give up and just accept that we're co-sleeping this week. It's crazy that she can be crying and refusing to sleep for ages and then falls asleep within two minutes if I lie down and hold her. I'm barely sleeping because I'm so aware of her, but knowing that there is an end date for this makes it bearable and even sweet. I'm hoping that she rebounds after this leap and maybe we'll even get a magical 8 hour stretch.

Week 12: 7/3 - 7/10 Things are still terrible. Did I ruin our baby by letting her sleep with me for a week? She is refusing to sleep for more than 15 minutes on her own, at any time of the day or night. I know that we need to suck it up and make a big push to get her back in the SNOO but we're both working and I just can't face even one night of waking up a million times to soothe her back to sleep. I tell myself we'll try over the weekend.

Week 13: 7/10 - 7/17 Yeah, that didn't happen. We had a crazy heat wave and all ended up camping out in the nursery, so she's still sleeping with us. The thing is that she sleeps so well that it's hard to motivate to get her back in her bassinet. Even though I don't sleep heavily when she's with me, not having to get up multiple times a night feels so good that I'm reluctant to give it up. I don't fall back asleep easily once I'm up, so I'm extra motivated not to wake up fully over and over again.

Week 14: 7/17 - 7/24 Why am I even writing this review? I feel like a failure because I haven't even attempted to get her back in the SNOO and our kid will probably be sleeping with us until she goes to college. At least we're pretty well rested? Her nighttime schedule is like clockwork now. We put her down around 8 or 9 pm, she sleeps solidly until 2 - 3 am, when I feed her half asleep, then she's back down until 6:40 am. I still sleep pretty lightly with her next to me, but I've stopped feeling quite so terrified that I'll roll over on her. We're both always in exactly the same position every time I wake up. I did put her in the SNOO for a couple of her daytime naps this week, which went over okay. She'll sleep for about an hour in the SNOO during the day, whereas I get 2.5 - 3.5 hours if I wear her in the wrap. She's always been a good daytime napper, and the only thing I do is adhere pretty firmly to the "awake times" theory, so I only let her stay awake for about an hour and a half at a time during the day, then I make a major push to get her down for a nap. Part of the issue is that I really NEED those long naps because I'm working from home and I need concentrated times when I can bang out a ton of work without interruption. So wearing her is worth it to me because she'll nap better and longer.

Week 15: 7/24 - 7/31 We're deep in Wonder Week leap four (which lasts for-freaking-ever) and she started rolling over for real this week and it made her completely crazy for a couple days. Cosleeping started to get weird because instead of staying snuggled up next to me all night she now wants to lie on her back with her arms spread out, which means that this 13 lb infant is somehow taking up 1/3 of our bed. She's also waking up more, and I don't know if it's the four month sleep regression or the rolling but I'm bummed.

Week 16: 7/31 - 8/7 Ugh, it's been a week of her waking up every 2 - 3 hours wanting to eat, or just being fussy. I'm exhausted. I know it's just a phase, but towards the end of the week, not having had more than 1.5 hours of sleep at a time for five nights in a row I told her to go fuck herself when she woke up at 3am and then I felt bad. She didn't seem to care either way so I guess we're still friends. She's still sleeping super sprawled out in bed and I'm thinking maybe instead of getting her back into the SNOO we'll just work on transitioning her to her crib. We'll see.

This is ending on a sad note, but I'm happy to give a spoiler and note that week 17 has started off really well, back to 7ish hour stretches at night the last couple nights. Fingers crossed this sticks for a bit. I am a way nicer person if I get at least one uninterrupted stretch of sleep at night.

* Thoughts about cosleeping - I've never been anti cosleeping, and I know plenty of people who do it happily and safely, but it always seemed like it wouldn't be the solution for us. Our dog sleeps with us, for one thing, and I like my space at night, and after 9 months of forced side sleeping I was really looking forward to being able to roll around to my heart's content. Initially, we "coslept" for short periods by letting her sleep on my chest while I was propped up, just to get a couple hours sleep during fussy nights. Once she was 11 weeks old it started feeling less scary because she was so much stronger, and she'd sleep alongside me, against my belly/chest with her forehead just below my chin. We followed some standard safety tips, like limiting bedding and pillows. Luckily it was summer, so we mostly just slept without blankets, or only pulled the blankets up to my waist and we already have a firm mattress. Circe kind of resolved the dog issue because she's been sleeping with us way less since we came home from the hospital. She gets annoyed that I have to get up to feed Adrian at night, so she started sleeping on the floor beside our bed instead, although she'll hop up and sleep on Dustin's side for some snuggles in the beginning of the night. I also got more comfortable with the idea of Circe and Adrian coexisting, because they spend a lot of supervised time together on the playmat during the day, and once Adrian started rolling it was pretty obvious that she's strong enough (and loud enough) to wake us up if Circe gets too close. Circe has also proved herself surprisingly tolerant. She chooses to lie beside Adrian during playtime, and waits patiently and stoically while I have to detach Adrian's death grip on her fur multiple times a day. If she gets too annoyed she'll leave the room, but in general she seems willing to put up with a lot, which I definitely didn't expect. But at night she consistently avoids Adrian, to the extent of not wanting to come over to my side of the bed at all, so I guess her tolerance has limits. Circe is pretty committed to sleeping.

Anyways, long story short, cosleeping didn't feel as scary as I expected it to once she got bigger, and even though I'm still hoping this is just a short phase in our lives (she starts daycare in another month and she has to learn to sleep on her own before that) it's been a surprisingly sweet one.

14 comments:

  1. LOL oh man, I too have had those “go f*ck yourself” moments. My son is four months old today and I agree that it’s “whatever WORKS” when it comes to sleep. He is usually a terror to put down at bedtime and is still up every couple of hours when he’s in the bassinet.. we start co-sleeping at 4 or 5am every night (otherwise he won’t go back to sleep) and even then he wakes up every hour or so wanting to nurse. So it could be worse! ��☠️ This too shall pass. Hang in there mama!

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    1. We're only one day apart! And ugh, I'm so sorry. We'll get through this!

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  2. Daycare is amazing at helping kids learn to nap. It's worked wonders for both my kiddos. Good luck, you are doing great! So annoying and trite, but it is all just a phase. (So hard to hear when you're sleep deprived.)

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    1. That's what I'm hoping! I initially thought I was going to get her on a good nap schedule for daycare and then I thought why bother, they're the experts so I'm just going to let them figure it out.

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  3. Months 4-6 were terrible. Just do what you need to survive. I'd say eventually they all learn how to sleep (mine did) but I do know toddlers who don't so mostly I just think it's all a crapshoot and the only sure thing is that parenting small children is extremely demanding. You're doing a great job! Back to work at 10 weeks is hard, working FT with a baby FT is insane - seriously you're doing great.

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    1. Ha! Yes, I think so much of it is a crapshoot and then you feel crazy for investing so much time/energy in researching strategies. We have so little control!

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  4. Oh the joys of those blurry, early months. I look back at them with fondness and not a little terror. But I just want to say please don't think you have broken your sweet little girls by letting her co-sleep and try to be strong. You are doing an amazing job!

    Our son, who is almost 4, still co-sleeps and I was also never planning on letting him. While he kicks me in the ribs multiple times a night it's still better than getting up every hour and putting him back in his bed. I've tried everything to get his to sleep on his own from the beginning, and we had a blissful two months about a year ago when he did, but then he's back in the bed.

    But each kid is so different and Adrian could decide tomorrow she's happy to sleep alone again. You just never know. But don't beat yourself up about it. I wish I had spent less time feeling unbelievably guilty up about the whole sleep thing. I have friends who's first born slept like a dream and the second one will only sleep while being held. And they did everything the same.

    What my long rambling is getting at is stay strong, do whatever gets you the most sleep now and it will all work out eventually.

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    1. Yes, kids are all so different! We're just prioritizing sleep at this point and trying not to worry about what we're "supposed" to be doing.

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  5. Seriously feeling for you. It's so. Hard. We've got a 2-year-old and another due next month, and I'll just agree with what everyone else (and you) have said, that every kid is so different. You never really know when the sleep thing is going to click with them. Hey, it could be tonight! Or tomorrow! Never lose hope, and at least reassure yourself that there's always an end to the madness, whenever that may be.

    One more thing that isn't exactly on the sleep subject (but Natalie sort of mentioned it above, too)... there's one piece of advice I wish people would have given me when my son was little. Let go of guilt. "Mom guilt" is REAL. And it sucks. And I swear all moms feel it even for (seemingly) silly reasons. I still feel it a lot. But you're rocking it and doing your best, even when you don't feel like you are. Momming is the hardest job ever. Keep it up!

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    1. Thanks! Letting go of that guilt is so important, and so hard!

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  7. I just took a sleep class full of new parents at 38 weeks because I'm so nervous about the sleep stuff. Our instructor confirmed that 4-6 mo is the worst, and she is a proponent of starting to teach self-soothing/bedtime cues at 5 mo. Which sounds like the absolute worst as I go back to work then. I can totally see co-sleeping just to make it through the night.

    I'm sure you've read everything, but our instructor recommended Happy Sleeper. (http://thehappysleeper.com/our-approach) which reconciles attachment parenting and getting long stretches of sleep after 5 mo.

    Staying home with a baby FT and working FT makes you a champ! Good luck!

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    1. Same boat! We're thinking we'll start getting serious about sleep cues at 5 months but that coincides with her starting daycare (needing to learn to nap alone) and me being back in the office full time instead of working from home. So I'm pretty sure that whole month is going to suck, big time. I think I'm going to check out Happy Sleeper and Sleep Easy Solution and see if one or the other seems like a good fit for us. There are so many different methods! Good luck, lady!

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  8. Rachel,

    New mum over here too! My little boy Patrick was born in October last year via emergency c-section (we had a dropping heart rate and apparently my cervix is too small for any baby to get through). We were so lucky that Patrick turned out perfectly and the only thing I had to worry about was to be kind to myself - those damn stitches hurt! And he slept so well...well, until we hit Leap 4 and Leap 5 and then it was all kinds of hell. My husband and I were so very anti co-sleeping. Our bed was our domain and like you, I relished being able to sleep on my stomach again and claim that mattress as my own and steal the blankets without having those awful hot flushes. Somehow, I think I've blocked Leap 4 from my brain but Leap 5 was shit. God damn awful. Patrick went from an independent happy sleeper to a crier and screamer and a sleep refuser. He refused to nap during the day when all I wanted to do was nap or get things done. He would lie in his bassinet and scream until I would pick him up and settle him. At night, he would go down just fine but around our bedtime (around 10) he would wake up and refuse to go back to sleep. We would take turns pacing and rocking him around the house and then one of us would fall asleep on the couch sitting up. Let's just say in your newest post, you mentioned post-natal depression - I was a raving sobbing mess by this time and was eventually diagnosed with a low case of depression and was put on antidepressants. I do not look back on this time with any fondness. There was even a trip to the hospital on crazy Saturday morning (yep, at 2am) where two bleary eyed parents (one crying hysterically) barged in and I'm pretty sure I offered my baby up for adoption to the nurses (who by the way were lovely and very reassuring) and I begged for a diagnoses but there was nothing medically wrong with Patrick.

    It was around the third week of this that my husband one morning at 1am came into the living room took Patrick off me and said 'Let's go to bed'. And we did. All 3 of us in our bed while I sobbed about being a bad mother. But we all slept a glorious 8 hours with Patrick sleeping in-between us.

    So with the biggest disapproval from our mothers (who believed in letting him 'cry it out') we co-slept with our little darling terror for about 8 weeks on and off. We eventually got him to a point where he would sleep back in his crib at around 3am and we could stretch out in our glorious bed until 6am but at least it was something!

    And then finally, at one point something clicked and Patrick decided he liked his own bed much better. So we put him back into his crib fulltime and he's generally a happy baby again. There are certainly times though I roll over at 4am and my husband will shout out 'Patrick is in our bed!' and I'm all 'When did that happen?' and he says 'At 2am. You didn't hear him.' My husband does not cope with the screaming too well and will stumble into his room, change his nappy and then stumble back into our bed with him and that's fine.

    This parenting - it's really hard work! A nurse in my Mother's Group kept saying to me over again 'Just do whatever gets you through'. And she was so right. We NEEDED sleep. My husband was back travelling for work and driving long stretches (6+ hours) and I was not comfortable with him doing that on 3 - 4 hours of sleep and I was a basket case of tears, nerves and shocking acne. I even let my mother take him overnight on a Saturday night so we could sleep even though I knew that she would let him scream it out (which he did apparently for 3 hours)but at least we didn't have to deal with it.

    Rachel, you're doing an absolutely amazing job. Mamahood is hard, tough work but so incredibly amazing at the same time. Just keep doing what you're doing and if it gets you through, it only reinstates that it's a good thing. It does get easier. And you get stronger.

    Hang in there! You're doing amazingly xx

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