Sunday, May 21, 2006

To Sleep or not to Sleep...

We have had many challenges over the last 10 months with Buttons. Some are adoption related, some are new parent related and some are just plain everyday baby stuff. First there was the extraordinary attachment to her father, especially in China when we would be in the hotel room and I couldn't get anywhere near her. There has always been a challenge with diaper and clothing changes. She would prefer to go around with a poopy diaper than have a diaper change. We've worked through most of the early challenges with the exception of SLEEP.

We're fans of Attachment Parenting and have tried to follow it in varying degrees. We would give Buttons milk on demand day or night, practiced baby-wearing and did some co-sleeping as well. Ever since her first night with us, she has had (for lack of a better term) an addiction to hand-holding during her sleep. She's been waking up in the night every since she joined our family. (My guess is that she slept with her foster-mom in China.) Co-sleeping became difficult for any of us to get any sleep, so we worked on getting her used to her crib. We would have her just play in it with some toys for a few weeks, then she would take naps in it and finally she would sleep in her crib. Next step was getting her to stay asleep. We would rock her to sleep, put her in her crib and then we'd go in to hold her hand when she would wake. A few weeks ago she started waking up like 8 times a night and we were all getting pretty cranky. So, we started reading "Sleeping Throught the Night" by Jodi Mindell after a friend, who was also into "AP", had recommended it. Well, it worked but the crying (even the 5 or 10 minutes we allow) gives me nightmares. The thing is, she does sleep through the night except for the occasional nightmare. She wakes up pretty early (6:30) and then we bring her into our room for a morning snuggle and a few extra minutes of sleep.

I think this is working, but I have guilt about her crying and I'm having nightmares about it. I also feel selfish because I know that part of it is the fact that I really like to rock her to sleep although I am still able to do it for her nap. I also wonder if I'm torn about this because I like her to need me and this feels like she's really growing up? I guess I don't have an answer, but I figure this is a good place to post some thoughts about it. Any answers you have would be welcome!


At May 21, 2006 at 8:42 PM, Blogger Tammy said...

I emailed you already - but in case you read this first, you mentioned Button's name in this post & I wasn't sure if you meant to do that.

Just giving you a heads up.


At May 21, 2006 at 8:51 PM, Blogger Tammy said...

OK, now I just finished reading you post.

Parenting is riddled with guilt and questions that have more than one 'right' answer. My thoughts on the sleeping subject: do what allows everyone to have a good night's sleep & if you need to change your sleeping arrangements, don't beat yourself up over her crying for a few minutes.

Button's is safe, dry, warm and loved when she's put to bed and if she crys for a bit, she'll be OK. It hurts you more than it hurts her.

Good luck!

At May 22, 2006 at 7:47 AM, Blogger Katie J said...

Thanks for both comments, Tammy! I went back and changed her name back to Buttons. Trying to keep a bit of her anonymity.

I think it does hurt her more than it hurts me. She's not much of a crier, so when it happens it just breaks my heart.

At May 24, 2006 at 1:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know what you mean about listening to the crying. It is so hard not to rush in there and swoop her up. But you know, Buttons needs to sleep--and she needs to learn how to go to sleep, and to learn that going to sleep isn't a bad thing because tomorrow is a new day for more exploring and learning. When she cries at bedtime, it's not because she's in pain or hungry or anything like that...more likely than not it's a sort of "I'm not done playing yet!" last gasp of the day. She'll figure it out, I'm sure!


At June 3, 2006 at 7:46 PM, Blogger Susan said...

I'm a wee bit late stumbling across your blog. We went through this when we got home in March. Little Miss O didn't want to sleep and would wake up about every 20 min. looking for me. It's amazing how she can function on no sleep but mama can't. Her ped. suggested reassurance. No go. We read every method and tried everything we could think of. She's a terrible bed partner and left bruises from kicking in her sleep. We opted to let her cry it out. It was HARD. I turned the monitor volume down and just watched the lights at full strength. It took about 3 or 4 nites but it worked! Her ped. also suggested we rock her but not till 100% asleep b/c it could cause anxiety since she went to sleep with mama or daddy and when she wakes up in the dark of her room there's nobody there but her. She now no longer needs/wants to be rocked to sleep and we will put her down and she may cry 5 minutes - 10 max. I've learned to know the difference in her cries, as I'm sure you have with Buttons. I can tell when she's standing and what's going on. If she's standing, I simply lay her back down and tell her it's nite-nite and slowly leave. It's worked like a charm for us. I was over guilted by letting her cry but we all needed our rest and we are all resting peacefully now. She still may wake with a nightmare or something once or twice but has gotten where she self soothes back to sleep.

It sounds like you've got it down and don't let it guilt you. You know she's safe, etc. and you need your sleep.


PS Love your blog..glad I found it :)

At June 4, 2006 at 10:20 AM, Blogger Katie J said...

Thanks for the info. I'm pretty much over the guilt since she doesn't really cry anymore and she's sleeping sooooo well. Yeah!!! When was your adoption day for Little Miss O? So glad you like the blog. Do you have one as well?

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