Thursday, October 14, 2010

Sleep Sagas

You know it wouldn't be a Phantzi blog without ongoing sleep drama.

First the good news:
  • For the most part, once over jet lag Valerie has been sleeping through the night since we got here.
  • She's been going down for naps really well for me, too (again with the occasional exception) - between 12:30 and 1, I'll tell her it's time for her nap. She'll say "A" (which is Valerese for "nap," because we traditionally sing the ABCs as a lullaby) and point to her room. We go in, I change her diaper, she gets into bed and pulls a little blankie over her lap. I give her a book, tell her "read your book and then lie down for your nap" and within half an hour (sometimes almost instantly) she's asleep.
I can't tell you how miraculous these two items feel to me.

On the flip side, unfortunately, she's regressed a bit in two areas:
  • She often fights going to bed - not the bedtime routine itself, but the end of the routine, where she's supposed to go to sleep. She usually wants one of us to stay with her until she's, if not actually asleep, then very close to it. I can understand this as she's still adjusting to this new environment, and the turning of day into night can feel like a very vulnerable time. So we're going along with it for now.
  • She's been waking up waaaay too early, at least according to us - this morning it was before 6 a.m. - not sure what's waking her up - street noise? cold? - but boy would we love to sleep in a little longer. Of course, this probably contributes directly to the ease of naptime which I'm not really willing to give up either!
Then there's sweet Gabriel.
  • Although he was the first to adjust to the time zone change, he soon after started this new thing where he gets really, really fussy just before he goes to sleep, both bedtime and naptime, but bedtime is worse.
  • The only thing that calms him is vigorous rocking in my arms, for at least 20 minutes.
  • I mean vigorous - I always have to stretch out my arms, legs, and back afterwards!
  • I keep trying to lay him down still awake so he can learn to go to sleep on his own, but even if he's calm in my arms, the second his bottom touches his bed he starts screeching instantly.
  • So I pick him up again.
  • Finally he falls asleep basically in my arms.
  • I don't feel like CIO is an option because sound carries so much in this apartment, I think it would really upset Valerie.
And then there's the night waking. Most of the time, he sleeps 4-5 hours straight at first, then wakes up to nurse. After that it's anybody's guess - every 2 hours, every hour, or more - and he seems gassy and uncomfortable. Two nights ago he went down at 9, woke up at 11, and then 1, and then every hour until the sun came up. I was beyond exhausted that day.

So I've cut out a bunch of stuff from my diet again - most sadly the Nutella and olives, but also eggs, onions, and anything gassy like broccoli or beans - I've been off dairy pretty much since he was born - and last night (24 hours after the purge) he slept 6.5 hours straight! And then 3 more! Heavenly! I also started using the gas drops (simethicone) again just for kicks.

Another change we made is where I put him down. I've been putting him to sleep in his bucket carseat in our room because it's dark and quiet at bedtime, but it seemed like he'd get restless when Terry and I came to bed an hour or two later, so then I'd move him into the stroller set up in reclining mode the living room - also so Terry wouldn't be disturbed by his noise. Last night I put Gabe to sleep directly in the stroller. Maybe that helped. It would be nice if he had his own room, but alas this is a 2-br apartment and I'm so not enthused by the idea of moving again...

And then there's naps... thankfully he goes down for naps a lot easier than for the night. They're just short. He takes a long nap in the Bjorn when we're out for our morning walk, but otherwise his naps are usually less than an hour. I suspect it's because he hasn't learned to put himself back to sleep, since he often seems to still be tired and grumpy when he wakes up. When Valerie was this age, I would nurse her down to sleep on our bed and then when she stirred and seemed to be waking up, I'd go back in and nurse her to sleep again, usually twice within a single long nap. Because of Gabriel's tendency to swallow a lot of air while nursing, I don't have this option with him (and in the long term it was not such a great practice with Valerie either). So I'm not sure what to do about lengthening his naps.

One of my biggest triage challenges - and this is where I hope Shpressa will be able to help me - is keeping Valerie happy while I'm putting Gabriel down in the other room - so this is mostly when I bring out the DVD player. Gabe is so good with other people, I'm hoping she can put him down while I stay with Valerie. Ne do te shohim (we shall see).


Rachel (Jonah Brooke) said...

I'm enjoying learning about Albania.

Would a fan or radio help Valerie not hear Gabe cry?

I don't remember exactly how old Gabe is, but I think he's night sleep is about normal for his age. I know it's hard but I think as he gets older he will stretch out his sleeping times. As for tha fussiness, he may have colic.

tara said...

yea maybe a white noise machine would help? or don't you have one? w is sleeping with us again- but then again, everything is messed up so I'm not going to care until after his birthday.