Tuesday, January 12, 2010

sleep

This was written for several friends that have been fighting the same battle as I am with Charlotte right now. I hope that it helps someone a little.

Sleep. That illusive treasure that people desire above all. Really. We are willing to purchase drugs and herbs; buy expensive pillows, bath salts, beds…you name it. Now, add a baby to the mix, and the price goes up. Way up.

When you have a baby, sleep becomes a commodity worth more than gold. If you needed more on the high end of the 8-12 hours, then you are REALLY sleepy. If you were on the lower end…closer to the 4-6 hours…which, really, you know that’s a lie, right? Because if you were sleeping only 4 hours, then you were taking naps, weren’t you? BE HONEST!

To get a baby to sleep, then you try EVERYTHING…you beg, you plead, you pay millions for books with tips to make that baby sleep…nowadays, you also top it off with hours researched on the internet when the books fail ya.

There is the standard put-the-baby-in-the-bed-and-pat-it-to-sleep. There is the crunchier put-the-baby-in-the-bed-with-you (which, frankly, I find very practical.) There are various cry-it-out methods, which can work for some people. (Me? That’s hard for me.)

The things that have worked for me? Different with every baby.

Gabriel? Did the pacifier thing. He had a baby for every day of the week. He wanted to lay cuddled, in a rocking chair, on the sofa, or in the bed with us. He slept well. He was an angelic baby. He only hooked us in the nose every once in a while. He would sleep in our bed whether or not we were there. He loved the big bed. It took us a while to figure that out. As soon as we did, we put up the bunk beds that were Ethan’s. He was 11 months old, the little stay-in-bed-brackets on both sides. That was his silver bullet.

Elise? She was and is a pocket baby. They closer she is snuggled, the happier she is. If she is tired, she gets a little Tasmanian Devil…to make her sleep? Bear hug her. But you have to make sure her hand is free because she needs to pet your face or her Care Bears. BUT only her Care Bears…she can tell in the dark it they are newer ones or her babies…she is happiest petting your face and eyebrows or eyelashes. She started out twirling her hair. When all her hair fell out due to the Chemo, she moved on to ours. When she was alone she started petting her own eyebrows and eyelashes, they never fell out. She also needed a cushier bed, we put egg shell mattress in her crib…and presto!

Amelia? Kiss her, pet her, love her. Give her Elephant, and stop touching her. Oh, my goodness, it killed me. I LOVED the touch-y time with the older kids. It was so sad to me that I couldn’t sleep with her! She needs cuddle time, but when it is time to sleep all she wants is her baby and HER space. She slept well.

Charlotte? Still trying to figure that out! She likes night lights. She likes white noise. She LOVES her bunny. She loves to nurse, 24/7. I love to hold her, but she takes that as an invite to midnight snacking. She did really well swaddled. SUPER tight…as soon as she started rolling over though, we had to give that up…but while the getting was good, it was very, very good.
SO, in a nutshell, here is your checklist:
Dark?
Light?
Pacifier?
Thumb/fingers?
White noise or common sounds?
Humming or lullabies?
Quiet?
Softer bed?
Firmer bed?
Lovey baby/stuffed animal?
Blanket or trimmings to twiddle?
Rocking or some other soothing movement?
Caressing?
No touching?
Patting?
Your bed?
Your room? Their own space in your room? (Comforting sounds/smells)
Their own space/room?
A routine?
A bath or massage to calm them and assuage the day from their tired bodies?
Bedtime snack?
Need an “empty tummy” to keep reflux at bay? A 2 hour space to let things settle?
Tummy sleeper? (Whatever the “Back to Sleep” campaign says, there are babies that need to!)
Back sleeper?
Side sleeper?
Too hot?
Too cold?
Something on/off their feet?
Preferences in pajamas? (materials, bunching, freeing, layers, etc)
Pray over that baby!

I will give it some more thought and perhaps add, but, the thing with this list is the combinations that they can come in!!!

I know that this is the ultimate goal…and that there are certain ages where something may change. And if you are my friend, I’m praying for you. If you are not my friend and are desperate none-the-less email me, message me or post, and I will be happy to pray for you. Where two or more are gathered, and all that! So, “…Go to sleep in peace, God is awake.” –Victor Hugo

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