Breakthroughs & Breakdowns

Our lives are full of these lately.  Luckily though, we’ve had no break-ins or break-ups.  Also, no break-dancing.  However, I suspect that the later would greatly reduce our cortisol levels… and probably leave us in the hospital.

Last Thursday, after basically holding Solomon for 24 hrs. straight, we’d had enough.  Any time we put him down, within 2 minutes he was wailing.  So, we let him wail in his crib.  I believe the phrase is “cry it out”.  It was heart wrenching for me.  Nathan said he’d lost his compassion.  Because Sol was in his 6th week and that’s supposed to be the “turning a corner” age when fussiness reduces and sleep organization begins, we decided we could let him “cry it out” for a bit.  He needed to get some good uninterrupted sleep.  Also, it was probably the best decision for everyone’s mental, emotional, and physical health.  My back was in a lot of pain from carrying Sol in the Moby wrap all day and there was a monster growing inside of me that wanted to throw him across the room.  Gruesome, I know.  Not easy to admit on a blog for all to read.  However, I want to be totally honest about how easy it is to become the “monster” that shakes the baby or hits the baby, etc.  All those “monsters” you see on the local news could so easily be you or me.  I don’t want to hide the truth or sweep it under the rug until it over comes me.  God’s grace is good and sufficient and he provided what we needed to get through the rough times (that still happen from time to time).

After Sol cried for a while, it was time for him to eat and we decided to try to put him down to sleep through the night in his crib.  I needed to have some good undistracted sleep (i.e. not sleeping with a baby in my arms).  So we did a gradual extinction method, letting Sol cry for 5 minutes and then going in to sooth him, letting him cry for 10 and then soothing him, etc.  Near the end of the 15 min. cry he stopped and fell asleep.  Glorious!  He slept for 4 hrs. and then woke for a feeding and then slept until 6-ish a.m.  We were amazed!  The following day he took naps in his crib with little fuss.

Since that night we’ve had a couple nights when Solomon woke every 2 hrs. to eat (growth spurt??) and Eli woke up in between Solomon’s wakings.  Those have been our worst nights, getting only 45 min -2 hrs. max sleep at a time.  Fragmented sleep is just as bad as little sleep.  The days following those nights are almost as rough b/c I have 2 over-tired boys who can’t settle themselves and a mom who is hardly functioning herself.  However, inter-mixed with those really hard nights we have nights when Solomon sleeps for 7-8 hrs. straight and an occasional night when Eli doesn’t wake up wailing at 3 a.m.

At this point I am devouring our Happy Sleep Book (Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child, by Dr. Marc Weissbluth) – the book that worked like magic when Eli was 4 mos. old.  However, my main concern at this point is not with Solomon’s sleep habits but with Eli’s.  Solomon is young and still working on his schedule.  That will get better as he matures.  I understand that and am patient.  But Eli is perplexing.  We’ve already pulled his bed time to an hour earlier.  He seems much better tempered during the day but it’s not helped his night waking(s).  Anybody have any ideas???  Like I said, I’m getting through the Happy Sleep book as fast as I can to try to find an answer or another suggestion to try.

After the first 3 nights  of Solomon’s sleep training, he’s gone to bed without any crying!  We have a routine; bath, baby oil massage (Burt’s Bees Baby Bee Apricot Baby Oil is my favorite), pj’s, nurse, burp and then to bed.  We’ve gotten pretty religious about it.  Also, I’ve been able to watch and recognize his sleepy signs to find the perfect bed time for him (for now).  AND he’s replacing those extra fussy evening hours with relaxed, alert & happy spells where he sits in his bouncy seat while we fix dinner and eat.  So, as you can see, we’ve nearly balanced out our breakdowns with breakthroughs and that feels good.

Special thanks to our friend Young who sent me links to these nifty youtube videos of escape proof swaddling techniques.  They really work!

1 Comment »

  1. Erica Claunch said,

    February 6, 2010 at 11:58 am

    Hi Kelli! It’s been SO long since we have seen you guys…A BIG congrats on Solomon….and I appreciate your frank and real feelings on these first few months….this gives me some preparation into our parenting future…and so great to see the turnaround…praise the Lord! Blessings to you Nathan, Eli, and Solomon! Hope to see you again in the near future :)

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