February 13, 2009

Taking back the night

We will soon be enacting the great plan to get more sleep. This will involve putting Madeleine down in her crib semi-awake, and hoping that she will eventually be able to put herself back to sleep when she wakes up. We don't really have much of a plan, but know that it will involve a lot of screaming and crying (from her and me, most likely). I have been mostly against this plan, but it really is something that needs to happen sometime soon. Currently she nurses to sleep, and she wakes to nurse at least every two hours if not much much more. I've talked the sleep problem over with the pediatrician, and with one of her oncologists in L.A. Both doctors are against the standard "cry it out" program, but everyone agrees that we need to do something. Part of that is getting her to realize that she can fall asleep in other ways. I'm trying very hard to gear myself up to do this, because I know that in the long run it will be better for all of us.

She needs a few more days to heal and hopefully de-stress from the hospital. She has been nearly impossible to put to sleep these past couple of nights since we've been home. She's been going to bed very late, around midnight, and it takes a herculean effort to get her to actually go to sleep. Hours spent rocking and nursing only to put her down asleep and have her wake up completely hysterical five minutes later. Tylenol with codeine worked very well in the hospital to put her to sleep, but it seems to have the opposite effect here at home. She has needed some pain meds, and we've been using a mixture of straight tylenol, and tylenol with codeine.

Any advice on how to do this sleep thing will be appreciated!

Starlet in the making. Her sunglasses are her favorite accessory.

Reading in her chair.

Surgery scar.


Hi, my name is Sarah. said...

Sleep trouble sucks. Does she take a pacifier? Have you tried leaving a sippy cup of water in her crib? I have friends who swear by the Homedics Lullaby machine at Target: http://www.target.com/Homedics-Sound-Lullaby-Relaxation-Machine/dp/B000X0KFKM/sr=1-1/qid=1234586268/ref=sr_1_1/179-8041342-8730362?ie=UTF8&index=target&field-browse=1038590&field-original-keywords=homemedics&rh=k%3Ahomedics&page=1

Nick said...

Good luck. It's still a constant struggle for us. As a matter of fact, J is upstairs getting Sofie back down as I type this - the second time she's woken up tonight (she's only been down for an hour). To be fair, she has an ear infection right now... but normal days aren't much better.

She has a "big girl bed" now, and spends nearly the whole night in it, which is a positive step. For now though, one of us has to be in it with her for most of the night. J is weaning her right now, which means "one of us" has been "me" for the past week or two. It's been hard, but we're making real progress. Just the fact that she'll let me comfort her back to sleep instead of mommy is a major improvement.

If you have any breakthroughs, be sure to let us know. ;) Best advice I can give you is to get it sorted out before you get rid of the crib... because once they're in a normal bed and can get out of it whenever they want... it's a lot harder.

jocelyn said...

Hey Amber,

You know I can relate to this. Sofie is still up a few times a night easily and sometimes a lot more. I'd say a really good night for us is only three wake ups, where average is 4-6, and really awesome is 2.

It's hard. We have been working for years to address this and have literally tried everything, including a few episodes of CIO which I just couldn't tolerate. I don't know about Mad, but Sofie just gets herself more worked up when she cries like that and the few times we did try it it took just as long to get her to sleep. To be fair, the longest I ever let her scream (and I do mean scream, she was hysterical) was 45 minutes. But then it took another 30 or so to calm her down.

I don't want bedtime to be a battle or a negative experience, for any of us. Sofie is extremely sensitive and for us I just figured that what she needed was for us to soothe her. Like Nick mentioned, she has gotten much, much better for the most part. For most of her first 14 months she wouldn't even let Nick soothe her at all. Then, slowly he was able to help me out more incrementally.

Now she won't even go to sleep for me because she just wants to play.

Mad's obviously had some major stuff going on in her young life. I wonder if cancer has affected her sleep at all? You mentioned it takes herculean efforts to put her to sleep -- I remember those days too. Does Ryan try as well, or is it all you. Sofie went through phases (probably starting around Mad's age, actually) where she would prefer to go to sleep with Nick for a could of weeks. Maybe try switching to at least get her to sleep.

I really don't have a lot of advice for you in this arena because we're still dealing with a challenging sleeper. I know that the wearing down method has always helped Sofie go down because she loves close body contact. Don't know if that helps for Mad at all.

Also, bottom line here is that if you can't deal with the lack of sleep anymore, you need to do something about it. It's incredibly difficult to get crappy sleep for years on end, and it finally caught up to me a few weeks ago with this new pregnancy. Now Nick does nearly all the night time stuff every night. He's a champ.

The one piece of advice I do have for you is that even if CIO doesn't work, or you can't tolerate it, her sleeping WILL get better over time, no matter what.

Hang in there, sweetie.

Jenny said...

I have a friend with twins who go to bed like angels and I was totally frustrated with Tucker, so I asked her and she went with crying it out. I was really hesitant to that, but she swore by it and said the first night it was 30 minutes, 15 minutes the second night, and the third night five minutes and fine since then. I decided finally I would do a modified approach where I would only let him cry for five minutes and then I would go in and comfort him, then wait ten and go in again, etc. The first night he cried for five minutes, I went in and comforted him and then left and he started again. After ten more minutes I returned, and he fussed a bit but went to sleep. Sure enough, the second night I went in after five and then he went to sleep, and by the third night he was asleep before five minutes. Now he goes to bed really well (for a two year old). He goes back, hugs and kisses goodnight, and generally that is it. Occasionally he will get up once or twice and I just walk him back and put him back in bed. It rarely takes us more than five minutes once stories and pj time and all that is done, and we never have any crying or tantrums.

Susan Dana said...

I have two ideas: 1. Give her something filling to eat before you nurse her to sleep. This sometimes works with Sophie. 2. Convert her bed into a big girl bed and let Humphrey sleep with her. Maybe she's lonely.