Thursday, February 21, 2008

Babies, Sleep Problems and Lunar Eclipses

About a month and a half ago my grandmother called me to tell me
that if I wanted to have my babies two years apart, I should
get going. I thought this was a very funny thing coming from my
grandmother! I thanked her and explained to her that when Z could sit and color and or go to preschool for a few mornings
a week, we would talk :)

The truth of the matter is that I am just not ready. Call me selfish but I am really enjoying my alone time with Z and my sleep :) Z only started sleeping through the night about 4 or 5 months ago and I feel like a new person! He also stopped nursing around the same time so I am now able to eat and drink whatever I would like (I couldn't have dairy or soy for over a year!!)

Z was a very colicky baby due to his food sensitivities and was up all the time. Once we figured out the dairy and soy connections he was a little better but we had already developed some bad habits. In the beginning Z was up (like most babies) every hour or two. This lasted for quite a few months. He would have stretches of 3-4 hours but nothing more than that. It was so exhausting and S was not able to help out too much because I was nursing.

The other major problem we had was that Z slept in a bouncy chair for the first 6 months of life!!! We originally put him in the chair to help him sleep because he was so colicky. This position seemed to really help him and we were told to do whatever we had to so that we all got sleep. They said that you couldn't spoil a baby under 3 months.....well I am not so sure about that :) Z loved his chair and would scream whenever he was put in a flat position. I think he would have really loved to sleep on his belly (like his mommy) but we were discouraged from allowing him to do this. So in the chair he stayed. We finally moved him out (with a lot of tears) when he became too big for the chair (not to mention his 6 month appointment was coming and we didn't want to tell the doctor that he was still in a chair).

Once we had made the successful transition from chair to crib, it was time to let the child cry it out! Yes we let him cry...we used the extinction method. I read everything I could online, read the No Cry Sleep Solution by Elizabeth Pantley but in the end we followed the extinction method from Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Marc Weissbluth. My best friend L was my coach and I thank god for her and support!

We had been bouncing Z to sleep for 6 months on a big exercise ball. I am not kidding...our child was either rocked or bounced to sleep every single time. It would sometimes take 45 minutes to an hour to get him to sleep and this was cause for lots of tears. We did this 3-5 times a day and it was killing our backs! At the 6 month mark I had had enough...I couldn't take it anymore. I had tried methods from the No Cry Sleep Solution but they weren't working fast enough. I knew that if I didn't do something quick, I was going to lose it.

So one day I put him down for his nap and let him cry! He only cried for 20 minutes the first time, 15 minutes the second time and 45 minutes the third time!!! That was torture and I cried for most of that time too. I finally broke down and got him but then the fourth time he cried for 50 minutes and I stayed strong. After that he would cry for 5-15 min and finally he wouldn't cry at all (just talk).

It was a miracle! I had time to myself, my back no longer felt like it was going to break and my son was actually going to sleep on his own!!! He was still getting up 3 times during the night but at least he knew how to fall asleep on his own :)

Slowly but surely we worked out our bad habits and dropped a feeding every few weeks/months. It was hard work, there were lots of tears but we did it. Finally the 5 o'clock feeding was dropped and Z was sleeping 7-7! Hooray!!! We did it!!! I know much of our problems were our own fault but he is our first and we were so tired! Once we had accomplished this feat it was time to start thinking about weaning (a whole other blog topic).

So it has only been in the last few months that I have felt human again. I am sleeping, working out, losing weight, eating whatever I want, I am more organized and I can actually complete a thought (well most days). That is why I am not ready to enter into the pregnancy haze. Don't get me wrong...I loved being pregnant! I am just not ready to be back in my maternity clothes anytime soon :)

S and I do want more children (in fact I think S would like them now) but I would like to space them at least 3 years apart. I read an article in Parents Magazine not too long ago about the perfect spacing for siblings. At the end of the article I realized that there are pros and cons no matter what you do! I feel that the people who space their kids close together either had a really easy time with their first child or just want to get the sleepless nights and diaper years over with :) I am hoping that the three year span works out, S and his sister are three years apart and it seems to work :)

Okay, I know this blog entry is so super long but I have one more thing to share before you go...last night was the lunar eclipse. S spent most of the evening outside taking pictures of it (I have a few of his best here). The weirdest thing about the eclipse was that at 10:05ish when it was full...Z woke up, screamed out, jumped up and turned on his aquarium and then went back to sleep. Maybe he has a connection with the universe that we did not know about :)

Happy Sleeping Everybody!!!!


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