I’ve read the books. The blogs. The message board posts. Sleep is important for babies. Sleep is important for mommies and daddies. Sleep is so important that not enough might kill you, or cause cancer, or lead to some other debilitating chronic problem like OMG-I-lost-my-phone/keys/wallet/thebaby-is-this-a-one-way-street absentmindedness. The importance of sleep was made even more obvious by my first few months working as a private investigator. I was struggling through database background training by day, and fighting the nod doing surveillance by night, even when a disgruntled resident, of the hood I was posted in, decided to silly string the van because I was parked in front of her house. Despite the excitement of being accosted by a middle aged woman and a can of hot pink silly string, I still could hardly stay awake. But somehow, because mommy hormones are powerful stuff, I adjusted to short stretches, and now, after just 5 hours of fighting for space in the bed with a man, two dogs, and a baby, a baby who likes to sleep sideways, and burrow under pillows and armpits, I wake up feeling pretty darn fresh. But what about Baby D’s little developing brain? How can she possibly be at optimal functioning when what is supposed to be a 12 hour snooze sesh is a jumbled mess of waking up every hour to 4 hours from 7 PM until 6:30 AM? Here I thought I was blessed with an easy baby. Ha. I was blessed with a beautiful, healthy, not-colicky baby sure, but easy? Not. At. All. And that’s okay. She wouldn’t be my daughter without a little fire in her eyes. But I think it might be time to do something different. Just now, for example, after three tries, I was able to get her down, in her crib for her morning nap. I expected a 1.5 hour snooze sesh, as WAS typical before the last week. Instead, she woke up 20-minutes later crying like a baby abandoned in a dumpster (a horrible image, I know, but that’s how she cries, and that’s how it feels lately, when she wakes up alone in her crib). Similar things have been happening each night for the last five nights. I get her down and she wakes up an hour or so later. I then fight for two hours to get her to stay asleep in the crib, rather than only in my arms. And it’s all me here. If Merp tries, she wails. There’s lots of crying in general actually… ESPECIALLY if we don’t leave her room. If I take her to the rocking chair in the master she settles. Eventually. Last night, though, I had to lay her down next to me until she fell back asleep and I could finally transfer her an hour later to the Pack And Play next to our bed. But then, she woke up AGAIN, an hour later and I just caved and let her sleep in our bed, because I was just so tired… What the hell is going on here!? Here’s what I think.
- Weeks 32 through 37 are a Wonder Week zone. The book says, “She May Sleep Poorly. Your baby may start sleeping less well. Most babies do. She may refuse to go to bed, fall asleep less easily, and wake up sooner. Some are especially hard to get to sleep during the day. Others at night. And some stay up longer both during the day and at night.” D will be 9 months old on January 14, which makes her just shy of 36 weeks.
- She cut a new tooth on Sunday, with another on the way. That can’t be fun.
- She has been co-sleeping with us from 11 PM on for about two months now. She now seems to realize that snuggling up with the pack is far more fun than facing the sandman all by herself, in a room full of stinky diapers, annoying changing tables, and clothes she hates being dressed in (not only is she a nap fighter, but she is a stage four wiggle worm who can’t lay still to have her diaper changed. It’s a battle every single time.).
So what do I do? Do I let her cry it out, just for naps? Any half-hearted attempts so far have back fired. She plays in her crib. Or screams. Do I try CIO at night? Do I wait until this Wonder Week is over? Until the second upper tooth has cut through? What books should I read? Should I ignore the books and just trust my instincts? I hate, hate, HATE, the idea of CIO, but something’s gotta give over here. Please offer me some suggestions, I desperately need them.