Wednesday, January 9, 2008

One long night...

Yesterday, I had an evening meeting to run, so my husband picked up and cared for the baby until I got home at 9:00 p.m. The sitter said she hadn't napped well in the afternoon, but she was fairly happy when she got home...for about 20 minutes. Then she began crying and continued for the better part of three hours.

By the time I got home, both of them were stressed out and exhausted.

With some finesse and fancy maneuvering, I was able to get the baby to calm down for awhile. She ate and then sat in her bouncy watching me wash bottles in the kitchen for about a half-hour. Then after much fussing, we finally managed to get her to sleep around 11:00. She slept fairly well last night, going back down without much difficulty after her 3:30 a.m. bottle, but this fussing thing is really tough.

My theory is that she's not getting enough sleep. She just doesn't nap well. She will usually take one or two sufficient naps (1-2 hours in length) at some point during the day, but all other naps are fitful and range in length from 20 to 45 minutes. I think this leaves her grumpy and makes it difficult for her to settle down at night. She's 8 weeks old. She needs more sleep!

So I have a question for you, blog friends. How do we get this girl to settle down and nap better? I don't know why she doesn't sleep well during the day. Perhaps she's overstimulated, or bit bewildered and anxious because she's spending her days with people other than Mommy (who spent most of her first seven weeks with her). Maybe that's why she can't settle down. But that doesn't explain why I had the same napping problem with her this weekend when we were both home with her. When she sleeps well at night, or after a long nap, she is so much happier and more cheerful, so I'm relatively sure that this fussiness is simply overtiredness. For instance, yesterday between 3:30 and 10:30, she had a total of 20 minutes of napping. She HAD to be exhausted. I don't want my baby to be exhausted. I want her to be well rested and well fed and happy, with thoughts of butterflies and rainbows and goodness and a perfect world where babies are always cherubic and their mothers are well-rested and glowing with pride.

**Big Heavy Sigh**

I know this stage is finite, and I only have a few more weeks left of work before I can devote all my time to discerning and meeting the baby's every need. But any thoughts or advice about how to cope in the meantime would be welcome.


Jen said...

I haven't taught babies to nap, but I taught a classroom full of two year olds to nap on command, so hopefully this will help a little. When I first got to this school, my classroom had the worst nappers. I would put out most of the lights, put on the same CD every time and rub backs. After a couple of weeks of this, they all started to fall asleep as soon as I put on the nap CD. Maybe if you used the same cue for naps each time, it would help her sleep. I know this doesn't help too much for such a tiny baby. But it might help if you picked one routine and everyone did the exact same thing. I highly recommend a lullaby CD too. That was what became the nap cue for my class.

I am reading this over and thinking it is not helpful at all because of the difference in ages and you've probably already tried it, but I will post it anyway, in case it helps. Or if not, it is fun to get comments!

TeamWinks said...

My little guy was big on lullaby cds. There was a whole lot of swaying and music. My pediatrician said that perhaps the little guy didn't want to be held while sleeping.

The short answer: Babies are tough, and I wish you the absolute best of luck.

maggie said...

Only 8 weeks! Wow, it seems like you've had her much longer. :)

It sounds like she's definitely tired. What is with these babies who can't just go to sleep when they're tired?

We couldn't really establish actual naps or bedtimes until J was 3 months old and it wasn't that reliable until 4 months. I think at 8 weeks you do whatever works. That could be a lullaby CD, napping with her, a mobile, a swing, a bouncy- I have a friend whose baby never slept anywhere but her arms for at least the first 3 months.

When all else failed with my kid I stuck him in the Moby wrap. He'd sleep all tucked in next to me- I even went to bed with him in the Moby one night. Have you tried a sling or anything?

I really hope you find what works! An overtired cranky baby is no fun. (I've got one too!)

ellie's mama said...

our baby had some of the same difficulties around 8 weeks. a few things helped us through this stage ... i did a little research, and it seems that the average sleep cycle is about 45 minutes, and at the end of the cycle the baby is in an active (light) sleep state and a baby can stir, or cry, or shift position - sometimes waking themselves up. the trick is that the baby has to learn how to go back to sleep. oh, if it was as easy as saying those words!
for us, it was letting her cry, wiggle around, or babble for about 10 minutes and then go in to cosole her and then leave for another 10 minutes. if she didn't go back to sleep after that, i just considered the nap over. within about a week, she had made great improvements, and would actually wake from a nap happily babbling instead of crying (another good sign of getting enough sleep).
someone else mentioned routine, and that seemed to help us too. now that my little one is about 10 months, we will read a story (or four/five) everyday before nap time, just to help calm her down and get her relaxed before i lay her down. it really does help.
best of luck to you and your little one. the days are long now, but know the joys of being a mom keep multiplying.