Thursday, May 15, 2014

Rocking/Singing/No Cry/Cry it Out/Co-sleeping and Everything Else: Part II

May 21st, 2013 (Tyler's birth) - Swaddled up tightly at the hospital, Ty slept great all night. 

If anything Tyler slept a little too well. We couldn't get him to wake up to feed when we were supposed to, even with the nurse's help. She was concerned we might have to supplement with formula if he wouldn't wake in the next 2 hours, but fortunately he did wake up on his own before those next hours passed.

May 22nd, 2013 - On Ty's first night at home, we put him down in his own little makeshift bassinet and gave him a pacifier. He woke up two hours later, and I fed him. Then he woke up an hour later, so I popped the pacifier back in his mouth and took a few minutes rocking him back to sleep. Then he woke up again after 30 minutes, which at that point was close enough to 2 hours that I fed him again. Then he woke up again after 10 minutes, and I popped the pacifier back in and rocked him back to sleep. Then he woke up 10 minutes later, again wanting the pacifier. At that point I woke up Oscar and said "I can't keep doing this." Oscar soothed him back to sleep, and he magically slept 5 hours.

At that point we decided we would no longer put Ty to bed with a pacifier. We also stopped using it completely for about 10 days so he wouldn't experience nipple confusion until he was breastfeeding well, but at his 2 week appointment the pediatrician recommended bringing it back. She said she'd rather a child be attached to sucking a pacifier than a thumb since you can take a pacifier away but you can't take a thumb away. We did start using it again, but he wasn't as interested in it. He'd suck on it for a bit, but he usually only kept it in for less than a minute (sometimes only a few seconds). I got tired of constantly popping it back in, and I certainly wasn't going to put him to bed with it just to be repeatedly woken up to pop it back in and rock him back to sleep. If all he needed was to have the pacifier back, then maybe I would have been willing to do it. But as each wake up required the pacifier and being rocked/walked back to sleep, it was not something I wanted him getting used to.

We later found out we had 3+ months pacifiers, so maybe the problem was that they were too big for him (though there were occasional times that he could keep it in awake for a good 20 minute stretch, so I don't think size can account for the entire problem). I've also since learned that you can train a baby to keep a hold of a pacifier by gently trying to pull it out of their mouth. They'll latch onto it tighter and over time can stay latched onto it even while laughing or crying. I may very well attempt pacifier training with a future child.

I don't have many other sleeping records of Ty as a newborn. He would often wake after 2-3 hours, but sometimes it was less than one hour and other times he could give us a 5 hour chunk. At some point, though, his wake ups weren't always about hunger, but it was too hard to tell. It was exhausting! For awhile there I was constantly sleepy between 7pm and 7am. I tried to sleep when he did, and I got tons of sleep overall, particularly when mom stayed with us for 2 weeks in the middle of June. But it was all split up into small pieces, so I rarely felt well rested.

June 23rd, 2013
Dear Tyler, thank you so much for sleeping from 10:00pm - 3:00am last night. Mommy thoroughly enjoyed that chunk of sleep!

On the plus side, we trained Tyler early on that nighttime was not the time to be awake and active. Mom's an early riser, so she would often offer to take Ty for me after his 5am feeding. However, I did not want Ty getting used to that. Even if he seemed pretty awake, I sang and soothed him back to sleep and walked around with him in the dark, sometimes going into the pitch dark bathroom. There were times that it took a LOT of effort, but he would eventually fall back to sleep until around 8:00am. To this day he knows darkness means sleepy time, and he has zero fear of the dark, sleeping better in pure darkness than with any sort of nightlight.

Even with the exhaustion, overall I didn't mind the interrupted sleep. My husband and I were married over 7 years before having Tyler, largely due to infertility (Tyler was conceived with IVF), so we'd had a lot of time to enjoy sleeping in as much as we wanted to and to prepare ourselves for the sleep deprivation that new parents experience.

June 30th, 2013
During my last month of pregnancy I really struggled to sleep because I was so uncomfortable. Everyone told me to enjoy my sleep now though, since once the baby came along I would be constantly sleep deprived. It's true that I have less opportunity to sleep now that it's interrupted intermittently, but I'd still rather have this than the last month of pregnancy. I appreciate the sleep I do get so much more, I rest much more deeply than I did then, and I'm much less frustrated being woken up by a child who needs me than because of physical discomfort and acid reflux. 

At the time my husband worked 2:45pm - 11:45pm, which isn't a fantastic schedule but worked out nicely for us when Ty was a newborn. We were able to share the nighttime load together.

July 7th, 2013
Tyler nurses at around 11, 2, and 5, and then he's just awake around 6:30. That's when I hand him off to Oscar because I need to go back to sleep. If we're really sleepy, we keep switching off until sometimes as late as 1:00pm. This make for a much happier mommy by the time daddy goes to work.

During these difficult nights I also had some really beautiful bonding moments with my sweet little guy.

July 13th, 2013
Ah that awesome feeling of finally getting the baby to sleep who doesn't want to go down! At Ty's 2:30am feeding he fell asleep 5 separate times while nursing but would wake up immediately when moved. I gave up and asked Oscar to try and calm him, but he had no better luck than I did. After about 20 minutes I realized I knew what to do, and with complete confidence that I could get my baby to sleep, I told Oscar he could go back to bed. I held Ty close, rocked him in the recliner, and turned on the TV. This time he'd start dozing off but every once in while would react to the noises and start squirming. I'd hold him tighter and kiss his head when that would happen, and soon he was in a deep enough sleep that I could put him down. My instincts told me he wanted to sleep, but his senses are awakening these days and he just needed to be reassured he'd be safe and secure no matter what happened. Great mommy moment!

Only on one occasion did I know Ty's wake up had nothing to do with hunger. Ty would typically go to bed with a nice warm blanket burrito wrapped underneath his arms, which always kept him pretty warm until he learned how to kick the blanket off. Washington cools down significantly at night, and since we sleep with our window open and a fan on in the summer, it can be pretty darn chilly when you wake up. When this happens to us, we just curl up under our warm blanket and go back to sleep, but my sweet baby didn't yet have the physical ability to put his blanket back on after kicking it off.

July 30th, 2013
I woke up around 1:00am to find Ty crying, freezing, and flailing in nothing but a short sleeved onesie. I held him as tightly as I could, but I could feel that his cold arms and legs weren't going to warm up until they were covered up. While trying desperately to keep my crying baby warm in one arm, I dug frantically through a pile of baby clothes my mom had purchased that ranged anywhere from 3 months to 4 years old. I found this little circus monkey pajama that was a few sizes too big for him, but I didn't care. I needed to get warm clothes on my baby now! After putting it on him and buttoning it up, he fell asleep in my arms the instant I picked him up. 

Since then we always put Tyler to bed with pajamas on. I became very attached to this particular pajama because of that experience. It had warmed my freezing baby when I couldn't warm him on my own. I nearly cried when he grew out of it and I had to put it in storage.

Though his wails that night meant there was a physical need I needed to take care of, much of Ty's wailing was a complete mystery to us. Fortunately remembering our years of infertility and longing for a baby made days like the one below easier to cope with.

August 11th, 2013
We've had a fussy, fussy baby the past couple of days, so last night when I found myself feeling frustrated with him, I held him close and reminded myself how precious he is to me.

After Ty was about 3 months, he started sleeping in his own crib in his own room. He also began sleeping chunks of 3-4 hours rather than 2-3 hours, but I began struggling to fall back asleep after his nighttime feedings. I'd lie in bed annoyed at being awake for hours when I knew I only had so much time to sleep before Ty's next wake up. By the time I did fall back asleep, I'd have to wake up 30 minutes later for another feeding, and the cycle would repeat again. By morning I was completely beat!

September 3rd, 2013 
I really don't mind waking up for a child who needs me, but I really hate when he falls back asleep and I can't. So tired but can't sleep... After going to bed at 10:30pm and waking up for the final time at 9:15am, I'd had about 5 and 1/2 total hours of sleep with long bouts of being awake in between. 

Toward the end of that month when Ty was almost 4 months old, he went through a pretty bad sleep regression. This is apparently extremely common though few people I talked to had even heard of it. The day after he had his 4 month check up at the doctor's office, he slept an 8 hour stretch for the 1st time ever. We thought longer sleep chunks were coming our way, but boy were we wrong. The very day after his 8 hour stretch, he started waking up all the time throughout the night needing nothing more than comfort.

October 4th, 2013
I think sleep regression is what we're experiencing. The whole week's been terrible. Just tonight he fought his 7:00pm nap until 8:20pm and has been sleeping and waking every 10-20 minutes since then.

And then there was the horrible night that I will never forget. 

October 10, 2013 
Wow. Ty's Worst night ever. Waking up screaming and thrashing as soon as he touches the mattress (6 failed attempts to soothe him and put him back down during the first wake up), then only sleeping about 40 minutes on the rare occasion he does fall back asleep. And during the few minutes of sleep I've gotten, I'm dreaming about being woken up by him. This is when having had 6.5 years of infertility is helpful. The frustration is easier to cope with when I remember how nice it is to have a baby to wake up for.
 This post got a LOT of feedback. I hadn't made it clear that Ty had fallen asleep for 3 hours at the start of the night, so most of the advice I received concerned helping a baby to fall asleep. It seems my friends had often struggled to get their own babies to fall asleep, but once their babies were sleeping, they slept fine. Ty on the other hand was quite easy to put to sleep, but how long he would stay that way was completely up in the air. Once I'd clarified the problem, my friends and family were convinced there had to be deeper issue, but I could tell he was perfectly happy and healthy. He was simply very tired and didn't know how to get the sleep he needed.

Just yesterday he slept a 7 hour chunk, so I don't think there's anything wrong. Initially he fell asleep for 3 hours before the difficulty started, and he easily falls back asleep when I rock him, he just doesn't stay that way. He never had a hard time being put down until he started sleeping longer chunks. 

October 11th, 2013 

Last night was better. Not fantastic but better. It seems to be the pattern "good night, bad night, okay night." Hopefully that means tonight's a good night. His first time sleeping through the night was 2 weeks ago, and he's done it 3 additional times since then. But along with the great nights have also come these new horrible nights.

When asked what the doctor recommended, I replied 

She gave me a handout explaining how much time they can go without nursing and encouraging you to put baby down drowsy but awake. That's something I'm bad at since Ty goes from thrashing to asleep without much in between. It's hard to tell when he's actually drowsy. The Sleep Lady's "Good night, Sleep tight" book suggests starting with one time a day that you put the baby down drowsy but awake and then increasing it as he gets better at self soothing. 

I checked out and read the sleep lady's book, which I have to say has some fantastic advice and ideas. I hope I can use it with a future child. Her "sleep lady shuffle" is a gentler version of sleep training than the cry it out method. The baby is put down to sleep drowsy but awake, starting once a day and working it up. At nighttime, a parent sits right next to the bed doing whatever they can to comfort the baby. She encourages not taking the baby out of the crib, holding, rocking or doing any of the other "sleep crutches" they've become dependent on to fall asleep. It's expected that the baby will cry, but because of the presence of the parent and the soothing techniques, it shouldn't be a full out wail. Every few days the parent positions themselves a few feet further away so it takes a little bit longer to respond to the cries, and they only stay and soothe for less than a minute before leaving again. Eventually the baby is able to fall back asleep without the help of the parent because they've spent all that time "training" up for it.

Unfortunately it was all completely useless on Ty. As soon as Ty was put in the crib, he would scream. This was my first day of attempting drowsy but awake at just under 5 months.

October 12th, 2013
 I just attempted to put Tyler down drowsy but awake. The first time he started closing his eyes after I'd sung one verse of "Army of Helaman." Since he was clearly drowsy, I put him down and returned to soothe him while keeping him in the crib multiple times, but nothing worked. I then rocked him again, and this time it took the whole three verse song before his eyes even closed. I attempted again to put him down awake, but again to no avail. Then I rocked him again and this time it took four songs of 3-4 verses before his eyes would even close, and another song before he was asleep enough that I could put him in the crib.

As you can see from my needing to sing more and more songs with each attempt, putting him down in the crib drowsy but awake simply made him fight his drowsiness. It was like his little "flight or fight" response activated as soon as he was out of my arms. He would go into hyper alert mode, and it would take that much longer to get him back to drowsy again. This is what happened later on that evening.

Nothing works on Ty when it comes to the middle of the night. He has no problem going down at the beginning, but just tonight at his first wake up I rocked him and gave him a pacifier for 15 minutes, then nursed him, then rocked him again. Each time I tried putting him down in the crib after he'd fallen asleep, followed by rubbing his tummy and other soothing methods in the crib, but he just thrashes as soon as he touches the  mattress even if he was completely asleep in my arms. I got so frustrated that I left him to cry it out for 5 minutes, but all that got me is a super awake baby who's now giggling and smiling at me and doesn't look like he even knows what sleeping is. 

I continued to offer Ty chances to put himself to sleep, but it nearly always blew up in my face and only made getting him to sleep that much worse. It didn't matter what I did once he realized he wasn't being held anymore. Shushing, singing, stroking, sweet talk, white noise, patting, pacifier, etc. would not calm him in the slightest. It was actually considerably better when we'd leave him on his own. He still wouldn't sleep, but he wouldn't cry nearly as hard. Instead he'd talk and giggle and completely wake himself up. I'd check in on him only to find him flashing me a beaming smile, even in complete darkness in the middle of the night. It taught him to "self sooth," but it didn't teach him to fall asleep. He self soothed by turning crib time into play time. This would wake him up of course, which wasn't so bad since he was happy, but 20 minutes later he'd be screaming again now that he was overtired. He'd fight the drowsiness for hours, and of course, this was often also accompanied by the massive spit up I mentioned earlier. I could not get him to associate crib time with sleepy time unless he was put down in it already asleep. 

After each exhausting attempt at drowsy but awake, I would ultimately decide to just rock him to sleep, but by then he was so traumatized it would take considerably longer to convince him it was still sleepy time. After about a month of multiple failed attempts, I gave up on it. It was so much easier to spend a few minutes rocking him to sleep (even if we had to do it multiple times a night) than to go through that whole messy ordeal only to end up with an alert, overtired, miserable baby. Our nights were still frequently interrupted, but we learned how to deal with it by sleeping in shifts.

I was asked by a few people if I had tried simply leaving Tyler completely alone. They thought the checks I was doing might just be stimulating him more and more, and that it would be easier on him to be left to figure it all out on his own. Though there may be some truth to that, I refused to do it at only 4 months. He was still spitting up a ton back then, and I didn't want to leave him alone helplessly swimming in a pool of his own vomit not understanding why mommy had abandoned him. Plus everything I'd read, even from cry it out advocates, said don't leave a baby on their own to self soothe until they are at least 6 months old. Months 0-4 are basically a baby's 4th trimester, and many babies are going to complain a lot simply because their lives have been so radically altered from the constant warmth, comfort, and nourishment of life in the womb. Letting a baby cry it out at that point is essentially the same as hearing the smoke alarm going off and waiting for the batteries to run out. Yes, the baby will stop eventually, but it's because they've tired out and have given up trying to tell you there's a problem. They've also just learned that mommy and daddy won't necessarily respond to them when they call, so the next time they do have a real problem that's more than just "I'm not as comfortable as I could be," they might not ask for help because they've lost trust that you will respond to them at all.

As for months 4 and 5, this is when babies start learning object permanence - that mom still exists even if baby can't see her. The books I read encouraged giving drowsy but awake and other self soothing opportunities at this time, but not leaving the baby on his own for extended periods before he falls asleep. Returning to check on the baby helps him understand that he's not abandoned and that mom is still accessible even if she's not in the immediate vicinity. That way if there's an urgent need, baby knows he can still get your attention and thus is less traumatized when you leave for a brief period. By 6 months the baby is supposedly mature enough that you can try cry it out (CIO) methods, but it's still encouraged that you not leave them alone all night long. Most recommend some sort of intervallic method, like 3 minutes, then 5, then 7, then 10 and so forth until they fall asleep. They may wail for hours as they figure out that you'll keep coming back to them, but as long as you don't pick them up and give them their preferred sleep crutches, they realize they're going to have to figure out some other way of putting themselves to sleep.

It all made sense in theory, but of course, not all babies are the same. Although Ty eventually responded well to intervallic CIO and can now go to sleep drowsy but awake, it was completely futile for months 4-7, and I don't think there's anything else we could have done to sleep train him during that time. Without the massive spit up we might have been able to sleep train him a little bit earlier, but I'd bet it wouldn't have been that much sooner. Some babies are ready for it at 6 months, Ty wasn't ready until 7 and 1/2 months, and one baby sleep blog I read says the ideal age for sleep training is 8-10 months.

I'm not sure when I attempted it, but I remember at some point reading about the Tracy Hogg method. This is a mix between cry it out and no cry. Basically you love your baby to sleep. You put the baby in the crib awake, and when he cries you pick him up and hold him for less than a minute. You don't rock or sing or pat or anything else. You just hold him. You put him down again even if he's still crying and keep repeating the process until the baby falls asleep. The 1st time she tried it, it took over 200 times, but the 2nd time it only took 40, and that continued decreasing until the baby could put himself down without any pick ups.

I'm assuming the baby is supposed to at least decrease the intensity of his crying while you're holding him, and thus the method teaches him that it's okay to fall asleep on his own because mommy and daddy are still there for him even if he's not in their arms. Unfortunately this method was also a complete failure on Ty. He cried in my arms and he continued crying in the crib. It was actually worse than leaving him on his own because it was like taunting him with the comfort he was desiring. I picked him up at least 40 separate times, but the crying only got worse and worse. My arms were crazy tired since my boy was nearly 20 pounds and I could only put him down for a few seconds at a time. I didn't see how this was any better than leaving him to cry in his crib since he was wailing just as loudly (if not more so). If he's going to flail and kick and scream anyway, why shouldn't the crib put up with the abuse instead of me? Again, I hope this works on a future child because it'd be great to be able to love my child into good sleep habits, but even if I had longer arm stamina, I seriously doubt it would have worked on Ty.

I was sent this article by Dr Sears, the short section at the bottom dealing with what to do when the baby awakens. I decided to try #29 "laying on of hands," and for the 1st time we had success with calming Tyler while he remained in the crib. It didn't work every time, and yes, it was often more effective for Oscar than it was for me, but it helped make our nights much easier for several weeks. We still had to pick him up and rock him several times when it didn't work, but it was great when it did. We could get him back to sleep before he had a chance to wake himself up too much, and since it didn't require much time or effort from us, we could usually go right back to sleep ourselves. Over time it stopped working as well, but for months 4 to 7, this no-cry method was an absolute lifesaver for us. 

October 13th, 2014
I had a bit of success last night with the hands on method Dr sears suggests. After I put him down and he started thrashing, I burrito wrapped him in the blanket and then put a firm hand on his chest and on his legs. It was enough to stop him from thrashing but it wasn't forceful. After he started calming down I gradually took away one hand at a time. I had to come back in a couple times to do it again but eventually he slept for another 2 hours. 

And it just worked again for his 10:30am nap! I'm really happy about this since it's the first time I've been able to successfully soothe him while he's thrashing without needing to take him out of the crib.

The laying on of hands method helped considerably with transitioning Ty from arms to crib and with preventing him from getting too worked up when he woke up in the middle of the night, but unfortunately we still had frequent wake ups. Although sometimes they happened after only 5-10 minutes, most often he would sleep 3 hours at the start of bedtime, and would then wake every 45-90 minutes after that.

October 14th, 2014
There were still a lot of wake ups, but last night was much more manageable. We just had to go put our hands on his belly and his legs for about a minute until he'd calm down and fall back asleep. I only had to take him out of his crib once after he'd been in the crib for 5 full hours. I had to change his diaper at that point, which totally woke him up, so I nursed him back to sleep again. He woke up again an hour later and just needed a little comfort, then Oscar took over after that. We have a pretty decent system of sharing the work between us. I take the first part of the night since I go to bed earlier and Oscar works late, then he takes over when I'm too tired and desperately need some uninterrupted sleep.

After that Oscar and I began sleeping in shifts. One of us would sleep in the guest bedroom next to Ty's room while the other one slept in the master bedroom with a fan on high. The sooner we could get to Ty to calm him, the more likely he was to fall back asleep in his crib. The longer we left him to cry before responding (which sometimes happened unintentionally since we'd be so groggy when he woke us up), the harder it was to calm him and get him back to sleep. As time went by I came up with a system of gradually easing out the comforts. First I'd sing to him while rocking, then I'd sing more softly, then I'd hum, then I'd just rock in the rocking chair, then I'd stop rocking and hold him for a minute, then I'd walk up to the crib but hold him still for a minute, then I'd put him in the crib but lay my hands on him when he'd squirm, then I'd remove one hand at a time after he'd been calm and still for at least 30 seconds. Even with all that comfort there were plenty of times that he'd wake up and I'd have to repeat the process.

I was doing this system for both naps and nighttime, so around 2-4 hours of my day was spent actively trying to put Ty to sleep. Ty would demand my attention during the day when he was awake, and with so much of my time spent getting him to sleep, I was exhausted during the few moments of spare time I got. I tried to squeeze a nap in whenever I could, and I'd take Ty to the gym more to give myself a break than for the exercise. One day at the gym I heard two guys talking about some friend of their's wife who always had a messy house. I remember one of them saying "she's a stay at home mom! Why can't she keep her house clean if all she does is sit around all day?" Well I don't know about that particular woman, but I know the reason my house wasn't always clean is because I had to spend so much of my time sitting around entertaining my baby and trying to help him sleep.

Since the nights were still difficult, I tried a couple of times to ask for help on the Sleep Lady's Facebook page. After explaining the situation I asked

Oct 16th, 2013
What can I do to eliminate the wildly frequent wake ups? My husband takes over at around 5am and often resorts to putting him in the swing for the rest of the night, but I don't want to establish another sleep crutch. He's started self soothing back to sleep after some of his frequent wake ups, but even then he makes enough noise to wake us up, and I'm desperate for him to start sleeping soundly so that we can get some sleep. I find myself longing for the newborn days of waking up only every 2-3 hours.

The sleep lady often has other sleep coaches respond to the questions she receives, so my answer came from a sleep coach in Arizona. She sympathized, explained that this was a classic 4 month sleep regression, and said I shouldn't try the sleep lady shuffle until 6 months. She sent me her website and offered her services if I needed a consultation. I looked it up and saw that a sleep training package would be several hundred dollars, but I wasn't willing to dish out that much money.

A few days later I finally had my 1st success with putting Ty down drowsy but awake. This encouraged me to keep trying it, but it ended up just being a fluke.

October 19, 2013
Drowsy but awake! Tyler actually fell asleep after being put in the crib drowsy but awake! This time I didn't even have to rock or sing to him. I saw he was starting to fall asleep in his bouncer, took him up to the crib, soothed him for 15 seconds, left him fussing but not screaming, and he fell asleep within 2 minutes. Hoorah! Let's pray this continues!

Unfortunately it didn't continue. Any future attempts went as badly as they always had.

A few days later, I became very sick for the 1st time since having Ty.

October 22, 2013
I didn't think anything could top being sick while 9 months pregnant, but being sick with a nursing baby definitely takes the cake. Fortunately Oscar helped out a ton through the night, but even the one feeding I gave Tyler was killer since he won't nurse well unless I'm sitting up.

Later that evening I began attempting a sleep log. You'll soon see why I had a hard time keeping a consistent record. There was so much to write down that it was depriving me of sleep trying to remember it all. Below was not an uncommon night for us. In fact, this was one night that was actually livable enough that I didn't have to switch off with Oscar.

October 22nd, 2013 
Nursed to sleep at 8:30pm 
woke up to nurse at 10:30pm 
woke up mom but self soothed at midnight
woke up mom but self and parent soothed at 12:30am
woke up mom but self soothed at 1:45am (had spun himself around)
continued waking and self soothing every few minutes until I fell back asleep around 2:00am, 
2:25am needed extra mommy soothing but remained in the crib, same at 2:40am, 
3:10am major wake up. He was nursed and changed then fought being put back in the crib. 10 minutes of laying on of hands helped settle him down, but I had to return to do it again a short time later. I was up with him for over an hour while he held his breath and fought. He fell back to sleep soundly by 4:20am. 
5:55am restless but obviously still sleepy. Did laying on of hands for 13 minutes.
7am did laying on of hands again 
8:10am fully awake. Heard a cry and found him with his eyes wide open

October 23, 2013
Napped at gym around 10:30am. Temper tantrum in my arms before his 1:30pm nap. It lasted 45 minutes before he fell asleep. He also fought the 5pm nap. I tried to put him down twice without success. Once I did successfully transition him to the crib, he only slept for 30 minutes.
9:52pm finally went down for the night. Very fussy, vomited repeatedly. Fighting sleep yet so desperate for it.

I definitely would have tried leaving Ty to cry if he didn't spit up so much back then. He was essentially crying it out in my arms, so why not let him do it in the crib? But alas I didn't have that option. That night went so badly I was convinced he had to be sick and actually tried medicine and called the doctor. As I'd predicted, it didn't help. I still don't know whether he was actually sick or if this was just his ultimate night of sleep fighting. I ended up having to let him him cry it out in the swing for 20 minutes. At least in the swing he was restrained and couldn't get so worked up that he'd vomit all over himself, and the swing didn't mind getting kicked and scratched by him as much as my stomach and face did.

October 24, 2013
And now we're into full blown laryngitis for me and possibly a sick baby too. I broke my rule about not letting him sleep in the swing at night. He'd been fighting sleep all day even while being rocked and held and after having a dose of Tylenol, crying and groaning while nursing, and vomiting in protest when I'd stop nursing or put him down. Plus my normal soothing methods weren't working, like shushing, which hurts too much to do right now. The doctor said it's nothing to be immediately alarmed about but to just watch him for the next couple days and bring him in to be checked out if it doesn't get better. I'm also concerned that I really messed up his sleep training by letting him sleep while in motion and not in his crib, but he absolutely needed to sleep even if I had to force it.

After this post I was once again told that this was probably teething or an ear infection and was advised to try medicine

Tylenol did nothing for him when I gave it to him at 6:00 last night. The doctor said it does little for gut pain if that's what he's having. I gave it to him again before trying to put him down for a nap, but he still woke right up as soon as he was out of my arms. I had to put him in the swing, but I'd rather he sleep without motion since motion induced sleep isn't very restful. Now I just have him in his crib and am letting him do whatever he wants while I sit nearby. Right now he's rolling over. Hopefully the Tylenol will relax him enough to sleep...And 15 minutes later he's more awake than he was before in spite of the Tylenol. He just works himself up and fights his own drowsiness as soon as he's out of my arms. Leaving him to self soothe is pointless.

I gave up and put him in the swing, but now even that's not working. If it's not the way he wants to sleep, he fights it until he's too awake to sleep, and then he's grumpy the rest of the day because he's so exhausted. So much for crying it out for this boy. Yesterday I tried giving him a bath to relax him, but he just got upset when it was over even though he was wrapped up warmly in the towel. He's always fought sleep but never to the extent of the past few days, which is why I think something must be wrong, but I can't figure out what it is. I can't tell if he's ill or just become a master at fighting sleep. He doesn't have a fever, Tylenol doesn't help him, and all of a sudden the traditional soothing methods that were allowing him to go back to sleep after waking up in the crib don't work. And of course, this fussiness is happening when I'm incredibly sick and exhausted as well.

He did eventually fall asleep in the swing but it took about 10 minutes of fussiness to get him there. He doesn't respond to it any better than in my arms, but the swing has more stamina to soothe him than I do, and it's not getting scratched and kicked and hoarse like I am. I just want to go back to being able to sing and rock my baby to sleep and then soothe him for a minute in his crib. I'm actually a bit scared to think that there really is nothing wrong with him and this has just become his new norm.

(12:45pm) He ended up getting a 2 hour nap in the swing, which has made for a much happier baby now. I turned the swing off after he was totally out so that the sleep he got wasn't while in motion. 

I tried not to let Ty sleep with the swing on because I'd read an article saying that motion induced sleep is not as restful for babies as sleeping without motion. There's no problem with getting a baby to fall asleep with motion, but the motion shouldn't continue while the baby sleeps (on a regular basis. An occasional snooze in the car is fine, but regularly nighttime sleeping in a swing is not recommended). I completely believed it because I remember feeling similar effects when we took our cruise from Vancouver to Hawaii. The motion of the boat made me feel constantly sleepy, and I slept a ton. I couldn't get my body to stay up for the 8pm shows I'd been looking forward to. Some days I slept 12 hours at night plus 2 hours of nap! In spite of that, I never felt rested and rejuvenated. I had considerably more energy once we made it to Hawaii and could get off the boat.

(3:23pm) I think we're back to normal. He just needed sleep and a couple good meals that stayed down. He's napping now. He fell asleep in my arms with much less fighting and is now sleeping in the crib. I'm feeling better about having used the swing now. It gave him the sleep he needed to get his brain and body back into full health, and now I can go back to teaching him that being in the crib means sleeping, and sleeping means being in the crib.

I've also discovered today there are times when he's unhappy that I assumed were from teething or from being tired, but it turns out he's just overstimulated and needs to calm down. I put him in the swing both times. He didn't come anywhere close to sleeping since he wasn't tired, but it calmed him down enough that he could play happily about 20 minutes later.

(10:15pm) And he's down for the night in his crib. I'm glad I didn't have to resort to the swing again. I don't mind using the swing on a hard night when it's necessary, but I don't want it to become his sleep crutch. The swing works not only because of the motion but also because it restrains him. It's similar to my laying my hands on him, though of course my hands are less forceful than the straps are. Both remind him that it's time to sleep, not be active. I'm trying to sleep train Ty by getting to him as quickly as possible in order to calm him before he works himself up. If he wakes and starts to fuss, I lay my hands and shush him to remind him that it's still sleepy time, not fuss and spin and roll time.

The quicker I get to him to calm him, the more his sleep improves and the less wake ups I get. The more I leave him to cry, the poorer and more inconsistent it gets. I have no doubt that cry it out works for many other babies, but it simply does not work for Ty (this was true when I wrote it, but of course, babies grow and change with time. Eventually putting himself down became the only way that Ty would fall asleep anymore).

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