where we are with sleep

I can't remember how much I blogged about Noweo's sleep...maybe once... anywhoo, I figured it was time for an update. The hardest part about all this moving, is not being able to create a solid sleep situation for Noweo, so since the time she was born, we felt that the only place she could rely on was being right next to Mommy and Daddy. So bedshare we did, and even though I talked about moving her to her own bed previously, all our attempts to do so have failed. So here's where we stand:

The three of us SQUEEZE onto a double bed. It's times like these I wish I had a masseuse for a husband. I've become quite the contortionist, and NOT in a good way.

That GIANT crib in our room? Not being used for jack squat, except for occasional sleeping and playing. I'm thinking of taking it apart but then we wouldn't know where to put it. Plus it's hiding the rest of our unpacked moving boxes.

Noweo's actually gotten worse at sleeping. I could get at least 5 hours of sleep outta her when she was 3-4 months. Now I feel like she's waking up every 3 hours or so to nurse. Usually I just lift up my shirt and she helps herself and I go back to sleep, so it's not that bad. I think (hope) her less-than-ideal sleeping pattern has something to do with her teething and that this will not last forever.

I get the feeling she's moving to a 1 nap a day schedule. Lately she's been skipping her morning nap and not wanting to sleep till mid-afternoon, which is too late because she ends up sleeping till 5:30 and staying awake till 10. No thank you! So yesterday we thought a late morning nap would get her through the day and off to sleep at 8. We started trying at 11:00 am and she started nodding off, but didn't relax completely. She kept startling herself awake. We battled with her till 1 stinkin' 30. At that point she was exasperated and screaming and my mom finally came home from work so we could throw her in the van and let IT do all the work. She was out cold by the time we hit the first stop light.

Turned out to be the perfect nap time because she went to bed without a hitch.

Here's the brightest and most reliable spot in our sleep routine. I LOVE bedtime. After dinner, which is usually by 7:00 I give her a bath. She is covered in food and really needs one at this point. Then we go straight to the bedroom and read books, play, cuddle, tickle, sing, nurse, whatever she wants to do, no TV, no computer. Lately she's been loving animal sounds. She thinks they're hilarious. So we read a farm book complete with "oink oinks" and "quack quacks". I sing my lullaby to her. She smiles every time. Slowly, but surely, she drifts off to sleep by 8. I started doing this a couple weeks ago, and up until she started skipping her morning nap, it worked beautifully. Yesterday after we made her sleep at 1:30, it worked perfectly again.

This all started because we used to watch TV and let her run around, but the thing is, that if you let yourself think that "oh they'll just tire themselves out," they will NEVER go to sleep. So once I revoked TV after bath, she's calmed down and gone to sleep MUCH, MUCH easier. I swear by it. The TV at night is way to overstimulating.

The only thing is that she won't go to sleep without me. I can't just leave her in the room and she'll put herself to sleep. Believe me. I've tried...but maybe not hard enough. She also can't put herself back to sleep. Sometimes I feel like something's wrong with her, because I hear of other babies who are sleeping through the night and who self-sooth, but when she cries for me at night, it's a frantic, desperate cry and I just can't leave her like that. I did one night. She cried in her crib for 45 minutes until I caved and brought her in to bed all shaking and shivering and sweaty. I hate that.

Overall, I feel like we've gotten into an acceptable groove. I still try to put her in her crib after she's fallen asleep, just to get a few hours of comfortable sleep before Noweo joins us. More often than not, she falls asleep in our bed and just stays there while Keola and I fit ourselves around her. I love bedsharing, but on a double? Not so much. I want to move her out, but Keola wants to wait until she can communicate why she wants to be in bed with us so badly. Her cries are horrific, like she's REALLY scared and she does not back down.

Keola did make a good point that I thought was worth sharing: In the animal kingdom, you don't see the young sleeping away from their parents. Of course, there are safety reasons for that, but I also believe that it's the most natural thing in the word for young to want the comfort and warmth and security of the parent. It helps me continue bedsharing to know that Noweo feels safe and secure.

It's hard for me not to think that if we hadn't done so much moving around, if we were more stable, that maybe we would've been able to get Noweo to sleep on her own earlier and in a less traumatic fashion. I don't know, but there's no point in beating myself up over it. I guess we'll just wait until Noweo can express herself and her feelings a little more. In case you didn't know, I'm married to a psychologist. Expressing feelings is how we roll.

Truth be told, Noweo is a happy, spunky, loving, affectionate, active, curious, healthy, totally normal baby who loves us and knows we love her, and THAT'S what matters most.

Now your turn: What kinds of sleeping challenges have you encountered with your baby? How did you overcome them (or not)?