Tag Archives: sleep

They are Sleeping!

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I’ve shared our various sleep issues over the past few years and I have a victory to report!

Both boys go to bed easily (on most days)!

Every time we would slack off on our routine, then they push the boundaries. If we keep at it, they are great and they know exactly what to expect!

Here are some details:

  • We bring the boys upstairs, change into jammies, go potty, brush teeth and go into their room.
  • We read one story (sometimes more) or D plays guitar
  • We tuck the boys in, pray with them and spray the Bad Guy spray.
  • If they call us, we go check on them, but tell them it’s bedtime and we won’t be coming in again. (Man, they used to abuse this. “I’m still hungry” “I have to go potty” “I want another story” and the best one “Pray with me again”)

The best part is that Big C is not scared anymore. The hardest part of transitioning from sitting next to him to being able to walk out of the room is we knew he was genuinely terrified. I am so happy that we were finally able to find a combo that worked! Little C is a sleeping ninja (other than waking up at 5am!), but he has never struggled to fall asleep.

Here’s a rundown of our bedtime transition:

  1. From the time I can remember, Big C needed us to rub his back, sit near him, or sit right by his door for him to fall asleep.
  2. When we moved to TN, we couldn’t even sit on the other side of the room – we had to be near him.
    1. We tried moving slowly every few nights. We tried a book that talked about Mom leaving. They didn’t work.
  3. We introduced Bad Guy Spray and were finally able to leave the room.
  4. He called us back constantly so we implemented the “We’ll be back in 3 minutes since you are 3 years old.” routine. It worked like magic!
    1. At the beginning, I was VERY intentional about holding to that 3 minutes. Even if I thought he would fall asleep anyway, I checked on him. I knew that I needed to build up the trust that if I said I’d check on him, I would. For naps, he’d often be asleep between 6 and 9 minutes. Bedtime took longer but, not too much.
    2. Because he was so good at nap, we were able to change what we said at night. “We’ll check on you in a little bit.” “I have to go do xyz, I’ll be back.” He started to go longer periods without freaking out so we went with it.
  5. It’s been probably 6 months of transition from checking every 3 minutes to being able to kiss him goodnight and walk out.

6 months seems like a long time, but we had 3 years of bad habits to correct. And the 6 months really went quite smoothly, not to mention SO much easier than before. I don’t regret our choices at all. We probably could have made him tough it out, but it would have broken my heart. And honestly, 3 years is just not that long. 3 years of spending extra time comforting, holding, or hugging our little boy. At times it was frustrating. Infuriating. Exhausting. But I know that he is not scared and that he now knows how to go to sleep on his own.


Night Weaning Update

Three days in a row. Three whole days!!! I have gotten to sleep uninterrupted for three entire nights!

When we finally decided to night wean Big C the results were just as dramatic. And I’m thrilled that night weaning has been magic for Little One too.

Nights 1-3 Little C woke up every three to four hours. He really didn’t complain too much and we were able to get him to sleep in 10-20 minutes. He has woken up at 5/5:30 pretty much his entire life so instead of trying to stretch that to six we just decided that to be the time I could feed him.

Nights 4-6 he did even better. He only woke up once before 5:30 and technically didn’t complain much but he had a really hard time falling back to sleep. It took us about an hour each night to get him back to sleep. Really, we just finally got too frustrated. He would be asleep, we would get back in bed and about 1.5 minutes later he would be up again. Finally, we were too slow to go back in there since he was barely complaining anyway. And what do you know? He fell asleep all by himself! That was a little sleep practice thrown in. It’s actually one of the things we’re trying to help Big C with so I’m so glad the little one is doing it already.

Nights 7-9 he was perfect! He slept from 7am – 5:30am with no wake ups. At 5:30, I fed him and he went back to sleep for about an hour. We’ve been waking up at 5:30 without going back to sleep for months. And that was when he woke up every two hours. So 6:30 is amazing. And I actually kind of like being up in the morning when I’ve had some solid rest.

One kid down and the other is in progress. The big one’s a whole other story, but he does sleep ‘through’ the night so I’m feeling amazing.

Here’s the story of the first night with Little C.

If you want to read about night weaning with Big C, start here.


Night Weaning Round 2

So we’ve been working on getting the little one to sleep better for months now. It’s been a series of baby steps. Some forward, some backward, but last night we had a huge success!

Little C went from 9:30 – 5am without any milk!!! And he slept until 7:15.

We’ve been doing so many different things, here are some of our victories:

-We taught him to fall asleep without being attached to me.

It took a night of extreme patience, but it worked wonders. I intentionally detached him before he fell asleep and then I rocked him, patted his back, held him, sang to him, set him down and finally laid down on the ground and let him crawl, squirm, and scream on me until he finally fell asleep on top of me – 45 minutes later. Since then he has gone to sleep in between 5 and 10 minutes with very little fussing or complaining.

-I limited his night feeding’s length.

He was nursing a million times a night and I knew he didn’t need it. And since he could fall asleep on his own, I have been intentionally cutting the night feedings short. It didn’t seem to add much time between feedings, but I knew it would be helpful as we continued.

-We cut out dairy from his diet.

Since we have stopped giving him dairy, he falls asleep faster, stays asleep longer and eats more real food during the day. This has been the biggest improvement in sleep we’ve had. It’s only been a few days, but he actually went 3 or 4 hours at night.

And……

-We officially night weaned him between 11pm and 6am.

He fell asleep around 7:30pm, woke up at 9:30 (I fed him like normal) and then did not wake up again until midnight. I did not feed him. Instead I picked him up and sang to him and just hugged him. At first he was pretty mad, but he fell asleep in about 10 minutes. I was happily stunned and went back to bed. He woke again around 2 am (I’m not sure since Damien took this one) and Damien got him back to sleep in about 10 minutes as well. Another wake up at 4:30 and 5am went pretty smoothly. But at 5:30, Damien pointed out that he had actually gone from 9:30-5:30 without any milk so I fed him as much as he wanted. He went back to sleep until 7:15!!!

Here is our journey from the first time around. Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4

And here is a link to Dr. Jay Gordon’s page about night weaning. It has been so successful for both boys, I would highly recommend it. We still have more nights of adjustment ahead of us, but I am so impressed with how Little One did. I was hoping it would go well since we had already been ‘messing’ with him at night, but I didn’t dare hope for how well it went last night. I’ll update again after we have some more milk free nights under our belt.


Sleep is Happening

It’s been a few weeks, so I thought I would give an update on our sleep situation around here.

Victories:

  • Little C can fall asleep without being nursed to sleep!
  • He is sleeping for 3-4 hour stretches and even longer.
  • We have made naps happen at more regular times and he is sleeping better as a result.

Struggles:

  • He still wakes up a few times at night – especially when we can’t get the temperature figured out for him.
  • Sometimes he fights to fall back to sleep and I can’t figure out what he needs to help him get settled.

Overall, sleeping is a lot better around here! Of course I’d love for it to be all night, but he’s still so little (just like big brother was), that I’m not too concerned if he still needs to nurse once or twice at night. We still plan on actually night weaning him, but for now we’re good. We night weaned Big C at 14 months and I’ll bet we’ll try with the little one right after Christmas.

Since one kid is getting better, naturally the other one needs a few issues!

Big C has been a practically perfect sleeper since we night weaned him at 14 months. Bedtime with very little fuss, sleeps all night, naps once each day. He’s a trooper.

About 2 months ago, he got really sick and super congested. He couldn’t breathe and it really upset him (naturally!). By around midnight he was just tossing and turning so we let him come in to our bed to see if that would help. What do you know? Our cuddly kiddo thought that was a super idea! And we didn’t mind. He came in, went right to sleep and all was well.

But that was 2 months ago.

And he still comes in to our room around 1 am.

Technically, we don’t mind which is why it’s been so long, but we don’t really want him to stay so we decided to finally man up and make him go back in his bed. We’ve had two very successful nights so far! Here’s to making new, healthier sleep habits.

The biggest thing I’ve learned through our sleep journey is to be content with where we are. People love to ask how babies are sleeping. Why is that? All babies are different. And all parents approach it differently. Among the million other things parents have to figure out, we have to somehow teach our little ones how to sleep. It’s not easy. Sometimes I think about how we could have done things differently. Sometimes I hear that we SHOULD have done things differently.

But you know what? We didn’t. Because we did what we felt was best. And as “problems” have arisen, we are working to find solutions. And we work from there.

If you have a little one, don’t compare! Do what works for your family. And if it’s not working seek solutions from all different places. There are a million and one ideas about how to help your baby sleep. Most importantly, trust your instincts.

If you are friends with a parent, don’t ask them how their kid is sleeping. Who cares? As a parent it always feels like a loaded question. Like somehow my answer could be wrong. Instead, ask them how their day is going. Or what their child is learning now. Or if they need help cleaning their kitchen. And maybe bring us coffee the next time you see us!


Falling Asleep

So our biggest challenge has been/is teaching Little C to fall asleep without nursing to sleep. This week we have been trying to make small changes that will make a big difference. And so far, they are helping. Not magic, but helping.

Last Sunday night God gave me a crazy dose of patience so I nursed the little one, but took him off before he fell asleep. And then I held him. And sang to him. And pat his back. And walked him. And he SCREAMED. But I just laid down with him and tried to comfort him as best as I could. He was mad, but I knew he wasn’t hungry. And finally, after 45 minutes, he fell asleep. He still woke up a bunch and I just nursed him like normal.

Monday night I have Bible study, so Damien had him. For some reason, Little C wouldn’t take the bottle so he ended up falling asleep without it. A bummer, but a victory too. When I got home, he actually took the bottle from me when he woke up the next time and then went to sleep easily. That kind of counts as not nursing to sleep.

The rest of the week I tried to take opportunities during the day at nap time and at least once at night to lay him down awake. He seems to accept it better during nap time and I had a lot of success getting him to sleep on his own. And each night got easier. We weren’t doing it every time and Damien helped me when he could. We planned on making our efforts official this weekend.

Last night was Friday night. The weekend. We set the goal as I would nurse him every time he woke up, but he had to go to sleep in the crib. Not attached to me. He protested the first time and Damien was able to get him to sleep by singing to him. (happy *sigh*) It took about 10-15 minutes. During the night the plan was for me to try and if he was being too difficult, Damien would come take over. Amazingly, he really didn’t complain too much. Our saving grace is that the boy loves to sleep. He definitely WANTS to be sleeping, he just has a hard time staying asleep. He cried when I set him down, but I was able to use white noise and pat his back. He didn’t fight me for more than 5 minutes. And he slept better than he has in weeks.

And the biggest blessing? Big C hasn’t seem to notice that his brother is screaming right next to him!! In fact, the big one actually seems to use the little one’s cries as a kind of white noise. There have been several times during nap time that I have tried to put them both down at the same time. Inevitably one of them is crying, but if Little C cries, Big C lets me comfort the baby instead and often falls right to sleep himself. It has been a huge relief that we haven’t been waking up big brother.

I know this will be a somewhat slow process. Even after one official night and several partial nights he slept from 11-3. That’s the longest he’s slept in weeks or even months! He woke up at 4:30 and then for the morning at 6. But that is such a victory! I’m sure we will have more challenges this weekend, but I’m confident we will stick it out and I know we will have a happier kiddo. We’d love your prayers while we try to figure this out, but for the first time in months, I’m really hopeful. There is more sleep in my very near future.


Coping

I shared yesterday that this move has been tough, but I wanted to share a little more.

I’m having a hard time coping with everything.

The little one rarely sleeps more than 2 hours at a time (if that), we’ve been here just long enough for the fun new-ness to have worn off, I struggle with being an emotional eater, the boys sharing a room is really tough, Damien gets home almost 2 hours later than I am used to, and having a 2.5 year old and a 1 year old is proving to be quite the challenge. In short, I’m a mess.

I don’t know if I would call it depression, but I definitely struggle to not be gloomy all the time. I’m a people person, so I am generally always happy around other people. But alone – at home, that’s not the case.

My first year teaching was covered in a cloud of gloom. I was so stressed about all of the tasks on hand and especially anxious about being a good teacher. I felt physically ill almost every Sunday night before the start of the next week. I’m not sure how I survived that year, but with Damien’s support, a great partner teacher and a ton of prayer, I made it.

The next year, I was able to go to China for two weeks on a mission trip. Our job would be to teach English as a summer camp to students who wanted/needed/were able to afford extra practice from an ‘authentic English speaker.’ I was responsible for creating the curriculum all of our teaching teams would use and I liked the challenge. If you know me, you know that I like to be in charge. This I could do. When we arrived, we found out that we would be working at three campuses, not one. And since I was the ‘professional’ teacher, I would go alone to a campus 45 minutes away, teach all day and then travel back. By myself. I like to be in charge. I don’t like to be alone. Especially in a foreign country! The first day I felt like puking on the way to the campus. I had no idea what I was doing, I didn’t speak Chinese, and I was on my own.

From the time I found out I’d have to go to a separate campus, I started praying. I knew I needed God’s strength to handle it. Even though I liked to be in charge, I really had no confidence in my teaching ability. I believed that I wasn’t any good at it. I think my prayers were something along the line of “You have to fix me. You brought me here and then sent me away by myself. So you have to make me work. I can’t spend my one short week on the verge of vomitting so make this go away. You put me in this situation, so now You’re going to make it better.” And you know what? He did. Since that trip I have had almost zero anxiety or depression when it comes to teaching.

And then we had Big C. No one tells you that the hormones after having the baby are worse than when you are pregnant. I was a wreck after having a baby. It felt like a roller coaster. I cried a lot, struggled a lot, and begged for God’s patience and strength because I didn’t have any left. Slowly, God taught me how to handle being a mother and I learned how to handle the ups and downs of having a little one.

Then came the little one. The first months of his life seemed like a breeze compared to the first time around. I ‘knew what I was doing.’ And I felt confident as a mom. So how’d we mix it up this time? Oh yeah, a move to Nashville!

The last 2-3 weeks have been some of the toughest I’ve had. I’m struggling with the move, I’m struggling as a mom, and I’m struggling as a wife. I shared my stories for my sake. They prove to me that God is there in the rough times. He uses them to teach me and to make me a better person. This storm will pass and I will be stronger for it. It’s just incredibly hard to see that right now. In the middle of the night when I’m exhausted and crying, I need to remember that Christ gives me strength.

Life will go on. God will help me overcome this challenge and the next one will come. Change is good. Growth is good.

John 14:1
1 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.

Romans 15:13
13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.


Change is Hard

change-roadsign

Generally speaking, I like change. If I’ve been doing the same thing for a long time, I’ll try to intentionally change it up.

But this time – this change – is hard.

I’ll be honest. I want to go home. I miss my home. I miss my family. I miss my friends. I miss my doggy. I miss the boys having separate rooms. I miss AZ traffic (never thought I’d say that!). I miss the forests and trails. I miss everything that I’ve known for my entire life. I miss being able to call people for advice and not have to worry that it’s only 4, 5, or 6 in the morning there. I miss being comfortable in my own little world.

I’m trying my best not to complain, but I don’t want to act like everything is great and nothing is wrong. I don’t want to hide the fact that I bawled my eyes out last night while the little one was screaming and refusing to go to sleep (he has a cold).

I also don’t want to make it sound like I’m miserable. I am still excited that we are here. Damien’s job is awesome and I know he is really enjoying it. He really likes the people he works with, he’s actually busy and doing things he enjoys. Living in a big city is kind of fun. I love all of the parks, the zoo, the shopping. It’s fun having so much to do.

This is more change than I’ve ever had to deal with. It’s proving to be a lot harder to roll with the punches this time.

Part 2 will be coming soon.


Growing Up

The last several weeks have just flown by. Having a toddler makes time go by pretty quick, but having a toddler and being pregnant seems to make life go even faster. As of today, I’m 37 weeks. That number just seems completely impossible. Where have the last 37 weeks gone?!

As the time is creeping up on us, we’re trying to get everything finalized and one of those things is C’s big boy room. We are slight procrastinators (ha!) so we just finished up his room this weekend. We’ve been debating how much change we should throw at the little guy all at once, and so we thought we’d try out the first night in the new room as the first night in the toddler bed too. Starting now gives us 3 weeks or so to work out any kinks, so we went for it.

Well…. last night was a flop. The biggest bummer is I’m pretty sure it didn’t really have anything to do with the room or bed. Without really thinking about it we tried to move him on a night where he had napped really late and probably wasn’t even tired for hours after the normal bedtime. On top of that he is teething really bad and we could tell he just wasn’t settling down. He went down pretty normally in the toddler bed, but an hour or so later when we went to bed, he was still awake and us walking by upset him. After trying to settle him down for awhile we moved him back to the crib, but even then we had to do some extra cuddling (which I don’t mind at all) to get him to actually go to sleep. I think the poor guy’s mouth was just killing him. He’s still sleeping peacefully this morning, so we’ll try again at nap time and see what happens.

Wish us luck as we try to help little man grow up way to fast.


Thankful for Patience

Little man is 7 months old today! I can’t believe how fast it’s gone. The number one thing that God has been teaching me since C joined us is patience.

I have loved being a mom, but patience is something that you can’t have too much of and admittedly, I’m a little short on.

Being a parent means lost sleep and frustration over why the perfect little being in your care wants nothing to do with sleep. Or why he won’t stop crying even though you have tried everything you know how to make him happy. In those first crazy weeks and months (and let’s be honest – even now), it is so easy to get frustrated. Frustrated that I have to wake up every few hours to feed him. Frustrated that I can’t leave him for more than an hour or two. Frustrated that he won’t let me set him down. Frustrated that he’s dead asleep in my arms but as soon as I lay him down he’s wide awake. Frustrated that I have no idea why he’s crying. I admit, I had and still have times when I just have to put him in his crib and walk away for a minute so I can cry, scream, or both.

I don’t want to be a mom who is always frustrated or stressed out so I belatedly asked God to give me more patience. I understand that this is a double edged sword. If I ask for patience, there have to be more opportunities for me to NEED patience. I am so thankful that I have a God that can help me through even the craziest days with my little guy. I am not perfect. Even today I had to laugh at the fact that C fought me to take a nap and provided me with all sorts of chances to practice patience.

I am so thankful that God has been providing for me. Ever since I made an effort to tell my frustrations to God and ask for His help, I have had much more peace and patience as a mom. I try to have an entirely new attitude when frustrations arise. I try to focus on the fact that having to constantly hold, feed, or rock him to sleep is just extra cuddle time. Soon enough he won’t want me to hold, feed, or rock him. I thank God for my attitude adjustment. It’s not always easy to focus on the positive when Bubba’s screaming in my ear, but I know that God will always give me the strength I need to be a good mom.

I always pictured being a mom as a great opportunity to teach a little one all about life. I love that I’m the one that’s learning how to be a better person.

“Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:4

I hope that one day I will be mature and complete as a mother and wife.