Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Can We All Get Some Sleep Now, Please?

Warning: This is a detailed post about our efforts to break the swaddle habit and deal with teething (at the same time). It may bore you if you haven't been in this boat before. In fact, it may bore you even if you have!

There's something about Sunday nights at our house. We're all sad the weekend is over, and even though we have 60 Minutes and The Simpsons to look forward to, we just can't get over the gloomy feeling that Monday morning is around the corner. It's funny that I still feel this way even though I'm not expected at an office at 9:00 am anymore. Our daughter must be able to read our mood because every Sunday night she is super difficult to put to bed. She will generally loose her marbles for over an hour. By the end of the bedtime drama, I'm usually exhausted and annoyed. This past Sunday was no different.

The problem with this past Sunday was that she woke up at 12:30 am and didn't fall back asleep until 4:45 am. This was WAY beyond a wet diaper issue. I realized on 7-7-07 (her 7 month birthday) that she had her first tooth coming in. I realized on 7-15-07 how difficult having a tooth coming in can be. I am happy to give her drugs to relieve the pain associated with her teething, but am pretty paranoid about giving her too much or having her come to expect it.

I decided she also may be annoyed at being wrapped up in her fancy new swaddler for 11 hours straight (I would be). I began to wonder if we should try the "no swaddle experiment" and see how it goes. Too ambitious when dealing with teething? Perhaps.

She was a pleasure during the day on Monday and I decided we'd give the experiment a try that evening. I had watched her nap unswaddled during the day and realized how much she moved around. She started on her back, turned to her side and ended up on her stomach. Maybe she just needs that kind of freedom for her night sleep?

The babe lasted in her crib unswaddled until 11:00 pm. 3 hours isn't bad, right? She then proceeded to take up the majority of our king size bed as my husband and I struggled to not fall off our respective sides. Up again at 2:30 am and then 4:30 until 5:45 am. Was the experiment a success? Depends how you define success, but it was a BIG deal for her to be unswaddled for a whole evening.

The experiment continued Tuesday night. She woke at 10:00 pm after only 2 hours and ended up going to bed with me. Not good. I like to try and clock a few hours before having to give up my precious space. Awake again at 2:30 am and then 4:45 until 6:15 am. Really not good. If I wasn't about to leave on an 8 night trip, it would be time for some tough love which would involve this child staying in her crib longer.

Last night we did better. After falling asleep at 9:00 pm, she was back up crying at 12:30 am. Half an hour later I caved and fed her Infants' Tylenol. She was asleep by 1:30 am and back up at 5:30 am to eat. She then slept until 7:00 am. Now that seems like a brilliant evening compared to the last 3.

My husband and I are both exhausted and never thought we'd end up with a "family bed" situation. We are just not good at letting her cry it out and have a huge fear of her crying escalating to an uncontrollable level. She's so itchy she ends up scratching her head off if left alone while she's upset (even with the little baby scratch gloves).

We visited a pediatric dermatologist yesterday who confirmed she has atopic dermatitis (baby eczema). Babies with this condition do not sleep as well as other babies. That will have to be another post.

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