Apr 12, 2010

Sleep Deprivation

When you're pregnant, the number one comment you get from friends who are already parents is surrounding sleep deprivation (originally, I spelled this driprivation... which says enough right there). I think 50% of the reason I am so MOmMy bRaIned is that I haven't had a full night's sleep in 10 months and 6 days.

Yes. That's right folks. Jane has never fully slept through the night... she's slept 8pm-5am which is basically "through the night" if you ask me but no one asks me - they just look at me with sympathetic eyes and make an "ahhhh... she'll get there some day" comment. News flash, I don't need your pity people cause your baby only sleeps "through the night" because you don't put him/her to sleep until 10pm. tee hee hee. Anyways. If Jane was regularly sleeping from 8-5 I'd have no complaints but that only lasted 3-4 weeks and that was 2 months ago. Now she's going to sleep at 8, waking at 3-4ish, then again at 5:30-6ish and sleeping until 7ish.

Here's the catch-22. I am totally cool letting her "cry-it-out" (yes, eating my own words - don't bother quoting back to me that like 6 months ago I said I'd never do this) as she'll often get herself back to sleep in a minute or two. However, there are some nights where she cries for an hour. Now, to clarify, when I say she "cries", I don't let her get worked up. All Moms know the levels of cries....

The Two Second Whine
- Basically a screech because you've taken away something they wanted to tried to give them something they didn't want
The Drama Queen Cry (DQ)
- Sometimes derived from the Two Second Whine, the DQ Cry is more like a yell. There are no tears and it can instantly be stopped through strategic distraction.
The Attention Seeking Cry (ASC)
- More dramatic than the DQ cry with the intention of getting you to respond. Again, no tears are present. The Attention Seeking cry can easily be resolved by giving in - this is typically the middle of the night cry that Jane does.
The Somethin' Ain't Right Cry (SARC)
- Most of the time we have no idea what the somethin' is but, regardless, this is the cry most Mom respond to immediately. There are tears, there is hyperventilation, screeching, etc. Similar to the DQ cry, the SARC can occur as a result of an extended ASC but is typically the result of something more serious - teething pain, discomfort, stress, a head bonk, etc.
* Yes, I assigned acronyms because I'm too lazy to type out three words more than once.

Ok, now that we've established this (there are probably many more types of cries but these are the main ones I can think of right now), I am comfortable letting Jane cry-it-out if it is either the DQ or the ASC cry. However, if I hear the SARC even if I know it is a result of extended ASC, I respond. To me it's completely counter-productive to allow Jane to get so worked up and stressed and assume that somehow she's going to be able to get herself back to sleep after that... I don't think so.

Here's the problem. When she starts with the ASC, I usually wait 10-15 mins to see if she'll go back to sleep. If she doesn't, I'll pop in her room (making no noise, not talking, not touching, etc.), give her a soother and leave. Most of the time this works. If, however, it doesn't (which I know right away because she'll stand up again before I even get out of the room and start the ASC again), then I have two options: (1) return to her room, give her boob for 2 mins and both of us go back to bed or (2) go back to my room and lie there awake listening to her for at least another 30mins to an hour - the "right' thing to do according to most books - I hate books. Regardless, when I'm lying there awake at 2am, all I can think is EFF I wanna go back to bed NOW and sometimes it's just not worth it to do the "right" thing. Sometimes I say "eff it, she'll sleep through the night at some point in her life and I want to sleep now" and I feed her and happily go back to bed. So, yeah, I get that I'm totally screwing myself but what do you want me to do... I like sleeping and it doesn't matter if I go to bed at 8pm, if I'm waking up every few hours, I'm not getting enough sleep.

Here's the other thing that I'm telling you so you won't be surprised by it... sometimes babies go from sleeping "through the night" to waking up several times again (and by sometimes, I mean, usually). Babies go through stages - teething, discomfort because of solids, who knows what else (they don't speak to me and I'm not an expert). Most of the time you have no freakin' clue what's going on. You can try reading books and doing all the "right" things (God that "stuff" drives me mad) or you can just follow your instincts - the "experts" who write those books don't live with you. They don't know your baby. They don't know your style. Did our grandparents have books to tell them what to do? No, they had parents. They had instincts. Every one of our own Mother's could write a parenting book and claim to be an expert - I mean, most of us turned out pretty OK (aside from my sister, ha ha ha, joking Nancy).

So, to summarize, am I sleep deprived? Technically, yes. Am I tired? Before 8pm, No. Would I like a full nights sleep? Heck yeah. Would I trade it for anything? Heck No.

A year ago, I would have been working in a chronic zombie state on this style of sleep. But, I'm used to it now. Like most Moms, I don't roll out of bed and mope around lazily with a crabby attitude complaining about how tired I am... I spring out of bed with the sound of my daughter babbling through the monitor, throw on my joggers as quickly as possible and run to the bathroom to wash my face and brush my teeth before she goes from babbling to DQ crying. And, when I open her bedroom door, I'm on - smiles, enthusiasm, exaggerated everything, etc. There's no time for drowsiness. To Jane, it's the "Mom Show" and I'm the star.

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PS - Thanks to those who have provided feedback to me as requested in Friday's post - if you haven't yet, see below. I am loving hearing what you like/like-less. :) Will leave it up for another few days and then respond! :)


MaggieK said...

I hate the parenting books...you have to do what is right for you and your baby. There is no book that can know what day to day life is like in your home.

Jody said...

I totally agree with your method of dealing with the waking up at night. My daughter is a little over 9 months and does the exact same thing. Sometimes she sleeps through the night 7-5ish but a lot of nights she wakes around 3-4. Like Jane sometimes she can put herself to sleep but I find that if she has a complete meltdown and you ignore her it just results in a very upset and hard to settle baby. So what would have taken a few minutes to settle her has now resulted in one very upset baby that will take me an hour to settle back to sleep. I choose to get up, settle her and go back to bed, like you I know that someday she will sleep through the night every night. I also know that someday she will no longer want her mommy to snuggle her and until that day comes I will love and cherish every snuggle even if it is at 3 am.

Jen said...

Here here to both of your comments! Thanks gals!

Ange said...

Oh Jen...feeling you're pain girl!
I thought we were in the clear a few months ago but then she started waking up at 4am and takes an hr to go back to sleep. My tactic these days is to try and cram as much food & milk into her as possible!

Lindsay said...

"Like most Moms, I don't roll out of bed and mope around lazily with a crabby attitude complaining about how tired I am..."

Umm... okay so I guess my approach to mornings isn't the acceptable one? LOL!!

Margaret said...

I love your descriptions of the different types of cries, something you really don't get until you are a parent. I agree with how you deal, and that it's just counter-productive to let them get hysterical. It's harder to get a baby back to sleep that has screamed his/her head off, their blood pressure is high, they are all worked up, it's just not worth letting them get to that point. We had one blissfull weekend of sleeping 8pm to 7:30am straight (no waking up at all). We thought we had seen the light, then *bam* a bad cold with a fever came a long and ruined the whole thing. I agree though, my body has just gotten used to going without as much sleep as it got before.

Jen said...

Lindsay, your comment made me pee my pants...

Margaret - you just reminded me of another reason why they start waking again all of a sudden... the COLD!

sarah said...

I say screw the books! lol, you do what is right for you and your babe :) I personally do things differently than most, I breastfeed as needed all night, my son sleeps with me in bed and I haven't lacked in sleep since the first couple days after he was born. I know this isnt for everyone, but it works for us, and yes he will eventually sleep through the night and in his own bed, but for now, I get sleep, he gets sleep, we are happy :)

Jen said...

Sarah - I say do what works for you! And you're right - he's not going to be sleeping with you when he's 10, so who cares! :p

Megan said...

I loved this post! I felt like I just wanted to scream AMEN! HA! Hayden is 3 days away from being a year old and I have now officially weaned him (within the past week) and guess what...he started sleeping through the night!!! (Watch, now that I am typing this out, he will wake up 15 times tonight.) I struggled with, pulling the boob out and doing the "quick fix" too. I finally decided that if he had slept for a decent amount of time (6 hours or more), I would "feed" him. Otherwise, I would let him "cry" (ASC). I think this along with weaning, helped him begin to sleep through the night.

I hope it gets better for you soon!

Karrah said...

ok im not an expert !!
an old lady did give me'advice' once that worked. If they're waking through the night for a feed and they *shouldnt* be hungry try giving a bottle of water and they will soon learn that its not worth waking up for.
Another thing i did was when my now 13mth old woke and i knew she just liked waking me up was i would lay on her floor after giving her paci with my eyes shut and ignore her. she could still see me so she was cool and soon enough give up and lay down. it worked !!!!!
Now she has been waking up but in fairness to her she has got 2 molars coming through so im not going to ignore her but if i know she's just being silly ill ignore her.
Good luck !!

Karrah said...

oh i should add that after awhile of laying on her floor it got to the point where she would just lay down without a fuss and go to sleep and i could leave.
Now she's in a few fase where i give her a bottle (milk) and put her paci where she can see it and when shes done with her milk she tosses it and puts her paci in and goes to sleep

Jen said...

Awesome tips Karrah - definitely going to try the water trick as I've been thinking about doing that lately! May give the floor laying a try too - at this point, I will try anything!