Sweet sleep

February 9, 2009

Sleep deprivation has kept me from blogging for a long time. Our “newborn” is nearing his first birthday and he still loves to wake up in the middle of the night and torture us.

This kid is a screamer. He is a yeller, a howler, and a nurser. I guess the routine, if it could be considered that, goes like this:

Baby falls asleep anywhere between 7 and 9 p.m. Snoozes peacefully for about two hours. Wakes up and wants to nurse. We would let him cry, but he shares a room with his big brother. And I make the assumption that if he nurses while I’m still awake, then he might get his fill and sleep until morning.

Not quite.

He wakes up again, at any give time. It’s been 12:30 a.m., it’s been 1, or even 2. At this point, we try to just let him wail it out and get himself back to sleep. Last night, though, after 15 minutes, we couldn’t take it anymore and his cries were getting more intense. He belts his unhappiness. We try singing, rubbing his belly, rocking. I refuse to nurse. But I always give in. And within a matter of seconds, he is quiet and off to dreamland.

We tried something this weekend after a particularly bad night that would probably anger our pediatrician. We put him down on his belly. This is a big no-no in the pediatric world, but was the common practice with infants and toddlers for years. Since the baby is practically walking, we thought the risk was minimal. And he slept fine, from about 2:30 a.m. to about 6. Not great, not bad. But since that was the only length of time we got to sleep, it was a rough Sunday.

Same thing happened Sunday night. I caved in around 2 a.m., nursed, put him on the belly. Slept until about 6:30 a.m., just in time to get ready for work.

Our pediatrician had given us some acid-reflux medicine to give him, in case his sleep problems had to do with his belly and digestion. We have no way to know that this is what’s ailing him, and we haven’t used the medicine because the potential side-effects freaked us out. Depression? Hallucinations? How would we even know? Obviously these are the worst-case scenario, one in a million side effects, but still. That’s our baby.

The belly sleeping worked for now, but now that I think about it the baby usually sleeps from 2 until morning anyway.

My biggest, strongest wish at the moment is that he’ll sleep for 6 to 8 continuous hours. He should take a lesson from big brother Diego, who at 3 now sleeps (mostly) peacefully from 8 to 7. And that’s even with a nap.