Friday, January 9, 2009

Sleep--the holy grail for parents

So, here we are...sleep-deprived again. The biggest issue that we worried about before Kelly's arrival has come to fruition. Maybe it is a self-fulfilling prophecy. All I know is that at the age of 4 months, she is refusing to sleep in her crib at all. It was bad enough when she wouldn't nap in her bed, but now she acts scared of the damn thing. We did change her out of the pack-n-play to an actual crib, but that night she put herself to sleep (with us in the room ) and slept all night!

I am at my wits end. Mike and I don't have any time to do anything around the house or even spend time together. Basically, he comes home, we cook and eat dinner--whichever one isn't holding the baby cooks! Then play a little with the kids while the other adult cleans up or does laundry. Put Ally to bed, usually while I am nursing Kelly. Depending on how the night goes, Kelly might go to sleep while nursing, but more likely I have to rock her to sleep. During which time, she screams bloody murder. Then I try to put her in her bed and she wakes up immediately. It doesn't matter if she has slept in my arms for 2 minutes or 2 hours--it just won't happen. It also doesn't matter if we try the pack and play, the swing, the bouncy or the car seat. The only place she will sleep is in somebody's arms. So Mike and I take shifts in the recliner in the living room.

Might I add that this is EXACTLY what Ally did 4 years ago. And Mike and I wound up discussing divorce a lot because we were so tired, tense and irritable. Not that we actually pursued it, but it felt like the only thing we could hurl at each other to hurt. Not our finest moment in life. So, for this to be happening again worries me.

Before you suggest we let her cry it out, let me give you some background with our fam and sleeping. Ally did the same thing--sleep issues exacerbated by gas and reflux. At the age of 5-6 months, we were exhausted and let her cry it out in the middle of the night. We checked on her every 5 or 10 minutes. She screamed for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, and then once we finally picked her up it took another 45 minutes to an hour to calm her back to sleep. Some of the baby books say that crying it out with a high-need baby turns into a battle of wills. Hell yeah it did! So, I don't know that crying it out works and it broke my heart anyway. A lot of the sleep suggestions have to do with getting her to sleep through the night. That's not the problem at all. If she went to sleep in her bed, I would happily get up once or twice to feed her.

Kelly also has gas and reflux, but recently we discovered she has a milk allergy. So, we hoped that once we addressed that issue, she would sleep better. Funny. Not at all. That complicates it as well, because I don't want to force the issue in her bed if she is crying because her belly hurts. We have tried music, patting, shushing, and sitting next to her bed, and nothing works.

I don't know why my children do this, but is it taking a huge toll on me. If I have to nurse and hold my baby all day (have I mentioned that she won't take a bottle either?) then sleep with them at night, Mommy gets absolutely no break. So I am tired and super cranky--so unfortunately, Ally is getting the brunt of my irritability. This is also why I don't get any time to do anything--clean the house, talk to my husband, or get on the computer to update the stinking blog! I spend my days wracking my brain for solutions and come up with nothing. Any sympathy or suggestions?