Much of my thought life in the past four months has been consumed with Brennan's sleep patterns. I suppose this is the life of any mother whose child isn't one of those champion snoozers.
Starting the week before our move, Brennan started waking up every couple hours at night and would not go back to sleep without nursing. Eventually, I got to the point where I was so tired in the middle of the night that I would just keep him in bed with me instead of putting him back on his own little palette on the floor (because we'd already packed up the crib and his pack and play).
Let me just say, in retrospect:
It led to poor sleeping habits, but again, I was exhausted from the constant awakening.
After we settled in a bit here at our new home, I decided that this just could not continue. Nich and I were perpetually tired, and although I am able to function remarkably well on little sleep, Nich was having to consume copious amounts of caffeine in order to feel alert at work. After discussing with Nich what we were and weren't okay with (such as letting Brennan cry himself to sleep - not okay with us), I began researching various books and sleeping aids online. I settled on Elizabeth Pantley's No Cry Sleep Solution (and can I just say that I love Amazon Mom and the Amazon Prime shipping privileges that come with it?). The book arrived, I read it cover to cover in two days, made up our bedtime routine, and began implementing it.
I won't stay that it was an immediate, miraculous change, and we've had to adjust the routine (eliminating elements that didn't work, keeping what did), but what a difference from that first 24-hour period where I had to log Brennan's sleeping as we began the Pantley method. I didn't realize quite how little he was sleeping throughout a 24-hour period until I looked at the log. Overnight, he was really only sleeping about six hours, and then he would only take 3 45 minutes to hour-and-a-half-long naps during the day. Definitely not enough sleep for a little guy!
Now, four weeks later, he's doing so much better. The book recommends doing the sleep log every 10 days to encourage yourself, but we began seeing results within a few days so I didn't feel I really needed the extra motivation. We hit a couple bumps in the road (when we derailed from the bedtime routine), but now that we've seen the importance of keeping said routine, we're all much better rested.
Last night, Brennan slept six hours straight, woke up to marathon-nurse, and slept another four hours. He woke up for the day at 6 (at which point I was happy to wake up with him, since I was well-rested as well), nursed and played, and went down for another nap at 8:45. It is currently 11:12 and he is still fast asleep.
When he was little (ha, ha), I would peer over the side of his pack and play bassinet in our room at night to make sure he was still breathing, because all the ominous warnings about SIDS and suffocation from the hospital were fresh in my mind. This morning, I found myself going into the nursery to stare at his belly to make sure he was breathing.
I never thought "Are you alive in there?" would be a good question to ask about your baby, but in a way, it really, really is.
"If the God you believe in as an idea doesn’t start showing up in what happens to you in your own life, you have as much cause for concern as if the God you don’t believe in as an idea does start showing up. It is absolutely crucial, therefore, to keep in constant touch with what is going on in your own life’s story and to pay close attention to what is going on in the stories of others’ lives. If God is present anywhere, it is in those stories that God is present. If God is not present in those stories, then they are scarcely worth telling." ~ Frederick Buechner