Sleeping and Swaddling…

So…generally she needs to be swaddled to some extent to sleep.  And has since day one.

She’s more than three months, and from what I’ve read full swaddling tends to wane around 2 months.  I’m thoroughly confused  about what to do, because it’s becoming very difficult to figure out just what will get her to fall asleep and stay asleep.

She gets swaddled in the evening around dinner, when she starts showing signs of being sleepy, and gets fed and rocked to sleep, then put in her crib.  Her waking has become more frequent at night, and a bit more erratic, and has been staying awake for far longer, not feeding to sleep or pacifying to sleep after feeding like she has been doing for weeks.

There are times when she seems to fall asleep, but after a short while she starts squirming all over the place, sometimes with her eyes eventually opening and being awake, sometimes with her eyes closed, seemingly asleep.  Her head moves back and forth over and over, the rest of her body following suit.  It’s like she’s napping at night, instead of sleeping and waking only to feed.  I do not understand this reversal.  And it’s certainly wearing on me emotionally and physically.

Since I co-sleep, this has been pretty hard on me.  I largely don’t mind co-sleeping anymore, I’ve become used to it, and it’s honestly far more convenient than having to get up out of bed.  But I do not fall asleep so easily as I did when we first came home.  I never had slept that easily or that hard with the ability to wake up multiple times and go back down easily ever in my life.  I know many people complain about the first few months sleep-wise.  Not me.  I WISH I could have that ability to fall asleep so easily and so hard and feel perfectly fine no matter how many time I woke up.  I want that back.

Now, wake up and can’t get back to sleep if there’s anything going on to keep me awake.  And believe me, pacifying after nursing doesn’t feel so great after a while and that’s just not something I can fall asleep dealing with anymore.  The sounds of her moving, pacifying, my husband snoring, breathing, rolling over…constantly being worried about her moving so much and ending up smothering either from me, from the blankets, from my husband’s shifting pillow (I don’t use one when she’s with me) from him pulling all of the blankets up (I run warmer than he does and don’t use all the blankets like he does), the constantly running thoughts and dialogue in my head.  The mounting frustration from stress, lack of sleep, getting things done, thinking about things that need to get done, not being as organized as I need to be, trying to figure out ways to get the house more organized without the proper methods available to me, exhaustion, it builds so much until I feel angry, resentful, defeated, and most of all, guilty for feeling that way.

The guilt is the worst.

I know I’m not the first, and by far not the last.

But this is a new experience to me, and I don’t need other people being condescending to me about having “been there done that”, and that their situations are so much worse and I should feel lucky because I only have one kid to deal with.  I don’t need people telling me that I’m doing things wrong.  I don’t know what I need.  But I need something.

I had to swaddle her and do basically her evening routine to get her to nap at least once during the day.  She wasn’t napping, and she wasn’t overly happy either.  She needed to know it was ok to sleep during the day.

She now will let herself nap, sometimes putting herself to sleep during the day.  And on good days, she does it a few times.  Other days, sometimes it’ll be one good long nap.  As long as she’s getting sleep, I’m happy.  She’s happier, and fusses less.

But now her nights are starting to suck.  She’s not going back to sleep after her first night feeding.  She’s not sleeping as long before waking up for her first night feeding.  I know she’s not going to sleep through the night, especially because she is breastfeeding.  They process the breastmilk in a couple of hours, compared to formula feeding.

I’m ok with that.  I’m used to that.  I’m not used to her being awake or wiggly, not being able to figure out what the heck is making her act like this at night.  Changing the diaper doesn’t settle her down.  Pacifying either on me or with the binky doesn’t settle her down.  Changing positions doesn’t settle her down.  Putting her in the bassinet in our room sure as hell doesn’t settle her down.  Being up against me doesn’t settle her down.  Being cradled by James doesn’t settle her down.

I got maybe 20 minutes of sleep before I had to get up and get her from her crib upstairs last night.  She fed, fed well, and was basically asleep and very still.  I don’t know if me trying to put her in the bassinet was the trigger, or if it was going to happen anyway, but she wasn’t happy.  She was asleep, or so I thought with her stillness and even breathing as I set her in the bassinet.  But as soon as she was down, she started twitching and wiggling hardcore.  I put slight pressure on her arms and legs to try to still her, which used to work, and still works on her for her daytime naps.  She’s a wiggler, and often wiggles herself back awake unintentionally.  The pressure helps her body relax.  Which is what the swaddler is basically supposed to be doing.

She calmed a bit so I walked back to the bed.  30 seconds later, she was crying.  So I brought her back to bed, figuring she just didn’t want to be alone and put her back on to pacify her back to sleep.  Same ol’ same ol’.  Not even close.  I was up and wide awake after a 20 minute doze from 11:30pm to 2am last night trying to get her to go back to sleep.  I eventually came back upstairs and put her in her swing where she sat largely calmly as I channel surfed crappy late night TV.  She was so quiet after a bit that I picked her up and cradled her in one arm and gave her her binky.  She hasn’t let me cradle her to sleep in well over a month.  She finally went back to sleep and I put her back in her swing, unswaddled but with a blanket for warmth (I know, don’t lynch me).  I stayed awake for a while longer, making sure she was asleep.  I don’t know when I feel asleep, but I did, and she didn’t wake me up until 6am to feed.  I got her out of the swing and went to the spare bed room upstairs where I usually sleep (across from her nursery) when James isn’t home.  I put her on and cradled her and we both fell back asleep for a couple hours.

I know this is just another phase and that I’ve just got to get through it, but when you’re exhausted and half asleep, it’s incredibly hard to think rationally enough to adjust and remember that we just need to adapt until things work back out.

I still don’t know what to do, because I don’t know what’s possibly going to work tonight.  Especially because I have such a hard time going back to sleep.  All I know is that it’s going to be a lot harder because of the exhaustion.  I get that.  I’ll deal.  But I don’t have to be sunshine and rainbows about it.


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Wife, student, new first time mother. Crafter and creator. Animal enthusiast. I had a miscarriage in March 2011. But we tried again. March, 2012 was the birth of my first child. Off and on I have been dabbling with small business, trying to get it off the ground since, every so often changing direction.

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