Year One in Review: Sleeping Habits

Unfortunately, I was one of the statistics that suffered from post-partum depression. The first four months of Jeshuah’s life for me are a foggy haze. I literally don’t remember most of it. We have few pictures and even fewer videos of those months, but I can’t even watch the videos without feeling all the old panic, sadness, anxiety, and depression crowd my throat. Praise the Lord for wonderful friends, family, counsel, the Word of God, and anti-depressant medication! At three months, when I was still spending most of the day crying, being afraid to hold my baby, and having panic attacks that kept Stephen home from work, we decided this was not normal “baby blues” that would simply pass. Within two months of being on the medication, I felt completely myself again–and found that I had seriously missed out on the sweet joy of my baby’s first few months of life! I seriously cannot praise God enough for the gift of being able to think clearly again!

All that to say, I literally do not remember so many things about those months, unless I wrote down a milestone, I have no idea when Jeshuah started doing certain things. For instance, I have no idea when he started sleeping through the night. I have been able to deduce an approximate time due to my despair that he was NOT sleeping through the night at 12 weeks, and we moved to the Quad Cities when he was 4 months old, and I believe he was sleeping through the night at that point due to my instigating a “dreamfeed” at about 9 in the evenings. I also remember doing that dreamfeed during the Olympics…but I think he was still up around 3 to eat at that point. All I really remember is that he was always a very sleepy baby who still needed to eat at 3 am until he was like…old. I don’t remember. And he always needed to nurse in the night during growth spurts and teething even up ’til 9 months old, but that was very rare.

I do remember that once we helped him flip his days and nights around in that first week, he was a very good little nighttime sleeper–he would wake around 3, eat, and go straight back to sleep til about 8 I think. I don’t remember him ever waking and thinking it was time to be awake in the middle of the night, a once or twice when he talked to himself for a little while before falling back to sleep. All in all, he has been a very good sleeper when I could figure out his pattern. But one thing I had to figure out (and I am ashamed to say it took me 8 months to figure it out!) is that he is the baby that is going to do what his body is going to do, no matter how I try to tweak and rearrange his schedule, it is to no avail. His little body is on a rhythm, and if I don’t figure out what that rhythm is and flow with that, we are all miserable.

Unfortunately, I tend to forget this.  I keep trying to program him to be able to be on a schedule of my own making.  Meaning, I would love for his bedtime NOT to be 5:30 at night. I’m not even kidding you. Lemme ‘splain.

Jeshuah has always been a very. VERY. Sleepy. Baby. I remember crying when he was five months old because I felt like I never got to see my baby! He couldn’t handle being awake for more the 45 minutes at a time until he was at least 3-4 months old, and then, up until a couple of months ago, his longest awake time was still 1.5 hours.  He slept 12 hours at night and took 4 naps a day.  At 11 months, he slept 14 hours at night and took two 1.5 hours naps, for a grand total of 17 hours of sleep in a 24 hour period. In the words of Janet Parshall, my friends, that adds up to only 7 hours of awake time a day!! No wonder I miss my baby!

Last week I had another emotional meltdown as a result of trying to re-program him.  You see, I would really love for him to be able to go to bed later at night, you know, maybe even 7 or 7:30? You would think if you just kept him up til those hours he would eventually re-program and start sleeping later in the morning or taking longer naps or something. But alas, it is not to be! He has an auto alarm clock that wakes him up at 7:30am no matter what time he went to bed the previous night.  And I find that the later I keep him up, the worse he sleeps the next day, resulting in a vicious cycle of over-tired. So when I keep him up late, the only thing that results is a cranky baby and a frazzled mother. He’s also the type that if you miss his “window”, it’s over.  Once he gets his second wind, you can throw that nap out the window and just plan on an extra fussy baby until bedtime.

All that to say, his current schedule is as follows:

7:30-awake

9:30-10:15nap

12:30-3 nap

5:30-asleep for the night.

Every single night when I put him to sleep at 5:30, I seriously cannot believe I am putting him to bed for the night and I won’t see him again until 7:30 the next morning. It seems too crazy! But that’s always the way he has been and my guess is that is the way he will remain. He’s an early-to bed, late-to-rise type of guy! And as long as I can just figure out what his little body’s rhythm is, I just go with the flow with that, and everybody’s happy:-)

And to everyone who wonders where I am at night church or any function later than 6pm, well, now you know. I am at home with my sleeping baby!

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One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Nana on January 19, 2011 at 12:45 am

    Don’t worry, his waking hours WILL increase as he gets older. But he comes by sleepiness honestly–it’s in the genes! All of you kids were great sleepers, and you know how Poppa is gone by 9:30, and still loves those Sunday afternoon naps 🙂

    Reply

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