Tuesday, February 2, 2016

How to fall asleep

How are you sleeping these days? We are finally getting more sleep around here thanks to one ridiculously simple trick we figured out and a dose of understanding.
There's Coco, looking so sweet while she sleeps, but recently I had started calling her 'the nighttime terrorist', because she was. For over a month, she was coming into our room and keeping me awake anywhere from one to four hours per night. J has this strange ability to sleep through these sorts of disturbances, but I was completely coming undone with fatigue. By day, I was so tired that I worried I shouldn't be driving. And at night, it was physically painful. One night, in particular, I remember counting to twenty while doing deep breathing exercises before picking her up and taking her back to bed because I was worried I might throttle her, much the way Homer throttles Bart. Yes, it was that bad and, no, I did not throttle Coco. 

But then we discovered this trick: HOT WATER BOTTLE! Total. Game. Changer. I'm sorry to overuse capital letters and punctuation like that, but really. We put a super hot (190 degree) hot water bottle under the covers at the foot of her bed wrapped in one of her lovey blankies. Since we started doing this, she stays in her bed all night almost every night. I could cry with happiness.
As for the Tugboat, we had tried everything. We did the "least cry approach" and that Swedish sleep cure and we finally just gave up and decided to take the path of least resistance. That was the best choice ever. Theo's still a baby and he is deliciously snuggly. We get him to sleep in his own bed at bedtime, but then, when we go to bed, I go pick him up out of his crib sleeping and bring him into bed with us. It's easy, we all sleep better, and really, that's the whole point.

I was feeling badly about it, thinking I shouldn't be so lazy when I read the best advice I've ever seen about babies, children and sleep in the Washington Post. The author, Meghan Leahy, is a mother of three and a certified parenting coach. She writes, 

Children can really become needy for their parents’ attention at night. Why is this? At night, the work of the day is done and it is time to relax. What brings children the most relaxation? Being physically close to their parents. Even older children want to feel close to their attachments. 

She goes on to give really thoughtful, loving advice to the parent who wrote in, but for me, that little tidbit about children wanting to be close to their parents just sunk in and felt right. So right, in fact, that a few nights ago, when Coco got a nose bleed and came into our room and couldn't get back to sleep and kept me awake from 1 am until 4 am, I didn't have any Homer-like urges to wring her neck. I rubbed her back, I told her how much I love her, we held hands in the dark and she kissed my fingers. Eventually, we both fell asleep, relaxed. 

You can read the entire Washington Post article here.

5 comments:

  1. I'm very curious about the water bottle trick. How did you come up with it and any background on why it works? THanks!

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    1. It started when we noticed that Coco always had super cold feet at bedtime. We figured if she put her feet on the hot water bottle, it would help her fall asleep and it does. It seems to keep her temperature regulated all night so that she doesn't wake as much. That's just a guess, of course! ;)

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  2. Ooo It makes me really really really really really really really really happy to hear that you are going with the path of least resistance with Theo (Tugboat!!! :D) . The ability to do this, for me, has gone hand in hand with being able to breastfeed at night. And I wouldn't change these things for the world. There ARE occasional nights where he is unsettled and spends sometimes three hours with his roaming hands, making my bellybutton bleed... eeek... and then I totally feel you with the throttling! Haha. My husband and I were just talking last night, remembering the six months or so where our big boy would come into our bed with a whole plethora of toy cars and trucks and repeatedly thwack them across our heads all night long... Goodness, we must love these bubbas! x

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  3. The hot water bottle trick makes perfect sense. I enjoy going to bed with a hot water bottle in the winter, so it's not surprising it would be soothing to a little one. And bravo to you on the path to least resistance. You know your family's needs best, and it sounds like what you're doing works for everyone.

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  4. It makes me crazy happy to have your support for the path of least resistance, ladies! It's like, why swim upstream, right?! xoxo

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