Thursday, December 1, 2016

Oh My Sleeping Child!

... Ok, the Michael Learns To Rock reference really gave away my age.

This is a baby sleep post and I was trying to be witty about it.

Moving forward...

Even before I got pregnant, I knew that the biggest challenge that I had to overcome was giving away my usual 8-hour sleep-a-thon. I love to sleep. I need to sleep. I require at the very least, 5 hours straight of snooze time (and a huge cup of joe) to be a fully functioning, able-bodied, pleasant member of society. Having a baby meant that I would have to give that up completely and, being the self-aware person that I am, I knew I was going to be miserable the first few months.

I was not aware of the extent of how much I sleep I had to give up. The first few days of Michael's life, I was a mess. In fact, the day after I delivered Mikey, I was on Facetime with my father and he told me to wipe off the 2-day old smeared eyeliner off my face. Yes, I was wearing makeup when I delivered Mikey.

Like a lot of babies, Michael's body clock was not mature. Scientifically, it meant that his circadian rhythm has not fully developed. Circadian rhythm is largely influenced by external factors, for example, when we see light, our body tells us that it's day time and, when we see darkness, our body cues in sleep and releases melatonin to aid us to dream time. For babies, living in a dark womb often mess up their body clocks (or lack thereof) and, when they come out to the world, they will need to adjust for the first few months. The result? Sleep-deprived parents and caregivers.

Mikey was no different. He was more asleep in the morning and awake and hungry at night. I was waking up every 2-3 hours to feed him at night but, in the morning, he would sleep so well, probably 4 hours straight without waking up. I kept wishing for him to reverse his schedule because I would take 4 hours straight of sleep versus 2 hours at a time!

At night, since he was so active, it was hard to get him in a calm, sleepy mood. Like a lot of babies, he has little control over his muscles/reflexes that his hands would flail whenever he was awake... Making it extra difficult to put him to bed.

Mikey when awake. via GIPHY

In the hospital, whenever babies cry or were unstable all nurses needed to do was pull out that iconic pink and blue striped blanket, wrap the baby in a swaddle and voila, no more tears! I always call it the "magic blanket!" and was amazed at the sorcery.... I mean, Mikey went from hysterical to nirvana in seconds! The idea is that swaddling makes babies feel safe, secure and snug, much like when they were in the womb.

Mikey The Burrito

I have attempted doing this a couple of times in the hospital but never got it right. Somehow, Mikey Houdinis himself out of the swaddle if I made it. Special thanks to the nurses that patiently taught me how to do it... It's not you, it's me.

Thankfully for me, companies like Summer Infant have already taught of my lack of swaddling skills and developed the Swaddle Me. It is much like a traditional swaddling blanket but, the only (big) difference is, the Swaddle Me has velcros to guide clueless swaddlers like myself on how to properly swaddle an infant -- it's fool proof, and it works!

After a few sleepless nights, I finally pulled out a Swaddle Me that was given to us as a gift... I was skeptical at first but, like all sleep-deprived parent, I will try anything to improve things! It took me a few tries to get it right. At first, Mikey was able to pull himself out of the contraption so I had to be a tad bit aggressive and made it tighter....Rule number 1: They are not as vulnerable as they look. In fact, babies are actually strong. 

A couple of failed attempts and finally, I was rewarded with a well-swaddled, non-crying child that finally gave me 4 hours straight sleep. 

I swaddled Mikey for about 2 months and once I had him off it, his muscles were less uncontrollable. The best part is, since he was able to sleep longer and better at night, thanks to Swaddle Me, he was more awake in the morning.

Now that Mikey's almost 3 months, he's giving me 7 hours straight of sleep. Pretty amazing and a lot of parents tell me, also very rare. I think it's his way of prepping me for when I go back to work on Monday. Ahhh. My heart breaks at the thought of not being with Mikey every minute! But, momma's gotta do what momma's gotta do and, it's all for him. 

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