The Big Green Parenting Experiment

raising a healthy family in a toxic world

sleep deprivation 101

on August 21, 2012

From the Medical Dictionary of WebMD:

sleep deprivation

  1. a sufficient lack of restorative sleep over a cumulative period so as to cause physical or psychiatric symptoms and affect routine performances of tasks.

Yep.  I have this.  Our sweet baby Schy is one of those horrible sleepers that you hear about.  She wasn’t always this way.  There was actually a pretty good stretch of about 3 months when she slept all the way through the night.  I had NO idea how good we had it.  This all ended around 6 months, just weeks before her first tooth broke through.

Teething really just ruined everything for us.  And during this agonizing, confusing time for poor baby, mommy did whatever she had to do to soothe her, which generally meant nursing.  Whatever will put the poor, suffering angel at ease.  Little did mommy know that by doing this we may have been creating a habit for months and months to come.  What we have now is a nearly 12 month old who still wakes up every two hours to nurse, sometimes even more often.  No.  I am NOT kidding.  I wish I was.

We are co-sleepers which is a HUGE bone of contention to various people in our lives.  You know, those people that love to give parenting advice as if each child is the same.  I have quickly learned to keep any and all parenting advice to myself unless, of course, it is asked for.  And even then, it’s really more opinion than advice.  This is an experiment, after all!  Back to the topic… this sleeping arrangement began when Schy was an infant.  She refused to sleep on her back which we later discovered resulted from reflux.  (More on that topic later.)  So, being new parents terrified of SIDS, we allowed her to sleep on her stomach, on our chest, in our bed.  She then had vital skin-to-skin contact and we were very aware of her breathing.

As she got older and slowly outgrew the reflux, she began to sleep a bit on her back.  And then for longer and longer and eventually, all night on her back.  At that point I had done plenty of research on co-sleeping and decided that it was an excellent choice for our particular family.  We enjoy having her there with us and it has made my life much easier with this frequent night waking situation.  But, here’s my question: Are WE waking her up throughout the night with our movements (and/or daddy’s random throat clearings)?  I have wondered if she would wake up less if she were on her own bed, even adjacent to our bed.

I am currently reading The No Cry Sleep Solution by Elizabeth Pantly.  (I should say that I’m trying to read it.  Reading is so arduous when you’re exhausted.)  Her beliefs and parenting style are right in line with ours.  We love Dr. Sears.  She loves Dr. Sears.  We don’t believe in CIO.  She also doesn’t believe in CIO.  Those are just two of the biggest reasons why I chose her book.  I am getting ready to choose a few of the sleep solutions to try and will keep you posted.  It may take a while, but even a small improvement will help so much.  I would be so proud to say “Schy only wakes up TWICE during the night!”.   Wow.  That sounds like HEAVEN!

This I know… I NEED SLEEP.  I have basically been suffering from sleep deprivation for twelve straight months.  I look tired, I’m irritable, I walk around in a haze and at times I chomp my husband’s head off for no good reason.  He sleeps right through all of these wakings, by the way.  Jealous?  I absolutely am.  Of course, he is the one who supports us and needs to be well rested to function at work during the day.  I am still very envious.

So, today we will leave it at that.  I AM TIRED.  I’m going to read this book and report my results as soon as I have them.  If anyone has any suggestions for what worked for you, please let me know.

Tired or not, there is still a first birthday party this weekend!  Back to work…

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