Dear Olivia: Weeks 22 and 23

oj-22-23

Dear Olivia,

You ever have one of those weeks where you just can’t catch a break? Or a few in a row?

Yeah, that’s where we are right now.

To be fair, I think we’re on the upswing now, but man has it been tough.

We started off the week in a very sleep-deprived state. What began as the four-month sleep regression slid headlong into a very terrible situation where your naps were all twenty minutes, you woke up every two hours all night, every night, and convincing you to fall asleep could take upwards of an hour.

SO FUN.

That brought us to last Friday night, when everything seemed to be normal. Awful, but normal. After we put you to bed you woke up after twenty minutes. Thirty minutes. Twenty-five minutes. The night crept onwards and you would. Not. Sleep.

Every time we rocked you back to sleep, we’d gently ease you down into the pack ‘n play, and EVERY SINGLE TIME your eyes would pop back open and you’d start wailing. Again and again, all night long. You slept for no more than an hour continuously, and we eventually gave up trying to get you to sleep in the pack ‘n play. We took turns holding you until the sun rose and it was pointless to stay in bed any longer. All three of us were exhausted with red-rimmed eyes and pale faces.

I think that might have been the worst night we’ve ever had thus far with either you or Natalie. Gold star for you!

It was pretty clear by 3 a.m. that this wasn’t normal “wakefulness.” I spent the morning with you at an urgent care clinic, and sure enough, you had an ear infection. They sent us home with some antibiotics and assurances that you’d be sleeping better soon.

And you did! Saturday night was definitely better. We did make a pretty drastic decision, though. We took a hard look at your sleeping arrangements and figured hey, it’s not like things could be any worse than last night, right? Let’s put ‘er in the crib!

So we did. The pack ‘n play is now folded up and stowed away, and you’re in your own room, full time.

You didn’t stay in the crib, of  course. That would’ve been entirely too easy. No, after having some more difficulties with you  staying asleep, I decided to try something completely different based on the advice of my favorite baby sleep website: we put you in your swing.

This might sound counter-intuitive, like a step backwards. But it’s clear you’re still relying on motion to get to sleep, as evidenced by the hours and hours and hours of rocking we’ve done over the past few weeks. But then you wake up in a very flat, very motionless crib, and realize that something isn’t quite right. So you cry and can’t go back to sleep.

The theory with the swing is that we gradually turn down the speed until eventually you fall asleep with it motionless, at which point it’s time to transition into the crib.

I was a bit skeptical, but day one was such an unmitigated success that there was no question: it works. You took three naps that day, all ranging in length from 1 hour to two and a half hours.

Yep.

After almost a full week of sleeping in the swing (at night, too), we’ve dialed the speed allllll the way back to the slowest setting. We’re going to try it with the swing off over the next few days and see how that goes. But there’s no question that EVERYONE is sleeping better with this arrangement. You’re still waking up at night, of course, and on some nights more frequently than others. Last night you only got up once; the night before that, four times. So, it’s still a work in progress.

But the biggest, most amazing difference is in the routine. Pre-swing: rocking, bouncing, walking, swaying, sitting in the dark for twenty, thirty, forty minutes waiting for you to be out cold, trying to put you down, failing, rinse and repeat. Now: Put you in swing, turn on swing. Close door.

The end.

WHAAAAAAAAAAT.

It’s kind of like sleep training, but without all the tears. Sometimes you fuss for a few minutes, and a few times this week (maybe twice, or three times?) I’ve had to go back in and top you off before you fall asleep, but we’re at the point now where you’re asleep within two minutes of me putting you in the swing. I timed it, because I’m a dork like that.

It’s magical.

And it’s helped keep me sane for the rest of this week, when your sister got the same ear infection you had AND pink eye, and then I got sick with whatever upper respiratory bug you both gave me.

Thanks, girls. You’re too kind. You know that’s not what “caring is sharing” means, right?

Love always,
Mama

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