Diaries Magazine

Sleep... Or Not...

By Babyjandbean
Sleep... or not...
I take a lot of (poor quality, low light, phone camera) pictures of Bean while he is sleeping. Mostly because he doesn't sleep well. Or often. And I want to capture those fleeting moments. But also because I can't resist that innocent, sweet, cherubic face.
Have I mentioned that Bean is a terrible sleeper? He always has been. The longest he has ever slept is five hours and that has happened twice in his life. Most nights, he sleeps in one - two hour stretches. He also insists that he sleeps snuggled up with me. If I put him down, he screams and cries so bad that he makes himself sick. It makes his reflux 100 times worse than usual and I'm not a huge fan of the whole cry-it-out thing anyway. That and we think it's his reflux that's waking him up anyway. So, I've given in. I hold him when he sleeps. Even for naps. Needless to say, I don't get much done. Nor do I get much/adequate sleep.
We've tried many approaches. Melatonin. Deep pressure. Massages. Music. White noise. Co-sleeper. Tent over bed (he likes the whole closed-in thing). Pillows. Heat. You name it. None of it works. He does snore and startle and gurgle a lot so we did a sleep study. No sleep apnea. Just a lot of unexplained wakings. Well, not really unexplained. The doctors and I agree that it's the reflux – and of course there’s a behavioral element. He doesn't eat enough during the day so he's always hungry, too. He is soothed back to sleep pretty quickly with some hugs, pats and rubs – and if that doesn’t work, nursing does.
We started him on another reflux med at bed time and it has helped a wee bit. He has had a couple of three-hour stretches of sleep since starting the additional med.
As much as I don't want to think about "sleep training," I think that's the direction we are headed. He needs sleep and so do I. I know that. And as much as I understand the benefits of co-sleeping, I want my bed back. I haven't slept for longer than 2-3 hours in I don't know how long and I’m tired of all the back/neck/arm/leg aches because I have to sleep just so to keep him happy. And sleep will only help Bean progress in his development. It sounds like I’m trying to justify it to myself, but I know it’s the right thing to do.
Once I am convinced his reflux is mostly controlled, I'm willing to try a modified cry-it-out strategy for a couple of days. If there's improvement, then we'll go from there. If not, then we are back to square one and we’ll try something else..
Until then, I'm going continue watching that beautiful sleeping face when he actually does sleep and I'm going to keep taking pictures of those peaceful, fleeting moments because one day, he will grow up and sleep on his own. He won’t need or want me and I will miss these moments.

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