Saturday, January 8, 2011

With Challenge also comes Reward

Yesterday I took an online survey for new parents...How much sleep are you getting? I included only night time hours and was pleased to see that the majority of the the thousands who took the survey fell in the 4-5 hour range that I had clicked off as my vote. About 25% were getting more or less than that. It was comforting to know we fell into the normal range. I felt even better knowing I did not include naps and that we were closer to the 5 hour end than the 4. Discovering a new normal is certainly where we are at.

We appear to have some routines during the day...anticipated nap times and feeding times. The night is a whole other beast. I can't complain...for the most part Rylyn only cries when hungry or uncomfortable (i.e. I want a snuggle! Do you really need to change my diaper...the air is cold!?!) And, for the most part she sleeps at night when she is not feeding. We have, however, had a few twilight challenges...wide awake baby who if put down will cry and won't settle. For now, we are just snuggling and loving her until she falls asleep, because that is more enjoyable for both parties than listening to her cry! We have tried letting her "cry-it-out" but more than 10 minutes of that just seems cruel...and she is still awake and wanting love. So I guess we can call our present strategy "love-it-out."

Thank God for daddies. Last night, after nursing her, the awake spell with cries hit. After about an resolve was to put her in the nursery and pray in the room next door, "Lord, I don't know what she wants, I don't know what to do. I am tired and need to sleep." She fell asleep after about 10 minutes of crying, only to wake 5 minutes later, because it was time to feed again. More cries after the feed. Chris promptly took her, snuggled her to sleep and that was the end of it. Rylyn and parents then slept for a good 4 hour stretch...our longest yet! It is amazing how just when you think you are at the end of your rope God pulls through (in this case through my husband).

We are still trying to figure the night out...trying to be led by Rylyn's cues and need to nurse...but also our own need for rest. We are open to suggestions, please feel free to respond with your own experience. For now, the 1.5 hours of crying was worth the 4 hour block of sleep. Our twilight challenges in the future will probably involve puke or worrying about date Rylyn is on, so for now we'll cherish the cries, because the greatest reward is knowing she just wants our love.

Bible Reflections from John Chapter 14

14 If you ask[c] anything in My name, I will do it. - A promise that will keep new parents going when they feel at the end of their rope.

23 Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. - Our home is with the Father. Just as Rylyn needed to snuggle and feel at home with her Daddy, so too must we remember to  come to our Father in heaven with our needs. That is where our security lay.


  1. I love reading your posts Kara! I can relate to your lack of sleep and frustration with trying to figure out why they are fussing. I can encourage you that eventually they do figure it out-the whole sleeping thing. I think the first couple of months are the hardest, as they are up nursing a lot, but as they grow, they will sleep longer (at least mine did). Have you tried a soother? I wasn't sure how I felt about soothers, but I was amazed that when I gave Jax one, he slept through longer (which was definitely worth it). However, having said that, breastfed babies do require more feedings, especially at the beginning. I've read that once they are 11lbs, they can last longer than a few hours through the night. Another tip is to make sure to feed regularly through the day, so that their tummies are full and this results in less night time feedings-on average. A predictable feed, play, and sleep routine during the day is the first step to establishing healthy sleep patterns. I have also learned to put them down for naps awake rather than nursing to sleep during the day, so they can develop the ability to put themselves back to sleep at night if they wake. Every baby is unique, but I am praying sleep and more sleep for you and Chris.

  2. Oh, I remember those days.....I am somewhat smiling as I write this cause all I can think and hear is the voice of my husband "you should take a bit of your own advice". But it always sounds better when I offer it to someone else! I have to say that nights like those we actually few and far between when Ayden was a newborn. It is now in the later months that he has come to quite enjoy a little twilight party! I try to take it in stride, but I hear is HARD! Cry it out has never worked for us, Ayden just has too strong of a personality for it to be effective. He would cry for 3 or 4 hours if we left him to. So, for all our sanity, that is just not an option for us! What worked (and still does) is bringing him into bed with us. This way he gets the closeness he needs and we get to sleep too! I know that many people are against the thought of co-sleeping, but sometimes it comes down to doing whatever works. And if this means that everyone gets a little sleep - then it is worth it!