04 December 2009

An update on the Wonder

Poor little Joseph. Since he's broken free of being wrapped, he has lain on his back thrashing his arms and legs, unable to sleep unless he is totally exhausted. FOR DAYS ON END. My belief is that it's not their best quality sleep if they're so exhausted they're dropping of their little perch. And it's not uncommon for me to get less than 5 hours of sleep each night.

I think I'm working out what the problem is, but there's no easy solution.

Joseph appears to be following in Nat's and Anna-Lucia's footsteps: sleeping on the back means short, fitful, unrestful sleeps with long periods of crying and many sleepless nights for baby and mother. Sleeping on the tummy means easy settling, deep long sleeps and a happy baby and happy mother.

So why have I worked so hard to get Joseph to sleep on his back instead of on his tummy?

Because I run hot and cold with fear and dread that my baby will die of SIDS.

And although we don't know the causes for SIDS, we seem to know that sleeping on the tummy is the biggest risk factor. Not tobacco smoke.


So here we are. Sleep him on his tummy and slightly increase the risk of the very worst thing I could imagine? Or sleep him on his back and continue this revolting cycle of inability to settle and frequent waking until he's big enough to roll onto his tummy himself so I can't police it?

When I talk to people about this, we always come to the conclusion: sleep the poor little mite on his tummy and get some decent rest. And then I hear something like this: http://www.sidsandkids.org/flash_movies/movie2.html and feel just a little sick inside. (Sorry that video is a bit long. It just makes me want to never put a baby on their back ever again.)

As I type this, he is asleep on his tummy, having had the best, most relieving day of beautiful sleeps for ages. I found myself saying how much I love my life again - the first time I've said it in the last fortnight. And yet ... if he died ...

How much longer can I go with Start Times like 3:45 (like this morning) before I am so exhausted I crash the car or something?

How can I actually get any sleep at night, knowing he's on his tummy, increasing the risk of SIDS?

I'm so conflicted I think I'm going to throw up right now. (That's just a figure of speech.)


CraftyMummy said...

Oh dear! Its so hard isn't it? Mine slept on their tummies, despite my niggling fears and getting up to check on them constantly. But I realised early that I don't function well on low sleep levels - its kind of scary to see - so at least that way I got sleep. I hope you come up with an answer that works for you. I'll pray for you - often;-) Hang in there.

Scurrette said...

All 3 of mine were tummy sleepers from less then a month old. I too have those fears but I don't know that I buy in to all the SIDS hype with tummy sleeping.

But that is my personal view.

Givinya De Elba said...

Oh girls, I really understand! Some people may say it's an easy choice - bad sleep for a year vs losing a child. But the truth is it's 100% chance of bad sleep for a year vs a very small risk of you-know-what, and that's why we get so conflicted, isn't it?

I'm going to pray hard - for wisdom in this decision, and for my little Joseph to be safe.

Join with me, if you will.

Swift Jan said...

You make a valid point about being so tired you might crash the car. I think that risk is far higher than SIDS. Sleep deprevation is cruel. I wish I could do something to help you out.
Could you put a baby monitor in his room for ease of mind? Or move his cot into your room?

Jodie said...

Oh, I'm so sorry that you're going through this. And I understand that horrible fear. Would he sleep on his side in one of those device things to stop him rolling over? But whatever choice you make, you need to be comfortable with it. That doesn't mean either choice is an easy one. P.S. Co-sleeping? Smack me someone, for making that controversial suggestion!

The Accidental Housewife said...

Oh Kate! What a predicament. Whatever you chose will be a personal thing, and there is guilt and either emotional or physical discomfort either way you go.
When Little Miss Accidental started to upwrap herself, I got her one of those sleevless sleep sacks, just a cheaper version of a grobag. It didn't take long for her to get used to it, once her startle reflex had gone. The best bit was it was so cumbersome she has only just learnt how to roll over in it now, at 10 months...
How old is Mr Joseph now?

The Accidental Housewife said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tracy P. said...

Ugh! How I hear you. I dutifully put mine on their backs, and was a total wreck during those months and months of sleep deprivation. May the Lord grant you much wisdom on what is best for all of you.

Jen said...

I put Jake, Quinn and Claire on their tummies to sleep and they were much better sleepers than Hayden who slept on his back. I fear SIDS too but you have to get some sleep.

It really is conflicting.

aurora said...

I'm a grandma now but I put my babies to sleep on their sides. Rolled a blanket up to put behind their backs so they'd stay in place. Switched sides every time I laid them down. They slept well.

Joy said...

I did exactly what aurora said. I put my babies to sleep on their sides. I switched the sides each time I put them down so their head wouldn't go lopsided.
It is hard going thru those "what if's" They are torture.
They made this little adustable wedge thing that their backs propped up against to keep them from being rolling to their backs. Try it and see how he does.
♥ Joy

Hairline Fracture said...

We tried putting Miss Pink on her side with the wedge but she didn't sleep well unless she was on her tummy. I didn't worry--much--because at first she was right next to me and then she was strong enough to lift her head and turn it to the side, so I knew she wouldn't smother with her nose against the mattress.

Since you are worried, I think you might try the sleep sack that the Accidental Housewife recommended.

Crazy Sister said...

The reason tummy sleeping is a higher risk is because all babies sleep much more deeply that way, right? And in a deeper sleep they're less likely to be able to fix a "SIDS event"?

So, logically, a baby who sleeps fine on his back would sleep too deeply on his tummy. But a baby who doesn't sleep well on his back would sleep just right on his tummy, yes? Not too deeply, not too light - just right for Joseph?

Anonymous said...

I agree with your sister.....
For what its worth....my daughter (now aged 37!!!) would NOT sleep on her tummy!! Or her back come to that....so she was an on-her-side sleeper, with a blanket front and back to keep her that way. I moved her from side to side each time she woke (she always prefered the right side!!) and although I knew about SID that was the way she slept best....(she was NOT a good sleeper anway!) I do wonder if the stress of sleeping on their backs all the time and no good sleep must also have an effect on babies. I personally would hate to have to sleep on my back all the time!!!
My son on the other hand was an allways round sleeper and didn't really sleep well until he was old enough to move himself to which ever position he fancied at the time.!!!
It is a terrible dillemma......Joseph is obviously not really comfortable on his back. Despite what that lady in the video said (hmmm she rather annoyed me with her ''I know best attitude'' !!)I think he needs to be a happy baby again, and therefore a happier mum.
To me, the compromise is to let him sleep on his side.....wedged up so he stays that way, maybe even slightly more to the front....and I expect he will let you know which side he prefers.
Ultimately it is up to you (oh boy!!). Tunmmy-sleep when you know you can really watch him.....(though that doesn't help your sleepl-broken nights).Sometimes my son would sleep so soundly that way that I would 'undress' him and feel that he was still ok...thats just the way he was and when he was older I could go in to his room, turn on the light, put stuff in his cupboards and he didn't stir !!! Can you buy Mattress monitors that let you know all is ok (sadly available here if you have already lost one baby).
Oh dear.
I don't think this comment is perhaps very helpful.
Whatever you decide, get as much rest as you can.......he will soon be running around, in to everything with his sister and brother and an absolute delight. But I still remember that feeling of lack of sleep.
Take care.

Hippomanic Jen said...

I am 35. I was a tummy sleeper from before I left hospital because I was waking up all the other babies and the nurses couldn't cope with it. My Mum continued to allow me to sleep on my tummy because I was a bad sleeper most of the time and impossible if I was not on my tummy. I still don't sleep well most of the time and tummy is good (but my neck is not as flexible as it once was which means I have to roll over eventually). Even today if I wake from nightmares I am always on my back.

I survived and I don't know the specifics of why. The powers that be don't seem to know why it's a factor. Crazy Sister seems to have a practical point. And surely babies need sleep to grow and thrive? (Forgetting for a moment that mothers certainly do!)

But it always comes back to the fact that you don't want anything to go wrong. But then, you take your children in a car. What are the statistics on that?!?

stefanie said...

My Mo was a tummy sleeper. She just would not sleep on her back. She also screamed, no SCREEEEEAMMMEEEDDD in the car until we turned her (illegally) to face forward. Sometimes we just have to choose what works, and deal with the guilt/worry/guilt/relief roller coaster. Sorry you have to deal with this!