FOMO: “A Fear of Missing Out. The fear that if you miss a party or event you will miss out on something great.” ~ The Urban Dictionary
A few weeks ago, my darling baby girl decided to stop sleeping. At first it was just a missed nap here or there, when I would do literally ANYTHING to disrupt her schedule, such as taking her out of the apartment for any reason or inviting anyone over. This evolved into avoiding sleep altogether anytime there were sites, people, sounds or smells to be seen and experienced.
We laughed about it for a while, joked about her social nature and fear of missing out on anything or anyone (just like daddy), but now it’s getting serious…These days, even at home, surrounded by white noise and familiar things, she will skip a nap or two, and she can’t seem to sleep longer than an hour without “waking” and needing some minor soothing before falling back to sleep.
At night we keep her close by (either in her Rock n’ Play or curled up with one of us) so that her pacifier can easily be slipped back into her mouth at the first signs of fussing. She will start out shifting around in her bed, rolling her head back and forth and making little sucking sounds, this leads to some light fussing/complaining, but if not caught quickly with the pacifier things rapidly deteriorate: first to a frustrated, squished face cry and then on to full blown thick, wet tears.
During this nightly dance, her eyes are generally closed – unless of course you let her get to real crying and she completely wakes herself up – and she generally falls immediately back to sleep once the pacifier has been reintroduced. She will repeat this behavior sometimes 10, 20 or more times in the course of a given night – no joke! Sometimes it is every 5 minutes for a spell, and other times you get to sleep a whole hour before she stirs again.
When it comes to ignoring naps, it isn’t that she’s hungry or suddenly stopped needing the sleep…trust me she’s tired. She rubs her eyes, yawns and fusses, and the more overtired she becomes the more amusingly bipolar her mood. If you swaddle her up and rock her, she will generally whimper a bit and struggle before finally closing her eyes out of sheer exhaustion…then two moments later (particularly if you attempt to put her down) she’ll open those big brown eyes wide once more and smile at you with expectant glee. Hard as it is, we try to avoid her smiles, keep from making eye contact and just slip the pacifier back in, but lately even that doesn’t seem to help.
Last week a friend of mine came over around 4pm. Simran had already skipped her midday nap, and I was desperately trying to coax her into her early evening nap before our planned night out. It was a total failure. Simran played happily, becoming more and more fussy and needing of constant attention as the hours went by. Around 7pm we made our way to the restaurant with Simran in her stroller. I was sure this would do the trick. We were close to her bedtime, she’d just had a bottle, and she often falls asleep in her stroller anyhow. HA!
Scene: the restaurant where a complete melt down ensues! The over stimulation of the restaurant proved simply too much for my completely sleep deprived little one and she went totally ape s&%t! I took her outside…smiles once again! Not a sign of sleepiness. She flirted with every passerby on the street, and refused to have her face turned into my chest, insisting on seeing EVERYTHING. After taking her back into the restaurant, shhing, soothing and rocking her while she cried for another 10 minutes, and finally deciding to just take her home, she suddenly and without warning fell asleep in my arms. She had been awake since 1:00, following a short, short nap, and it was then almost 8:00pm.
What is going on? What do I do to help my baby through a full sleep cycle? Why isn’t she having any deep sleep anymore? Why won’t she nap, even when she’s exhausted? I’m running out of ideas.
We’ve tried swaddling, pacifiers, adding rice to her milk, lullabies, bathing, massage, sleep routines, keeping her in her most familiar place to sleep (her rock n’ play – even though I’d hoped to have moved her into her Co-sleeper bassinet at least by now if not her crib), co-sleeping in our bed, putting her down just sleepy, putting her down completely asleep, etc. and so forth. I start getting her swaddled and cozy at the first sign of sleepiness, she’s fed, clean, not over or under dressed, and she’s completely surrounded in white noise (yet she still stirs at even the slightest noise in the room). We’ve done the running in at the first noise and picking her up, and the waiting a minute or two, and then just a paci, a quick rub of the belly for reassurance and a silent slinking out of the room. Nothing works more than once, and frankly, I’m at a loss.