Editor’s note: Jake Sherlock and his wife, Jenny, celebrated the birth of their first child, Audrianna, on March 4. They’ve chosen to share the challenges and experiences of being first-time parents in this column. Look for it periodically in the Weekend Missourian and here at ColumbiaMissourian.com.
Audrianna is all of a month old and already she reminds me of myself — when I was 16.
She likes to stay up all night. When it comes to eating, she’s a bottomless pit with a hollow leg. And if she’s not happy, she screams at her parents until she gets what she wants.
Like I said, just like me at age 16. At least she’s not asking for a car yet.
Audrianna’s sleep schedule varies from night to night. Some nights, she’ll sleep for three to four hours at a time, wake up for a feeding and a diaper change, and then drift right back to sleep. Other times, she’ll barely eat, fall asleep in the middle of nursing and then wake up again five minutes later looking for more food.
Jenny handles most of the middle-of-the-night feedings. Jenny could pump enough breast milk for me to feed the baby, but then she runs into another problem: While she sleeps, her body keeps producing milk. And that milk has to go somewhere, which is why Jenny finds it easier to handle those 3 a.m. feedings herself.
When Audrianna has one of her sleepless nights, I get up early with her to buy Jenny a few hours of rest before I have to come to work, or I stay up late with her while Jenny catches a few winks.
We’ve tried a variety of approaches to get her to sleep when we do, or as close to that as a month-old infant can get. One way to get her to sleep is to let her crash with us, which my mother-in-law has warned us is a good way to have separation problems later. She has raised six children, so she knows what she’s talking about.
We never intend for Audrianna to sleep with us. Usually what happens is she eats and then falls asleep in Jenny’s arms. Jenny then tries to put her in her crib, and five minutes later she’s upset about being in the crib. So Jenny holds her again (or feeds her again) with the intention of putting her in her crib just as soon as she falls asleep, but by the time that happens Jenny is also asleep.
This week, we’ve turned to music to try and calm the baby into sleeping. So far, she seems to like the three-CD set of classical music for babies, which we picked up for her over the weekend. I don’t think the Chopin, Mozart and Brahms she’s listening to has really helped her fall asleep, but I do believe it helps her stay asleep.
She also likes rock music, especially The Beatles and Elton John (technically, Audrianna’s first concert was Elton John when he played at Mizzou Arena last fall). And she loves Denver-based Vonnegut, mostly because the band features her Uncle Mikey on guitar.
Beyond that, we’re not sure what else will help her fall asleep and stay asleep. I’ve contemplated taking her for a drive around town, but she usually wakes up when you pull her out of her car seat. Pacing will calm her down when she’s upset, but it doesn’t help her fall asleep.
Do you have ideas for helping us teach Audrianna to fall asleep in her own crib? If so, please leave a comment below.
Jake Sherlock is a news editor at the Missourian.