Oh Yeah, We Have a Baby (Part 2)

Last night my ear plugs went back in. In fact, this was the first time since my post Oh Yeah, We Have a Baby. Hopefully this is not a trilogy in the making.

We’ve been told deaf infants may sleep better then their hearing counterparts, and so far have been pretty lucky. Fiona has been a great sleeper by infant standards.

On August 1st, though, Fiona hit 3 months old. According to the books and conventional wisdom, this is the age you stop “swaddling” your infant for sleep. For those who don’t know what a swaddle is (like me 3 months ago), here’s a picture of swaddled Fiona shortly after birth:

Baby Burrito!

Baby Burrito!

A mom would say a swaddle helps the baby feel comfortable and loved. A dad might say a swaddle looks like a baby straight jacket :-). Either way, babies love swaddling and it helps them sleep better at night.

The problem is as they grow up, they start moving. Yeah yeah, crazy! Now suddenly the swaddle becomes a danger since the baby is soon strong enough to roll over, but not strong enough to lift up their heads. Suffocation suddenly becomes a real concern. I can’t think of anything more horrible.

So as dutiful parents, we stopped the swaddling after August 1st. Unfortunately, without the swaddle, Fiona immediately started fussing more. These strange arms and legs can move, it must be play time!

Again books and conventional wisdom come to the rescue: when this happens, you need to ignore her cries for attention and train her to sleep through the night (with appropriate vigilance of course). Easier said then done.

Since we were on vacation most of last week, we chose last night as the first night to try the “ignore her pleas for attention” phase. It was rough.

As background, we have the typical modern crib and nursery setup. We have the standard baby monitor, which I must say works amazingly well. Technology has come a long way since the “crackling noisemakers” I think of from the movie Signs. This sucker is super quiet – so much so you forget its on until the baby surprises you with their mysterious “ventriloquism” act.

As a new twist, though, we also have a wireless webcam. $60 on Amazon – you can pan & tilt, use night vision, and even view it from your smart phone! How awesome is that? The webcam is a real sleep saver. If you hear a concerning sound on the baby monitor, you first pull up the webcam to see if everything is alright. The baby is none the wiser.

So last night around 2:30 am, the crying started. As dutiful parents, we watched the webcam and let her cry it out. It was tough. Every instinct tells you to swoop in and rescue your child, but logic tells you to be strong and stay the course. One hour later, the crying hit a new octave.

Here’s what it looked like. Yes I took a screenshot.

I am most displeased

I am most displeased

This was through the camera night vision. The clock on the left – well that’s a long story, let’s just say I should stay in software and leave it at that…

30 minutes later, the crying suddenly stopped. Victory was ours!



After a tired “high 5” between Eliza and myself, we settled in to salvage some sleep…for a whole 30 minutes. Like clockwork, the crying soon resumed and did not abate. Eventually we gave in at 6am to feed her and change her diaper. Chill baby returned.

As a disclaimer, mom gets 99% of the credit here. Dad helped where he could, but mom (as always) was the rock star through all of this. (and is sleeping off a well deserved nap right now).

So we’ll keep at it, but know full well this situation is in no way unique to us or to deaf babies in general. So we wanted to hear from the other mothers out there. What worked for you? What tips would you recommend? Where did we go wrong?

We sometimes get so focused on addressing her hearing loss, we forget we’re still new parents as well. Still learning this one as we’re going.

8 thoughts on “Oh Yeah, We Have a Baby (Part 2)

  1. Amanda Lancaster

    I seriously feel for you guys! Sleep training is SO hard, but seriously stick with it! I remember telling myself over and over again, “The doctor said he no longer needs to eat at night. We are doing the right thing!” And you are, really you are. Learning to soothe yourself and put yourself back to sleep is a tough thing to learn but absolutely critical. This too shall pass, I promise. But it does take awhile! Love you guys!

  2. Muriel Lindsay

    I’m no expert but any kind of hypnotic sound (loud ticking clock) or nature sounds on a white noise machine, or soothing music or a fan (which used to knock me out when I was young like a drug . . . still does). You guys are da best!

  3. Lynn

    You did exactly what we did with Lisa, except no webcam. Very tough to stick it out but you will be thankful in the long run. I caved in with Danny and sleep was much more difficult (for both of us. Jim was oblivious.)

  4. Sheri

    Here is what we did. We would go check and talk to them to see what they wanted. A little weird since they could not respond but they started too and gave different cries. We checked diaper for leaks or overflow. Changed if needed. Checked to be sure he was not too hot or too cold. Pat back and soothing bounce to see if they had gas. Then we would lie them back down to go to sleep. This sometimes worked. They just needed to know they were not alone. Andrew hated to be wet and Evan had a lot of gas. If that did not work we had a chair next to the crib and some nights a hand on their chest worked. The pressure of our hands comforted both kids and would sooth them to sleep. Andrew was easy to train with both of these ways. Evan was tougher. He needed more attention. Evan nursed during the night during growth spurts. This made it tough learning which cry meant what. With him we had a rule that we would go check do our talk, diaper, nurse, burp. After that we would go check every 5 minutes, then 10 minutes, then 15 minutes. This way he knew we were close but he learned to soothe himself. Andrew learned to suck on the inside of his mouth. Evan preferred a thumb or a pacifier. We pushed for the thumb since that was on his hand and he could find that. Keep the nails short or they tend to scratch their face. That brought a whole new level of crying. The sucking motion really soothed Evan. I think it helped his ears. He had so many issues with them and that sucking motion must have helped. Good Luck! Hearing your child cry is the hardest thing as a parent. I don’t know if any of this will work for Fiona but you will find what works best for her. I will make one suggestion to Mark. Richard took Evan to a baby massage class at a local center one night a week. He learned special techniques to soothe Evan and he LOVED IT! From that class we learn the best way to settle Evan when he had stomach issues. I would strongly encourage you to find one of those classes. Good Luck.

    1. Theresa

      I agree with Sheri about checking everything. I also put my hand on them or patted them while holding the pacifier in their mouths until they dozed off. They ended up not wanting the pacifiers, but it really helped when they were infants. Eventually they figured it out and I came out of a constant state of sleep deprivation, but it’s definitely tough while you’re going through it! You guys are doing great!!! šŸ™‚

  5. Brandon Cassidy

    After 1 month Andrew wouldn’t let us swaddle down his arms. We could only swaddle his lower body which allowed him to hit himself in the face when he only wanted to gently rub his eyes. Of course he’d get pissed. It sounds as if you have received pretty good advice so far. My advice is that since Fiona is (or should I say “was”) sleeping through the night, I would avoid picking her up. She might get accustomed to that when she cries which causes a whole other issue. You can still sooth her with a hand on her chest and/or a pacifier if she hits an octave that will break glass and you don’t want to just let her cry it out. Your two options are for her to cry it out or sooth her. If you decide for the latter for the next few days while she accustoms to not being swaddled, my advice is to get to her before it turns into a five alarm cry, you have to pick her up and it takes an hour for her to fall asleep again.

  6. eewiza

    Thank you guys for the words of encouragement! Fiona was breaking my heart last night and I felt like the meanest person in the world. Today she was the crabbiest little baby I’ve ever met. (For obvious reasons).

    She went down easy tonight. It’s the 2:30 or 3:00 am part of the night that I’m worried about.

    You can do it little Fiona and sleep soundly little girl!!!

  7. Rich Mackey

    I can’t give advise since it has been over three years since Calem has kept me up from crying. I do remember there were many nights that the baby swing proved to be a God sent.

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