Well, it’s morning!
Turns out that I was the one with the sleep problem, not Baby! I was terrified that we would be up for hours, with me huddled in a ball trying to block out his screams as I did the incremental waiting.
Turns out the longest he ever “cried,” if you could even call it that, was six minutes. I fed him once at 3AM, but I think he could have even gone without that. I slept the whole night next to my husband, and when I woke up in the morning, Baby still loved me!
I think I needed to tend to him more than he needed tending to. I’ll have to keep this mini-lesson in parenting in mind; what if what I think is best for Baby is really only best/easiest for me?
Well, we’re doing it.
After seven months of attachment parenting, co-sleeping, and feeding on demand I’m going to try to gain some of my sanity, and a bit of my sense of self, back.
I’ve checked out every book from the library on baby sleep and have progressively worked my way up to CIO. Maybe the other methods would have worked, but the promises of progress are on a much longer timeline than we have time for. Our lives have been so unpredictable; guests come into town and we have to move baby in our room with the pack and play, each weekend seems to bring another road trip with unfamiliar and/or uncomfortable surroundings. My husband would joke about the “new routine” I was always trying to start for Baby. In the end, we just worked on Baby’s timeline, and I was starting to get worn down.
We started out with Baby in his own room and crib. For the first few weeks we both slept in the spare bed in Baby’s room and went through the routine of waking him up for feedings, changings, and being lovingly placed back in his crib. Once my husband went back to work, we moved back to our bedroom. The monitor served as my alarm clock and I would hurry to hush it so as not to wake DH and rush over to soothe my sweet babe, then creep back to bed. Soon though, it wasn’t so easy to put Baby back down in the crib without him starting to cry again, and I would find myself not only waking every two hours or so, but staying away and pacing the nursery floor until Baby went back to sleep. After a couple of months of this I found it to be so much easier to get baby on his first waking, take him from his crib, and nurse him in the guest bed while I found some much needed rest.
I came to love these quiet, snuggly times. My little darling would cuddle up next to me with his feet tucked up, fitting perfectly in the crook of my bended knees. I loved being able to satisfy my baby, to be the one to calm him, the one he needed. I also loved gaining back those hours of sleep lost pacing the nursery floor.
As peaceful as this time was, Baby was still waking every two hours. After months of interrupted sleep, I was starting to wear down. Baby was getting bigger and more mobile, rolling around and kicking at night– like sharing a bed with a puppy. My DH missed me as well.
I knew something had to be done. I was starting to feel downright unhealthy. I would wake up and eat a Klondike because “I deserved it” after my sleepless night, then find myself constantly grazing between sharing naps with Baby.
Baby was getting older and I kept expecting things to just fix themselves. So many friends had stories about how when their child hit five, six, or seven months and would magically sleep through the night. I started to feel like I was a failure; at this stage of the game in parenting, I just had to master the basic needs. I couldn’t even get my child to sleep! What would I do when the real parenting challenges come my way? At the same time, I heard stories from parents whose children didn’t sleep through the night until 2, 3, or 4 years– and that terrified me.
We just hit seven months and there’s been no change yet, and I realized that there wouldn’t be unless I made it.Why was I so slow to this? Because as crazy as I’m becoming from waking up every two hours, I cherish these sweet times with Baby. I don’t know what I’ll do the night he does sleep through without me.
I know it will be better for both of us. He deserves rest as well.
So here we are, trying out the method of he-who-should-not-be-named-at-any-parenting-group. I had been scared away from it for so long– if you start googling CIO you’ll be made to think that you will scar your baby for life if you let him cry. That his brain will be chemically altered and his mood forever changed.
If you look deeper, it appears there isn’t much scientific basis for this. My parents tell me that I cried, and I survived. I checked out the book and feel that Ferber has gotten a bad wrap, it is much more sensitive than all the attachment parenting groups I went to let on. I feel empowered! I am the parent! I need to take charge for my child, create a structure, and environment he can thrive in! Woot!
So far, so good. Baby went down at 9PM after 7 minutes; we didn’t even make it to the second check in (although DH did go in with his cell phone for his nightly still-breathing look-in). I’m a little nervous about his first waking, usually around 11 or so. I plan to feed at 2.
Hopefully he will still be the same child in the morning and we’ll all make it through this night. Hopefully we’ll all find some peace.