Last night I reached my breaking point.
Archer will turn 7 months old on the 14th. Hee is still waking up 3-4 times a night to use my boob as a pacifier. He really doesn’t need to eat, and usually doesn’t for more than a couple of slurps before passing out. He becomes infuriated if I try to give him a pacifier instead of my nipple when he wakes up in the middle of the night.
I broke one of my cardinal rules by just going ahead and letting him sleep in the bed with us during the night. He was sleeping in a bassinet that was connected to the bed, and I was just too tired to try to put him back to sleep any other way. He still wakes up to fuss and roll around. I still don’t get any sleep. My back and shoulders are so messed up from having to contort my upper body into weird positions so he can have access to my boobs. This has to end.
It’s time for sleep training. Oh. God.
It’s our fault really, or I should say, my fault. I set up the bassinet next to the bed thinking he would stay there no matter what it took, even if that meant getting up 4 times a night for 15 minutes at a time. He was not going to end up in our bed! That worked out for about 4 months. And then the sleepless nights really started to pile up, and I couldn’t do it anymore. It turned into anything to get some sleep, even breaking my cardinal rule. The cardinal rule was set up so we wouldn’t have to sleep train again.
We’ve sleep trained Deven at least 3 different times. The first time, he was about 6 months, and completely weaned. He wouldn’t let me put him down for any length of time, and I wanted Vance to sleep in our bed again, so I decided it was time. We used the “Ferber Method” otherwise known as the “Abandon Your Child In a Ditch On a Snowy Night and Let Him Scream Until His Voice Goes Out and He Eventually Starves or Freezes To Death, Only To Be Eaten By Dogs” method. Some people also call it “Cry It Out.”
Thats dramatic, but it sure as shit feels like that when you are listening to your kid scream and cry until he passes out in his crib. You feel like you are putting your sweet baby through the most unimaginable torture. It’s horrible, but it works. And your kid is still more than happy to see your face in the morning. With Deven, we broke the sleep rules more than once, and had to do this multiple times. I haven’t seen any lasting effects on him, except that many people are envious of my amazing little sleeper.
So, I know this method works, but Archer is a more, um, sensitive baby, and as a result, I am a more sensitive mommy. I don’t think I can take listening to this little baby scream for hours on end until he passes out. For one, I know it would probably take longer than it did Deven. I want to try something else.
I looked online and found the Sears Method, which is a slower, less painful (for baby) approach to getting them to sleep independently. The entire process is so very gradual, and is full of baby steps to baby’s sleep independence, and quite frankly, I haven’t the time. I don’t think I can put my baby in his bed and hold my hand to him until he falls asleep, and then if he wakes up when you get up, oh well, we’ll try again tomorrow! No. I need to get my baby to sleep in his crib by himself very soon. I know that no matter what you do it isn’t an overnight process. Here is what I am thinking:
1. Establish a routine. Done! He gets a bath, and a lotion rub down about a half an hour before bed.
2. Move the crib into the bedroom. Okay, so this also has to do with the super-destructive toddler who has already climbed into his brother’s crib more than once and stripped the bedding off and removed the mobile. I am afraid that I will walk in there one morning and see him curled up next his brother in his crib. Cute, but still not okay. Anyway, we’ll move the crib into our room, so that it won’t be like we’re locking him away in a dark room to scream at bedtime. It’ll also make the small things we plan on doing to comfort him easier if we don’t have to go far and risk waking up the toddler.
3. Put him in his crib drowsy, but not asleep, and then leave the room. Okay, this is where it starts to look something like the Ferber Method. We want him to cry a little, but not a ton. We plan on making timed visits to the room to check in on him and make sure he knows that we are not far away. If it takes hours on end of screaming, then we will stop and just put him in our bed, and try what Sears suggests, which is putting him in his crib and let him hold our hand until he falls asleep. Something short of picking him and cuddling him until he’s passed out.
4. If he wakes up in the middle of the night, we’re not giving in! This is a big one. We’ll try to comfort him without picking him up, but we cannot just put him back in the bed. This will be hard to respect when we are forced to tend to him after only 3 hours of sleep.
5. Get Vance more involved in getting him to sleep. If I’m not going to be nursing him at night anymore, why should I have to do everything? A load of crap, I say! Also, when he sees me, he thinks “BOOBS! HERE COME THE BOOBS! BRING EM ON!” and that’ll be detrimental to him getting to sleep on his own. Sure, he won’t like it the first few times he wakes up and sees the boobless parent, and he’ll scream and it’ll hard on the both of them, but the pay off will be tremendous.
The goal is to teach him to soothe himself to sleep. And this will mean more sleep and hopefully more “adult time” for mommy and daddy. As much as I love having a precious chubby little baby dominating our lives, I can’t wait to have some of the control back. I know that we have a long way to go; babyhood with Deven doesn’t seem like it was that long ago. I think that being able to sleep through the night is one helluva start. There is plenty of time for walkers and baby spoons and highchairs and tripping over baby toys.
Of course, you know, I am so very open to any advice you have to offer. Please feel free to send it my way.
You know what is terrible for sleep? Coffee. I am having a major Starbucks craving. A peppermint mocha sounds incredible right now, even if it means 3 hours of diarrhea. TMI?