My Momma said I have to blog even in the bad times, and I am usually pretty good at that. I’ve prided myself on keeping it real because it’s important, not only for other mommas, but other women. Who wants to read about how I am super mom 100% of the time? I really am only 95% of the time and the world should know. Kidding, obvi. There’s a reason I called this blog ‘Muddling Momma’.
So, things have been super frustrating lately. At 10 months old MIke’s sleeping has become … an issue. We’ve let it go on too long and have made excuses and that is embaressing. Each night I feed him, rock him to sleep, put him in the crib once I knew he was asleep and the minute he would pop up (which was pretty much as soon as his head hit the sheets) I would whisk him away to the rocker and start over. Recently I started to feel super craptastic about this and started to feel chained to the rocker for at least an hour a night. Easter weekend at my parent’s house really made night time difficult and S. and I realized, enough was enough.
We’ve talked about sleep training before and when I’ve broached the topic on Facebook… well, it was right up there with talking politics, religion and gun control. Everyone had an opinion and stories. From ‘say good night, shut the door and don’t open it until the morning’ to ‘co-sleep until high school graduation’. Neither of these options felt right to S or me. I worried a lot about what all this said about me as a momma. Because I don’t subscribe to the traditional ‘Crying it Out’ method, am I coddling my kid? Setting him up for a life where I catered to his needs? If I didn’t cater to his every request, am I raising him to be a sociopath? Frankly, being exhausted wasn’t helping the brain function either. I know a lot of things we do as parent’s don’t make us feel good, but are necessary to raise functioning members of society.
I gave our daycare provider a call and said said the at nap time he goes into the crib ‘chats and sings a bit’, then goes to sleep. I can honestly say – I was pretty mad for a lot of reasons. First of all, I am calling our daycare provider to figure out how to put our son to sleep and secondly, because it was painful obvious Mike was playing us. Looking back on this conversation, S. brought up a good point. We, as parents, should never feel bad asking our daycare provider things like this since we are partners in our kid’s development, right? Right.
So S and I did some research and bought The Happiest Baby on the Block by Dr. Harvey Karp. It’s a great book, but it is more for a younger kid – making me a feel even worse for not starting earlier when we could still swaddle. But we took a few of the ideas including the need for the RIGHT white noise. We’ve been using timed ocean sound machine, but Dr. Karp said by his age it is more annoying than helpful. So S. downloaded a white noise app, and found a rumbly noise and played it much louder than we would have thought – about as loud as a shower.
The other tip we took was a more rigid bedtime routine. So now it’s bath, bottle, book, snuggle, sleep. That makes sense, and though we did it before – we are making it much more deliberate. The first night he slept through and it was amazing.
Then the next night, not so amazing. And then the following? Even worse.
Yesterday we were at our wit’s end. In my searching of sleep training methods (there are tons)I came across Sleep Sense by Dana Obleman and though the concepts aren’t new – for whatever reason what she said and how she said it really struck me.
I know Mike isn’t crying because he feels abandoned or is confused, but Obleman really summed it up when she said he is crying because he is tired and doesn’t know how to fall asleep – and guess what? That’s not my job anymore. No one likes to hear their baby cry, but it is easier to take when I know it’s frustration and not anxiety or fear.
She also outlined 2 options for sleep training. One is a called Camping Out which is where you sit in a chair next the crib until he goes to sleep and every few nights move the chair further away. The other method is call Checking In where every few minutes (whatever you are comfortable with) you poke your head in and remind them you are there and you will see them in the morning. S and I agreed on the 2nd option, which seemed like a doable process. We agreed we were going to stick with it no matter how long it took.
It’s amazing how anxious I was all afternoon. I was pretty convinced it would be a long, painful night. And like with everything – the anxiety and worry was worse than what actually happened. Here’s how our night went:
6:30P – Bathtime!
6:45P – Into Mike’s room for a bottle and a book. We made sure the white noise was playing through out the process. We made lots of references to going nighty night.
7:00P – Lights out! We said good night and Mike was not happy.
7:03P – S. poked his head in and said good night. Mike cried harder. We watched him on the video monitor and he was crawling around the crib, standing up and bouncing. Clearly looking at the door. Every time he would calm down, we would start the 3 minutes over.
7:14P – S. poked his head in again to say good night and again, Mike cried harder.
7:17P – S. noticed on the monitor that Mike spit up a bit. So we followed the book’s suggestion. We went in, I changed Mike’s poopy diaper, S. changed the sheets.
7:27P – S. poked his head in again to say good night and again, Mike cried harder.
7:30P – S. was watching Mike on the video monitor just in time to see him literally projectile vomit down the wall. We went in, changed Mike, changed the sheets, wiped down the wall, wiped up the floor and … started again.
7:40P -S. went in again to stay good night.
7:45P – We noticed on the video monitor Mike was laying down doing the sniffling crying.
7:47P – Mike was asleep.
That couldn’t have been it right? I was convinced he would wake up again. Around 2AM we heard him crying really hard, and as the book suggested, we were prepared to wait 10 minutes before going in to remind him we were there. 5 minutes into the hysteria – he was asleep again. We didn’t hear another peep until about 7:30A.
Oh. My. Gosh.
I woke up thinking I could cure cancer, save the pandas, walk in stilettos, or do something equally amazing.
Even nap time today took, literally, 7 minutes of hysteria before he fell asleep.
This is so good, not just for him, but for S. and me. I feel like I am free from sitting in the rocker for an hour a night, and that will leave more time to hang with S., get stuff done around the house and just ease into MY nighttime routine. I was really starting to worry about how I was going explain to Mike’s college roommate why I was there every night to rock him. At some point it was just going to get awkward.
Tonight might be difficult, or even one night next week. I am not convinced we have a perfect, sleep trained baby, but damn if we aren’t moving in the right direction.