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What Sleep Or Lack Of Has Taught Me

So as you know, Little J hasn’t been sleeping very well.  We spent an entire week waking up every hour at night.  I was sleep deprived, and becoming very resentful at him.  I knew we had to change something, but trying to figure out what sleep training technique would work for us seemed daunting.

Crying it out just didn’t feel right to us.  As tired as I was, I can’t not comfort my child when he feels scared and alone.  After looking at our non-crying methods, I landed on the No-Cry Sleep Solution by Elizabeth Pantley.  It seemed like the best fit for us because not only did she go through it as a mother herself, but she also co slept and nursed her baby to sleep.  Exactly like we were doing.

I was also struck by what she said about if we are keeping our children from sleeping:

Belief That Things Will Change on Their Own

You may hope, pray, and wish that one fine night, your baby will magically begin to sleep through the night. Maybe you’re crossing your fingers that he’ll just “outgrow” this stage, and you won’t have to do anything different at all. It’s a very rare night-waking baby who suddenly decides to sleep through the night all on his own. Granted, this may happen to you-but your baby may be two, three or four years old when it does! Decide now whether you have the patience to wait that long, or if you are ready to move the process along.

Too Fatigued to Work Toward Change

Change requires effort, and effort requires energy. In an exhausted state, we may find it easier just to keep things as they are than try something different. In other words, when Baby wakes for the fifth time that night, and I’m desperate for sleep, it’s so much easier just to resort to the easiest way to get him back to sleep (rock, nurse, or replace the pacifier) than it is to try something different.

Only a parent who is truly sleep deprived can understand what I’m saying here. Others may calmly advise, “Well, if things aren’t working for you, just change what you’re doing.” However, every night waking puts you in that foggy state where the only thing you crave is going back to sleep — plans and ideas seem like too much effort. 

If you are to help your baby sleep all night, you will have to force yourself to make some changes and follow your plan, even in the middle of the night, even if it’s the tenth time your baby has called out for you.

So, after reading this section and you’re sure you and your baby are ready, it’s time for you to make a commitment to change. That is the first important step to helping your baby sleep through the night.”

Ok lady, I get it, you’re talking to ME!  I was being lazy about this sleep training.  I just wanted to believe that he could do it on his own.  Probably because I was too exhausted to try anything differently.

But as they say, the definition of insanity is when we try the same thing over and over and expect a different outcome.  I’m being crazy, and I have to put in some work to make changes.  So I picked up the book, and here’s what I learned:

-Keeping logs of your naps and sleep wakings seem like a lot, but they will teach you a lot.

Little J is not getting enough sleep.  When you actually write down how long they sleep, when they wake up, and how long it takes them to get back to sleep you realize they’re probably sleeping about an hour to two hours less at night than you think.

Trying to keep yourself awake to jot all this info down isn’t easy, but it’s valuable.  You also should try to stay awake because:

-Nursing to sleep is fine, but not when they solely rely on sucking to sleep.

I had to admit that Little J had no idea how to fall asleep on his own without sucking.  The main idea of this book is not to take away the nursing, but to get them to the point of almost falling asleep and then taking them off the breast so that they can fall asleep on their own.

I know, easier said than done, and she admits that.  She suggests after unlatching to put your finger under their chin to keep from sucking.  Yeah, he hated that.  She says not to deny him nursing if he wants to keep doing it, but keep unlatching him once he slows down.  Yes, it’s easier to drift off to sleep with him attached, but after 5-7 times he does stop whining for it back and falls asleep.  Sometimes its less, sometimes its more, but he does eventually fall asleep.

<I had to stop here last week.  My train of thought there is obviously gone, but we’ll keep on>

So knowing what I know now, having about a weeks worth of logs, what has changed?

J is getting lots more naps, and although at first I couldn’t get him down for long they can now get up to 3-5 hours a day.  He is also getting more sleep at night, although it took a while.  The bad thing is that I’ve had a bit of regression because I’ve fallen asleep with him still attached to me only to wake up an hour later.  So I need to focus more on staying awake and teaching him to fall asleep on his own.

There’s a lot more routine and sleep which is making for a bit happier baby.  He’s still very fussy at times.  We actually had quite a fussy weekend (seriously, if you have a baby that doesn’t cry I hate you in the nicest way possible), but he seems a bit better today.  There’s a lot more work to do, but I’m happy with the progress.  He’s actually fallen asleep on his own in the swing twice!  Huge improvement.

The nicest bit is that since we’ve been putting him down earlier, I’ve gotten to have a couple of hours with DH at night.  Time with my husband?!?  Who would have thunk it!

I’ll keep at it and see how it goes. Just not looking forward to having to move him into the crib soon.

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About babyandthegeeks

I'm just a 28 year old neurotic hippie/geek, and I'm just doing my thing.

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