Sunday, January 31, 2010

Sweet One's sleeping story

For a good chunk of her first year, Sweet One always slept as good as I could have hoped. Around two or three months old, I started waking her up around 10 or 10:30 to feed her and then she slept until 6 or 6:30. I knew how lucky I was. Not once did I take it for granted. Then at around nine months old it stopped. I think it was brought on by many things which include teething, a couple trips out of town, her first fever and my mistake of not giving her enough solids for fear of her weaning. A doctor told me to feed her when she woke up which I now believe made the situation worse. I still think you're an ass, Doc. The first few months with a couple wakings per night was not terrible but as time went on she was barely sleeping three hours straight. I was miserable and barely staying afloat. Wishing at times that I could run out of the house and not return. Some nights I would cry myself back to sleep. I thought it was never going to end and I was getting scared that I'd fall into a deep depression.

I started trying to get her to sleep better by taking the soother away cold turkey. I'm sorry to take something away from you that you love so much, sweetie! This didn't help as much as one resource led me to believe it would.

I then focused on helping her learn to get herself to sleep. Starting by being in the room with her as she fell asleep, but not holding her, seemed to work but after awhile every time she woke up in the night she'd cry until I poked my head in the door and then go right back to sleep!

The final step was what I had dreaded even before she was born: I had to let her cry it out a bit. I decided that I only felt comfortable letting her cry for 5 minutes before checking on her. So I let her cry and did as I planned. She became quiet quickly. Then after I left she cried again for another 5 minutes. I checked on her and felt guilty when it took her longer to settle down again. It's harder on me than it is for you, Sweet One. This is for your own good. I left again and after 2 minutes she fell asleep. The second day of this took less time and then the third well, there was no crying.

I'm glad to say that now Sweet One is sleeping from around 6:30 until 6 or 6:30, sometimes waking up at 5:00 or shortly after for a feed. I do not think that had I left her cry it out earlier that it would have necessarily fixed the problem earlier. She needed to know that I was nearby before she could handle it all on her own. I am surprised at how quickly my daily life felt easier after only two or three nights of a good sleep. Now it is close to a full month of good sleep.

So that's my story of Sweet One's sleep. I just thought I'd share it since I had quite a few posts where I was falling apart from her lack of sleep. Sorry if you're bored. I've read so much out there in the blogosphere about sleeping troubles that I can now realize that 3 months of hell isn't that bad at all compared to what some moms have to deal with. As hard as those three months were, they are now becoming a faint memory. I'm surprised how hard it was to remember some of the details in timeline. There are things I wish were this easy to forget! Sweet One is practically an expert at putting herself to sleep, I barely rock her anymore before her second nap and bedtime. Sometimes she fusses when I'm trying to rock her for a few minutes as if to tell me that she'd like to be on her own! Please let me rock you, just a few more minutes.

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