Sleep Training

I thought I’d write this up here, instead of on my public/family blog since I’m feeling kind of vulnerable about the whole thing.  As I told T. this morning, I feel like a bad mom no matter what I do.

So we were off to a good start with G’s sleep training until he got sick, and then had his 4-month vaccines, and then started working on cutting his first tooth.  The past week or two we ended up in a sort of hybrid pattern, where I’d do the Baby Whisperer method to put him to bed for the night, and then after that just nurse him back to sleep every time he woke up (almost invariably every 2 hours, sometimes more), on the assumption that he was legitimately hungry.  He acts hungry and eager to nurse at night, but I will admit that generally he doesn’t really empty the breast, and by 3 or 4 a.m. he’s all gassy and grumbly and restless through until we wake up for the day around 7.  So I started bringing him into bed with me at that point because it’s so exhausting to keep getting up and tending to him, and it wakes T. up every time, unnecessarily.  A couple times the co-sleeping resulted in better sleep for me during this period.

For naps, after a couple times of trying unsuccessfully to Baby Whisper him down I ended up with a “whatever works” approach and just rocked or nursed him down.

So, no matter what sleep camp you’re in, I’m obviously doing it all wrong.

And it’s not working.  The trend has been that 1) ever since I started bringing him into bed with me, he’s been crying much longer at bedtime – back to 20-30 minutes instead of 5; and 2) naps have been getting harder and harder to manage, it takes him longer and longer to fall asleep and I have to rock him longer and longer once he’s asleep before I can lay him down in his crib (again up to 20 minutes or so).  If he were an only child that would be one thing, but V. has to wait for me until he’s asleep, and ends up watching way more E.lmo than I want her to while I’m in trying to get G. to fall asleep.  But even so, he’s getting so heavy that my back is killing me from rocking him in my arms all the time (no rocking chair here).  I just can’t keep doing this.  I need to be able to lay him down and walk away.

The trouble is getting there.  T and I had a council of war this morning and decided that our plan of attack is to do full-on BW for all naps and night waking.  He feels that G is ready for night weaning although I’m still kind of scared to go cold turkey.  I’d like to maintaing a feeding around 1 a.m. if I can.  It’s kind of frustrating cause all my gear is stuck in a shipment that won’t get here until Dec. 8 at the earliest – the breast pump, bottles, and bags for freezing milk – and until that gets here it’s all straight from the source.

The other complication is that T left this afternoon for a week-long work trip and so I’m solo with the kids for the next 8 days.  I’ve kind of decided though that I cannot wait until he gets back to start the training because I’m starting to lose all my patience and joy in life.  Friday, for example, I was so tired and dispirited that we just stayed home all day and I barely even played with the kids, it felt like keeping them clothed, fed, and in clean diapers was about all I could manage.  I felt like we did nothing creative or interesting all day.  I need more sleep, and I need G. to go to sleep on his own for naps.

Every time I rock him to sleep I feel like I’m being a bad mom.  Every time I nurse him down I feel like a bad mom.  Every time I hear him crying in his crib I feel like a bad mom.  But this afternoon I stuck with the BW method for his nap, and after 25 very long minutes (while V cried in the next room, unable to fall asleep herself for his crying) he fell asleep in the crib on his own.

See, 25 minutes really isn’t that long.  It just feels like it in the moment.

It feels good to have a plan and a method that I trust and believe in.  And I DO think that he will catch on more quickly than V did (personality plus starting earlier).  I just fear that for some reason it won’t work, and that I will have subjected both my children to unnecessary heartache.

Am I doing the best I can?  I’d like to believe so.  But I wish my best was better than what I’ve got at the moment.

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4 Responses to “Sleep Training”

  1. Wordgirl Says:

    You are doing the very best you can, in however way it feels right for you — that is the very best thing. I know its hard. I wrestle internally with my own choices with Z’s sleep…\\\\\\

    • eep6 Says:

      Hey Wordgirl, I was wondering if you’d mind sharing the password with me for you protected blog posts? I certainly don’t know you or your family IRL 😉 but would love to read and support. And thanks for your comment re the sleep thing. sigh. eep

  2. tara Says:

    O I wish you were getting some sleep, poor thing. Alone with 2 kids for 8 days is more than enough to make you feel overwhelmed. You are doing the best you can- it’s such trial and error to figure out what works. HUGS!! you can do it.

  3. Rachel Says:

    Hang in there! You are not a bad mom.

    I remember the days a few months ago when Sister would only nap while being held. I felt like I had no alone time. Eventually I strained my shoulder and back and had to let her cry to sleep in her crib. I’d go sit on our back step with tears in my own eyes while I waited for her to stop, it didn’t usually take long but it felt like an eternity to me.

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