Thursday, January 07, 2010

Sleep Training Update

So we are 3 weeks into sleep training and we’ve hit a few bumps. I have discovered one thing throughout this exercise. Crying it out will not work for my child or for me. He becomes absolutely hysterical and will cry for upwards of an hour. That is too damaging for my psyche. I know the experts claim that crying it out will not damage infants but I can’t see how a child screaming their lungs out for an hour or two is beneficial for anyone involved. If he was the kind of baby that cried for 10 to 20 minutes and then fell asleep---and he does this on occasion--, I’d be more willing to say that a relatively small amount of crying won’t hurt him or me. But, he’s not that kind of baby and I cannot sit there and listen to my child scream for so long and not do anything.

Most newborns go to sleep when they are born. I was asleep because I was so exhausted but Cayden stayed up with his father almost the entire night. His sleep habits have been an issue from the outset and I promised myself that I would accept the child that God gave me and not try to change him into this cookie cutter of a person…within limits of course. That does not mean that we are going to let him run wild. It just means that I intend to nurture his personality and not try to change him into my, or society’s, idea of the perfect child. He is 6 months old now and I think it’s best if he understands exactly what we want him to do. He has no concept of that now. He just knows that he wants mommy and she’s not coming. His father is more detached and is able to tune out his crying most of the time. I can’t do it. So no more crying it out.

We have made some good strides too. Cayden has done pretty well with stretching his feedings out to 3 hours. Sometimes, if he’s really distracted, we can go 4 hours with no complaints. He also only wakes up once after midnight now, instead of 2 or 3 times like before. He woke up at 2 am on Tuesday morning and since we have decided not to go to him immediately in the hopes that he will go back to sleep, my husband, the night owl- I partly blame him for this because he’s not a good sleeper either, listened to him fussing around in his crib for about 20 minutes. By the time I woke up at 2:30, it had developed into full blown crying. The night before he woke up at 4:00 in the morning and spent about 2 minutes on the boob before falling back to sleep. This pretty much confirmed that he does not need that feeding. So, I decided on Tuesday morning to try and soothe him back to sleep instead of feeding him.

Well, he screamed his head off for an hour even with me holding him. We were both in tears by the end of it. My husband snored through the whole thing! I fed him and he did eat this time probably because he was thirsty from all that hollering. Of course, now he was wide awake at 3:30 am and I had to be up and getting ready for work in two hours. I love when the experts claim that the longer they cry, the sleepier they get. Not my baby. The longer he cries, the more agitated and awake he gets.

I’m not asking for much. I don’t want to turn my child into a perfect sleeper. Well I do, but that’s not going to happen right now so, I think it is perfectly acceptable to aim for Cayden sleeping continuously from midnight to 6:00 am. It’s obvious my child is very attached to the boob and the comfort he gets from being so close to me. I can honestly say, the once after midnight wake up does not really bother. It’s a lot better than it was and I understand why he does it so if things stay that way, I will be fine with it. However, just to see how far we can go with this, I am planning to eliminate boob feedings at night. He will get bottles of breast milk starting with the feeding closest to midnight. If he wakes up at 2, 3, 4 in the morning, he will get another bottle of breast milk. I know this means that I have to pump more but I’m OK with that. I just want my child to sleep for at least a 5 hour stretch MOST of the time.

No comments: