Monday, February 16, 2009

Piglet's Adventures in Sleep Training

Once again, I begin with a warning...I must let everyone know that this is one that probably won't resonate unless you have very small children at home, or have had small children in the not-so-distant past, such that the memory of horrific nights is still raw and recent enough to cause a little shiver down your spine.

Every parent at some point or another whines about their baby's sleeping. It's so common that it's a punchline, really. People will rib you about "never sleeping again" when you're pregnant and you roll their eyes at their negativity. Why do they need to be so grim anyway? Gawsh! You'll just be so happy to have a little baby that a bit of sleep deprivation here and there will be hardly worth grousing about. And anyway, you're no stranger to sleepless nights. You've been known to participate in a bender or two in your wilder days. You may even be a very important doctor or lawyer or some other always-on-call person who's pulled more than a handful of all-nighters. So whatever. You know what you're in for.

Until that precious little thing arrives and hmmm. Sure doesn't sleep a lot for a baby, does she? Maybe a phase. Maybe colic. Maybe just gas. Maybe it's too hot. Too cold? Maybe we should buy a new mobile for the crib. Maybe a better crib? Maybe some blackout blinds. Maybe this cool $120 sleep sack from New Zealand? Sure is pretty! Maybe we swaddle? But she hates the swaddle. No, the swaddle's good for her. But shit, now she's busting out of it. Co-sleeping?Studies say it can cause SIDS! But wait, this other one says it prevents SIDS. Huh? Well, let's just give it a shot and not tell the pediatrician. Okay, it sort of works in that you're dozing through the feeds instead of getting up a million times a night, but now she wants to nurse every five minutes. WTF?

Aaaaaand then she's four months old and you haven't slept more than two hours at a time in eons and holy shit, you're going back to work in a few weeks. But what can you do about it? Letting them cry it out is evil...right? "Lazy parenting"?? And what on earth would Dr. Sears say? The attachment parenting crew would have your head.

But this is where we find ourselves. She's four months and one week old and while I fervently wish it had never ever had to come to this, she lies in her crib now screaming her fool head off. This will probably sound like your typical whiny parent hyperbole, but we were truly at the point where she was waking dozens of times in the night. For all my fears about "letting" her cry, she was certainly doing enough of it while being held close, nursed, bounced, rocked, swung...something had to give. I am not exaggerating when I say her poor sleeping was pretty much ruining motherhood for me. I could barely focus during the day and had zero physical or emotional energy to spend on entertaining her for the whole day (minus her four 30-minute naps, if she felt inclined to take them!)...and I hate to admit it but I was getting resentful. Not at her because, obviously, she's a small baby who doesn't know any better and can't help it. But I felt like I was failing miserably at helping her. 

I started to look into a baby nurse (I can't believe I was so sarcastic about people who hired baby nurses before Piglet arrive!!) but ultimately decided to try ourselves first. We're using The Sleepeasy Solution, which involves crying and periodic "check-ins."  Tonight's our first night and it's hard. Hearing your baby cry and not being able to go to them honestly is one of the worst things I have ever experienced. Ugh! But I'm determined to give this method a fair shake. It's worked for thousands of people and they can't all be evil sadists, can they? 

Horribly painful, but I hope to post a very positive update in a few days. *whimper* Wish us luck!


Garrett Elliott said...

Good luck! We used a CIO method and, although it was hard, our son sleeps like a champ. There are so many variables so you don't truly know if it was CIO or their general attitude/personality or what, but we feel like it worked for us.

Tee said...

Good luck sweetie! I hope the Piglet sleeps soon!