Thursday, September 26, 2013

There Is Hope...

     Well, we've survived 5 nights. Tessa is handling "sleep training" much better than I had anticipated and we're seeing a bit of progress. There is hope!!

     We decided to revamp our bedtime routine a little and it's working very well. We've never had much trouble with the initial going down for the night - generally speaking, she goes down well, although since she was a newborn she's always been nursed to sleep or to nearly asleep. I know that many of the books will say that this is the source of our night waking troubles - she's come to associate nursing with falling asleep, so when she wakes in the night, she expects or thinks she needs to be nursed back to sleep.

     So now our pre-bedtime routine starts at about 6:30pm with nursing, followed by a bath (and on non-bath nights, just a sponge bath), nighttime diaper and lotion, pajamas, then stories in the rocking chair. At about 7pm, we put her down fully awake or drowsy with her pacifier (that's another battle for another time!!) and her little stuffed Winnie the Pooh. The first night she protested, but only for about 10-15 minutes. Last night she literally cried for about 10 seconds then went right to sleep. I'm so thankful we have such an easygoing, adaptable little girl, who seems to be able to handle change so well.

     As far as the night waking goes, it's still happening, but I would say it's improving. The first night was, well, awful. We pretty much went cold turkey with the night weaning (although she has gone whole nights without feeding before, so it wasn't the first time). I'm not sure if that was the best approach, but it's what we decided to do, so for the sake of consistency, we're sticking with it for a little while to see what happens. That first night she woke around 11pm and was awake and crying until almost 1am. Cam and I took turns going in to comfort and soothe her while she cried. It was awful. At one point we were both standing outside her bedroom door and I looked at Cam and said "this is stupid!". However, each night since that first night has been a little better than the last. She still wakes up several times, with most of her wakings happening from 3am on but she either goes back to sleep on her own within a few minutes, or I'll go in to her room, give her her soother and rub her back for a minute or two and she might fuss a bit, but falls asleep fairly quickly.

     Here's hoping we continue to see improvements and eventually get her to those long 12 hour sleeps some of you are lucky enough to be having...although, at this point, I'd be totally fine with just one waking! After what I've been through the last few months, waking only once in the night sounds just peachy!

Daddy makes the best pillow...
     Since we're on the topic of sleep, I got to thinking about why this has become such an important issue for me. Obviously, the number one reason is because I'm TIRED!! Going from long, uninterrupted sleeps to waking several times through the night (for months on end) can be a shock to the system. However, in my case, I found that once I adapted to my new normal, I felt fine (for the most part) and was managing fairly well on less sleep than I would have liked.

     That is, until someone asked me the dreaded question: "Is she sleeping through the night yet?"

     Now, I know that people are just trying to be friendly and polite and make conversation, and maybe even offer some empathy if they've been there themselves. But to me (and maybe this is just me), this question only adds more pressure, guilt, and worry to the heaps of (self-induced) pressure, guilt, and worry I've already got. Here I am, thinking everything's going fine...I'm used to the sleep deprivation...I've accepted that it's normal and have convinced myself that we'll get through it. Then some well-meaning person asks me the dreaded question and I begin to doubt myself: "Should my baby be sleeping through the night?" "Why isn't she?" "Is everyone else's baby sleeping through the night?" "What's wrong with us?" And the worry builds and the mom-guilt grows....

     So, I've decided to make it a point to NOT ask moms if their babies are sleeping through the night. I'm so tired of the question myself, and I have a feeling I'm not the only one. I figure if a mom wants to talk about her baby's sleep, she can bring it up, and I'll gladly listen and offer whatever support I can, but I won't start the conversation. I think it's a topic that is already a major source of stress and worry for a lot of moms, and I sure don't want to be responsible for adding any more to another mom's already heavy load. I don't know...maybe this is just a silly idea coming from a sleep deprived mom....

     What do you think? How do you feel about the question?


  1. Glad that the sleep training is working! It's definitely an overwhelming & at some times frustrating experience. Just keep following with the routine. Hang in there Mama!

  2. The comment I absolutely hate the most is...shouldn't he be sleeping through the night?! No.


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