Monday, August 20, 2007

I never said I was rational...

particularly on night after night of disrupted sleep.

I took Thomas to the pediatrician today for his six month check up. At the top of my list of things to discuss: sleep problems. Dr. Miyamoto listened sympathetically, answered my questions as to why (why
why WHY???) was this happening, and then asked me how badly I wanted to be able to sleep again. I'm guessing my face told him the answer, but I added "this can't go on" for good measure.

His advice sounded fairly middle-of-the-road as sleep advice goes. He's not a cry-it-out advocate, but he doesn't think the parents should just deal, either. His recommendation:
1) get rid of the pacifier and definitely don't nurse him to sleep.
2) put him down sleepy
3) don't rock him - basically don't do anything that you don't want to have to do again in the middle of the night.
4) lay him down and walk away.
5) if he cries, come back in five minutes. Pick him up and snuggle him for about 30 seconds, then lay him back down and walk away.
6) repeat until he's asleep.

I don't like this advice, because I don't like listening to my baby cry. And I have a nagging feeling that I'm not being a good mom if I let him cry
at all, ever. It may well be that I've simply read too many attachment parenting books...but that is how I feel. Good moms don't let their children cry alone. Good moms do something. Good moms don't mind never sleeping more than an hour or two at a time.

I'm afraid I'm not a good mom, at least by those standards. So today for Thomas' afternoon nap, we gave it a try. I turned on the "night night" cd (the same one we used for Jonathan), laid him in his bed, and gave him a diaper that smells like mommy (we lay it on the bed with us when we nurse). And I walked away. And he cried.

But while his wails began as

By the time five minutes had passed (with me standing by the door, waiting for the clock to say I could go in and comfort him) he was sounding more like *hiccup* wahh *hiccup* wah wah *hiccup*

And I was pretty sure that going in would simply rev him up again. So I didn't. He was asleep at T plus 8 minutes.

And I feel rather betrayed. Here I am, trying so hard to be a good mom, rocking him, nursing him, snuggling him, sleeping with him, and getting very little sleep myself, and as soon as I give up and go with a method that makes sense but doesn't feel to sleep he goes.

I'm glad he's sleeping. I really, really, hope that it works tonight too! But I wish that a method that felt right instead of "necessary and logical" had worked, instead.

I told you I wasn't rational. Maybe things will look better in the morning?


Linds said...

Our friends with a 15 month old up here went through this recently, too. They've found that following the method your doctor told you about has actually made Aedan more secure rather than less - he knows that if something's really wrong, Mom and Dad are there and no matter what they're not going to ignore him forever. Conversely, he's also discovered he can't be a tyrant, which is going to pay off as he hits his toddler years, not mention teenage ones! It's far easier on his psyche to learn that now instead of later when his emotional development is far more complex.

Sounds like you're being a great mom. :)

Emily (Laundry and Lullabies) said...

See, and I totally agree with the concept - for a 15 month old. We did the same sort of thing with Jonathan when he was just about a year old. I just think that it makes more sense when you have a toddler who can understand "mommy loves me and she said it is bedtime and oh gee, she means it". I'm not sure a 6 month old can really get that in the same way, you know? But it worked for naptime, so we're going to give it a go tonight, too. Pray for us! :)

Kelly said...

Well, Emily, I definitely encourage to continue with this method. We are attachment parenting advocates and resorted to cry it out measures with Lucy at this age. I too felt guilty about it (it worked wonderfully though and Lucy has never caused us sleep problems since). With Mary, Jesse and I wouldn't to the CIO method because we felt too guilty and I really regret not having done it early. Now she's a toddler, we cannot resort to the CIO method because she can get out of her bed and now we are spending two hours a night trying to train her to go to sleep on her own! It is worth taking care of the problems early on. You could slowly ease him into sleeping on his own without the CIO method but it would take a while. The Pantley method is to first train the baby to go to sleep without the sucking sensation. Nurse till sleepy, pull off and see if he'll continue to fall asleep on his own. As soon as he starts fussing, start on until he falls asleep. After he starts regularly falling to sleep without nursing, then lay him in his bed when sleepy. Pick him up when he fusses, snuggle and lay him down as soon as he's quiet again. Continue until he falls asleep. With this mehtod, it requires more effort on your part but you never have to let him CIO.

Good luck!

MyBestInvest said...

We can understand how you feel right now. The problem with having a newborn isn't so much the lack of sleep, it's the hopelessness of not knowing if you'll ever get a good night's sleep again.

The routine you're trying sounds very similar to what we did with both of our babies - and they are rock-solid sleepers now.

Just remember that you've got to get your baby on a new routine, and routines take time. It will take time for both of you to adjust to the new system.

I hope it goes well tonight. Hang in there!

Linds said...

Oh, I forgot to mention that Matt and Crystal started this method with Aedan when he was about 6 months old. Sorry. :)

Emily (Laundry and Lullabies) said...

Kelly, thank you for sharing your story. I actually have the Pantley book on request at the library. :)

Linds, that makes much more sense. Thanks for clarifying!

MyBestInvest, thank you for your encouragement. You're right about routines taking time - I keep telling myself that - but oh, in the "in the midst of it" time it is hard to remember! I'm glad to see you here - I really enjoy your blog! :)

Amie said...

Hey Emily-
The best book/resource EVER is "Healthy Sleep Habits, Healthy Child" by Weissblurth. They give you several options to try and are right on. It works wonderfully and is similar to what you are doing but they give ideas/suggestions as his sleeping needs change...all the way to 5yrs old. A Mom of 5 (including twins) recommended it and I can't speak highly enough about it...I just bought it because I was checking it out so gives general guidlines and then problem solving principles with several options depending on your parenting style. WONDERFUL!!!!

Lauren@Baseballs&Bows said...

I have been lurking and just want to say that sometimes we have to do something that hurts to reach a desired end. We painfully went through this exact situation, but now both my kids just go to bed and go to sleep without any help from us. We still snuggle for a little while before bed, but they get in their beds awake and go to sleep on their own. All kids have to learn to do this at some point. As difficult as this is for you now, you can do it! You don't have to quit all snuggling and cuddling, but you are teaching a valuable life skill. Unfortunately, this won't be the last time it hurts to see them learn an important life lesson. Sorry for sticking my nose in, but I just wanted to encourage you to stick it out. It will get better!

Lauren@Baseballs&Bows said...

Also, when they get older and can actually cry out "MOOOMMMMY!", it is much harder to hear!