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Oh, hey. It’s been a while since I complained about Owen’s sleep, huh? I bet you missed it. Well you’re in luck. Here’s another installment of My Child Is Trying to Kill Me With Sleep Deprivation. Part 475.

Actually, I don’t know. There isn’t THAT much to say about it, other than he occasionally wakes up just briefly enough at night that I need to go in there and tuck him back in. That’s fine, it really is, but it’s usually an hour or so before or after Ryan wakes to eat, so I’m not falling back asleep long enough on either end for my night to be restorative.

Wait, scratch that. It would be restorative if he wasn’t also waking up FOR THE DAY between 5 and 5:30. Some days — the good days — it’s six. Six I can sort-of handle, but five? No. No I can not. I blame it on him being potty trained. He wakes up, has to go, and that’s the end of sleeping. I can’t tell you how many mornings I’ve spent semi-conscious on the couch while he is plugged in to Sesame Street with his milk and cereal. Usually around 7 he will decide that’s enough rest for me and start poking me in the face or something. The only saving grace is that Ryan usually sleeps until at least then, sometimes almost 8, so I don’t have to worry about him. The days he gets up early, though, I pretty much want to die.

I know from past experience that this is just another stage and that if all else fails, in another few months or so he will be able to go to the bathroom completely on his own with no help needed from me. Maybe by then he can even grab himself some cereal, let the dog out and make Mama some coffee. Ok, I’m reaching here. A little.

But all the knowledge in the world is not making this chunk of time any easier. And so, I get myself a Dark Chocolate Mocha Latte from Dunkin Donuts (otherwise known as a big ol’ cup of super fuel that tastes nothing like coffee {which is probably why I like it}) and inadvertently over-caffeinate myself because in my fog, I usually forget to eat breakfast. I only realize it a few hours later when my buzz turns into WARNING, WARNING, ALL SYSTEMS CRASHING!!!!, which is usually right when both kids are ready for a nap and irritable.

I wish for Owen a lifetime of love, happiness, adventure and prosperity. I also wish for him a child who doesn’t sleep well because PAYBACK IS A BITCH, kiddo.

Did this make any sense? I wrote it with my eyes closed.

When Owen was a baby he would bust out of the swaddle so often that I decided he must not like it. I stopped swaddling him early on and he was never a great sleeper. When Ryan was born I decided he would be swaddled, no matter what, and had great success with the Miracle Blanket. Of course I can’t attribute all the sleeping highs and lows with swaddling, but I know it helped significantly.

By the time Ryan was four months old he was such an excellent sleeper, but he was starting to wake himself up breaking out of his swaddle. I tried all the gradual weaning techniques to no avail. I even tried going to a sleep sack cold turkey and he completely lost his mind, unable to settle and sleep until I swaddled him again. We needed a new solution and quickly.

As I poured over parenting forums, I kept coming across the mention of a blanket called the Zipadee-Zip. It got great reviews, so I had to check it out.

The Zipadee-Zip is a blanket that helps ease your baby gently from swaddling to using a blanket. The starfish design allows the baby to have their arms free, but gives just enough resistance to keep them feeling snugly. There’s no need to worry if the baby rolls over, because unlike with a swaddle, they would be able to use their arms.

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Designed by Stephanie — a mom looking for a solution to her own swaddle-weaning problem — each blanket is handmade to order and comes in both stretch cotton or fleece. See how it works here:

Our Zipadee-Zip arrived just as I was getting Ryan for bed. I figured it was just as good a time as any to try it, so I nursed him, zipped him up and hoped for the best.

He slept 10 hours before waking up to nurse, just like that. That was the entire transition. There was no fighting, no crying. Just a happy, un-swaddled baby. Each night was the same, and even his naps got better.

As per Stephanie’s suggestion, I started with a small Zippy to make the transition as smooth as possible. I like that it covers his hands while he sleeps keeping them warm and his face free of scratches. Ryan takes comfort in sucking on his hands as he falls asleep, so I have to wash it a little more often than I might otherwise, but  I’m ok with that. If he’s fussy, he immediately calms down as I zip him in and he wakes every morning with a huge smile on his face. To say I love the Zipadee-Zip is an understatement. As a matter of fact, I just ordered the medium today! Eventually I will wean him from the Zipadee-Zip as well, but from what I’ve read that usually happens without a problem.

Do you want a Zipadee-Zip?!

Here’s your chance to get one! Stephanie has graciously offered up a free Zipadee-Zip to one lucky reader. If you don’t have kids yourself, it would make a great gift.

To enter, leave a comment about anything you want. Easy, right? I will randomly select a winner next Friday, January 14th.

Good luck!

 

 

Every night before I go to bed, I check in on my babies. Owen is usually sprawled out on his back at some interesting angle, blanket askew, his “Mommy shirt”, an old t-shirt of mine he made his blankie, draped across him. I gently tuck him back in, occasionally removing his wedged feet from between the bed slats, brush his hair off his forehead, kiss him gently and tip toe out.

Next is the baby. I turn the light on in my bedroom across the hall so I will have just enough light to see him, but not enough for him to wake. He looks like the world’s sweetest little starfish zipped into his blanket. Ryan will have rotated to his right — he always does — and will have pressed his face against the one bumper I have in there. The one bumper I put back in because he kept waking himself up trying to snuggle himself into the crib rails. I have stopped stressing about him sleeping like that now, but I always pause just long enough to see the rise and fall of his chest.

It occurs to me that my children will never know I do these things. They might remember the story hours I took them to, the outings at the playground. They might one day remind me of the pictures we drew together or the songs we danced around the living room to. They will know I parented them all day every day, but the memories of the night will be mine alone.

At night I am transported both back in time, and towards the future. Ryan’s dewy skin and sleepy suckling are all baby, and Owen’s rosy cheeks remind me of when he was tiny. The other night, though, before my eyes adjusted to the dark, I caught a glimpse of who my little boy will become. In the dark, Owen’s sleeping profile was so strikingly similar to his father’s, I actually gasped.

Babies don’t keep, but these nights will. In my mind. In my heart. In the dark.

 

Ryan will be four months old next week and yes, that’s wonderful and awesome and he is a delicious little ball of chunk and smiles, but I can’t help holding my breath and waiting for the other sleep shoe to drop.

I don’t have to tell you about Owen and sleep the first year. If I do, you haven’t been reading long enough. Feel free to browse the archives from June 2010 through…oh, well. Now, really. I mean, yeah. Owen and sleep, man. If we’re comparing apples to oranges, this is what was going on when Owen was four months old. At that point, his sleep had gone from erratic to “good”, good being 5-7 hour stretches at night, which really, I suppose for his age was pretty good. But then he hit four months and his first sleep regression kicked in. I had to go back and look it up because I swear, I blocked it out. I recall being awake all the time, but it’s a distant, blurry memory stored away in a dusty corner of my mind with those puff painted sweatshirts of the early 90s. The four-month sleep regression sucked so very much. So very, VERY much.

With Ryan on the cusp of this regression (and from what I hear, all kids go through it in some way or another so we probably will not be skipping over it, no matter how much I wish it away), I’m starting to get a little anxious. Here’s the deal with Ryan: a bad night of sleep for him is going to bed around 6:30 p.m. and waking up once somewhere between 3 and 5 a.m., then going back to bed for a few hours. I know, right? And that’s a bad night! Last night he refused to stay up past 6 and I didn’t hear from him until 7:10 this morning. Part of me thinks we earned this after what we went through with Owen, truly.

You can see why I am dreaded his night sleep getting screwed up. Especially since this time around I have a toddler, and that means no napping during the day to catch up on missed sleep. Owen still takes about an hour and half long nap in the middle of the day, but Ryan cat naps about 40 minutes at a time, so there’s little overlap between the two. I cannot tell you how much more sane I feel this time around; how much healthier than I did at this point with Owen. Sleep deprivation took a huge toll on me last time and I just can’t psych myself up for another round of it.

He’s been a grump this past week, napping crappier than usual and fussing a bit more, so I really do think it’s coming soon. (Also, the drool and red cheeks are here. Yaaaaay, teething!)

So there you have it. My kid sleeps really awesome and he’s going to throw it all out the window because he needs to grow and learn and develop and stuff. Jeesh, kid.

If you follow me on Twitter, you know the last few nights with Owen have been horrific, to say the least. Seemingly out of the blue he went from going pleasantly to bed and sleeping through the night, to screaming bloody murder at bedtime, despite how much soothing we do, and waking multiple times a night doing the same. Saturday night was so bad, my mother-in-law came over yesterday afternoon just to put Owen down for a nap. I couldn’t take another sleep time tantrum and I myself was exhausted.

I’m assuming this is a phase brought about by developmental changes, a new sibling, and the arrival of fears and separation anxiety, but having “reasons” doesn’t make it easier. We’ve tried to talk to him about it during the day, reinforce a good sleep with a reward like a sticker, etc., given him an earlier bedtime, a later bedtime, a long nap, a short nap, but to no avail. I’ve done a lot of reading on the subject, talked to family, friends and coworkers with kids and the story is all the same. Most of their kids went through a stage like this around age two and uh…you just have to deal. Fan-freaking-tastic.

I vowed to do the “silent return” to bed Saturday night, where every time your child opens their door, you walk them back calmly to bed saying absolutely nothing. We used this technique briefly when we transitioned him from the crib to the bed. It makes sense, I guess. Any verbal attention, be it positive or negative, is attention. And that’s what they want. So yeah, we tried. And FAILED miserably. We both lost our temper, Owen was hysterical, and when you factor in Ryan’s 3 a.m. feeding (it’s a wonder that kid is sleeping through all this. Score one for the sound machine.), neither Michael nor I slept more than three hours total, and not even in one stretch.

Zombie parents, right here.

This has to end. It HAS to. And soon.

Scene: Sunday night. I try something different and instead of reading our usual books at night, I read them during the day. As I nurse Ryan down for bed I tuck Owen in on the loveseat, turn out the lights and put on this dreadfully (purposely) dull show on Sprout OnDemand where they basically just show random characters sleeping set to an instrumental lullaby. Warning parents: if you’re not careful, YOU will fall asleep watching this. We talk about how they are all closing their eyes and going to sleep quietly. Owen pretends to sleep on the couch and I am hopeful.

I put Ryan to bed and Owen and I walk to his room. We get in bed, sing songs and tell stories. We close our eyes and I cozy with him for a while. We talk again about going to sleep quietly and how if he does this, he can pick out a new sticker in the morning and watch a special dvd his grandmother brought him. I am hopeful, again.

I kiss him goodnight and…HYSTERICAL SCREAMING. I try and calm him, but no. He won’t have it. “COZY!!!!” he screams at me. With a heavy, yet exhausted heart, I walk out and shut the door.

Scene: I park the ottoman at the end of the hallway and set up my my Sleep Training Survival Station. I have a notepad and pen to mark down how many time he comes out of his room. I do this both out of curiosity, and to see if it gets easier as the nights go on. I am committed to making this happen. I have a Parenting magazine (HA!) (they come free in the mail. I don’t know why.) and a hard cider, although I could use something stronger. Let’s do this.

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Scene: 8:04 p.m. He comes out of his room for the first time screaming at me to cozy with him in his bed. I point behind him, he turns around and back we go. I put him in bed and walk out, shutting the door behind me. I return to the ottoman, take a swig, tell the Twitters what’s going on and read a stupid article about Heidi Klum’s new clothing line for Babies R Us. He continues to rant. He screams for me to cozy in his bed, to sit in his rocking chair, to cozy in my bed. I’m sad, but this time I’m more determined. He needs to sleep. WE need to sleep.

Scene: He opens the door for the 4th or 5th time. This time as I walk towards him, he bolts by me and runs into my room screaming to cozy in my bed. He is trying to scale the side of our bed like a sleep-deprived crazed monkey. This kid’s got balls. He is sweaty and sticky. I pick him up and bring him back to bed. “MOMMY!” He yells at me. Not sad. Angry! “Mommy! You come back here!” Sigh.

This continues. Seven, eight times. Nine. And then, it changes. I hear him flop into his bed. His screams become moans, then whimpers, then just the occasional “ehhhh”, reminding me of a windup toy losing steam. Forty minutes on the dot from the start of this ordeal, he is quiet.

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Scene: 3:40 a.m. Owen wakes up crying. I go into his room, tuck him back in, give him a kiss and spend a few minutes rubbing his back. When I get up to leave he protests. I tell him I love him and will see him in the morning. He starts to scream as I shut the door. This time he comes out and into our room just twice over the course of 2o minutes before falling back to sleep. Certainly not quiet or relaxing, but worlds better than the previous night.

Scene: 5:45 a.m. I have just laid down in bed to nurse Ryan when Owen comes into our room. Had this been any regular sleeping night, we would just pull him up into bed with us for a little extra sleep, so that’s what we do. Everyone dozes until 7.

End scene.

I’m still exhausted today, but not quite as badly as yesterday. Owen is is great spirits, but hoarse from all that yelling. I’m not looking forward to nap time or bed tonight, but I am hoping that last night was in fact progress and it will only get better.

YAWN.

- When I stop to think about it, the last almost 2.5 years of my life have been defined by sleep, or the lack thereof. Owen didn’t sleep, then he did, then he would regress, then he would sleep again, and then, blissfully, he slept through the night. Then we had the crazy idea to make another little person who would interrupt our sleep and even though he actually sleeps pretty decently most of the time, he still wakes up.

But we were prepared for that. Infants wake up. What we weren’t prepared for was for Owen to suddenly start waking up again in the middle of the night, but here we are. He is — and of course, usually within 20 minutes of Ryan so YEAH, that’s fun — and he’s waking up scared. He wants to know “what’s that noise?” and holds us hostage in bed with him. We try to reassure him, to address his fears and help him to see there is nothing to be afraid of, but it’s keeps happening night after night. He has a solid routine and a night light and we always come in when he gets scared, but so far, no luck. A little Googling tells me this is common around the 2-2.5 year mark, but still. SLEEP, CHILD!!

- Ryan, however, is having a really good sleep last night into today, and that’s all I’m going to say about that.

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- Something irritated Kodiak’s skin, and he’s pretty much gnawed a hole in his side. It’s gross and I feel bad for him and since at-home care doesn’t seem to be working, we’re taking him to the vet today. In the meantime, we had to keep him away from it, so we were forced to put him in the Cone of Shame. He can’t maneuver well with it, so he crashes into walls and gets stuck in doorways. Is this not the most pathetic face ever?

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- I ordered a bunch of new clothes and they came yesterday. It was about 50/50 with what I’m going to keep, and that was a little disheartening. I KNOW I had a baby eight weeks ago. I KNOW it takes time for everything to go back. I’ve done it once before. But this time I’m having a harder time with it mentally and the fact that I still cannot pull my regular jeans up past my thighs makes getting dressed one of the least enjoyable parts of the day. People have been very nice and tell me I look great, but I just don’t feel like me and I’m uncomfortable in my skin right now.

I bought a pair of jeans a size larger than I normally wear and they fit. So at least I can feel a little stylish and retire (some of) my yoga pants. Back in the day I used to watch a lot of What Not to Wear and I remember them always saying to “dress for the body you have now, not the body you’re hoping to have later.” I guess that makes sense, although it could get expensive!

- Today is grocery day. Wish me luck.

 

As promised, I want to touch base on how it’s going using the toddler alarm clock I bought for Owen. This is a totally unsponsored, unpaid post. I bought the clock myself out of desperation and sleep deprivation!

After we transitioned Owen into his new room and big boy bed, he managed to get the sleeping all night in there part down pat quickly. But since he now could climb out of bed on his own, as soon as he opened his eyes he was doing just that, opening the door and coming into our room. Every day between 5 and 5:30 a.m…WAY too early for his tired parents.

We tried bringing him back to bed and tucking him back in: FAIL. We tried letting him cozy with us in our bed, hoping he would go back to sleep: kick you in the stomach for a half hour FAIL. We tried to let him play on his own with toys in our room while we rested: drive toy trucks on your face for 5 minutes before demanding oatmeal FAIL.

So that’s how I found myself one VERY early morning combing the internet for a solution to our sleep problem. I came across a lot of chatter about toddler alarm clocks doing the trick and figured well, it certainly couldn’t make things worse. After reading some reviews, I decided on the Onaroo OK to Wake! Alarm Clock. I ordered it from Diapers.com because the price was comparable to other places, and since I was ordering it so early in the morning, it would be delivered the very next day.

The concept is simple: you set the time you want your child to wake up. When that time arrives, rather than the clock making noise, it glows green and displays a smiley face (see photo above), indicating to your child that it’s OK to wake up.

When the box arrived, I made a big deal about opening this special gift for Owen and explaining to him what it was for. I set the clock for a few minutes from then and showed him how it glowed. “When the light is off,” I told him, “it’s still night time. We stay in our bed. But when the light turns green, it’s time to WAKE UP! And come get Mommy!” He was SUPER excited about it and started repeating, “Light turn green! Come get Mommy!” over and over. I set it for 6 a.m. and crossed my fingers.

I’ll be honest with you: it has NOT been an overnight success. Not even close. While Owen completely understands the concept of the clock, (he talks about staying in bed until the light turns green all the time), we are still not on a consistent routine with it. I don’t think this is the fault of the clock, though, rather that he’s only just two and when he wakes up, well, he wants his mom. He is slowly getting better with it, though, and after two weeks of using it we have had some really good mornings. On occasion he will wake up so close to the time, so I will go back to bed with him and we wait quietly together until it turns on. I think that has helped him understand the concept better.

I have slowly been able to push the wake time up to 6:15 and today he came RUNNING into my room at 6:17 announcing the light turned green and was SO PROUD of himself. Beaming! Kissing! Dancing!

Well, I had to get up after that. I was so proud of him too! I am optimistic about this little clock. A lot of the positive reviews are written by people with toddlers closer to three years old who seem to get it right away, so I’m not worried about having continued success with it.

Some details:

- In terms of design, I don’t find this little guy all that obnoxious looking. It comes with two interchangeable face plates; a pink flower or a green “alien” (we are using the green). When it’s in clock mode it displays a digital time reading, and when it turns on it makes a smiley face. It makes no noise.

- It is battery powered, which I suppose could be a nuisance to some, but I like that I could position it anywhere in the room and that it’s portable for travel.

- You can set the alarm to stay on for up to 2 hours, so if your toddler happens to sleep through the wake time (yay!!), it will still be on when they do wake up. This way there’s no confusion about waiting for the light.

- There are also options to use the clock as a nap timer, but I haven’t used it, as Owen naps just fine without it.

- The control buttons are hidden under a panel that is flimsy. Some reviews I read said that they were disappointed their toddler broke or damaged the clock by dropping it. I kind of want to say, “well…duh” to those people, because of course your kid is going to want to play with it. To avoid this all together, I put the clock on top of Owen’s dresser facing the bed. He hasn’t asked to play with it, so that’s that.

Overall, I am really pleased with this clock and firmly believe it will only work better for us over time. At around $30 for a clock it is a little on the pricey side, but I don’t think you can put a price on sleep!

- My baby turns two years old tomorrow. I’m kind of blown away by this. I can’t believe I will be posting the first quarterly letter of his second year wishing him the happiest of birthdays, because it’s hard to believe that just two years ago today I went into labor with him. Be prepared for some sap tomorrow.

- Last year we did the big first birthday party, but this year will be low-key with just a family dinner with the in-laws, cake and presents. We will probably do a second cake when the baby comes and my family is in town too. Owen is getting his first bike and helmet — both red (his choice!) — which will, I’m sure, provide hours of entertainment for him, and heart palpitations for his mother.

- In preparation, I’ve pinned about half a dozen cake recipes, so I just have to decide which one to make today. Yum!

- I’m 37 weeks pregnant now, officially full term and ready for this kid to come out. I’m not uncomfortable, I’m just impatient. I really want to meet him! The only two days I’d like to avoid is tomorrow (it would be nice for the kids to have their own birthdays, even if they are close together), and the fourth of July. Being a holiday baby myself (New Years Eve), I know how annoying sharing your birthday with the entire country can be when you’re a kid. Other than that, he can come. I have a feeling he’s not going to make an appearance until at LEAST the 39th week, but I’m willing him out all the same.

I’ve had three real contractions the past few days that were uncomfortable and familiar enough for me pause and think, “now???”, but obviously, they didn’t mean anything. Saturday I was in the mood to clean…and clean, and clean, and clean. Somewhere around 9:30 p.m. while steam mopping my kitchen and planning on tackling the bathrooms next, it hit me that this was exactly what happened the night I went into labor with Owen. I had two schools of thought: one…baby time!, followed by two…wishful thinking slash nesting to the extreme. Guess it was number two.

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Not out, still in.

My appointment on Friday confirmed dilation has started — like, barely — but all that means is hey, guess what? You’re going to have a baby at some point. Duh. I know, I know. Babies come when they want to come. I was just hoping that him being my second would mean he’d come out a little sooner, that’s all.

- I think the solution to any sleep issues Owen encounters is to write about them on the internet, because after I do that they tend to resolve themselves a bit. After realizing that the sound of shutting the door was what was upsetting him and causing him to climb out of bed, I started leaving the door open a bit until about 20 minutes after he falls asleep. Success! No more opening the door. He just sleeps.

The main issue is that with the freedom to get out of bed comes the new routine of him waking so freaking early (see last post), and no. That needs to stop. I ordered a special toddler alarm clock that looks like a little alien and rather than making noise, lights up when it’s time to start your day. We’re on day two of using it and while it hasn’t been an overnight success, I can already see progress and he’s definitely excited about using it. I will do a full review of it in a week or so in case any of you are also bleary-eyed and so NOT bushy-tailed while your toddler drives trucks over your face at 5 a.m. and are looking for a solution.

- Owen is trying to climb into the baby swing so I should probably go stop that. Behold my (very near) future.

I’m nearing the end of my breastfeeding journey. It’s not the act of breastfeeding that I’m done with — I still enjoy that part. The closeness, the ability to put him virtually right back to sleep when he wakes in the night. Those are some big pluses. But I’m just starting to feel done. Nursed out. I’d like some time where my body is just mine before we have another baby, and it’s becoming increasingly difficult for anyone else to get him down to sleep without the all-mighty boob. I’m ok with having these feelings. I don’t feel guilty about them. I’m just ready to wean.

Owen nurses about five times a day. First thing in the morning, before each nap, before bed and once in the middle of the night. Most sessions aren’t that long, but they are so clockwork that it’s clear they’ve just become part of his routine. He expects to sit down in the glider at certain times during the day, and if he doesn’t…sigh.

Two nights ago he surprised us by not nursing before bed. He was reclining on me in the living room, giving us kisses and getting super sleepy. When it was clear he was ready to sleep, I brought him up, put him to bed and that was it. No fussing, no nursing. Just sleeping.

He didn’t do it again the next night, but it only reinforced what I’ve known for a while. He doesn’t need to nurse, he just enjoys it.

I’m not going to pull the plug on him cold turkey, but I’m gently starting to guide him in the direction of weaning. Lately, I’ve found that if I sit down on the couch — at any time — he thinks the bar is open for business and comes on over for a drink. Needless to say, I don’t sit down a lot during the day. So, if he asks to nurse during the day (he comes up to me, points to my chest and says “that.” Period. Matter of fact.), I tell him “Not right now,” and distract him with something else. Usually this works, as he doesn’t really feel the need to nurse, he just sees it there in front of him and thinks, why not?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not denying him the comfort, I’m just trying to show him other ways he can be comforted.

Since I wanted to do this slowly, I’ve decided to eliminate one nursing session at a time, starting with the middle of the night, mostly because I am just SO DONE with getting up. I want to sleep!! I’m the one with the boobs, so I’m the one who gets up. Every single night. For almost 14 months.

Ladies and gentlemen, we have entered Night Weaning Territory.

After coming to the decision (I feel he is ready. He has shown he is capable of sleeping all the way through the night, and he is certainly old enough not to need the calories until morning.), I was ready to put things into motion. I’ve read up on it, I’ve talked to my mom about it, I’ve questioned my mom friends about it. All my research has brought me to the understanding that a) the process will suck, b) I will be tired, c) it will take a few days, and d) he will not hate me when it’s over. Promise.

While I do think that some crying is necessary and allows children to learn to self-soothe, I’m not on board with just letting the kid scream for hours. One phrase I keep coming across is “Parenting doesn’t stop at night”. It’s true, you know? If I’m not going to soothe him with my breast at 3 a.m., I need to soothe him in other ways. I’m his mama, he counts on me for that.

Last night was Night One of the grand ol’ night weaning. He went to bed just after seven, but when two o’clock in the morning rolled around, he started to cry. I waited to see if he’s fuss for a bit and go back down. He didn’t. When he started to escalate and call my name, I went in. He was standing in the crib, clutching his sock and pointing at the glider. “Nuh! Nuh! Nuh!” He shouted at me.

Instead of nursing, I scooped him up and shushed him while I paced the room. Annoyed…no, wait. More like, totally and completely pissed off, he angrily continued to point at the chair and cry. I hummed, I kissed his cheek, and continued to walk back and forth. After what felt like hours (even though I was right there with him, I still felt sad that I wasn’t giving him exactly what he wanted), but turned out to only be five minutes, he changed his mind and started pointing at the crib. Like, FINE, Mama. This was a waste of time getting up. Put me back in my bed. (That’s exactly the idea I want him to have. That it’s not worth it to wake up and make a big stink.)

So I did. I put him back down and rubbed his back. He calmed down quickly and I stayed right there, rubbing his back, until he fell asleep.

Or so I thought. Just as I tiptoed back into bed, he started crying again. And when he didn’t settle, I got right back up, lay him back on his belly, and began the process of rubbing his back all over again. It took at least 25 minutes, as he was all amped up.

Finally, back in bed, I had just started to drift off when he let out one final howl. But then all was quiet. I glanced at the clock — 3:02 a.m., just over an hour from when he first woke.

Yawn.

At around 6:45 a.m., I woke up to the sound of his mobile playing in his crib and him babbling to himself. At seven, I went in, making a big happy fuss about seeing him and  scooped him up for kisses. He immediately pointed to the chair and asked to nurse, and of course this time I would not say no. Instead of the chair, I brought him into bed for some morning snuggles with Dada, and he happily had his morning nurse, and went about his morning as usual. Totally happy, totally fine.

One night down.

Yeah, I’m tired today. But I’m hoping that tonight will be a little better, and the night after that even better than the one before. I’ll do a follow-up post when it’s all said and done.

Wish me luck!

 

I had read about it, this thing called sleep regression. I heard rumors of it happening around the four month mark, but was optimistic that the O Man would sail right by it.

Ha. Hardy har har.

No.

There’s a ton of definitions about how long constitutes sleeping through the night at this age, but there’s a general consensus that a 5+ hour stretch before eating is pretty good. Up until about a week ago, we were doing just that. Even more, actually. I’m hiding under the table whispering this…but we actually had some seven and nine hour nights in a row. Sure, I woke up panicked and engorged at 4 a.m., but in a really blissful way. And truth be told, I got used to sleeping more than three hours at a time.

I got used to it real quick.

Then a couple of nights ago, it was a five hour stretch. Then the next night, it was three. And now we’re back to waking almost every hour and a half after 11 p.m. and guys….I AM SO TIRED. I’m dragging myself out of bed each morning and self-medicating with budget-busting chai purchases. And I can’t be mad at him, because he’s four months and is not purposely trying to drain me of all sanity. At least, I don’t think so.

I’ve read the books. Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child sits on my nightstand with dog-eared pages. I believe the teaching that sleep begets sleep and have worked diligently to get him on a bath-book-massage-boob bedtime routine. When he would only sleep in a swing and I asked you guys for sleep advice, you all reassured me that I needed to relax because he would eventually give up the swing for the crib (he did) and to try and adopt the this-too-shall-pass mentality.

So I’m trying, again. I mean, I get it. He’s learning new skills that make his brain work overtime. His sleep patterns are starting to mimic those of an adult’s, but he hasn’t yet mastered soothing himself back to sleep all the time. And on top of that, he’s teething, so we have a whole grab bag of fun to work with.

Usually somewhere between 4 and 5 a.m., I bring him in bed with us to nurse lying down and get a couple extra Z’s. While I’m not anti-cosleeping, it’s not something I wanted to do exclusively, as while dad and baby snooze just fine, I sleep lightly, constantly checking to make sure the covers aren’t close to his face and because of that, I’m always freezing because the days of snuggling under my down comforter are long gone.

At his four month appointment, he clocked in at 27 inches and just under 20 pounds. The kid is in the 97th percentile and eats like a champ. We’ve decided to wait on all solids, including rice cereal, until he is six months. He’s definitely a boob man, and he wants it all night long, even if he’s not hungry. He’s using me as a human pacifier to fall back asleep. (And no, he won’t take a real pacifier, because that would just be too easy, now woudn’t it?)

Ladies and gentlemen, we are ready for sleep training.

I’ve been resistant to full-on doing it until now because I really felt he was too young, but it’s time. He’s shown  he can sleep for longer stretches and the pediatrician says that at his size, he can absolutely go five (or more) hours at night without eating. I’ve dabbled in it here and there, and always wait a few minutes when he wakes at night to see if he can settle himself back down. Sometimes he can. More than often, he can’t. He’ll be screaming like a banshee until I walk into the room, where I swear he smiles, winks and laughs to himself.

So I get up. At 11, at 1:15, at 3, 4 and 5:30. I soothe and nurse and while I truly love the quiet moments nursing my sweet baby boy, I’d love it even more at say, just 2:30. Or just 4.

Out of all the sleep training methods I’ve read up on, I’m most comfortable with doing a modified version of the Ferber method. If you want to know all about it there are tons of websites, but it involves letting him cry for short periods of time before going in to soothe him. This is of course assuming that nothing else is bothering him (pinching clothes, soiled diaper, actually time to eat) and that he’s not sick.

I’ve heard from fellow mothers that in anywhere from 3 days to one week, their babies really got it and they were blessed with better sleep until the next growth spurt/illness/what-have-you. I know there is no recipe for a perfect night’s sleep — especially at this age — but there has got to be better than what we have now, which is basically the sleep pattern of a newborn!

I’ll let you know how it goes, and I welcome feedback and stories of personal experience; just none of this “your child will hate you forever because you let him cry alone for 10 whole minutes you horrible, horrible mother” stuff. I’ll be telling that to myself when I’m lying in bed on my hands forcefully willing myself not to get up for another six minutes because OOOH THE CRYING.

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