We are classic parents who have helped Kyle to learn how not to sleep.
After 6 months of waking during the night at least 2 times and him waking up sometimes before 6am I’d finally ran to the end of my rope. The final nail in my coffin is his separation anxiety. So far Kyle’s been pretty good about not flipping out when I’m not around but he’s starting to force himself to stay awake when I’m home to spend more time with me. And suddenly started screaming when I would put him down at 4am. He’d be sleeping soundly but the second he hit the mattress he’s start wigging out.
Jason’s running on empty, I’m suffering physically. Our doctor kept telling me to let him cry it out, CIO, but somehow I just knew that wasn’t just the right answer to what was right for us. Even more now that Kyle is becoming more worried about mommy not being there.
Last night I paid a visit to Half Price Books, ❤ that store 2 baby books for less than $15, and picked up Good Night, Sleep Tight and The Baby Whisper. And it was suddenly clear to me that Kyle wasn’t able to self sooth and we’d made the classic parenting mistake of wanting to feed him right at nap or bed time.
We had thought he could self sooth because more than a few nights we could put him in his crib and he’d cry a moment then babble a moment then drift off. But he was so tired by that time he didn’t need to sooth, just nest in and he’d be up at 1am, or sometimes 10:30 pm, and then again somewhere between 3am and 5am. And if it was 5 am forget me being able to go back to sleep he was up for the day.
I also realized that he was overtired. Part of the problem is my mom. No matter how many times I’d stress to her that he needed naps in order to sleep better she’d slip and forget then hand him off to me saying he’d sleep great that night because he didn’t nap. And weekends really threw him because I was home and he’d refuse to nap because he’d want to be with mommy.
So things needed to change. Jason’s over tired and passing out most nights and I’m trying not to fall asleep at my desk at work as well as having my hair fall out and my ulcers reoccur and a whole host of other health related issues.
Today was the day we put Good Night, Sleep Tight to work. It started when he woke up at 6:30 and he got breakfast right away. He never seemed real interested in actually eating early in the morning, but now I realize it’s because I was giving him a bottle and now that he’s discovered real food he is starting to reject formula. After breakfast we played a bit then 15 minutes before nap time we read a book and we talked to his Lovie, or what I’m trying to have him choose as his Lovie. In some ways we’re lucky because he has a set sleep pattern already so that part’s already figured out for us. The challenge is getting him to sleep.
So at 8am he went into his crib and I sat next to him. It was the longest half hour of my life. He kept crying and reaching for me. But I stuck to the plan. I’d occasionally pat his back, talk to him and place him back down in his sleeping position. About half way through I got my shirt I’d worn yesterday and put it down in his crib with him. That started to help. I’d put him back down and he’s cry but then start to suck his thumb and stare, classic Kyle signs he’s sleepy.
It took 30 minutes but he fell asleep on his own. Not without tears but by the time he started to drift off he wasn’t crying but lying there sniffling but with his thumb in his mouth and his head buried in my shirt.
I hated leaving him to cry like that. But right at the start of the book the author states to remember that they aren’t crying because they are hurt or hungry. They are saying “You always do this for me, I’m tired but I don’t know how to sleep without you.” So I kept that mantra up and kept imagining a full nights rest for both Jason and I.
This is a two week plan, but most of the parent stories say by night 4 their baby had pretty much gotten to a point where they’d fuss for a moment then drift off. And almost all said that they weren’t waking during the night anymore.
As much as I’m going to miss holding him in my arms while he sleeps I realize we can’t go on like this and we’re doing him a disservice. He’s tired because he’s waking up and we’re tired and can’t focus on our regular lives or his.
I hate letting him cry like he was and is going too. But I love that I’m right there for him and it’s ok for me to pick him up for a moment to kiss his head and pat him. I like that I can talk to him and let him see me. The real test is going to be when he wakes in the middle of the night.