Thursday, November 8, 2007

Sleepless in Allen

What new mom's blog would be complete without an entry on baby sleep issues? We have been so lucky not to have any issues in this area until recently.

JD started sleeping through the night (at least 6 hours) by 6 weeks old. He has always been a great napper (3-4 in a day).

Well, I think we have hit the 7 month itch or something. He hates sleeping. Or to be more precise, he hates going to sleep. And he doesn't seem to want to put himself back to sleep anymore in the middle of the night. So we have had a lot of late evenings and middle of the night wakings lately.

He is Mr. Explorer these days and wants to see everything around him (and stick it in his mouth, but that's another entry). He loves his mom and dad (yay!) and seems to genuinely enjoy their company.

So when it is time for sleep, he is loathe to close his eyes because he might miss something. When I pick him up to start getting him relaxed for bed, he arches and cranes his neck all around, looking to see what he might miss. We finally get him sleepy-eyed and pretty much asleep and we lay him in the crib...then his eyes pop open and he flips himself to his back and starts screaming! We have repeated this performance most evenings at least 3 times before he finally gets the hint and goes to sleep.

I started reading all of the parenting articles on sleep that I had been ignoring (we don't have THAT problem). I am against "co-sleeping" at this stage (mostly because I want my sleep without a noisy baby in the room) and I can't do the Ferberizing method of hours of crying on their own. So I chose the gradual cry it out method to try out last night.

I got JD nice and drowsy after his last bottle and I sang little lullabies to him and rocked him for just a few minutes in his room. Then as his little eyelids started to droop, I laid him in his crib so gentle and quiet.

Eyes popped right open and the screams commenced. I walked out of the room (but not before hearing the pacifier flying across the room and JD jumping up to hold on to the side of the crib).

I heard screams come out of that child like his leg was being cut off or something just as traumatic. I waited 5 minutes and went back in and laid him down again (he was clinging to the side of the crib) and patted him on the back. He calmed a little and I gave him a pacifier. I walked out of the room and the screams began again.

We repeated this for about 45 minutes. It is heart wrenching to hear your little one so upset and to know that you have caused it! He finally was so exhausted that he gave it up with no pacifier (hooray) and just a little patting on his back.

AND he slept through the night!! I fully expected his little eyes to be swollen shut this morning, a hoarse voice and a sour disposition at his mean mommy who made him go to sleep on his own.

But he smiled right away at me this morning with bright and shiny eyes, which I am going to take as a sign of forgiveness and gratefulness for the wonderful night of sleep that he had.


Amberly said...

So hard, but so worth it!! We started that with the twins at 9 months & boy do I remember crying outside their door right along with them. Hard times... but, they became awesome sleepers!

Dara said...

Good job super mom! I guess I was super meanie because I would make Emma cry it out for at least 10-15 minutes before going in to lay her back down for more pats. I ended up just hanging over the side of Emma's crib and patting her back for 10-20 minutes and then gradually lightening up my pats until no more... then literally crawl out of the room as quietly as possible! Of course, Emma still wants me to lay with her and pat her back before I leave the room...which I don't mind.

Lynn Leaming said...

I know each child is different but my niece just told me about a month ago that she tried the Ferber method with her 7 month old and after one night he was sleeping. I can't even imagine how heartbreaking it would be to hear your child screaming for a long period of time. Hope it was just a one night thing.

Lindsay said...

Sleep - the biggest battle of the first year! It is so hard to know what to do. I just kind of winged it with Kimbo. We did the cry for a few minute increments starting at about 5 months and it worked great and quickly (Kimber did not want to be touched it only made her madder). By 5 months she was sleeping from 7 to 7 (of course I get had to get up once for a feeding until she was 9 months). I pray our next one will do this! :) Kimber is a great night sleeper. Pretty good on naps - but naps are what she struggles with if we are going to have a sleep problem - thank goodness!!! :) I will pray JD will take off on this method too and be as good a sleeper as the Kimbo.