Friday, December 3, 2010

Progress, and... not

So I did a bunch of research. I spoke with a health nurse. I emailed my midwife. I looked at a bunch of books. I talked to girlfriends. I searched the internet high and low.  And what I thought I would do is take little bits of everyone's advice and put together my own little sleep training plan for Lincoln.

And it worked.  Sorta.  Well, a little bit.  The progress we made was in the napping department.  He has gone from taking maybe two 30 minute naps a day to taking two or three naps a day, ranging from 30 minutes to an hour and a half. And he's in his crib for those napst whereas before he was just where ever I happened to have him - bouncy chair, swing, floor, my bed.  There was a bit of protest from him and we had a little bit of crying it out.  But it was minimal and I was feeling terribly smug about myself and my talents as a mother.

My big plan was to get him used to his crib during the day and then eventually, I figured, he would start to get used to it and start sleeping in there at night. I have started putting him down in his crib after a little bedtime routine (which was previously non existent) and two nights in a row he slept for a couple of hours at which point I gave him a dream feed and laid him back down. Then he slept for another couple of hours before waking and me bringing him back into my bed (and then waking every hour or two for nursing).

Except there was the one time at nap time that he did more than a little fussing.  It was a big old cry/scream it out.  And even though I went in to check on him at regular intervals he screamed for 45 minutes before falling asleep and then only staying asleep fro 10 mins. (I realize this is minimal compared to some babies.)

Then last night when I put him down he went into cry/scream mode and it lasted 30 minutes.  He was awake within an hour and then an hour after that. And he ended up in my bed at 11pm.

And I've discovered that I don't know if I can handle this.  My anxiety kicks in full blast when he's screaming. My heart is crushed.  I have all kinds of doubts about what I'm doing and if I'm doing it right or if I'm fucking him up - because I'm doing my own thing and not a regimented, structured plan.

He is so attached to me and I feel like I'm betraying him and hurting him by doing this. He loves me like nobody ever has.  It blows my mind. Nobody has ever been that happy to see me before in my LIFE. He giggles and squeals when he seems me.  He grabs on to me and nestles his head in my neck. The sound of him nursing at night, eagerly drinking and gulping his milk makes me feel like I'm doing something so good for him.  And when he's nursing he reaches up and holds on to me. 

And I feel like I'm ripping all that away from him by making him cry in his bed, alone.

Yes, I realize that perhaps the problem is mine.  Perhaps I have some issues that need to be worked out.  I want us all to be happy and healthy.  We're not that right now. 

I feel like I can't do this alone.  Or even with Steve - who will go along with whatever I choose, pretty much.  (Although he struggles with the crying too, which doesn't help in making me feel stronger)

I feel like we need an intervention.

I am considering enlisting the help of a professional.  A sleep consultant.  A friend of mine used Helen Sands and had great success. My midwife highly recommends her and strongly suggested we use her. She said that it would be a Christmas gift to Lincoln.  And I trust my midwife more than anyone else in the world when it comes to my babies.

The thing is, Helen is really expensive.  And I don't have much money - I could scrape it up of course. But I am such a state of anxiety and self doubt right now I don't know if I should go ahead with it or not.  I feel almost like a failure if I can't get him sleeping through the night on my own. Maybe I could just buy one of the books that have been recommended to me and just force myself to go with it. But Helen Sands does extensive research into your particular circumstances and developes a plan specifically for the individual family.  And there is some support too.  I feel like I could use the support. 

I feel depressed and anxiety ridden this morning.  Don't know which way to go with this. I have so much self doubt no matter which way I turn. I just wish someone else could make some decisions for me and point me in the right direction.

Perhaps I just answered my own question...


serenity said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
serenity said...

I never did CIO with O, mostly because like you, it broke my heart AND ramped up my anxiety. I don't judge those who use that method and hear it works wonders. But for me? If my baby was crying, there was a reason.

I used gentler sleep techniques. For us, it took longer - O was waking at least once a night until he was 18 months, but by the end it was related to allergies (we inadvertently fed him pasta with egg in it and he's allergic).

This is totally unsolicited assvice. But my thought? You're calling your sleep training plan failed before it's really had a chance to work, you know?

Maybe the nap and overnight was because he was overtired. (O used to fight napping like the dickens when he was overtired - he'd scream and scream and scream, even when we were holding him.) So maybe if you start your evening routine an hour earlier, he'll go down easier without a fuss.

Or maybe he just needs time to get used to his crib.

Our rule of thumb was that we gave O two weeks, give or take a couple of days, before we called something we were trying failed. If something raised alarm immediately (i.e. crying it out?) we'd abort. But something like routines and habits? That takes a little longer to establish.

At least, that's my opinion. I know you're struggling with sleep deprivation right now, which makes things dire. But give it another week, where you're being consistent with scheduling his routine... and see where you're at.

Before you go spend a whole bunch of money on a sleep consultant.

Which truthfully, if you end up using, might actually save your sanity. Looking back, if I was going to spend money on ANYTHING for a new baby - sleep planning would probably be highest priority. Because I swear I spent the first 18 months of O's life trying to manage his sleep. :)

Good luck, hon. Regardless of what you end up doing, you ARE doing a great job. Keep that in mind.


Emily said...

Give it time.

Our took 5 days. We wrote down on paper the times we put her in crib, what time we did checks, how long it took her to fall asleep, for every nap and night wake/bedtime for 6 days. It was HELL. The first 3 days were the worst, but by the 4th day it was better, the 5th day even better and the 6th day was amazing. Keep in mind it worked fast on A, so it could take way longer. Thing is consistansy. I KNOW it sucks. I had breakdowns when she was crying but I often alternated checks with Gabe, and in between I would go outside with a glass of wine and made G listen so I didn't have to have my heart broken.

Thing that helped me, was: She will not remember this in the morning, I am not a bad mother, all her needs are met.

Give him LOTS of love before bedtime.

And another thing I tried to remember was that if I gave up halfway through an evening, all the crying was for nothing.

It really seems worse when you're in the middle of it. It will get better. Stick with it!

Esperanza said...

First of all, I think the way you feel about letting him cry is TOTALLY understandable. It's not a problem that lies with you, it's the way mothers feel. So don't beat yourself up for not wanting to let you baby cry. Secondly, I think a professional might be a good next step. You seem like you really want to make a change but you want to know that what you are doing is best for you AND your baby. A professional might give you the confidence you need to proceed with less guilt. You're still going to feel bad, but less so if you know someone with TONS of experience is helping you through it. I really wanted to hire one but I didn't have the money either. I was going to do it, but then I went to a sleep seminar and realized my milk production was WAY down and I didn't know it and when I started feeding my daughter from my freezer stash she started sleeping well again. But I never would have figured it out if I hadn't gone to that class taught by a professional. Maybe you could go to a class too, first, and see if that helps? I don't know if I sent you this link, but I did a post this week about what I learned at the seminar. You might find some good tips in there.

I know how hard this is. My daughters sleeping (or lack there of) was CONSUMING my life on and off for the better part of three months. It was harrowing. I'm so sorry you're going through this. But know that this too shall pass. It will. And you love your son so you'll make the right decisions about how to handle it. Trust in that.

If you want to check out the sleep seminar tips, here is the link:

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Sleep training is so hard I know. I did what you did - poured over every book I could find and confused the shit out of myself. I ended up going with 2 plans. 1) Helen Sands offers generic plans by age on her website. They are about $35 or so. If you want the 5 - 7 month one I can email it to you. The other book I found that was really good was Sleep Sense. In the end, it worked, but not quickly. I'd say we made slow progress over about a month or so.

Good luck. Please let me know if you'd like the Helen Sands plan.

Good luck!

JJ said...

Im so sorry this has been so tough--for you and L! I am dealing more with the CIO situations NOW--never had too many issues when Oman was itty-bitty.But no matter what the age, I guess its just heartbreaking, huh? I really hope it settles soon--you are one fabulous Momma!!