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...