Feb 28, 2015

How to Sleep Train Your Baby

I feel like, the third baby around, I should be a complete baby-sleeping expert, with not an ounce of doubt or anxiety within. Of course, there is nothing further from the truth. I am a mess. When the question: How to Sleep Train Your Baby? comes to mind, my answer is: Don't.

It is so difficult at night when she is half awake and fussing. I know that the fastest and easiest way to get her back to sleep is to nurse her, so I do, because it's the fastest way for me to get back to sleep. And then of course, the bad habit is reinforced. So I know that it's my own fault we have a terrible middle-of-the-night routine. And now that she's waking pretty much every two hours and my uninterrupted sleep is becoming a distant memory and my fatigue is affecting my quality of parenting, I know that something needs to change. Unfortunately, it's not going to change on it's own, which means that I have to do something. I have to figure out a way to help Nora sleep without needing to wake up and nurse all night long.

But, oh the emotions! During the day I am full of resolve, confident in the necessity of putting her to bed, letting her scream (because she will) for a few minutes, going in to reassure her that we're still there, and then repeating over and over until she falls asleep. Then doing the same in the middle of the night when she wakes up. But when bedtime rolls around my resolve melts like snow on an unusually warm January day. I am a puddle of despair and uncertainty, convinced that she's still much too little and my heart is much too fragile.

I'm not ready for her to be in her own room in the crib. Having her in our room all night gives me peace and comfort. It feels so far away to have her in her own room. And, even though it makes little sense, I feel like if she's physically in our room I can better protect her. (From what I'm not entirely sure.) Which I realize is pretty irrational, but as my husband pointed out makes a lot of sense considering we lost our last baby.

Having her sleep in her own room would be a logical first step if we're going to be letting her cry (within minor back rubs for reassurance) at night. It's much easier to block out noise when there's a door and a hallway separating us. Plus it makes it easier for only the one "night-time-duty" parent to be disturbed by the commotion and racket. But last night, when it came time to put her down I couldn't. I just could not put her down so far away from me.

My husband lovingly suggested that if I wasn't ready, we could keep her in our room, which is what we ended up doing. Although we still did try to enforce a different sleep habit.

It was terrible, with a lot of crying, and hand wringing and heart breaking. We each took turns trying to soothe her and after two hours I couldn't stand it anymore. I broke down and nursed her (I know. I know!) and once she finally fell asleep she didn't wake again for another six hours.

I am completely surprised by how difficult this whole idea has felt (not to mention now that we're getting down and dirty in the actual process). In so many ways I am a more laid back parent than I ever was, but then something like "sleep training" comes along and knocks the wind right out of me.

My answer of how to sleep train being "don't"? It isn't because I can't. I know that physically I am capable. And she is capable. And we will all survive and sleep better for it. It's just that I don't want to. It's heartbreaking and much too hard. I feel like when she cries she is wondering why I'm neglecting her when all she wants is for me to pick her up, and maybe even a little milk. Why is that too much to ask?

No baby! No! It's not too much to ask. Here I am! I won't leave you! You can have my snuggles and even milk!

And here we are again. Where six hours ago I was ready to take on night-time with determination and confidence (because we all need sleep), now that it is here I am so upset and torn and wishing my baby somehow figured out how to sleep through the night all on her own because I don't have the stomach for all the tears.

(And speaking of stomach, it's possible I'm giving myself an ulcer over all of this. At least, if it's possible to get an ulcer from stress. I mean, c'mon, Christine. It will be okay. Let's get back to this third-time-around-is-a-breeze-laid-back-to-the-nth-degree mama you felt like not too long ago.)

With wishes of tearless nights and sweet non-traumatized dreams,

xoxo, christine

No comments:

Post a Comment

Any thoughts? I'd love to hear from you!