Monday, April 02, 2012

Baby sleep nightmares

I will start this off by saying that while I am writing this, I've been a mom for only 15 weeks and this is my first baby so I don't label myself an expert. However, I have read more discussion boards than one could shake a stick at and tried a few things to get my baby boy to fall asleep which didn't seem to work.

The problem (was) that it would take us anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour or more to put him to sleep, which involved a lot of walking, pushing the pram back and forth, sitting by the crib holding the dummy in his mouth and other things. Then he'd wake up 20 minutes later tired and struggle through to the next nap which often was just as short. He'd be exhausted by the end of the day. We'd walk him around to get him to sleep and he'd be hysterically crying, throwing his little body in our arms. On top of it, because of the frantic napping schedule we never had a daytime napping routine, which contributed to his crankiness at night.

Both Neil and I were at the end of the rope but the saddest thing was seeing Daniel tired most of the time. I tried the method where you pick the baby up when he's crying and when he calms down you put him back down but that didn't work either. The only time he really got a good nap during the day was while we were driving or walking around with him in the pram.

The topic of Cry it Out method (CIO) to teach him to sleep on his own came up a number of times but my nerves and advice from others pushed it aside and we continued struggling. So this weekend, when I was in tears and Neil walking around with his teeth clenched, we decided that something has got to be done. Daniel has never liked dummy so there is no other alternative to give him to sooth him. Plus, if babies learn to sooth themselves to fall asleep, the experts say, that the battle is won.

I thought that the neighbours will call social services on us. The boy has a set of lungs on him! I was pacing back and forth ready to put my nails in the cement how painful it was to listen to it. An hour later however, he finally fell asleep on his own in the crib.

He woke up an hour later and I could tell he was tired and still sleepy. So we gave him the usual evening bath and put him to sleep for the night. He didn't even grizzle how tired he was.

The next day we were out in the morning so he slept in his pram but for the afternoon nap I put him in the crib and sat by him to let him know I am there. He cried but not nearly as much as the first day and not nearly as intense and slept for 2.5 hours. In the evening he fell asleep while I was feeding him but didn't wake up, as usually, when I put him in his crib.

This morning I put him in the crib for a nap and while he grizzled and whined, the amount of time it took him to fall asleep was really short and he's been doing it without the dummy. Also, if he wakes up in 10-20 minutes, I don't pick him up and he puts himself back to sleep. The baby is happier as well as mommy and daddy. We all get a short break and Daniel gets a healthy sleep.

This is only the third day and I am cautious to get excited about it yet but I feel so happy that at least yesterday he slept so well. I am hoping that today will be another good day and this will become a habit.

While it does sound very cruel to let a baby cry himself to sleep, I wonder if in the long run this is a way to give him tools to become a little bit more independent. It is very, very hard but it gives him a better rest and makes him a happier & healthier baby. I have to say that we didn't wait the 10 - 20 minutes to go in and comfort him, I was in and out every 2-3 minutes to let him know that mommy and daddy are still there. Today I just sat by the crib and kept shooting him and patting him and he was much calmer.

I am hoping that this is the start of a new & healthy sleep era for us. Cheers to you, little one!

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