Monday, April 6, 2009

Starting Over

All hail the CIO warrior.

Before our move, Nate's nighttime sleeping pattern was consistent. Far from perfect but predictable. Waking every 3 hours to nurse but he would conk right back out and we could transfer him back to the crib with little or no bellyaching. Naps were another story but we stuck with the old reliable swing with the hopes that once nighttime sleep was established, we could convert naptime to the crib.

With our change of address also came a change in sleep habits. A full-blown sleep regression emerged, the likes of which we had never seen before. Nate cut out his second afternoon nap, dropping from 3 naps per day down to 2. As for bedtime, he was now up every hour on the hour. And since laying on his back is a thing of the past, he could now dramatize his commands by standing up and banging on his crib rail like a bongo. If I thought I was exhausted before, I was sadly mistaken. I would fervently rock him back to sleep in the glider - he'd be out within minutes - but the moment I laid him in the crib, he would scream bloody murder. Shrill, deafening screams that would pierce your eardrums and make you beg for mercy. In my despondency, I did the unthinkable. I picked him up and brought him back to our bed. I sure looked fashionable, cloaked in failure.

This went on for about a month. We were back to square one with the cosleeping. All of our hard work with gradual extinction went down the drain. This was the only way we could all get enough sleep to be functional the following day. We were stuck in this vicious cycle.

On St. Patrick's Day, the same day I gave my two-week notice to my job, I was feeling brave. I somehow found the cajones to give the sleep training another try.

The first few nights were pure hell, as anticipated. Nate wailed for close to an hour (DH going in here and there to soothe) before finally sacking out and succumbing to the sandman. And even then, the peace would only last an hour or two and he was up to his antics again. Wash, rinse, repeat. I decided to reset my expectations. If I could get him to spend half the night in his crib, I would cosleep the remaining half of the night. It was a trade-off. But it worked. His stretches grew to two hours. Then three. We even got some 4-5 hour stretches in there. It wasn't my desired end result but I was pleased to progress to our penultimate goal.

Last night was the first night I decided to go for the gold: all night in the crib. No cosleeping. I was apprehensive but I felt like it was now or never.

He was fed solids at 6:30pm and we had bathtime around 7pm complete with some baby massage and lotion. I sang some nursery rhymes and read him some board books as he played with some toys. With the first eye rub cue, I turned out the lights and nursed him. He was asleep within 5 minutes. I transferred him to the crib where he tossed and turned a bit before his eyelids once again grew heavy. He slept soundly until 11:30pm. 4 hour stretch - not bad. I nursed him again - with both breasts - until he was drunk and drowsy. However, this time, the relocation did not go as smoothly. The fussing turned to crying, which in turn led to a temper tantrum fit for a toddler. I was at a loss. I used the same formula for success that I had utilized earlier that evening. What was so different this time? Was it just out of habit in that he expected to be brought to bed?

I held my own and did not give in. I kissed his forehead, patted his bum, wished him a good night and closed the door behind me as I made a swift exit. I retired to bed with DH, where we could hear his contention growing more intense. After 15 minutes, DH went in for soothing duty but it only amplified his cries. He wanted to be held. I knew that was all he wanted. And with every cough and sniffle between the fountain of tears, I wanted to rescue him. I wanted to cave. I longed for his warm little body next to me, safe and sound. I questioned my motives. Was I doing the right thing? Did I not feed him enough? Did I not give him enough personal attention during the day? How could something that was supposed to be so good for them feel so bad?

I allowed my inner monologue to drown out the histrionics taking place in the room across the hall. Before I knew it there was silence. I glanced at the clock. It was midnight. It took us 30 minutes but we made it. The force was strong.

He woke once again at 3:30am. Half asleep, I ventured to his room to find him crumpled up in the corner of his crib, cuddling with his teddy bear. I retrieved him and nursed him in the glider. Five minutes and he was out. He woke up as his back made contact with his mattress and fussed. No surprise there. But I stayed strong and tucked him in, my mind determined to revisit dreamland. Before my head hit the pillow, there was silence. Until 7am when he woke for the day.

Total night wakings: 2

Average stretch: 3-4 hours

Total hours in crib: 11 hours

Not too shabby. If he can lengthen his stretches to 5 hours each, with only one night waking, I can live with that.

Tonight, he went down at 7:30pm without a fight but just woke at 9:30pm - face down on the opposite side of the crib, BTW - to eat. Hopefully his tummy will now be full enough to make it through a longer stretch. Fingers and toes crossed.

Next step will be to cut night feedings down to one (or none) but we're taking one baby step at a time.


Fertilized said...

Poor You ! Poor Nate! Poor DH!

I think we had our sleep regression along with night terrors and dble ear infections. MT did a very similiar routine as Nate a few weeks ago. Hang in there. We co-slept for a week or two off and on so we all could get sleep.

Hoping it gets better for you soon and you can start the night feed weanings.
Sending you lots of hugs

Blankenship Babbles said...

Stay Strong...he will get are doing everything right. I can't believe how big he has gotten.

BTW...Congrats on being a SAHM...that is awesome!!! I'm a little jealous over here :)

XOXO - Mandy

Road Blocks and Roller Coasters said...

It's been rough, but we've bee sticking it out with CIO. She's had her moment where she is especially fussy, but I will say that overall the change is dramatic!

If you figure out how to cut the night feedings please let me know. I'm ready at this point!

Rachel said...

I'm so glad that you posted the full story of sleep training. I find that my friends tend to forget how long it took or the little setbacks along the way, and it is reassuring to hear that the process works as we're getting closer and closer to actually enforcing a new policy.

Katie said...

I'm so glad for progress for you guys. We are having some similar issues and just when we got it figured out - bam! - he got sick!

Two steps forward, three steps back sometimes, y'know?