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July 26, 2010 / MrsH

Sleep

I’ve been wanting to update after this post, where we were on the precipice of night-weaning.   Well, it didn’t work.  Little One wasn’t ready for it, I guess.  I’d read Dr. Gordon’s article on night-weaning and felt really encouraged.  After checking it out on the mothering.com boards we decided to do it, full of optimism that in only 3 days to a week, we’d be blissfully sleeping through the night, with nary a tear cried.  At the time, we were so exhausted we could barely function during the day (me in particular).  I was waking up every couple of hours, dutifully returning the baby to the crib.  When I tried having her sleep in bed with us we both slept fitfully and never more than 90mins.  Things HAD to change.

Night one went alright.  MrH calmly explained that when the nightlight was off, “baby goes night-night, mommy goes night-night, and nursing goes night-night, too.”  He did most of the night and I slept in the attic (our family room).  Blissfully, I might add.  Night two was hard and night three harder.  Bleary eyed and our long weekend over, I knew I had to take over much of the night-time parenting again.  Each night was harder than the one before.  Little One cried, sometimes for an hour at a time and then slept fitfully for the rest of the night.

With a dogged persistence, I convinced MrH to keep going AND to add the Sleep Lady Shuffle to the mix.  After all, rocking/walking/singing her to sleep was no better than nursing, my logic went.  So we tried that as well.  It involves sitting next to the crib and slowly moving further away.  Little One surprised us in being able to fall asleep in this way during the early parts of the night.  However, by the time that it was 3 or 4am, she could no longer do it and was up for two hours.  A major improvement was that she now was happy to go down drowsy and keep her little body still enough to calmly fall asleep.  It felt like such a triumph, a gateway to a full night’s sleep.

It wasn’t.  Sleep did not get any better.  She was still up a lot and now refused to settle down or to transfer to her crib.  Both Dr. Gordon and the Sleep Lady say that their programs usually work after only a few days.  Well, we did it for 10.  Ten nights.  Long, lonely, frustrating, and ultimately heartbreaking nights.  Our dear little one was getting more sleep deprived each night, then making it harder and harder for her to get the quality sleep we all so desperately needed and sought.

So we stopped. We took her in our bed, threw the nightlight out the window, and nursed to her little heart’s content.  We read Sleepless in America (highly recommended!) and began to work on lowering her stress levels in all areas, but specifically as it pertained to sleep.  While she now asked to be put in her crib when quite drowsy, she frequently asked to be picked up and snuggled again, or nurse just a little longer.  And while all the books said not to do it, we did it.   And guess what?  Our Little One started sleeping.

To Be Continued…
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