I feel like a bad blogger. Well, I am a bad blogger. I can't seem to keep up with this to save my life. I come up with witty things to post and then they're gone with the latest round of exhaustion and fatigue. I'm not quite sure what's in it for him just yet, but my kid is trying to get me to the point of dying from exhaustion. Uh, kid, I'm your main food source!! Kill me off now and you have to start drinking nasty smelling formula out of a bottle. (Not knocking formula feeding, just the scent of my nephew's formula made me gag...oh and my kid refuses bottles)
So the old sleeping issue. It seems to plague my existence. I made the mistake of thinking I'd gotten off easy. Though in the back of my mind I knew it was too easy...far too easy. You see, when Squirmy was first born, he'd sleep all night long. Of course he'd wake to nurse and to be changed, but he'd drift off easily as soon as his needs were met. It was glorious. While the group of moms I knew with babies all born in March were up all hours of the night with fitful sleepers and reverse cycling, I was sweet dreaming! By 2 months old, we were sleeping through the night!! How cool is that?!? Yeah...if only I knew what was in store.
Around 4 months, he started waking once a night. Okay, fine, that's cool. Top off and let's get back to sleeping. Then it was twice a night....then three times... By 5 months I was starting to wonder if his mini pack and play bassinet thingy was getting uncomfortable (hence the night waking). So, we took the front off his crib and pushed it up against the bed, side-car style. That should be more comfortable and thus let us both sleep more, right? Nope, night waking just got worse and worse. Eventually we decided to put his crib back together. Maybe a little distance from me would help. That didn't; actually ended up backfiring to an extent.
Instead of him waking less, he woke the same. Only, instead of pushing him back into the crib when he was done nursing, I'd have to get up and put him back in his crib. So I did for the first couple of times he'd wake up at night. Just about every night I'd end up leaving him in bed with me so I could squeak out a couple of hours of sleep before my day started. Some nights I kept him in bed with me the whole night just to get some rest.
Now I'd love to say I'm one of those moms who thinks the world of bed sharing. I mean, I think it's great in theory and my kid certainly sleeps better sharing the bed with me. BUT (huge but here) I do not sleep well AT all!!! We have a queen sized bed. Every mom I've talked to who really enjoys bed sharing has had a king sized bed. My dear, sweet hubby gets probably 60% of the bed at night. Squirmy gets about 20% of the bed (and his nickname isn't without merit). So what does that leave me?! Not a whole hell of a lot. But just for giggles, let's actually do the math. A standard Queen is 60" wide. So that means my hubby gets about 36", while Squirmy and I split 24". So realistically...I get about ONE FOOT of sleeping space when we co-sleep. I'm not a huge person but I certainly have some extra padding. ONE FOOT of space is not enough! Hell I could sleep on the couch (alone) and have more room. So I spend part of the night sleeping in a horribly awkward/uncomfortable position while trying to not crush my child and part of the night being roused to nurse. Kudos to those of you who make it work. Not my cup of tea. If a king size bed magically showed up at my doorstep, we might be having a different conversation (ya know, after I picked out some luxurious new sheets!).
There have been nights where I have been up EVERY. SINGLE. HOUR until I gave up and brought him to bed with me. This started happening more and more often and I began to wonder if I played some role in it. When I realized how inconsistent I was being with his crib sleeping and bed sharing, I realized I had to pick one or the other to make a difference. Since bed sharing is not a realistic option for long term, I knew I had to crib train him. I'm sure there are tons of moms who felt I made the wrong choice and should have sacrificed to bed share. But, you know what? I was "selfish" and decided that my son needed a well rested mommy more than he needed to bed share. If you know me at all, you'll understand that the WORLD needs me more rested than my son needs to bed share. I promise.
I read lots of suggestions, asked on Mothering.com (where I was told I was selfish and making the wrong decisions and ...), asked on Twitter, ready every Dr. Sears suggestion on his site, read articles about night weaning, read Pantley's No Cry Sleep Solution, and anything else I thought might be helpful. I wanted to find the softest way possible to crib train my sweet son.
So...10 days ago we started sleep training, so to speak. Every time he woke up, I got out of bed, nursed him in my lap, and put him back in the crib. Every time I made a conscious effort to take care of his needs and put him back in his crib. Every night we went to bed at the same time. Above all, everything was as consistent as possible (night 8 was way off for bed time because of a Disney trip). I knew it might get worse before it got better. And it did! He started waking MORE frequently. How could he possibly wake MORE frequently you ask?! Well, one horrid night he woke ELEVEN times! ELEVEN! between 10pm and 7am. He also started waking at 7am instead of his usual 9am. I was beyond exhausted. I almost gave up a few times. But I had to keep plowing through. *Disclaimer--tooth #3, the first top tooth, cut yesterday*
I don't dare tell you how the past 2 nights have gone. I don't dare challenge the cosmos by reporting things are better. I don't dare tempt fate by saying I've been getting 4 *gasp* hours of sleep in a ROW. I don't dare report progress and challenge Murphy's Law.
For now, we're going into night 10 of crib training. His crib remains by my bedside and I continue to wake and nurse and cuddle and put him back in his own crib...his own space...and return to my bed and my own space.
P.S. Screw you Dr. Nameless Pediatrician for all but scoffing when you heard I parent my child to sleep at bed time and if/when he wakes in the night. #just sayin'