Friday, February 8, 2013

I'm counting sheep, while he sleeps just fine

Wow. So, it's been awhile since I have gotten on.
I'd blame it on the baby, but, you know, raising a kid is super easy.
Did I mention he is mobile now? Yeah, he knows how to climb stairs and I am not as handy with a drill as I thought I was. Hubby has been super busy lately, so his weekends are booked up with baby-proofing the house, while I am holding cabinets shut with my knees while doing dishes, and looking like I think our kitchen is a bathroom while I squat.

Before you read the next part, let's reevaluate the labels I gave myself in my first post. Instead of "attachment parenting," can we just say I parent however allows all of us to feel like we aren't walking piles of poo?

I am kind of superstitious about sleep around here. It seems that every time I start to write a post about my little guy's sleep, it takes another nosedive. (Seriously, I have like 5 saved drafts of "here's how to get your kid to sleep.")

At 9 months old, you'd think he'd be sleeping through the night, since, you know, that's super normal. Hah! Have you ever Googled "my baby won't sleep" at 3 am? Try it, I promise there are millions of others out there.

About 2 weeks ago, either due to teething (finally got the front bottom 2 in, now getting one on top!), or the dreaded 9 month growth spurt, he was waking up every half hour. I was dying. Literally, okay, okay, I'm dramatic. But I was suffering. Taking naps the moment hubby walked in the door. Scared to drive anywhere because of poor judgement when sleep deprived. Ready to cry at the drop of the hat. It wasn't for the lack of support and help, I just couldn't stand the guilt of hearing that my hubby was up for an hour with him when it only took me 10-20 min to nurse him to sleep. And I had the option to nap when he napped during the day (which I am horrible at, but the option is there.)

It's funny because about a month ago we thought we had hit rock bottom. I said I was ready to do Cry It Out. I know, I know... not in the attachment parenting handbook. My husband was awesome. He was like "Noooo! Not yet! I would rather do Crying in Arms first!" Okay, he didn't say it like that. He has a full time job, which lends him little time to surf the web and learn the lingo. He is also not dramatic, meaning no exclamation points exist when directly quoting him. Hah. The yin to my yang.

So, hubby took over the nightly putting to bed. We faltered. Big time. Like, major eff-up. The first night, I cried a little while listening to my baby scream bloody murder. You see, our only bedtime routine was bath, screaming while putting on diaper, reaching for Mama and possibly pulling shirt down, nursing to sleep. Not fun. So handing him to Daddy was pretty torturous for all of us. The second night I ran in and stole him from Daddy. Oops. The third night I nursed him and once he was asleep, handed him to Daddy.
Uhhhh... yeah he had no clue what was going on. Then for about a week we relapsed and I took over again, but started getting cranky and tired again (me, not the baby!). Then Daddy said no more and I relinquished my duties. I didn't care about the bloody murder screaming. I didn't check to see if my help was needed (which, by the way, if baby sees you checking in, makes it waaaay worse for the person putting the baby down.)

New Routine: I nursed him at 7 pm (before bath). We all did bath time together. Daddy had set up a new "play with stuffed monkeys in bedroom until cranky" routine, then I would kiss everyone goodnight (monkeys, Daddy, and lastly, baby), and leave. Daddy and baby would then "read," ok, pet the baby touch and feel bunny book. The murderous screams eventually stopped. I think it was night #3 that he finally was just whining. But he was still waking up all night!

Again, I just felt so guilty that my husband had to work all day (high school science teacher), had class, and was about to start an internship that meant he'd be missing out on bedtime ritual some nights. But, our little guy was sleeping longer until about midnight on the nights Daddy put him down. But still waking up every half hour to hour after midnight.

During this time, I kept researching Cry It Out. I printed out the tips fromTroublesome Tots. The biggest thing that stood out to me was that "Cry It Out does not mean Night Weaning." Oh, snap. My biggest problem was that when hubby went in at night, he cried for an hour or until he got fed... So, I started researching night weaning. Guess what? All the pro-breastfeeding websites (KellyMom, La Leche League) tell you NOTHING about how to, just that it's "bad," etc.

So, I guess it was because I hadn't had enough sleep for my brain cells to function, but FINALLY I Googled the correct combination of words "reduce night nursing." Helloooo!

Dr. Ferber has the right idea. Don't judge! Even if you are an AP advocate, he says no cry it out until you've night weaned! And this is a great, non-cry-it-out method! The general idea is to time your LO on how long they go between feedings now. Then, you push back the feedings by half an hour and reduce nursing time by one minute each night. So, for example, on a good night our little guy could go 3 hours without nursing. So, we started there.

Night 1: Daddy got him to sleep by 7:45 pm. The agreement was I would not go in to his room until 10pm. If he cried before 10pm, Daddy would go in until he either a) fell back asleep or b) 10pm rolled around. I was kind of scared that the latter was more likely to occur, and then wouldn't we just be telling him that if he held out long enough, milk would arrive? Luckily, this did not happen. Instead, he woke up around 8:45pm and slept until 11:30... past his set eating time. Yes! It was a little more of a fight closer to morning. I think that night he woke up at 2 to eat, but then again at 3 and 4:30. Still, progress.

Night 2: was a little worse. We extended his feeding time to 3.5 hours (by the way, we never reduced how long he could nurse, since I think my let-down is a little slow, it seems like the first 2 minutes are spent waiting for something to happen.) I got to help out with the wakings (non feeding-time wakings) because I had a secret weapon: a t-shirt. The reason I couldn't help before is because he would hit me and pull on my nursing tank if he felt bare skin. With a t-shirt, he just put his head down on my shoulder and let me bounce him for a few minutes!

Night 3: Because he woke up more frequently on Night 2, we left his feeding times to 3.5 hours apart. Well, that was awesome because on his own he slept for 4.5 hours and then 5 hours. Also, I had to put him to sleep because hubby had class late. After letting him pet the bunny book (and throw it on the floor about a million times), I turned out the lights, put his head on my shoulder and 5 minutes later was sneaking out the door!! This. is. huge. I told my hubby when he came home. He couldn't believe it either, even though I am pretty sure it was all because of him.

Last night (night 4): (Aiming for a 4 hours interval.) Fed him at 7, usual bedtime routine. Asleep by 7:50. Woke up at 10, I rocked him to sleep (no nursing!) Woke up at 11, on the dot (crazy kid!), I nursed him. He didn't wake up again until 4:45am!!!! That, my friends, is amazing. I slept soooo good. And it's a good thing, too, because he didn't go back to sleep! Picture me laughing maniacally right now. The problem with weaning or anything at all with nursing, is the closer you get to dawn, the more likely they are to stay awake. He did go down for his "nap" at 7am and didn't wake up until 9. And then he took another nap (this is really weird) from 10 to 11:30am.

I think we are on a roll! Please, internet gods, do not make this into some sick twisted jinxy thing.

How about you?
Are you struggling with breastfeeding and sleep?
Do you have other kids that this craziness effects?
Do you have tips/ideas for dealing with this?

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