I think breastfeeding and sleep are two of the most debated and controversial topics out there for moms. I want to support all moms in all of their choices. What we do in our family is what’s best for us, and I don’t judge others for choosing different routes.
Graham has always been an awesome sleeper and I think it’s because he came so early. We would usually have to wake him up to feed him when he was an infant. He was sleeping almost 6 hours during the night by one month. And by 2 months, I think we were up to 8-10 hours a night. 3 months and on was 11-12 hours a night. God bless that little baby!
But…all good things must come to an end. And around 9 or 10 months, we really started to have some sleep problems.
I blame breastfeeding. Well, not really breastfeeding, but the end of our breastfeeding relationship. Around 5 months when Graham decided he liked the bottle better (click here to read about my entire breastfeeding experience) I was so upset. I missed all of our snuggle time. So I started to rock him to sleep at night. (Before this we could just lay him down in the crib and he would put himself to sleep.) In fact, I turned into that “creepy mom” that would go into his room after he’d been asleep for a while and pick him up, rock him, snuggle him and kiss him. (I’ll admit, I was an emotional, hormonal mess.) I know now that we really screwed up a good thing by rocking him to sleep.
Rocking worked for us for a while. But around 9 months (when Graham started to get really active) he started fighting sleep. It would take almost an hour to rock. And even then, once you stood up to lay him down he would wake up. It got to be a pretty miserable cycle. AND he started waking up in the middle of the night. Sometimes even 4 or 5 times. Then it was super hard to get him back to sleep.
We tried a lot of things, like having a routine and a consistent bedtime, but nothing helped. I even tried letting him sleep in our bed…but between him kicking me, sitting up, rolling over, talking and smacking me – I knew that co-sleeping wasn’t for us.
I never wanted to let my kids cry-it-out, but nothing else was working for us. We tried modified cry-it-out first. (Where you stay in the room with them, but don’t pick them up.) We gave that about a month before we realized it wasn’t going to work.
So I started doing tons of research on cry-it-out. And man, some of the stuff that’s out there will make you feel like a terrible mom for even considering letting them cry. There was one article in particular I read when we were in the trenches of the first week of cry-it-out. The article was so bad that I cried for hours that night – worrying that we were doing the wrong thing and permanently damaging our poor son.
The website that I found most helpful was troublesometots.com. Lots of great information and stories from moms.
So we decided to try it for a week. The first night was absolutely awful. One of the worst nights of my life. Graham cried for 45 minutes. I cried for FOUR HOURS. I think cry-it-out should actually refer to what the moms have to do – not the babies. And sleep training refers to training parents to be able to listen to their babies cry and learn to accept it and not run to their rescue. But the next night was better. Only 30 minutes of crying. The next night was just 10 minutes, and the next was just 5.
I remember thinking, “Damn it – it works…and I HATE that it works!” It goes against everything I feel and everything I wanted to be as a mom. But…it worked for us.
Now when we put Graham to bed, he fusses anywhere from 2 to 15 minutes. But he does go to sleep. And I’m not cruel – if he’s sick or we’ve had a rough day, I’ll still rock my baby.
AND he’s sleeping fully through the night again. No more waking up multiple times. 🙂
We’re all more rested and happier!
Have you had sleep issues with your baby? What methods worked for you?