Lay back, lay back, go to sleep, my man. June 15, 2012
One of the biggest challenges of this baby situation is the sleeping. Hers, mine, Aaron’s. And by sleep, I mean, of course, NOT SLEEPING. Because none of us have really spent many hours doing it. Not in a row, anyway.
About a month ago we decided to get serious about sleep. We had moved her into her crib a few weeks prior, but it took both of us a lot of time to get her to actually fall asleep in there. Shushing, rocking, singing. Replacing the blanket over and over after she kicked it off. Trying to keep her from flipping over because if she flips over then she gets on her hands and knees and then she gets stuck and screams or propels herself forward and hits her head and screams and oh my gosh the screaming it never ends help me help me help me.
Because I can’t do anything without reading about every possible option available to me, I started researching sleep training methods. There are about ten million of them so it was a pretty simple task. No-Cry, Baby Whisperer, Sleep Lady, eight thousand doctors who will tell you exactly what to do if you’ll just buy their book. I had no idea where to start.
The facts were these: Campbell had stopped falling asleep after nursing, which had been my go-to method; she has never really cuddled or snuggled in any way, so rocking just served to make her mad; if we were interacting with her at all she thought it was playtime; all she wanted to do in the crib was roll around and try to crawl.
I was terrified of the ‘cry-it-out’ method, having read a bit about it having long-term emotional effects on babies. We wanted her to trust that we would not abandon her when she needed us, right? Right. I took it off the table.
But nothing else worked. NOTHING. So one night, out of desperation, we gave it a shot.
It works like this: you do your regular bedtime routine, then put the baby in the crib. Leave the room. If they cry, let them for three minutes before going back in. (The book says not to pick them up during this time but we do. You gotta make things work for you.) After you comfort them, leave again and don’t go back until they’ve cried for five minutes. Then ten minutes, and it stays at ten minutes from then on until they fall asleep.
You guys. YOU GUYS. We’ve been doing this for two weeks and have never once made it to the first ten minute stretch. Only rarely do we make it to the five minute one. We’ve gone from a 45-minute dramafest at bedtime to a baby who is out for the night within three minutes.
Turns out we were holding her back. When she would get up on her hands and knees and get frustrated, we would flip her back over and try to get her to lay still. But left to her own devices, that frustration finds its way out through rolling and kicking and flipping and fussing. Then, after a few minutes of fussing, sleep. GLORIOUS SLEEP.
We don’t quite have sleeping through the night going on, but we’re close. She wakes up once after several hours instead of every two. We’re down to one overnight feeding. Everyone is feeling a little better.
I think we might survive.
It’s gotten funny at naptime the past few days. Her latest skill is going from crawling position to sitting up, and somehow she’s learned to do that during the falling asleep process. So, often, I check the monitor to find this:
And then walk in to find this:
Y’ALL. She is full-on asleep in these pictures.
WHAT IS HAPPENING.
But I’m not complaining. I just sneak in and move her little body a tiny bit and she’s good. AND SLEEPING.