Tag Archive: sleep training


Fresh Start

And so a new year begins.  2011.  My little Ba-Bean has turned one and the day before she did, she decided she could take more than a couple of steps at a time.  Yes, she resolved for the new year to walk longer, better and faster!  Off she went.  For her birthday I started to make a healthy baby-friendly carrot cake.  I say started because she decided not to nap in the morning and to be VERY grumpy in the afternoon so Mommy ended up having to haul her around while Daddy finished the cake.  And I use the word “cake” loosely here.  Because the texture was decidedly un-cake-like.  Could have been the recipe.  Could have been our wonky oven that cannot keep a consistent temperature and always ends up running hot and burning things.  But it rose.  Then it sank.  And it was a very moist dense… cake/bar/pound cake?  I’m not really sure.  But I slathered it with a mixture of cream cheese and whipping cream and we put candles on it and she liked it.  I think she mostly liked the icing.  She loves dairy this kid, much like her Mom.  I think she was also just happy I gave her a big piece all to herself to play with and demolish.  Success!

Then, as my new year resolution, now that baby girl was a year old, I felt ready to implement my custom sleep plan created for us.  I must admit to dragging my feet on this myself, but then the sleep plan took forever to get sent off, and never did physically arrive in our mailbox so I had to wrangle a PDF copy from our sleep consultant.  When it finally arrived in my email, BaBean was suffering from some pretty severe teething (grumpy viking, hear me roar) and caught her Daddy’s cold.  So… sleep train we did not.  Until the day after her first birthday.  We were finally ready.  It was time.

I was quaking in my boots on the inside.  I’m not going to lie to you.  I was terrified she would cry so hard she would vomit and not sure I could follow through if things got that harsh.  I hate hearing her cry at any time, even in frustration.  And she had slept with my for months, always falling asleep at the breast, with her warm little body next to mine.  If it was cold out at night, I’d awake to find her snuggled up firmly against my side under my armpit and I was stuck sleeping wedged between her and the bedrail.  But it was worth it in a way.  I gave her the best start I could.  She had lots of love, and nursing, and warmth at night.  She grew big and strong.  And now she is one-year-old and her independence is growing every day.

She’s not going to be leaving home any time soon.  But she is becoming her own little toddler person.  So we did it.  I followed the plan in the big picture and the main important points.  But… there were a few areas I made my own.  A year of mothering my little girl gave me the confidence to tweak a few points that I felt were in her best interest and that I really felt with my Attachment Parenting vision would help and not hinder allowing her to go to sleep by herself safe in the knowledge that Mommy still loves me and will be there for me if I need her.

I gave her as much time to nurse before sleeping as she wanted (no “brisk feeding” as it was noted to do) for me.  My little girl would get the comfort and nutrition she needed as she knows better than any time constraint or sleep consultant what she needs from my body.  And it worked.  The first nap and first night were the hardest.  But she learned SO quickly.  And she slept.  And fell asleep on her own for the first time in months.  And slept in her crib!  She had NEVER slept in her crib before.  I was SO proud of her I could just burst!

Now here we are at Day 3 of the plan and she allows me to put her into the crib and leave her to go to sleep and not even a peep.  She was ready.  I was ready.  I miss her though.  I really do.  She may sleep well and not wake often or for long, but I am still waking up every 2 hours or so.  And my breasts miss the night time nursing.  Yikes!  I haven’t seen them like this since my milk first came in a year ago!  Crazy.  But it will be good for us.  I can see it.  I am enjoying no longer being her human pacifier.  Now when we breastfeed it is even more enjoyable than before as it isn’t frustrating if she doesn’t go to sleep.  They aren’t needed for that any more.  Our time together nursing is now that much more precious and wonderful to me.  I’m so happy as I want to do extended breastfeeding with her, and this just makes that all the more possible I believe as there is no resentment, just enjoyment.

I’m also not going to lie that I am not “proud” of the actual CIO.  But… I am proud that my little girl took it in stride and was ready.  I feel very glad I waited although it was a really long year.  It made the whole thing so much less painful than it might otherwise have been and feels like I made the right choices along the way.  Hallelujah!

Now if only I could get some sleep too.  Perhaps I will have to CIO myself?!?!  🙂

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So, I have been trying really, REALLY hard over the last 10 months or so to get Savannah to sleep well.  I have read enough about baby’s sleep to know that both naps and nighttime sleep are vitally important to their growth and development.  Not enough sleep and they can’t concentrate and learn things, plus I think just physically it can impede growth if they are not getting the restorative sleep they need.

So, yes, sleep is very important to me.  I have been trying to keep a schedule for her for a long many months now too.  From what I understand, routines are ALSO important to babies.  It gives them comfort to know “what comes next” and to be able to count on consistency and routines.  So, I try to make sure the days follow a fairly consistent path from one day to the next.  There are different things that we do sometimes, like trips to get groceries, or appointments that we have.  But I have been trying to make sure we get back home at reasonable times so that we can hit those elusive optimal nap times and to make sure she is fed regularly, etc.

I have to admit, this has all been rather hectic for me.  I’m not sure why it seems like so much work, but it does.  I spend time planning meals and trying to be sure she is getting a good mixture of fruits, veggies, grains, meats, dairy.  And now that I’ve introduced snacks, well, gosh, it takes even longer for my poor sleep deprived brain to figure out what to do each day (yes, I ensure my daughter gets her sleep, but me, on the other hand, I am the all night breastaurant still nursing her every 1, 2 or 3 hours when she wakes briefly so that it is, indeed, brief and we can go back to sleep and not stay up for 2 HOURS).

Should I do peas for lunch?  Dinner?  Have I given her something green?  Yellow or orange?  A fruit?  A veg?  What grain did I give earlier?  OK, maybe I should do this.  How about some dairy.  Oh crap.  What meat am I going to make or use?  Hmmmm.  How long will it take me to cook some pasta and add frozen beef puree so that she gets a meat in?

I swear, it is a full-time job for me right now.

I wonder to myself often how other Moms do this and make it look so darned easy?!?!  Seriously!

I am sure that my sleep deprivation is not helping either as I KNOW I have had “attitude” with the dog and the cat when they meow or bark and wake the baby.  Then I’m seriously NOT happy with them.  One day I was certain I was shipping the cat off to the SPCA I was so frustrated with him… hopping into the crib, meowing to get out of the crib, hopping onto the bed, meowing and pawing at me.  GO. AWAY. NOW. CAT. IF. YOU. VALUE. YOUR. LIFE.

Oh, yes.  And let’s not forget my poor hubby.  Sleeping in the basement as it were.  Because, yes, I am the bad Mom who still co-sleeps with her daughter at 10 months of age.  I just can’t bear night wakings that require me to physically get OUT of bed, so I do what is the path of least resistance.  And, what has felt right for many months as well.  To be there physically to comfort my baby girl.  To build that connection.  To “Attachment Parent” if you will.

But the time has come where I really am starting to think it is in everyone’s best interest for us all to get better sleep.  I need to sleep in order to function at a higher level.  My daughter needs to learn how to go to sleep without requiring nursing to do it (it has to happen sometime, although I am glad to say that I have given her this comfort for this long).  My hubby needs to come back upstairs (besides which, when he is back upstairs and Savannah is sleeping in her crib by herself, when she wakes early on weekends I might actually *gasp* get a day to sleep in and Daddy can get up with the baby… God I can dream about it… if I could only sleep…).

Anyway, so I have gone ahead and contacted a sleep consultant.  It occurs to me that my foggy brain is no longer competent to sift through the rubble and books and make a good plan for us.  So we have help on the way.  A person who has helped other Mommies and Daddies I know.  She comes highly recommended.  And so I am putting my trust in her to help me “sleep train” (choo choo) my daughter.  I am SO nervous about the crying part.  I never ever wanted to resort to CIO.  It truly is, for me, a last resort.  But I am trying to remember that I have given her a really good start with 10 months of cuddles.  And I will make it up to her with as many daytime snuggles as she needs.  But at some point, I am realizing she also will need to learn the hard lesson that Mommy can’t always say “yes” to all her demands.  That sometimes, when something is better for her, I will have to say “No” much as it may pain me (and her).

So, I will continue to be “working on the railroad” with my daily routines and schedules and meal planning.  That part of this choo choo train will keep on turning.  But hopefully, in the not so near future, at least the sleep train will involve ZzzZzzzz’s for all.  And when it does (crossing fingers and toes), I am going to join my Belly Buddy (oops… she reminded me, we aren’t pregnant Belly Buddies any more, so I am going to have to start referring to her as “little mama g”) my friend little mama g in a Slumber Party!

Sweet Dreams!

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