My little one has never been a great sleeper. At 10 months old, he’s only slept through the night maybe 3 times, and all 3 times I slept even less being super paranoid that he wasn’t waking up his usual 5 times a night. Yup, 5 times. Being that my hubby and I were very new to the newborn sleep pattern thing, we did not start out on the right path. Our first mistake was right when we brought him home from the hospital. For some reason I felt like the pack-n-play was too big for him, and his crib was in the other room…so apparently to our new-parent minds we felt that one of us needed to be awake 24 hours a day. So at night we would take turns sleeping, usually for only 2-3 hours each, then switch back to watching J sleep. Dumb. Took us 2 weeks of really bad sleep habits for ourselves to finally go buy one of those little bassinets that you can put in the bed with you. That was a lifesaver. Seriously.
At 3 months we transitioned him to his pack-n-play next to the bed. Which worked OK, and as he was still needing to breastfeed every few hours at night, it was easier than having him in his own room.
Then at 6 months we finally put him in his own bed. But at that point his sleeping pattern was pre-set to waking up every few hours and Mom being right there to feed him. Yes, I fell into the “answer them whenever they cry, for whatever reason they cry” pattern. Frankly I don’t think I would be OK with doing it any other way. Before I was a parent, setting a baby down to cry it out wasn’t a big deal for me…then J came along. I couldn’t do it. If he cried, I needed to be there to make it better. Judge all you want, but that’s what works for me.
At 8 months, J was still waking 4-5 times a night. I didn’t have to nurse him every time to get him back to sleep, but more often than not I did just to get him back to sleep quickly rather than have the Hubby do it and be awake twice as long. Finally a friend of mine with a newborn looked at me and said “you can’t keep going like this, you’ve got to figure something out, this isn’t healthy.” Of course I knew that, deep down, but it’s hard to admit when your a parent and you don’t know where to look next. I looked into some of the main-stream sleep advice (Baby-Wise & etc.) and although some of them seemed to have some good ideas, I still wasn’t willing to use the CIO (cry it out) method…at least not to the extreme that they suggest.
That night I totally broke down and after not getting J to sleep after 45 min of trying, including nursing him, I finally had to just let him cry. 15 minutes later he was sound asleep. Amazing. Although not entirely convincing as the next night we still had to rock him to sleep after 20 minutes of crying. But ever since then he’s only been waking up 2 times a night. I’m not sure if it was just total coincidence, or if that one night of CIO was the reason for the change, but either way things have been better since then.
Although J still wakes 2 times a night on average, I can handle that. And honestly I don’t mind the middle of the night feedings. Someday I’ll miss the snuggle time, and besides, this is what works best for him right now. It did take a friend to look me in the eye and tell me that it was OK to try new things without thinking that I’m failing…sometimes we all need a little reminder from someone in the same shoes.
There are plenty of people, parents, experts out there who would tell me what I “should” do to improve J’s sleep patterns. Who cares? I will continue to do what works best for my kiddo, whether it follows what the books says or not.
On his 3rd nap today – victory 🙂