NIGHT NIGHT LITTLE ONE
When you're home on maternity leave, I think you completely expect to be up at all hours nursing your little hungry bunny back to their sleepy state. I did that for three months and even after I went back to work, Mr. Kanyon would still eat every 2 or 3 hours. Then, something magical happened when he turned like 4 1/2 or 5 months.... he slept 9 hours at a stretch! I was doing a happy dance! (Granted, I was still waking up every couple of hours to make sure our little bundle was breathing... but does that ever go away?)
Then... the sleepymoon was over. At about 7 months, punkin boy decided to start waking up every time his pacifier fell out of his mouth. I guess I'm a light sleeper because I got right out of bed every time to pop it back in. I would, in my sleep-deprived-state, also nurse him if a short rocking session didn't work. This, may have been where I went wrong. After doing some reading I guess I taught him that he could have me with a snap of his little fingers. I can't attribute it all to just attention-getting manipulation. I know teething and colds contributed as well. It only got worse and pretty soon I was getting out of bed almost every hour some nights! The giving and nurturing side of me felt like this was my chosen duty as mom. I signed up for this, right?
Then, the two months of 4 to 5 hours of sleep for this working mom started wearing thin. Really thin. I couldn't keep my eyes open to pump at night! I knew something had to change, so I started making sure we did the whole "wind down time" thing every night. We dimmed the lights, started talking softly and made his bath time all about relaxation versus play time. This worked a little better, but he'd still wake up at 4:30 a.m. and 7 a.m. or so.
I'd heard of sleep training. I'd read about it. I'd even seen it in action with my friend's 4 month old! But somehow the visions of a screaming face staring at me from his crib for hours at a time scared me away from it. I didn't want him to think he was being abandoned or that he can't count on us. I knew he could sleep through the night without eating, so that wasn't a problem. There was the issue of having him cry at daycare and wake the other babies... but his new daycare room has a separate sleep area, so that problem was solved. Our pediatrician says he trained his kids at 6 and 9 months and they felt the 9 month old had a better time of it. With Kanyon, at 9 months of age, I feel like he knows he's safe and his mom and dad will be there when he wakes up.
So like jumping rope, I saw my opening this weekend and jumped in.
For the first time in ages, he wasn't teething and he wasn't sick! So here goes! I decided Friday night was the night we were going to take the leap and "sleep train" our little man. It had to be all or nothing for it to work so we decided to do it. I told my mom during our Skype conversation that night and out of nowhere I started getting really emotional about it! I guess without realizing it, I was having trouble letting go of my cuddle time, too. We have rocked Kanyon to sleep since he was born and I am really sad to say goodbye to that special time with him. He's such a busy little buddy, so he has no time to cuddle! I guess I'll just have to trick him into snuggling for story time.
So once that was out of my system, I was ready. Chris and I put him down to sleep that night on his own and he cried for 7 minutes and conked out. Success!! I thought, thank you Lord, I can do this!! (the video monitor my friend gave me for my shower also took a lot of the worry away. We could see exactly what he was doing and how close he was to falling asleep on his own).
The next day at naptime he cried for 15 minutes. We did the whole "comfort him after 10 minutes" thing and it seemed to help. The later nap was the hardest and it took 30 minutes for him to fall asleep. However, the following day was a breeze! In 30 seconds or less he grabbed his "comfort item" (blanket) and snuggled in (albeit in the weirdest positions). I couldn't believe how easy it was! And, might I mention, he slept through the night those nights! I think he made a few sounds here and there but nothing to get out of bed for... which is awesome... except my body has been training since pregnancy to get up all the time at night so now I'm the one who needs sleep training!
We had one more hurdle: daycare sleep training.
I had a little talk with Kanyon before we left and told him not to cry, just to grab his blankey and relax. I told him naps are one of the best treats in this life and someday he'll wish he could take more of them. I also asked him not to wake the little babies in the room with any screaming... that he would be okay and Miss Andrea and Miss Carole would be there when he woke up. (I've been having these chats since he was in the womb and he honestly always "listens" to me... even when I told him it would be great if he would arrive on New Year's Eve! - true story)
We left instructions and the kind ladies at the center were all about helping us be consistent for Kanyon's sake. We got an awesome report card for the first 2 naps... no crying at all! What!?! I was the proudest mom in Wisconsin on Monday. I did find out that he cried pretty hard during his last nap and Miss Carole couldn't take it and let him play instead. :) I understand... I totally understand!
He's back in a groove and no cries today and he didn't make a peep last night. I think this will change my life! I maybe won't need 8 pounds of concealer under my eyes every night and would love to get the pep back in my step! I hope we've not only done ourselves a favor, but Kanyon as well. Like our pediatrician said, knowing how to fall asleep on their own is a basic skill they need for their lifetime. I am relieved it was as painless as it was for all of our sakes. I can't say this blog would have been as positive or the outcome as successful if he wouldn't have learned so quickly. I am too much of a softie to listen to my baby cry too long!
On a related note, I did a story yesterday about a new study on SIDS. I think all parents would be interested to learn that doctors discovered babies who are vaccinated have half the risk of dying from SIDS. That's a big prevention percentage. Also, doctors recommend giving babies a pacifier at naptime, removing all kinds of bumpers from cribs and laying baby on their back for sleep. Just in case you hadn't heard I thought it fit this blog post!
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