Where to begin ...
Possibly with the sleep books. I have read:
- Secrets of the Baby Whisperer
- Solve Your Child's Sleep Problems (Ferber)
- Good Night, Sleep Tight
- The No-Cry Sleep Solution
- The New Contended Little Baby Book
- Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child
I have tried the suggestions in each of these books, to varying degrees, and what I have found is that my child is one of those who will cry hysterically for hours, even if he can see me; even if I am holding him; even if I am patting him gently and murmuring consolingly; even if he is well-fed and has a clean diaper and is sitting prettily in the magic sleep window.
What I know:
- If I let my kid cry, he will eventually fall asleep after many hours. If I let him cry continually for days on end, I am somewhat certain he would eventually get the picture and learn to sleep on his own.
- I cannot let my kid cry for days on end.
Which puts me in a difficult position. And on the receiving end of quite a bit of advice. "He will have to cry." This has been said by my husband; by my pediatrician; by my mother; by many, many friends. Eventually, they say, he will have to cry. If not now, then later. The longer you wait, the harder it gets, etc, etc.
I'd come to accept this, and I chose a method that allowed him to cry but also allowed me to comfort him while he did so (The Good Night Sleep Tight method). This method works, although not as quickly as Ferber's method or the extinction method, which I was OK with because it's supposed to be gentler -- babies tend to not react so terribly when their loving parents are sitting at their crib side. I know many people who have successfully tried this method and none of their children reacted as mine did, which is to say he cried so hard for so long that he began choking and finally choked so badly that he stopped breathing and I nearly called 911. So here's how I now feel about any sort of hysterical crying during sleep training: Hell to the no.
The No Cry book is my last hope, and is, of course, the slowest and most difficult method. Which is fine, except for the fact that in the meantime I am the only person who can currently feed or put this kid to bed without him going totally bonkers. And the nap time and bedtime rituals are very elaborate and time consuming. For example, since the 4-month sleep regression (this is a real thing all parents should fear), I have had to hold Graham for the entire duration of his naps. *insert unamused emoji* For weeks, I tried to continue doing what I'd done previously -- nurse the kid to sleep, then put him in his crib for the remainder of his naps. He wasn't sleeping great, but he was sleeping. Now, whenever I put him down, he immediately wakes and cries.
This is not a child who falls asleep easily, or just anywhere. I see people posting photos of their kids asleep on the floor, in the bathtub, in the high chair, you name it, and I just laugh and laugh. If nothing else, I have learned that what moms all say is true: All kids are different. What works for one will not necessarily work for another. I'd amend that to say: What works for most kids probably doesn't work for mine. And that's OK. He comes from a long line of stubborn buttheads. Stubborn buttheads even marry into the family and produce even more stubborn buttheads. I am certainly a stubborn butthead, but apparently not enough of one to force my kid to cry until this problem is solved. Others in my family have solved this same problem with the cry-it-out method and describe hours of crying and vomiting. Stubborn buttheads for life, I tell you.
All that to say ... I just needed to write this because dealing with this on my own most days is a lot. It's grueling at times. I absolutely understand postpartum depression now. At times I feel very alone and desperate and hopeless. I cling to comments from friends who've been where I am and remind me this isn't forever and there are things that will work and to keep trying and when all else fails, there is wine.
My son did not sleep through the night until he was 2.5. I say this not to scare you, but to assure you it does end. He's 8 now, peacefully asleep in the next room. He hasn't woken me at night in years.ReplyDelete
He was the same as your son -- left alone he would WAIL. For HOURS, if I let him. (I didn't. A babysitter did. Never again.) So we gave up sleep training. I stayed home, I was the only one who could get him to sleep for two years.
Did it suck? Absolutely. It was hard. But despite all the "you must [do X] or he'll NEVER [do Y]", it was easier to sleep train him later. I swear this to be true. It does NOT necessarily get harder the longer you wait. So please don't let that be your motivating factor in sleep training.
I'm sorry you're going through this, and I wish I had a good solution but I don't. I gave in, and slept with my son for a couple of years. It was hard on me and my husband, but we all SLEPT, and that made it so much easier. And now he sleeps, no problem. All on his own.
(Also something I told myself to get through the hard times: they say babies who don't sleep / need less sleep are smarter. I have no idea if that's true, but my guy is brilliant of course.)
I've been wondering about the reasoning behind it being difficult to sleep train when they're older. In theory you can reason with them at that point and they better understand what's going on. But I'm no expert, obviously.Delete
If I could co-sleep, I would. I just know it wouldn't work for any of us. :)
I've heard the smartness theory and I hope it's true, haha!
I held J through all her naps till she was 1ish, then napped with her in bed until she was 3ish (i could usually get up once she fell asleep), now for the last year she's been phasing out of naps. She's always slept with me at night, it wasn't until she was 2 1/2 that she would do a routine and go to sleep on her own. It was hardest in the earliest days because there is no break, but with each sleep change it suprised me and was easier that it was on her time rather than me pushing it, kept us both happier. I'm always saying to myself when its hard or i feel like theres no break, in a few short years she's gonna want nothing to do with me so take it in now. But i feel ya!ReplyDelete
It's so reassuring to hear that someone did what I'm doing! And you're right -- this will definitely pass. It's just difficult in the moment. I do really poorly with sleep deprivation.Delete
Do what feels right to you. You know your child best. Everything you are doing is ok, is right and is exactly what you both need. You are a good, loving mom who is doing her best.ReplyDelete
This is a phase and you will both get through it.
This is a phase.
This is a phase.
This is a phase.
You will get through it.
Thank you. :) I know it will pass, and I'm just plugging away! Where is the wine?!Delete
Poor you! You will get through it! Everything concerning babies and children is temporary. It will end. It will change. And then something new will take its place.ReplyDelete
Hang in there!
Thanks, I'm hanging! Seriously I'm just dreading teething now. :)Delete
^^ Wise women! And yes, the argument that if you wait, you're too late is just, well, bullshit. They are babies. Humans are born WAY more dependent and FAR less developed than any other mammal. They just need time.ReplyDelete
This certainly seems to be true for Graham! As time goes on he does improve evvvvver so slightly.Delete
I had a stubborn baby, too. I mean, he never cried and then choked and then stopped breathing (!!!!!), but he would cry and cry and cry. Sleep training with him was hard, but somewhat successful in that the crying stopped. I could put him to sleep in his room in his crib with the help of myself or my husband or a bottle. But he also never once slept through the night until he was well into his second year. I think about 2 1/2. He also had his bottle until he was three, and even then, I only gave it up because a doucher at the grocery store humiliated him and me because of it. I won't lie, I pushed her bottle of wine off the conveyor belt on "accident." Oops. If she wasn't such a condescending bitch, maybe accidents wouldn't happen to her. I'm not sure. Anyway. Parenting is always hard. I'm only nine years in, but I have three boys, and it's just a different kind of hard. And you power through it, like you are, sustained by all these other funny and joyful moments. So take heart! You still have poop and fart and penis jokes to look forward too!ReplyDelete
Mine ALMOST slept through the night three times in a row ... last week, in fact. 9 hours, then 10, then 10 hours 40 minutes, and then the next night it was as if that had never happened and we were back to our usual two wake ups. WHAT THE HELL. Growth spurt, I'm guessing.Delete
People are so judgmental about how others raise their kids and they need to STFU.
And there really is joy! I do get so much joy out of raising him, thank goodness. Otherwise I'd really be up a creek. And the penis thing has already started, as I'm sure you're familiar with. Starting about a month ago, bath time became I Play With My Penis Time. Lol