Thursday, December 30, 2010

Tough Love: my baby won't sleep

Running up to 2 years
2 years = 730 nights
730 nights with no more than 4 consecutive hours of sleep
730 nights getting out of bed once or twice or three or four times a night
730 nights listening to a little girl cry herself to sleep

I had enough - I read 5 books - heard countless 'have you tried...?' - tried countless things and methods - bookmarked hundreds of webpages talking about toddler's sleep (or lack of) - watched too many episodes of Super Nanny.

Control crying did sort out the 'going to bed' dilemma in the evening but it did not solve the 'waking up in the middle of the night.
Letting her cry it out, only resulted in completely sleepless nights.... until now

So forgive me - I'm not a bad mother - but I decided to give the latter another go. She can cry all she wants - cry all night long for all I care - she needs to learn that I will not be there until the morning - I decide when she wakes up not her.

And you know what?
It worked
It finally worked

In the many things I read, a doctor said there are two misconceptions from - the first one is that for a child to sleep from 12 midnight to 5am is sleeping through the night - but that did not even apply to my kid. The second is that in spite of your best efforts and applying the book rules to the letter - if your child is not ready - he is just NOT READY. I am suddenly finding out that this is very true.

On Monday night, Gabrielle cried - what felt like - most of the night
On Tuesday night, Gabrielle cried for very short periods (twice 15-20 minutes)
On Wednesday night, Gabrielle only cried once for 15 minutes
On Thursday night, Gabrielle only cried once but did not call for mommy or daddy
Tonight might just be the night where the cry is just a whimper and/or that she sleeps through.

The irony of it all is that I feel more tired than ever. I guess I have 730 nights' worth of sleep to catch up on.
For the benefit of desperate parents who might stumble upon this page, these are the books I read, but none of them helped except combined with each other -
  • Sleep by Beatrice Hollyer and Lucy Smith (in theory - should have been very good, it teaches you good habits and sleep routine before baby arrives - but that did not help with Byelle)
  • the no-cry sleep solution by Elizabeth Pantley (nothing good came out of it)
  • The Sleepeasy solution by Jennifer Waldburger and Jill Spivack (fixed the going to bed dilemma - with control crying - very reassuring for parents who don't want to hear their baby cry)
  • The Baby Whisperer by Tracy Hogg (I personally don't like her)
  • The Sleep Guide by Gina Ford (another partisan of the crying method - but now I have to admit it works)
What you need to remember is:
1) control crying or letting your kid cry will work but maybe not this time
2) Your kid does not hold against you so stay strong and stick to the rules of the method
3) but if your kid is not ready - he's just not ready the first time we did control crying - she was 8 months old and cried all night for 2 weeks with no improvement whatsoever - the second time we tried letting her cry, she was 17 months for 3 nights and except for exhausting me and her dad had not made a dent in her bad habit
4) Books that claim you don't have to let your baby cry are lying - they will ask you to let your baby cry - but refer back to #2
feel free to email me if you have question or need support - I've been there and it's been exhausting.


Libellule said...

Yay! That's great that she's finally understood it! Now, maybe you will be able to start catching up on that sleep;) I wish you restful, peaceful nights for the new year!

Vancouver Voyeur said...

I don't know whether everyone's advice was annoying or reassuring. My son actually had a sleep disorder that wasn't diagnosed until he was 8. For the first year of his life he could not sleep for more than 30 minutes at a stretch. He screamed constantly. The doctor assured me he was just collicky. I tried every solution known to parenthood and nothing worked. He could not stay asleep. By age 2 he was still awake but by then instead of screaming, he began getting up in the night and playing with toys or wandering around the house. Still not getting me any sleep, but at least not as loud or stressful. By age 8, he couldn't wake up. If he was sick in the night, he would vomit in his sleep, be choking on the vomit but never wake up. He began sleep walking, would injure himself and be bleeding and still not wake up. I took him to a specialist who told me the things they could do, but said he likely would outgrow it by age 9 so did I want to wait or go the drug route? I waited, and he did outgrow it. You just never know why it happens or what will work. So you're not a bad mother, you just have to go with what works for you. Hope you find some peace.

La Cremiere said...

Thanks Libellule - I'd been waiting eagerly for this day. :)

Hi V V,at first the recommendations were welcome - anything was worth a try in desperation - but after a while it is so annoying because you know more than people (from reading and trying methods) but ppl are so patronising cos they have no idea!!

by Kitem said...

Very well done. Congratulation. And now you have so much to catch up. I dear hope that you'll be soon able to sleep through the night and say good bye to those dark circles around your eyes. Big hugs and kisses to adorable baby Gabrielle.

Tee aka The Diva's Thoughts said...

Wow! Good deal. Maybe now you can get some sleep finally.

tweetey30 said...

Yayy for sleeping nights.. I have to admit I never had these problems with the girls.. Even putting them both in the toddler bed at 18 months each..

But again I hope this sleep keeps up and you can manage some time to catch up also.. Have missed you my friend.. and photo's of the beautiful little girl. I am not on FB to often but enough.

Don Carlo said...

Good Night!

Knock knock - it's cancer! said...

Oh, the good old days of sleepless nights. I have to admit I enjoy these nights (with the kids being 11 and 9) so much more.

Time flies though, and there are sooo many awesome things about being 2. One of them is that they are cute beyond belief. :)

At 11 years old they are less cute and way more annoying. Hahah... they want a cellphone and everything is 'unfair' because their friends have all this stuff and you are just a bad mother cause you won't give it to them... ugh.

I miss the good old days :)