Ever since I told the internet that we are sleep-training everyone has wanted a full play-by-play. Who am I to deny the people what they want?
So here’s the skinny:
Tesser does not sleep. Well, she does. Just not for long.
Since birth Tessa’s been up about every 2 hours all night. With a couple of exceptions this is every night.
The last few weeks it’s been worse. We’re talking every hour. I hadn’t realized how bad it was in my half-asleep haze until I started counting. And realized I was up 6+ times EVERY NIGHT.
Tessa has been a pretty good self-soother. We trained her with naps relatively easily. For a month or so she’d cry up to ten minutes when put down but got past it.
Nights were worse. Sometimes it would take us a couple hours, lots of rocking, multiple feedings to get her down. We tried CIO for a while unsuccessfully. What’s actually worked has been putting her down with Graham and doing a joint bedtime routine. There are pajamas, stories and songs. If she’s upset, he talks to her. It’s gone really well.
But after that it’s been a disaster. When she wakes up at night she’s not all the way awake. She flails and screams, she doesn’t calm down if I pick her up. If anything she gets more angry. She won’t take a pacifier, which is part of her normal soothing routine for naps. The only thing that calms her is nursing.
After doing this for so long, I finally realized that the lack of sleep was taking a toll on my wellness. I was operating as a non-functioning person. I might as well have been in the middle of a depression or with a terrible cold.
So I sucked it up.
I paid for a sleep consult.
This is one of those things that sounds so bourgeois, right? So Park Slope mommy. But I didn’t have enough confidence to think that any one book was going to have the right answer. And I wasn’t willing to try something that I wasn’t confident about.
The consults were very well reviewed. My sleep is very important to me. So I sucked it up.
I filled out several pages of paperwork and had a long phone call.
And Saturday night, it began.
The plan was to take what ended up being a typical CIO approach. But now I was confident and calm about it instead of doubting myself.
I check in on her every so often. I can’t touch her or anything, it just sets her off. Mostly I’m just checking in to make sure her feet aren’t stuck in the bars of the crib, since that’s been happening a lot lately.
I feed her twice a night at set approximate times. 12-ish and 3-ish are the plan. For the first couple days I instituted an extra 5-ish feeding just for my own sake.
How It’s Going Down
Night #1. Tessa went down around 7:30. Her first wake-up is usually around 10 or 11, but she was feeling extra nice so she woke up around 9:30. I hadn’t gone to bed yet, I was just getting ready to turn in. But instead I stayed up while she cried.
For two hours.
I moved Graham into my bed and continued my periodic check-ins. I watched TV and played freecell.
Finally. Finally she went to sleep.
By then it was around 11:30. Her next wakeup wasn’t until 1:30, 90 minutes after her approximate feeding time of midnight, so I fed her. She was up again at 3:30. Gave her her 3 a.m. feeding. Up again at 5;30. Fed her again. And then she slept till nearly 8.
Ironically, I got little sleep. Graham has a cold and he was very restless, kicking all night long.
Night #2. Tessa went down around 7:30 again. Once again she was up at 9:30. This time she only stayed up for 45 minutes. But she woke up after her midnight feeding and was up for 90 minutes while I laid in bed and waited. When she had that long wake-up, I once again moved Graham into my bed and got to endure his rolling around for the rest of the night.
Besides that, she stuck to her feedings or went back to sleep quickly.
Night #3. Down at 7. (She’d been taking frequent but short naps and now had a cold, so the kids went down early.) Took until past 9:30 for her to go to sleep. I totally caved and fed her at 4:30 a.m. even though I’d planned on ditching the 3rd feeding. She was up at 6 and I had to move Graham into my bed to sleep. Luckily she was only up for 20 minutes or so before she started getting quiet and we could rest again. Then she slept until a little past 8.
I’m feeling good so far.
Tessa’s had a cold so I’m actually surprised she’s doing so well. Her daytime naps are all out of sync, but she seems to be getting the picture and at least showing signs of self-soothing at night, which is progress.
I’m still sleep-deprived and not fully functional. But I’m starting to feel like I’m getting a little bit better. I’ll be sure to update in a week or so and let you know how we’re doing.
Big thanks to my friends on Twitter who have been there for the sad awake-baby tweets and been so sympathetic.
Please, share your baby-sleep-training experiences. Tell me it gets better. Will Night 4 be magic???