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Friday, December 3, 2010

Fairies? Good or Bad?

I honestly can’t remember…I know that a fairy godmother always does good things.  But maybe pixies sometimes cause trouble...something is niggling the back of my brain telling me that not all fairies are good fairies…but maybe that’s just too many romance novels read! 
Either way, whatever the good kind are called, the one that controls when and how long your baby sleeps apparently made a visit to my house last night…and I welcome her back with open arms any night that she wants to put in a repeat appearance!
You see, something snapped in me the other night.  It happened when precious baby boy woke up at 11:15pm demanding to be fed.  The irrational, sleep-deprived mother in me reared her ugly head and said “Oh, hell no!”  Especially since the normal, sane, rational mom in me had only been asleep for about an hour at that point…but seriously, something just snapped in me and I was like “you can scream and cry all you want, but it is NOT time for you to be fed yet!”  And that’s precisely what I did.  I let him cry.
Now, before anyone gets their panties in a wad about me letting my baby go hungry, I will tell you that he had eaten a full 5 oz bottle less than three hours earlier.  There is NO reason for him to be eating again so soon.  And yes, it was his hungry cry.  But for whatever reason, it did not tug on my heartstrings this time.  I’ve been doing a lot of reading about sleep training and such as he’s approaching that all-important 6 month mark and I would really, really like for him to be sleeping through the night by that point. 
So I gathered him close, crawled back into bed with him in tow, and just let  him cry it out.  Well, technically it’s not a true cry it out since I didn’t leave him on his own to self-soothe and cry all alone in his crib.  But remember, his crib is in our room (we’re out of available extra rooms in our house) and letting him scream and cry in his crib is not as pleasant as letting him scream and cry right next to me in my nice, warm bed.  You see, I can offer him the pacifier every few minutes to try to soothe him…which I can’t do if he’s in his crib.  But I still call it cry it out, since I did nothing else to soothe him.  And I would wait a few minutes between pacifier offerings each time.  
Somewhere in the forty-five minutes of endless screams and wails that ensued, I decided that I had hit the jack-pot of all mothering ideas.  I would force him to eat on MY schedule…that’s what others have been telling me to do for weeks now, I guess I just wasn’t ready to do it while he was so sick and congested.  But he’s all better now, and not cutting a new tooth, so there’s no reason to eat so much at night any more.  I thought in my head that I would feed him at 1am and 5am for a few nights.  He could wake and cry and do whatever, but I would hold firm.  Then the next week (or a few days later) when he adjusted and became used to that schedule, I would length it a bit.  Make him stretch to 1:30am and 5:30am…then 2am and 6am…and before we know it, he’s down to just one nighttime feeding.
Genius, right?  Well…genius for me and our situation. 
So you want to know how it’s going, right?  I guess that I would say at this point (knock on wood) it’s going well.  That first night he cried for 45 minutes, slept for an hour, then cried for another 20 minutes before he got fed.  Went back to sleep in his own bed after being fed.  Woke up about an hour too early and cried for about 15 minutes and then slept until feeding time.  The second night went even better…he again woke up at 11:30 (WAY TOO EARLY!) but only cried for about 5 minutes and then settled down for another hour’s nap.  Woke up about 25 minutes before feeding time and screamed until I gave him a bottle…but I was strong and waited until 1am.  Then he slept straight through until 5am, when I was ready to feed him without a peep from his crib. 
Last night?  Night #3?  He slept until 2am.  And then again until 5:30am.  With not even so much as a whimper in between.  Of course, it probably helped that since he didn’t finish his last bottle of the night after eating what solids we could get into his mouth, we woke him up right before we were ready for bed at 10pm and made him drowsily eat the last half of that bottle.  He was barely awake, went right back to sleep…and then let Mommy sleep for a 4 hour stretch. 
Nice. 
So whether it’s a sleep fairy…a fairy godmother of sleep…or a sleep pixie…she can come back and see me again tonight if she wants.  I’d even put out some homemade bread or cookies if that would guarantee me a repeat visitor…whatever it takes, right? 
Bring it on…please…pretty please?!?!

1 comment:

Nikkolish said...

Oh how I remember those days! The endless nights of sleep deprivation and nighttime feedings. It seems like they will never end. I also remember how hard it was to let my daughter cry it out. I'm praying that it will continue going well and that you will be able to hold strong. It will be better for your sanity! =] Hang in there friend!