(Ok, so this song isn't fitting at all, but I can't get it out of my head today, and it's a hell of a lot better than that damned Bruno Mars song. I swear I'm going to shoot someone if I have to hear that song one more effing time. Good for him that he's rich, single, and childless enough to sit around all frigging day with his hand down his pants. I don't need to hear about it in crappy song form 75 times a day. *Ahem*)
It has been one of those mornings. It’s like two Mondays in one. Nothing in particular is wrong; it’s just Monday. Sleep deprivation, probably. No, not probably; definitely.
You see, we’re transitioning Flintstone to the crib. Up until a few weeks ago we had been co-sleeping (technically the term is bed-sharing; co-sleeping includes the baby sleeping in a crib in the same room as the parents, but colloquially people seem to recognize co-sleeping as meaning bed-sharing). I love co-sleeping. It’s just so easy. From the time we started when Flintstone was a week or two old I have rarely been sleep deprived. We lay down to go to bed and he’s out. If he gets hungry or needs comfort during the night, he just roots around and cuddles up to me and I rarely even have to wake up for it.
It really has been an ideal situation up until recently. I had a bedrail (installed with all safety precautions attended to) on my side of the bed, and Flinstone would sleep between me and the bedrail because MacGyver was nervous about bumping or elbowing Flintstone in his sleep (even though when they have taken *adorable* naps together it’s never been an issue). Plus it was nice not having a baby between us at night. We have a king bed so I could just scoot over to the middle of the bed and it was almost more like a sidecar arrangement. But eventually Flintstone became able to crawl/roll/squirm down toward the end of the bedrail and soon he was able to pull himself up on it.
Now I have never once slept through Flintstone waking up. It is a scientifically proven fact that breastfeeding mothers who co-sleep (SOBER) are acutely aware of the movements and wakings of their babies. I certainly was. Nevertheless, it worried me to wake up and see Flintstone immediately me a b-line for the end of the bed or lean over the bedrail.
So we moved him into the middle. After all, he’s a lot bigger now (almost 21lbs!!!), and it’s unlikely that MacGyver would be able to roll over onto him without instantly knowing it. This worked for a little while until MacGyver accidentally “hit” Flintstone in his sleep. Now, he didn’t hit him hard at all. It didn’t even wake Flintstone up, but it was enough to freak MacGyver out. And Flintstone still loves to take off for the end of the bed (which is where the bedrail is now) or try to climb over us.
So I drag my exhausted butt out of bed, pick him up, and nurse him for 6 seconds until he passes back out. Overall, not a fun time.
And it’s my fault. I KNOW this. You don’t have to tell me. I’ve spent 8 months letting him fall asleep in the boob. He’s formed a very strong sleep association. Lying down to nurse = bedtime. Waking up in the night = time to nurse back to sleep. And it was great while it lasted. But now I’m paying for it. Because he wakes up every hour. And while a baby who wasn’t nursed back to sleep all the time might already be able to re-settle himself during brief night waking, Flintstone doesn’t yet know how.
But we’re working on it.
I got The No-Cry Sleep Solution since it was recommended by Dr. Sears – who’s advice I have always found trustworthy so far. I’m only ½ - 2/3 of the way through the book, but so far I love it. It makes absolute perfect sense and lays out a number of wonderful suggestions for gently using classical and operant conditioning to teach Flintstone to fall asleep on his own and resettle during brief night wakings. (Note: the book doesn’t call it classical or operant conditioning – that’s the soc/psych/anthropologist in me talking).
I dutifully tracked all his wakings for three nights and MacGyver and the nanny have tracked all his naps. Honestly, I didn’t find this tracking all that useful, but maybe I will in 10 days when I track again as comparision.
The first technique I’ve chosen to use is to break Flintstone’s association with falling asleep with a nipple in his mouth. I nurse him until he’s almost asleep, then pull it out. If he gets upset, I give it back. The first night we tried it, this back and forth went on for 30 or so repetitions and lasted about 45 minutes. It was painfully boring, but there was no crying, and in the end it worked. In successive nights, it has taken fewer and fewer repetitions. It’s looking good.
After he’s mastered falling asleep without a nipple, we’ll work on putting him in the crib still a little awake using basically the same technique. After or concurrent with that, we’ll work on not picking him up to sooth him when he wakes up at night, instead trying “soothing words” (think classical conditioning), and patting/rubbing his back.
The only real problem I anticipate is his new night waking habit. See, he still wants to eat – just a tiny snack – every time he wakes up (which is, as I may have mentioned, every hour). And he’s figured out that I’m in the bed next to him and that I’ll pick him up and comfort him back to sleep (because if I don’t pick him up he does eventually start crying). So now, when he wakes up, he rolls around and snuffles and grunts for a few seconds, then he stands up and peers sleepily at me over the railing. This is a problem because he is obviously waking himself up more than need be if he’s standing up to wait for his snack. So we’ll have to see how that one gets resolved.
Already, there have been a couple of times where he’s fussed just a little then fallen back to sleep in his own, so there is already progress and it’s only been about 3 nights. But that progress doesn’t make it any less painful that I can count the number of times I’ve slept more than one hour at a time the last 3 weeks on one hand. Last night, I almost fell asleep standing up holding him. Scary.
But it’s worth it. I cannot do the crying it out thing. It hurts too much and research all points to it being very bad for his little brain.
We’re also working on getting a stronger bedtime routine set up for him, which is a major challenge considering there is precious little time every night, but we’re getting there.
So, today, I’m tired. I’m running on tea and stress. And it won’t be changing overnight. But it is changing. And it’s worth it to do it this way.
I just have to keep reminding myself of that when I get the urge to hurl my computer out the window or curl up under my desk and go to sleep.
Happy Monday All! I’ll try to be a little better at posting this week. Last week was N.U.T.S. at work.