And here I go again…frantically browsing through baby blogs, book reviews on Amazon, and asking experienced girlfriend moms for the ultimate baby sleep solution.
Here’s my story:
Emma is a happy baby. Period. She has the most adorable grin going from one side of her pretty face to the other for most of the day (and even during night feedings). She giggles a lot. Or whatever those cute sounds are. At the age of 21 weeks, she is quite advanced in her development according to her pediatrician (yes, I am one of those proud moms and not afraid to talk about it). Her rolling over is A+. She’s been rollin’ around for a few days now – onto her tummy and back onto her back. And just the other day, we reached another milestone: She fell asleep in her crib all by herself. Not in the bassinet. In her crib. In her room. No rocking, no nursing-to-sleep. No crying. Sounds perfect, doesn’t it?
Ha, not so fast…
Here’s the problem: First of all, it has only happened once again since. Secondly, she won’t sleep through the whole night. There it is.
For the first stretch of the night, Emma sleeps up to 4 1/2 hours (see Part 2). But…then comes the night. At night, she wakes up about every 2 hours, wanting to be fed. I sure am totally guilty of taking the easy way out – feeding her until she falls asleep again without ‘working’ on getting a full feeding. Dang it, I am exhausted. How am I supposed to stay awake night after night to keep baby awake for a full feeding, burp her and gently ‘force’ her back to sleep? (All the while, trying
to cast out any resentment towards not to wake my other half who’s in his REM phase and annoyingly peacefully snoring.)
During the day, Emma takes three naps: at 10am, around 2pm and 4pm. They used to be two hours long. Now, she barely sleeps for an hour.
Nonetheless, she wakes up happy. Cooing, smiling and ready to get up and play. She isn’t cranky or fussy at all. She may, however, still rub her eyes and continues to yarn = signs of tiredness.
So what would the perfect mom do? Continue the existing ‘routine’ because she is after all a happy baby and developing just fine? Or making changes in an attempt to stretch out those naps? I’ve read plenty of times that babies who don’t get enough nap time during the day, end up waking more frequently during the night. Maybe that’s our problem…
They say, “do what you works for you”, “follow your instinct”, “a mom knows best”. Well, I don’t know best. There are days where I am confident and secure in my mothering skills and believe in myself and that I’m doing something right because she’s so happy. But on the contrary, she’s simply not sleeping well at night and I’m about to have a meltdown myself as I am beyond exhaustion. But this is not about me and my needs. An exhausted mother who doesn’t sleep during the night cannot be alert and energetically tending to her child.
All I know is that I oppose the CIO method (crying it out). It just breaks my heart to let my little one cry herself to sleep. Even just a little bit. I don’t want her to feel like I’m deserting her, leaving her alone, scaring her because I’m not there for her.
If only sleep training was as easy as learning a new language. Or training your dog. Who is, by the way, curled up and snoozing in the middle of the living room. And I didn’t even have to rock him…
(to be continued…)