Sleep is such a boring topic. We all do it, Americans don't get enough of it, most people wish theirs was of better quality... blah, blah, blah. But since becoming a parent, I've read more about sleep than I've read about any other topics combined. Since I started talking about our recent issues on Facebook and on this blog, I've had several friends and family members inquire as to what's been going on. Here is our story.....
In those first few days of parenthood, when you're bleary-eyed and nearly hallucinating from lack of sleep, the previous generation -- and parents of older children -- smile sympathetically, tell you to hang in there, and promise you that it will get better.
Husband and I were thrilled when this started to be true. I remember the blissful six-hour stretch (which we had to interrupt to leave for the train station) somewhere around five weeks. It was our own little utopia.
We have had good nights and bad, but on Friday, February 25, it all went to pieces. Baby slept for 2.5 hours and was then up every 40-90 minutes the rest of the night. We were absolutely exhausted the next day and couldn't wait for night to come so we could have a better night.
Unfortunately, the next night was just as bad -- maybe worse. Consecutive nights continued in the same fashion: one stretch of 2-3 hours, then around 30-120 minutes the rest of the night. We were starting to feel terminally nauseated from the sheer lack of uninterrupted hours of sleep.
I was reading everything I could on infant sleep, and I reserved several books from the library, although I honestly didn't expect them to help us much. We were trying everything we had heard to help baby get to sleep and stay there, and nothing was working. We called our pediatrician's office the second morning, and she told us to let our 9-week-old baby cry it out.
(At that point, we decided not to seek medical advice again until his 2-month appointment the next week since we know our pediatrician is of like mind -- his "cry it out" rule is one minute per month, which is much more in line with what we feel right about / can handle.)
Then I remembered that I had borrowed a book from our La Leche League chapter at last month's meeting. It is called Nighttime Parenting, and it's by Dr. Sears. I'd picked it up because I had been struggling with short naps, but shortly thereafter, I came to terms with those short naps... they just took some getting used to, but I now know they're normal enough and are not detrimental to my son's development or health. So I hadn't opened the book. However, in my desperation, I started reading. I hadn't read anything by Dr. Sears before, except for an article of his I'd found on the internet several weeks earlier -- that article had been in line with my parenting philosophies (such as they are), so I at least knew that I'd likely agree with his methods, even if whatever he had to say was stuff I'd heard and tried already.
Nighttime Parenting was a fine book, but I was right: we had tried all this stuff before. But then I came to the chapter entitled "Nighttime Parenting and the High Need Baby," and it rocked my world.
to be continued...