I have decided that I am going to kick off with a post about what I have been dealing with over the past few months and more intensely this week. Sleep, or lack of sleep.
When Addison was born, she was a little angel in the sleep department. We were fairly flexible with her, we let her snooze when she was tired and while she didn’t sleep a whole night on her own from the beginning, she slept decent chunks at a time meaning that we got fairly decent rest during the night. We were open to co sleeping if it meant getting a good nights sleep and eventually she began sleeping through the night. Don’t get me wrong, we had our hiccups with her, when she decided she could stand up she refused to go to sleep by herself, she would just stand up in the cot and cry. But we bought the no cry sleep solution, as crying it out was just not an option for us, and she got right back on track and really has never looked back. At two and a half she is still an excellent sleeper, she has dropped her day nap, but night time sleeping is a piece of cake for her.
Scarlett on the other hand, is not Addison. And she wants the world to hear about it…all night if possible. So I figured thats fine, I will just co sleep again. But no, co sleeping means that she wants to feed all night. And on top of that, she is a wriggler, so I don’t get much space as she feels she is entitled to all of it. So I put her in her own room in her cot, she sleeps about two hours at first and then she is up again wanting to feed again, and after that she is up every 40 minutes or so. So I brought out the no cry sleep solution again, thinking it would save us again, but no. Scarlett was not interested in any of Elizabeth Pantley’s solutions. *I have to note that I love Elizabeth Pantley’s book, and her methods, but Scarlett on the other hand did not want to know about any of it.
Lucky for us Michael works shift work so he has been getting up with the girls in the morning allowing me a couple of hours of sleep. But that is basically all that I have been getting, and on mornings that he actually goes to work, sleep is just not a luxury that I am afforded.
Which brings me to this week. Being somewhat fed up with our current sleeping/no sleeping arrangements I decided to look into other “sleep training” methods. I have heard a lot about cry it out, and I have never been a fan of it. Leaving your baby in their bed in a dark room by themselves and letting them cry themselves to sleep? Sounds down right mean if you ask me! But Scarlett would cry and squirm if I held her, she would cry in her bed, she would cry in my bed, she was up all night. I figured I could look into it. So I googled and I went out and borrowed Dr Richard Sear’s book from the library. (The library! Who would have thought? I never go to the library.) My main concern was the crying, and also how to manage a night with a baby who is exclusively breast fed.
Dr Sears book was actually a good read, there are actually a lot of similarities between his book and Elizabeth Pantley’s book when it comes to explaining how a baby sleeps and a baby’s sleep cycle. However there are also a lot of differences between the two books when it comes to a baby sleeping through the night and how to get the baby to do that. But I wont go into that anymore, you can read the books yourself if you are interested.
So, I have incorporated the two theories and have created the “no cry, but realistically there will be some tears, sleep solution”. And so far the results have been excellent! Yes, I will be honest, there have been tears, but with Scarlett I am afraid it is just unavoidable. She has gone from sleeping for 40 minutes at a time and waking up to ten times per night to waking up three times per night and only needing one or two feeds per night and settling herself back to sleep the other times. Plus by using methods from the no cry sleep solution it means that we still have cuddles and I still feed her to sleep, we allow co sleeping from 5am so we still get to have a little sleep together. But we have allowed for some crying with interval checks. Dr Sears has recommended certain intervals, but we have decided to use our own as his calls for leaving her when she wakes up for three to five minutes, and Scarlett seems to be waking because she gets her arms and legs stuck in the cot (mesh cot bumper has now been purchased!) so we need to make sure that that hasn’t happened first.
The first night she cried, well whinged for 15 minutes, second night she whinged for 5 minutes and since then her whinging basically lasts about 5 minutes. If it goes any longer than 5-10 minutes I feed her back to sleep.
What I have learnt from this experience and what I will pass on is that no two babies are the same. I figured that as Addi was an angel that Scarlett would be too. And while she is an angel in many departments, sleeping has certainly not been her strong point. No single theory or sleep method is going to work on every single baby, and even though the crying solution is not the avenue I wanted to go down, we did (sort of) and it worked.
Fingers crossed it lasts! Might even get a date night some time soon.