First, the good things. Alex weighs 12 pounds, 15 ounces! He has more than doubled his birth weight of 6lb, 3oz. Go little peanut, go! He is healthy in every way and has such good upper body strength that she cleared us for stomach sleeping even though he’s not rolling over. She felt around in his mouth and exclaimed that he’s getting a tooth! I can’t really feel it, but she was confident.
Then we talked about sleep. This appointment was perfectly timed because this has been our worst week ever with sleep; as in, he’s been waking up every hour or hour and a half consistently all week. We explained what’s been going on and here were her points:
- He obviously can’t get back to sleep without us. That needs to change.
- Every night that he gets a bad night’s sleep (so, every night of his life so far), he is more tired the next day and a bit more sleep-deprived than before.
- Thus, “waiting it out” is not an option because he’s going to start sleeping less and less, not more and more. We know this is true because he used to sleep 7-11 like clockwork and for a good 5 weeks it’s been 7-9:30 or 7-10. It’s not getting better on its own.
- She was adamant that teething is not causing this sleep disruption.
- She was also adamant that giving him solids or formula will not help. I knew that, but I get this advice so often that it was nice to be validated. He is not waking up because he’s hungry. He’s waking up at the end of every sleep cycle. It’s different.
- She was 100% confident that if we used the Ferber method and stuck with it, followed it exactly, it would work. She said he is capable of sleeping at the VERY MINIMUM, 8 hours a night, if not 10-12.
This, about a child who has slept MAYBE five hours ONCE.
I read Ferber last night. It’s so much gentler than I thought it would be. And maybe I’m just drinking the kool-aid here, but it makes sense to me. Here’s where my brain is now:
- His crying has changed in the past couple of weeks. He no longer has a newborn cry. He whines to be picked up, etc. He knows how to get a response from me. That’s fine, I’m happy to respond to his needs…during the day. NOT every 75 minutes all night long. To me, this change in crying signals he’s ready for CIO.
- I wanted to wait till 6 months, anyway. The pediatrician urged us not to do that. She said he’s ready now. I believe her.
- I still don’t like the idea of letting him cry, but at this point I truly have no choice and I do think it’s the right thing for us to do.
- I cannot function like this. In the past month, a two-hour stretch of sleep has become something to celebrate. I make stupid mistakes while I’m driving. I’m worthless at work. I feel sick to my stomach most of the time from sleep deprivation. I’m getting sick (which very rarely happens, usually). My marriage is suffering.
- Maybe there are moms out there who could live this way without letting their child CIO. I am not one of them.
- I’m really effing tired of everyone telling me their baby doesn’t sleep well either. Then you find out, maybe they don’t sleep well THAT WEEK, or maybe they “only” sleep three hours at a time, or maybe they’ve slept 8 hours a night since they were 6 weeks old and are now having a sleep regression. None of that is our case. My baby has never learned to sleep without me. I have gotten no breaks and it feels, at night, like I am still caring for a newborn.
- I’m also tired of issuing the standard disclaimer. I DO love my son. I love him more than anything in this world. I have never once gotten angry with him for waking me up (I direct the anger at my husband, though, which is also bad). I’d rather deal with this than with infertility. But, I shouldn’t have to keep saying this. No matter how much you love someone, being woken up every 75 minutes for multiple days in a row is a slow form of torture.
One more night of constant night nursing, and then Friday night we start Ferber.
I’m going to be so flipping engorged.