Monday, August 6, 2012

Crying it out...

...emphasis on the crying.

I have reached my breaking point with Ben's ridiculous sleeping patterns. After a lengthy conversation with my friend Vicki last week I realized there was something pretty major keeping me from trying to take control over this whole sleep situation. Those that know me can attest to the fact that very rarely is anything in my house "out of control" (read: April is a control freak, what the heck is going on!?!). It completely goes against my nature to have let the situation go on for as long as it has, and yet here we are.

Sitting there at dinner I had a major, and slightly heartbreaking realization. I am failing to take control over the situation because I feel like I don't know my baby. I try so hard not to compare the kids but this is one thing that I just can't ignore. Lily and I were so in sync from day one. I knew her cry, her coos, and her wiggles. I knew when she was hungry or tired, gassy or just plain angry...and best of all I always felt like I knew how to comfort her. When I decided to let her cry it out I knew she was ready. Ben is a totally different story. Overall he is not an unhappy baby at all, but when he is, I almost always feel like I have no idea what he wants/needs. With each wail I think to myself, "let the desperate guessing games begin". Which brings us to the root of the problem, I feel like I can't just let him "cry it out" because I am never 100% positive that he doesn't need me. I know there are plenty of moms out there that feel very differently about sleep training and would never let their baby cry it out for any length of time. I will say that for Lily, like almost everything else, sleep training was textbook. She cried 30 minutes the first nap, 15 the next, and by the third day had given up on the crying all together. I now have a toddler who has never once given me a hard time about going to sleep. I dug out her baby book this weekend and lo and behold, Lily was 12 weeks old when I decided she could handle a little crying. Like I said, I try not to compare the kids, but looking at her baby book did confirm that according to the calendar Ben isn't necessarily too young to be subjected to this particular form of torture. I am just kidding of course. I think the whole thing is far more torturous for me than it is him!

Back to the bigger issue, I have got to get over this insecure feeling. I have to tell myself that there is a difference between not know what Ben wants (right this minute) and what he needs. After giving myself a full day to think about it I realized that I can control the situation better than I have been. I can set myself up to be more confident about letting little man learn to soothe himself. As long as I have put Ben down in the pack and play in our room (which is where is sleeps on and off all night long) with a full belly, made sure he has had a burp or two, changed his diaper and swaddled him up, there is no reason he can't put himself to sleep.

(Friday) Day 1 of sleep training began on Friday at nap time. Ben wailed, and I mean WAILED, for 25 minutes. I finally couldn't take it anymore and went in to check on him. I didn't pick him up but I did turn the sleep sheep back on and tighten up the swaddle. Fifteen more minutes of crying later he gave it up and went to sleep.

That night Matt gave him his usual 5oz bottle and off to bed he went. About 20 minutes later he started to fuss and I insisted that nether of us go to him. After an hour of on and off screaming I couldn't take it anymore, it was 12:30am and I was exhausted. As soon as I picked him up he stopped crying and closed his eyes. He got me, he totally got me...spoiled little bugger.

(Saturday) Day 2 of sleep training went a little first. At nap time he only cried for about 15 minutes and then went to sleep. Problem being, he woke up less than an hour later and I didn't know at that point whether to get him or let him cry. I went in and soothed him hoping he would go back to sleep but he cried hard for another 45 minutes (I went in and patted him twice) and by that point I was sure it was because he was hungry.

At bed time he went right to sleep but then carried through with night time shenanigans waking every 45 minutes to an hour from 1am to 4am when I finally nursed him. Then he decided he was wide awake and didn't go back to sleep until after 6am.

Sunday (Day 3) More of the same. Nap time was a pretty much identical to the previous day. An hour and a half of crying punctuated at the 45 minute mark by 30 minutes of sleeping.

I was so tired on Sunday night that not only did I not go for my every-other-day run (the first workout I have missed since Ben was 6 weeks old) but I decided that more changes to the schedule are in order. Again I used Lily's baby book as a reference. Why I hadn't done this before now I have no idea. At 3 months Lily was taking a 6-7oz bottle from Matt at 7pm. She was then "down for the night" until exactly 3:30am when she would wake and I would nurse her for about 30 minutes and then put her back to bed. When she woke up for the day around 7:30 Matt would take her downstairs for a bottle and I would sleep for a little longer until I needed to pump. It was a beauty of a schedule. So that is what we are shooting for.

Last night was not exactly a success but it wasn't a total failure either. Ben had his bottle at 8ish (Lily goes to bed at 7 and getting them both down then would be impossible) and was sound asleep by 8:15. He slept like a champ until 1:30am. Not quite 3:30 but a five hour block is pretty sweet. I nursed him and put him back to bed by 2am. This is where it gets u.g.l.y. Ben was up every hour until 5:30 when I decided he was probably actually hungry and not just crying to be held. I nursed him and changed his diaper, secretly hoping the entire time that Matt would wake up and offer to take Ben such luck. At 7:30 we nursed again and I woke Matt up to say that he had to take the baby. I tried to go back to sleep but it was no use and at 8:00 I went in to get miss Lily.

So far today he cried through his morning nap only sleeping about 15 minutes between 10 and 11:30. Having the video monitor is helping me stay strong in terms of going in to check on him. I can see that he is still swaddled, has not spit up, and is just mad, mad, mad. Right now I am typing one handed as I eat my lunch and try to ignore Ben crying through nap attempt number two. To say that this totally sucks in the understatement of the year.

I have one week to give this new schedule a try before I go home to Maine for a week with the kids (without Matt). I am just hoping and praying that we have something that resembles a schedule before then, otherwise all of this crying (his and mine) really will have been for nothing.

In case you were wondering Ben is asleep now after only 15 minutes of crying. How long he will stay asleep is anyone's guess!


  1. I have nothing to offer but hugs from afar. Good luck! I smile when I think of Lily telling me he doesn't cry. She's clearly asleep for most of it.

  2. oh, man. This sounds horrible. The sound of your child crying is like 1000 nails down the chalkboard, so stay strong and hang in there, mama. I hope this phase passes soon!