Night 3 of sleep training and “Bad Mother” thoughts

April 12, 2010

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Good Night, Sleep Tight Workbook: The Sleep Lady's Gentle Step-by-step Guide for Tired ParentsYesterday Bella had terrible naps, and so by 7pm she was super fussy. I knew it was too early for her, so we tried to prolong it a little with bath, story, nursing, etc. At 8 she was ready, and I put her down. She cried on and off for 2 hours. I would go in, pat, soothe, and leave after she fell asleep. She’d wake up in 15 minutes and start crying again. I think we waited too long to put her to bed, next time we do it when she’s tired. We didn’t use a swaddle at all, but we did use the paci. I felt like taking both away was going to send her over the edge right now. One thing at a time.

She was so upset about 9:30 I honestly felt like just picking her up, plopping her in our bed, and going to sleep. She cried with her tiny tears and sobs, and her little hand squeezed mine so tight – I felt like the worst mother in the world. Echos of, “Mothers in other countries keep their kids in bed with them for years” and “Co-sleeping with your children lowers the risk of SIDS/regulates their breathing/allows for more skin to skin contact..” rang in my ears. I looked at my poor child through my exhaustion and thought, “She’ll need therapy, she’s going to be scarred for life, people wait years to have children – I get one and leave her in her bed alone…” Oh yes my friends. I need a lot more sleep. The crazies apparently take over your brain when you get under 4 hours.

Already worn out at 10:30, I waited in her room till 11 (at which point she was asleep), and then dream fed her and put her back to bed. HUGE mistake. She was awake and wanted to play. Not playing with her resulted in her screaming in anger and kicking her blanket off, and moving herself to the other side of the bed with her feet.

So now everyone’s thinking, “Why didn’t you just leave her alone at 11 and let her sleep?” I’m wondering that too. Only I still want to do one night feeding because she throws up so much, and because she sleeps better. Usually.

Anyway. Around 11:45 she finally fell asleep. I crawled into bed and prayed that she would stay asleep for a while. At 2:15 she woke up. I dragged myself into her room and sat by her bed patting her. It only took a few minutes, and it was 4:45 before she woke up again. Yes, I was in the chair. Only this time, I had 2 pillows (one for my feet) and a full size blanket. I was prepared. That time I just patted her again, tucked her under her covers, and she slept until 7:30.

Are you seeing some changes here? I am! Less awake time, and less fussing when she does wake up. Also, sleeping without being swaddled! Yes, the evening was rough. But the night was better. I believe the evening was a mess due to horrible napping. We’re fixing that today.

Is this easy? No. But a lot of things between her and I will never be easy. Potty training. Letting her go to school. Assuring her that she does not need Cookie Crisp for breakfast. Telling her she can’t wear that leather miniskirt. Comforting her through breakups. Screaming at her ex-boyfriend out of my car window, “Loser!” after he dumps her, and having her scream at me for it once she finds out.

We’re in for many ups and downs, many years of decisions I will think in the middle of, “Wait, is this the right one?” So I keep on going because I know as long as the decision I make is with love, knowledge, and her best interest at heart – it will be worth it.

Tonight is the night I no longer stay in her room. Wish us luck!

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