I remember when Mr. E was a newborn and he’d wake to eat every two hours around the clock. I was so tired and my body was recovering from his marathon birth. And I remember the  first night that I didn’t cry in the middle of the night. I remember it because most nights I did cry. Not for too long, but I would just be so frustrated or tired or both, and I’d cry, my tears falling on my nursing baby’s cheeks. Eventually the nights became more manageable, and crying escaped my routine.

Part of why the night waking became manageable was because everyone’s expectations of me were low. All I had to do was take care of my new baby (Oh, that’s all?). But no one expected me to have a clean house, think about or cook dinner, work outside the home, shower, you get where I am going. At 10 months people think you should have your shit together. And they think your baby should be sleeping through the night.

My baby wakes up every hour. At 10:30 last night, when he’d woken for the third time since going to bed (at 7pm), and I’d spent an hour trying to get him back to sleep, I lost it. I was right back in the early days when crying along with the baby was a survival technique. This is not what I thought 10 months would be like.

I’ve read several sleep books: Night Time Parenting, Dr. SearsHealthy Sleep, Happy Healthy Child, Weissbluth, and I am currently consuming The No Cry Sleep Solution, Pantley.  Each step of the way, it seemed like better sleep was just a few months away. Some books say some babies need milk over night until 9 months. And the next book says until 1 year, and my current book says it’s normal for some kids to not sleep through the night until they are 2. If Mr. E is still waking up at age 2, he will be an only child!

A while back we were in a really bad sleep situation. And we did some cry it out for getting to sleep but we’ve never done it – and I don’t intend to – in the middle of the night. CIO did work for us. He had had major regression and with only a few nights of crying for not more than 20 minutes, he figured out how to put himself to sleep for bed time and naps. If he cries when we lay him down now, we know he’s not ready and we don’t force it. But CIO is simply not an option at this stage of the game. He is working on a lot and I don’t think it’s fair to put him through it now. He’s working on teeth and other developmental achievements. And his attachment to us is much greater now than it was when we did CIO, so I think it would be horribly traumatic at this stage.

So for now, I guess we’re back to our crying duet. And maybe, just maybe I’ll garner enough energy to implement the plan in the No Cry book. We are already doing most of what the author suggests: we have a nap and bed time schedule, we have a relaxing routine beginning one hour before bed, we put him down awake, the room is dark at night and light during the day, we use white noise, we offer a balanced diet and don’t give sugary foods, …. I guess the place I’ve gone wrong has been that I nurse him every time he wakes because it’s the easiest way to get him back to sleep. My new plan is not to nurse unless four hours have passed since he last nursed (over night only, I BF on demand during the day) and to gradually cut the nursing time. Where as I’ve been letting him go at it until he de-latched – thinking the more he filled up the less he’d wake, but that is not how it’s played out. So fewer nursing session for shorter amounts of time…and more patience than I ever thought possible seem to be in order.

Please send sleep wishes our way.

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