Ethan has been sleeping terribly for the last few weeks. It’s gotten so bad that on Monday night, he woke up TEN TIMES!!!!!!!!!! Needless to say, I have zero concentration at work (which, if I plan to get a bonus anywhere close to what I was fortunate to get this year, I C.A.N.N.O.T. AFFORD…Ethan, take notes here please!!!!). My concentration span at work is so minimal that by 9am, I am ready to go home and it’s not really that I need to sleep, it’s just that with so little sleep, I cannot concentrate at all. A friend of mine who had a baby who was a terrible sleeper for more than a year sent me a message on Facebook telling me about the 3day/bespoke nanny which they have in the UK. Basically, she comes to your house for 3days (with a hefty price tag attached of course) and she does sleep training with your baby and by day 3, baby is sleeping all on his/her own right through the night…so you basically pay her to get your child into a routine and do the “tough love” thing. She recommended that we consider it as it had changed her life – she did say that the nanny flies all over the world to assist people, however, as it costs an arms and a leg, I could maybe look into buying the book which of course I did, ‘cos I believe that everything’s worth the read even if we aren’t going to do things by the book but I like to have different perspectives on baby related things seeing as I’m a first time mum.
So last week, the hubby and I read a bit of the book together. It had us in fits of laughter already at the line that said – if your baby is 6months and older, they should be sleeping right through the night by now – REALLY, does this woman KNOW Ethan! We then had a further chuckle when the “what not to do list” appeared…number 1 on the list was something to the effect that you shouldn’t rock your baby to sleep (guilty 😦 ), number 2 was that you shouldn’t pick them up and run to them when they start crying (guilty again 😦 😦 ) and the list went on about all the things you shouldn’t do which we of course are doing. Does that make us bad parents?…I don’t think so but according to the 3day nanny, we’re doing all the “bad stuff” that doesn’t promote good sleeping for your child. The one thing that we DO do (and that we’ve done without a book which I’m pretty proud of) is that we have Ethan in a routine which is almost a carbon copy of what her recommended routine looks like.
So we had a serious look at what things could be interfering with Ethan’s sleep (besides the rocking and the picking up of course!) and one of the things that we already thought of but that the book also picked up on was that Ethan is completely dependent on his dummy and us pushing it into his mouth every time he starts crying. Why he can’t just put it back in himself, I really don’ know but yup, that’s my child – no dummy = no sleep. Bad habit, but hey, that’s what’s worked for him so far! After the last few bad nights we’ve had though, I decided yesterday morning that we needed to start practicing some form of tough love and so I wanted to start weaning him off the dummy. Why I didn’t just get our nanny to start it in the day, I really don’t know!
For some reason, I was convinced that it would be easier than leaving him to cry unattended in his cot and that we weren’t going “all the way” i.t.o. tough love but just trying a little bit of it. So bedtime swung around last night, Ethan had his usual nighttime bottie and then I tried to rock him off to bed without his dummy – to say the rocking was something like the below is an understatement (compliments of Robyn over at Memoir 4 My Munchkins)…
The rocking lasted less than 2minutes as Ethan was
kicking around like a hooligan, arching his back and trying to grab my nose off my face already distracted by the shadows on the wall and me singing – things he barely notices when his dummy’s in his mouth. I then moved onto option two (an option which we do sometimes use instead of rocking especially in the afternoons on weekends when we’re at home together), laid him down on the bed beside me and carried on with his bedtime lullabies. Not even a minute later, he was trying to roll out of my grasp shouting dadadadadadada and giggling at silly little things all over the room that were catching his attention. So then I realized I’d have to go the full monty and put him in his cot on his own. I had prepared myself for his crying ‘cos we NEVER put him down alone but what happened five minutes later almost brought me to tears. Initially, Ethan moaned a little bit and he was laying in his cot tossing and turning, grabbing onto Bear-zie the Bear (that’s the name stuffed toys end up getting when you get tired of coming up with “cool” names) and kicking the blanket off. You know that cry that babies do where you KNOW there aren’t any tears, he did that a few times with short periods of silence in between…all in line with what the book says of course! Then he went the full hog and started crying so hard that I thought that the neighbours would be knocking on our door any minute…again, exactly what the book had said but the emotions I felt when this happened cannot be described in ANY book!!!!! I had my best friend Tanya on the other side of my BB sending me BBMs giving me “guidance” on how to do this as she’d done it with her little boy Henry from very early on (I think she was very wise in this regard) and he’s literally been sleeping through from about 8weeks!! So she suggested I give it 10minutes then pick him up, hug him so that he feels loved and then put him back in the cot again – no talking, no eye contact. At 9minutes, I ran into his room, grabbed him and tried to soothe him which worked very well…then I put him back in the cot and even got a smile from him but I hadn’t even pulled on the room door when he started crying again. The second time, I lasted all of 5minutes. I scooped him out of the cot and tried to lay on the bed with him again. He laid holding my hands sniffing away and feeling quite sorry for himself but a few minutes later, he was all smiles again, giggling, chatting and clearly not getting the picture that he needed to sleep. That’s when I brought in the.big.guns…DADDY!!!!!!!!!! Angelo tried to lay next to him and put him to bed but this didn’t work so he just dropped him back into his cot (balls of steel I’m telling you). This time Ethan was crying so hard, you could literally hear his chest heaving with each sob. He was on all fours screaming the house down. The hubby was non-fazed…sitting on the laptop surfing the net. I was dishing up supper with tears in my eyes and literally holding onto my chest trying to keep my heart from jumping out of its little space. Needless to say, I think I lasted about 3minutes and then I gave in.
I don’t care if I sleep for one hour a night for the rest of my life…okay, I take that back, for the next few months until Ethan settles into a sleeping routine or can at least put his dummy back into his mouth and hold his own bottle during his middle of the night sleep…he can HAVE his dummy, I’ll get up every time it falls out…there is NO WAY I’m letting my child cry like that ever again. The mothers and fathers out there who can do it (and I know it’s only 3days and it changes your life forever – of course it would – half an hour extra sleep a day is fantastic but to go from 3hours sleep to 8 full hours must be super awesome!!), I’d rather rock him to bed and sing to him and make him feel comfortable and loved than put
myself him through that torture again.
So long live the dummy!!!! It’s not leaving our house any time soon 🙂