A few weeks ago, after this blogpost here – 6 – 6 at the Howe House – I had reached the end of my tether! Trying to survive on 3-4hours sleep a night was just.not.working and as I’ve said before, desperate times call for desperate measures…so 2weeks ago, I met up with a lady from Baby Love to get some advice on Ethan’s
shocking bad sleep patterns and 11nights later (who’s counting??), I think that we’re in a muuuccchhhhh better space!! Look, we don’t have a baby who sleeps through the night YET (and I say that statement with much hope in it) but we’re miles ahead of where we were a few weeks back and 5-7hours sleep a night is a lot better than 3-4hours, now isn’t it?!
At any rate, when I made the appointment with the Baby Love consultant, I really was beside myself – afterall, Ethan is on a strict routine, I’ve done everything that I think is right but boy child still won’t sleep through the night. What made it worse is that my cousin over at Memoirs 4 My Munchkins kept telling me how her eldest child was a bad sleeper and that at about 2-ish, he just started sleeping through the night and then, after going back to some old blogposts, she discovered that it was actually more like 2 and a half years that the sleep thing fell into place! Now I know that every child is different, but in my mind, I was aiming for 2 (only another 5months of so away!)…another 6months is just NOT an option in my life!! So I resorted to the drastic option of “tough love”. Now, going into the meeting, I already knew that the tough love thing was the only option that
basically forces encourages a child to sleep right throught he night, but I wanted to hear if she had a fresh spin on it or perhaps some critique as to what I was doing wrong. Lo and behold, I was doing everything right according to her, but we needed to toughen up and let boy child cry a bit and get out of the bad habit of mummy running to his aid every time he whimpered. With both hubby and myself onboard and ready to give this a solid try (we have tried it four times previously – yes, I we are spineless parents who cannot even let their child cry for longer than 2/3minutes), we started 11 nights ago. Of course, the Baby Love thing says that your child will be sleeping in 7days but we had braced ourselves for a longer period and oh, am I glad we did!!!!
Not to bore you with all the detail, but in a nutshell, I was advised that when Ethan starts crying, we need to leave him for 15minutes after which we could walk in (one parent at a time and it’s preferable to take turns so that baby doesn’t see one parent as “bad cop” and realizes that both of us are sticking to the same
military routine), tell him in a stern voice that it’s bedtime, instruct him to put his dummy into his mouth himself if he wants it (in the past, we’d do this for him even though his dummy is on a dummy tag and he’s more than capable of doing it himself) and then basically leave him to cry for as long as it takes for him to settle. I was also advised that this would be the worst on night 1 and 2 and would become easier over time. Of course, we also have the added “issue” of Ethan being in a big boy bed and being able to jump out and pop on over to mum and dad’s room at his leisure! Of course, master Howe realized this on the first night already (clever puppy!). The procedure for the “night walkers” is basically to march them back to their room (oh, you’re first supposed to instruct them to go back first and only nudge them back as a last resort, but then there’s that added problem of him not being able to jump back into bed so you basically need to leave him to sleep on the floor – okay, I’m mean but I’m not thaattt mean so we skipped this part), tell them in a stern voice once again that it’s bedtime, put them back into bed, walk out and leave them to cry and settle themselves again. Night one had us doing this for two and half hours – yes! 3am – 5:30am…I think we did the bedroom walk at least 10times but we really had minimal crying and this was a pleasant surprise to me and probably what encouraged us to keep at it. Night three was the WORST!!!!!! Ethan gave those heart wrenching sobs that any mother (except a super determined one) would eventually give into, but we pushed on, and now we’ve passed night 11. I’m happy to say that Ethan is going to bed at 8-ish (his “usual” time), waking up once a night (usually about 1am) which is when he cries for a few minutes, does one walk to our room and once we put him back, he falls asleep all on his own so the wake-up for me/hubby (depending on who’s doing it) is now literally down to about 10/15minutes as opposed to the HOURS ON END that we were up for previously. And then, he wakes up around 6am, jumps out his bed and walks to our room to cuddle up with us for his morning bottle.
I cannot explain just how much of a difference this change has made in our lives! In a nutshell – we’re more rested, we have a happy baby in the morning, a happy hubby AND a happy mummy 🙂 We are happier waking up at the crack of dawn because we’re relatively well rested, I’m able to go to bed later and spend more time with the hubster – something I have not done for months on end because I had to sleep by a certain time so that I had sufficient energy for the night time duty – and we don’t have to brave the cold every other hour getting out of bed for a child who basically just had (yes, had not has 🙂 ) a bad habit of having mum and dad jump to his every need.
Will I do this when I, God willing, have another child? I think I will actually. I don’t see the point of letting a baby of a few months old, who cannot understand, cry for hours on end but I do feel that Ethan fully understands and where he may not be able to understand the reasoning of why we’re doing this, he can clearly understand what I’m saying. So, if for example, I tell him that we’re now going to leave him to cry because he’s not listening and it’s time to sleep, he understands what I’m telling him. When I gave the lady at Baby Love some feedback (she did ask me when we met to keep her informed as she’d like to know how it goes), she did say that I must remember that it takes 21days to break a habit and that at least we’ve made progress. The way the hubby now looks at it is that we have definitely made progress, and although we don’t have an “all night sleeper” 7days on, we are one day closer to breaking the 21day habit…I’m with him on this one!! Fingers crossed that we will soon be sleeping right through the night 🙂 🙂 🙂