May 30, 2012

Good sleep comes to those who wait...

...and BOY (named Bryson), have we waited!

Spoiler Alert: I realize that when it comes to babies, there is no "normal" for sleep. In fact, at one point, after seeing four-too-many Facebook posts by friends whose babies were "sleeping through the night" at the age of like, three hours, I kindly asked them to hide those special stories from my view. I wanted to be happy for them, and totally was, in theory. In reality, I was tired. And wondering why we weren't there yet. If you're in that stage at the moment, I feel you. If you decide to read on, I pray that these posts give you hope that there's a nightlight at the end of the tunnel :)

Part I:

We may be on the verge of something beautiful in the Brown household.

For the better part of the past seven months, our sweet little boo boo has slept in our room with us, in an Arm's Reach Co-Sleeper, right next to the bed. The first six weeks were spent on Jeremy's side, as I couldn't reach over to get him until I had fully healed from my c-section. The rest of the time, he's been my little sidekick, and I've loved it! For one, nighttime nursing is extremely convenient when I don't even have to get out of bed and for two (?), I have grown to love hearing the little noises he makes when he sleeps. From night one, we have never stopped marveling at his cuteness, sleepy as we may be.

Bryson's little man cave is a pretty cool little place, located about 20 feet from our bedroom. When we got back from our trip to Texas in February, we thought he might be ready for the move down the hall.

We were off to a promising start...
After the first couple of nights didn't go so well, we moved the cosleeper in there to see if the new (much larger) crib was the problem. When that didn't help, we moved ourselves in there. After a few nights of shacking up in a smaller space, smaller bed, yadda yadda, I realized...we might as well move this party back down the hall until we're ready to try this again. And so, while we started putting him down for his daytime naps in his room, we stuck to keeping him in our room at night. 

Well, Bryson kept growing, and the cosleeper stayed the same size (weird). He was running out of room in there. While I secretly considered moving his crib into our room, I knew that we had to get serious about moving him into his room. I'd avoided it before by saying I needed one more night to know it would be the last night. I needed to, uh, make sure all the sound machines and monitors were charged and in working order. What I really needed was at least 24 hours' notice to mentally prepare, so that I could soak up that last night (of interrupted sleep?!). [I realize how ridiculous I am. And knowing what I know now, just confessing these things makes me want to cry with laughter.]

I figuratively slapped myself in the face and decided it was time to rip the bandaid. It was never going to be easy, but it had to be done. He was literally too big for his current sleeping situation. He wasn't moving out of the house (yet...Lord, give me strength when that day comes!). He was moving to his room, a few steps down the hall. It was time to figure out if he could sleep better under different conditions. 

Before this stage of our lives, I didn't want to let him cry or fuss more than just a few minutes of time. (And most "experts" don't seem to recommend that before six months of age anyway.) Then, when he was just over six months old, I started to realize he only "needed" one feeding between bedtime and waketime.The rest of his wakeups were, more or less, just for kicks. Over a few days, I moved that one feeding from between 12:00 and 2:00 am to between 4:00 and 6:00 am, and the stage was set. He was developmentally old enough not to NEED me during the night, and I was chronically tired enough to deal with a few tears for the greater good.

After the first eventful  night in his room, I told Jeremy that we needed a strategy. Neither of us had to go into work for a few days, so now was the perfect time. I dusted off my Eat, Sleep, Poop book and reread the part about the 5-10-15 method of sleep training, inspired by the Ferber method. I debriefed him on the progressive waiting approach (where you let the baby cry for brief intervals, waiting for progressively longer stretches before going in to pat and reassure him), and we were ready. Sort of. I had flashbacks to our first week home with B as a newborn, when the only thing progressing was my anxiety as bedtime approached. I prayed a lot and gave my sweet baby lots of smooches and snuggles, to try and build up some love currency for the long night we had ahead of us.

Click here for Part II.

P.S.  This post is not related to my business, which is about helping bright entrepreneurs attract their dream clients, one brilliant message at a time. HOWEV - if you like my writing and want help with your own, sign up for free tips at!

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