Sleep Diary. Or, More Accurately, Wake Diary.

16 01 2012

My last post elicited many comments on facebook, containing both support and advice.  It was really, really appreciated.  My comments in response might not have been so positive – I felt like my answer to each suggestion was “Yes, but…”  Yes, we tried bottles but they upset her reflux.  Yes, we tried pacifiers (7 brands) but never with any success.  Yes, I could start with naps instead of nighttime, but even with me nursing AND rocking her for as long as she will sleep during the day, it’s rare to get more than an hour long nap.  Yes, but… Yes, but…

Overall, I came to two realizations.  First of all, many parents deal with reluctant sleepers.  I am not alone in the sleepless night.  Second, there is probably no easy answer.  Time to put my head down and charge this thing.  This second point has occurred to me before, that’s what started me on my No Cry Sleep Solution (NCSS) journey three nights ago.

My NCSS has failed.  One of the main principles of the method is that I cannot fall asleep nursing the baby.  Obviously, if I’ve fallen asleep while nursing her, she has fallen asleep, too, and therefore the sucking-to-sleep has been reinforced.  Which leads me to ask: how in the hell does a sleep-deprived mother stay awake?  I’ve fallen asleep nursing at some point each night since I determined I was going to really stick with the No-Cry method.

So.  Nap time.

I was waiting to tackle nap time until she was on a regular nap schedule, but it’s been two months now.  Also, Pentley, author of the NCSS, suggests waiting on naps until nights are settled, so the baby isn’t totally sleep-deprived.  Well, nights are long and full of failure (mine, see above), so today I decided we are REALLY going whole-hog.  No more nursing down.  Even for naps.  Even though it makes her scream until she gags (mind you, I am holding her, rocking her, talking to her – and offering her the breast right up until she is about to doze off, at which point I will still hold her, she just can’t nurse and I’m trying to limit rocking/walking as well.  Still: hysteria).

Today, so far:

# of times she’s fallen asleep without nursing: 2

# of minutes she’s napped since 7:30am: 60

# of minutes of screaming: 180+

# of minutes spent attempting to get her to sleep: 300+

A lot of crying for a method that NAMES ITSELF FOR NO CRYING.  For me, the consolation is that there is no pressure to leave her alone to cry.  She is frustrated and confused because she thinks she needs to nurse to sleep, and she is dealing with those emotions on less and less sleep.  But she always has one of her parents with her, soothing her and cuddling her, and when I look at her foaming at the mouth with pink eyes and streaming nose as she screams uncontrollably, I just can’t imagine PUTTING IN HER CRIB AND WALKING AWAY when she is like this.  Okay, that’s a lie.  I not only imagine it, it seems infinitely preferable to watching this, but it doesn’t feel right.

At times, too, I felt like maybe she just isn’t ready to make this move.  But I have to remind myself that I have spent 4 months without a break from her, without deep sleep, and spending 15+ hours a day in bed with her (or in a rocking chair, or bouncing her on the yoga ball, or walking her in a carrier) and I can’t sustain that indefinitely.  Also, I am losing precious waking moments with her, because those are the times I leave her in a bouncy seat or with Jason and take my shower, etc.  I’d rather do those things while she is sleeping, and enjoy her awake time with her.  At the very least, she needs to learn to sleep without nursing and without me in bed with her.  Ideally, we will also transition her to the crib, which is a safety issue.  Jason is a deep sleeper, our bed isn’t big enough, she is already rolling around.  However, the move to the crib will have to wait until we resolve the nursing issue.

And that, apparently, requires some tears.  From both of us.

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