Well, I have been waiting to write this post for almost three weeks now, well actually more like 11 months but it has finally happened. Who knows if it will stick, but you cannot imagine how elated I was when I heard Gavin cry this morning. He went to bed at 8pm and woke at 5:30am! Seriously, this is the first time that Gavin has ever slept through the night! I realize that it was only 9 1/2 hours and not the 11 or so that he is supposed to get. But we went to bed a little after 10 and this was the first time in over 18months that I have gotten 7 straight hours of sleep. It truly feels like a miracle that it happened.
I haven't read any baby books, and I will tell you why. I am a nurse, and I guess that it has made me 'cocky' so to speak. I felt that with my knowledge of nursing I should be smart enough to take care of my own child without having to read any baby books, and everything would be fine. When Gavin was born he was not a good sleeper, even as a newborn, it was pretty awful. Even my Mom used to say that it was strange that he didn't sleep better and she had 7 kids. So.... I kind of just accepted the fact that my baby wasn't going to sleep, and no matter what I did he was going to do what he wanted. The worse part was that he wasn't ever a good napper either, so I have been running on very minimal amounts of sleep for the last 11 months. I remember sitting in the Mother's lounge nursing Gavin during sacrament meeting on Mother's Day when I overheard some mother's talking about trying to get their child to sleep through the night at 6 weeks old and my baby was 6 months. I went back in to sacrament and told Zac how I felt like the worst mom in the world because he still wasn't sleeping. But, still nothing changed, and by 10 months there was basically no improvement. I started to realize how exhausted I was when I would get up in the morning with Gavin and then fall asleep on the couch while he played. I felt like I was neglecting my child, and no matter how hard I tried, I could not stay awake. So when we went to the library three weeks ago I gave in. I walked over to the parenting section to look for a book about sleep. I think that they had like three options, none of which I had ever heard of, but I picked up Good Night, Sleep Tight by Kim West. I read the inside cover to see if it was what I was looking for, and figured I would give it a try.
It is an alternative to just letting your child cry themself to sleep while you wait in another room. I had tried letting him 'cry it out' a few times and it made me feel awful, and never seemed to improve. Zac felt that letting him 'cry it out' was our only option, oh and I must add that Gavin was sleeping in our bed because it was the only way he would sleep, so Zac was totally fine with Gavin crying, but I was NOT. I told him I was going to go and stay in a hotel while he dealt with it if that was the only option. So we started the process outlined in the book, which starts with the Sleep Lady Shuffle and setting a schedule. I was also nursing him about 5 times a night because it was the only way I could get him back to sleep when he woke up. (I know, I am a horrible mom and it was my fault that he was such a bad sleeper, but I was so sleep deprived that I did whatever I could to get him to sleep). The schedule set specific time intervals for morning and afternoon naps, how long they should be and how far apart, and also specific times to eat to help with weaning. Of course, the weaning part came much easier than sleeping. Gavin caught on to the napping part fairly quickly, probably because he was so sleep deprived as well. And after about a week he was only waking up once in the night. And then he got sick for a few days, and was back to screaming his head off for over an hour until I fed him. Until last night.
I agree that there isn't a magical remedy that works for everyone perfectly. (Believe me, I wish there was.) And we are still working with this method, but it is a far cry from where we were three weeks ago. Most nights he cries for about 5 min or less before he falls asleep, and some nights there are no tears at bedtime and it is AMAZING! I just can't believe it. Zac and I now have alone time every night together and this was something that we've really missed having. Our marriage wasn't struggling at all, but I definitely feel that you have to make time for each other, and we are SO much happier with better sleep. If you struggle with a baby who doesn't sleep well and you can't handle the tears, I would definitely suggest this book. Give it a try and see what you think. My favorite thing about this book was that she set up in stages of where your child should be at for hours of sleep, naps and feedings depending on their age. I was able to read the first few chapters and then go right to the chapter on 9-12months.
This was taken a few weeks ago at the mall, and no we didn't pay to turn it on, he was perfectly fine just sitting in it without it moving.
Gavin will be 11 months on Sunday, but this post is so long that I will post on that later.