Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Sleep Training The Bean... This One's For The Haters

It continues to amaze me how often peeps will have opinions on how or why you do certain things as a parent.  Don't get me wrong, everyone is entitled to their opinion, but thinly veiled judgements... well, I'm not one of those people who take it to heart.  Simply because I won't let what others think of my parenting affect my sense of self-worth.  What they think about my blog, well that's another thing entirely.

But I must admit that while I don't take these things to heart, I cannot let it go without commenting.  Because that's how I roll.

So, without further ado, let us begin:

At Millie's 2-month well child check, I mentioned to the doc that she was only sleeping three hours at a time during the night (and the day).  And it was KILLING ME.  Because I was feeding her at midnight and three and then six.  And since I have to go back to work in a week... seriously, HELP ME!  Hazel was throwing down 6 hours in a row when she was 2 months old... and Millie's my easy baby.  What should I do??? 

That's when he told me that she should be sleeping between 4-6 hours at a time overnight  and that when she's waking up after 3 hours, it's because it's her natural sleep cycle and if I come in whenever she cries out, well of course she'll take a little nip!!  So, he recommended to put her down awake but drowsy at night and let her cry it out and then let her cry it out until it's been at least 4 hours.  And here was the kicker:  No. Binkie.

WHAT??  But she needs her binkie.  I'm sorry, doc, but I have to be an advocate for my daughter here.  He just shrugged and said that it's up to me... but to prepare myself for getting up several times a night to put the binkie back in... maybe until she was old enough to find it in the dark and put it back in her mouth.


So, that night, we put Millie down sans binkie.  And, since the doc said that the swaddling was unnecessary and it wasn't the Jimmy Arms that were waking her up (this is after I explained to him what Jimmy Arms were )(and after I questioned if I could trust the expertise of a doctor who had never watched Seinfeld.), I didn't swaddle her.  Sort of let her free ball it, if you will.

That first night was HELL.  Hell the likes of which I had never experienced before... even with Hazel.  I thought that letting Hazel cry it out was awful.  And that chick cried ALL THE TIME.  You would think we would have been immune to her crying by the time we let we cry it out.  (We weren't.)  But it turns out that listening to your baby - the baby that NEVER cries - cry it out is a GAZILLION TIMES WORSE. 

That first night was reminiscent of every night of Hazel's first month of life.  I didn't like myself.  I didn't like Benny.  The only thing I did like was Hazel's Easter candy.  Turns out, I'm a bit of a stress eater.  WHO KNEW?

I won't get into all of the distressing details, just suffice to say that she was up at 12:30, 3 and 5.  After she wouldn't go down at 3, I gave up and stuck a binkie in her mouth and voila!  Blessed, blessed silence!

The next day, I was a zombie... but I think it wore on Millie as well because that chick slept from 9-1... which allowed me to sleep from 10:30-1.  All without a binkie.  Is it this easy?  Was it really just one night of hell?  Well, that remains to be seen, but I can report that last night, Millie went to bed at a little before 9 and slept until 3:45. I can totally get behind those kind of numbers.  The one concession I did make to her was swaddling her again... that seems to be key for her and I'm totally down with it.

So... here's where I verbalize what bugged me so much that I couldn't sleep that first night before she even woke up.


There were three pieces of advice my mother gave me when I had Hazel.

1) You should definitely have five or six of these.
2) You know this baby better than anyone else.  Don't let anyone tell you how to raise her.  You're the mom. YOU KNOW BEST.
3) Always remember, you invited this baby to come live with YOU.  You're still in charge.  If you're not then this child will end up running the house.

And while the first piece of advice was promptly thrown into the incinerator in my brain, the last two actually weren't too bad.

Listen, I know that people have their opinions.  I know that people may think that taking away a binkie is mean... cuz, you know... she had it in the womb and everything.


And I also know that the idea of having a 2-month old cry it out is harsh.  And that I'm doing it because I'm starting to back to work and need to be much more rested during the day speaks volumes about the kind of mother I am.  And that peeps may think I'm a bit selfish and not willing to put it out there for my baby.  I mean, how hard is it to get up three times a night?

Let me say this to that:
First off, yes, I'm doing this for me.  But I'm also doing this for her.  The studies are out there that prove that the more babies sleep and learn how to be good sleepers at a young age, the better it is for them and their developing brains.  And they're more pleasant during the day.  Secondly, if I'm a zombie during the day and am grumpy in the morning because I'm lacking in sleep, I'm not a good Mommy.  Simple as that.  And since I only get to see Hazel a few hours in the morning and evening, I want her to have a happy, fully present Mommy.  And, I dunno... maybe I'm just someone that needs more sleep than the average Mommy.  That doesn't mean I care any less about my children than the next Mommy.  It's because I care about my children that I'm doing this.  How many of you can say that when your child was 4 months old, she was sleeping 13-14 hours a night? 


So there's THAT.

Oh, and also?  Guess who slept without a binkie for 7 hours last night?  And guess who still was happy to see me this morning?  Guess who's not going to remember that back on April 25, Mommy threw away her binkie when she was 8 weeks old?  


Bottom line, while it was hard to listen to this had to be done.  I've often thought that a lot of issues that we as parents complain about aren't really our kids issues, but ours.  Like me saying that Hazel would never nap in her crib.  Please.  I look back at it now and realize that I just wasn't comfortable with her napping in her bed and was trying to avoid confrontation with her when she started to cry.

But, when I thought about it long and hard, I remembered my mom's advice:  This is my house.  I invited these babies to come share it with me.  BUT I'M STILL IN CHARGE.

Unless they're teething.  Then all bets are off.

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