Room Sharing to Solve It All?

Room Sharing to Solve It All?

We have had a routine over the last few weeks that has looked a little like this. I lay with Henley in her bed until she falls asleep. I hear blood curdling screams for “Maaamaaaa” around midnight, go to her room and bring her back in our bed until morning. Around 6am Macie joins the crew and we are all snuggled into bed until around 7am. One night of this wouldn’t be bad, a few periodic nights of this is manageable. Every night like this is not okay.

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Never Ending Sleep Battles

Never Ending Sleep Battles

Henley is four and a half, almost exactly, and had her first real nightmare last week. I woke up to her crying hysterical in her bed. She was speaking nonsense and I was extremely tired so I scooped her up and brought her into our bed, it was probably close to 2am. She quickly settled into our bed, practically laying underneath my husband as usual, falling asleep right away.

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::Henley:: Sleep--what's that?!

Sleep---this has been a topic of conversation for many weeks in our household. For the past four weeks Henley has been waking more frequently and taking longer to put down, even needing us doing everything short of climbing in the crib with her. She ended up coming to bed with us every night simply because we were too exhausted to fight her.

All of these sleep issues were driving us crazy so to Google I went. I was reading so many different articles and I couldn't really decide which course of action to take. I read it was a typical sleep regression that would pass, I read that if she was acting like this then she must be having issues with separation anxiety, and I read (and wrote) multiple message board posts of mom's asking for help. Once we had been having these issues for two weeks I decided that it must just be a phase and she obviously needs me. This too shall pass (plus who would complain about night long snuggles!). After four full weeks of this I was singing a different tune...enter Troublesome Tot Blog to the rescue!

I came across this blog at work on Friday and I felt like she was talking to me. Everything she was writing was exactly our situation. She explained that babies around Henley's age start learning "object permanence", here is how she describes it:

Most babies develop a new skill around 6 months (give or take a month) calledobject permanence. Prior to this for babies, out of sight LITERALLY meant out of mind. Now they can remember things, people, etc. exist even when they can’t see them. This is closely linked with stranger/separation anxiety which occurs because now your child actually remembers that you exist when you aren’t physically present. For the first time they are capable of missing you. Which is really sweet but often hard to enjoy. It also means that they are now capable of remembering that you were THERE when they fell asleep but are MISSING when they wake up.

This hit home so I definitely kept reading. Here are the links that restored my faith in the prospect of a good night's sleep---here, here, here, here, here, and here.

After reading all of these articles plus more I decided that it was time to cry it out again. It worked the first time so I had faith it would work again but I knew hubs would hate this idea----rationally he knows something had to change but no one wants to make their baby cry. I decided to forego the checks as I have learned that the checks with Henley get her more upset.

Since I found all of this on Friday we thought it was the perfect time to start being it was the weekend. Friday night we had a relaxing bedtime routine of bath, book, and nursing. I picked her up, gave her a big hug and a kiss, and told her I loved her and good night/sleep tight. I closed the door, grabbed the monitor, a bottle of wine and my Kindle, and headed to the back porch. [Dad had a planned escape to the grocery store ;-)] She immediately started crying, standing up and angrily shaking her lovey around. I had the monitor with me and had the volume turned down but I could see she was crying. I prayed she would just lay down and make it easier on us all. After 29 minutes, she curled into a little ball, grabbed her lovey, and was down for the count! Success!!

I was thrilled especially since Troublesome Tot Mom said that it's common for babies to cry up to an hour on the first night---I was expecting that but hoping for way less. 29 minutes---I could definitely handle this. Here was night one:

6:47 - Mom says goodnight, Henley immediate cried
7:16 - Out!
1:55 - Up for nursing
2:05 - Finished nursing, Mom leaves the room and she cried
2:16 - Out for the rest of the night
5:30 - Up for the day, brought her in our bed (typically gets up another hour)
6:45 - Up with Dad
7:45 - Mom wakes thanks to my amazing husband! [Love you so much!]

Henley is still waking during the night (prior to this phase) once a night so I didn't want to worry about CIO and weaning at the same time so I fully expected her to wake. I am planning to wean the night nursing after I get 3-4 weeks of good sleep from her. 

Night 2 went a little weird. She went down at 6:30 after only 30 seconds of crying but woke up at 10:45 crying. She would lay down for 3-5 minutes, appearing asleep, then would wake up again crying. She seemed in pain and since I can't tell if she's teething (still no teeth here), I went ahead and gave her Motrin. She was still fussing and was wide awake so I went to get her and bring her to our bed (bad I know!). After about an hour she was still awake and just was playing so I took her back to her room and put her to bed. She fell asleep within 5 minutes and slept until 5-5:30.

Tonight she went down at 6:40 and cried for only a minute. I feel such a peace with this plan, even considering her mid-night waking yesterday. I really feel this is what I should be doing and she had a great weekend of naps as well. I look forward to seeing how she continues and how the weaning of the night nursing goes. I will definitely keep you all posted.

Any other mama's out there going through the same thing? What have you found that works?!

Hope you have a great week!

Mere :-)

::Henley:: Sleep Training Day 2

Day two was much less eventful.She fell asleep in the car during her usual afternoon nap yesterday and only slept 20 minutes. By the time 6:30 rolled around she was exhausted. We kept her awake until 7:15 or so and I went in her room to nurse her. She was falling in and out of sleep while nursing and I tried to keep her awake as best as I could.

About 10 minutes later she finished nursing and I laid her in the crib. She wasn't totally asleep but definitely getting there. She didn't make one peep! She slept until 12:45, I got up and nursed her and she went right back down. There was 1-2 cries at this time and again at 5 when she woke. She woke up for the day at 7:30.

She has been in a great mood these last two days, it's so good to see her well and healthy and back to her old self!

She is napping now before we head out for a day of romping, shopping, and lunch. She will be totally exhausted by the time that's over. :-)

Happy Sunday all!!

Mere :-)

::Henley:: Sleep Training Day 1

This image is too funny...and quite accurate! Henley is almost 8 months old and we have had a relatively smooth time with nights. In the beginning (and by beginning I mean the first 5 months) she got up every two hours to nurse but always went right back down. It was tough getting up but I got used to it and her going back down easily made it much easier.

Around 5 months she teased me with a few days of sleeping 10+ hours through the night. Since then, she started waking once, sometimes twice a night to nurse. I still didn't mind this because just like before, she always went back down. 

Starting about three weeks ago, Henley started having pretty erratic nights of sleeping. There were a few days were she was up for 2-3 hours wide awake, there were nights she wouldn't go down for an hour or two, there were nights of her crying inconsolably, and in most of these situations she would end up in our bed. I love co-sleeping with her and we have done it quite a bit over the months but now that she is so much bigger, no one sleeps great when she's in our bed. It's amazing that someone so teeny could take up so much of the bed!

All of this brings us to last night and sleep training night one.

Since before Henley was born I had been strongly opposed to "crying it out". I thought there had to be other ways and since she was ultimately sleeping pretty well, I didn't really need to worry about any sleep training. These last three weeks got my wheels turning and I spent quite a bit of time researching other methods. I took some tips and tricks and tried there here and there, some worked and some failed. I asked a lot of people that have been here before me and every single person used CIO to get there littles to sleep. This was not what I wanted to hear. I wanted people to tell me that they got sleep and didn't havea screaming baby in the process.

Starting around Tuesday or so of this week I started discussing CIO with Teddy. He was not on board what-so-ever but I went over the stats of our friends' experiences that I collected. On Thursday I came across Isis Parenting's Webinars that discuss CIO, also know as Interval Sleep Training or Ferber, and both Teddy and I listened and considered this was the right thing to do.

Initially thinking about CIO, I pictured Henley crying for hours being left alone, feeling abandoned. The webinar stated that it doesn't have to be total abandonment, meaning we could pick whatever time intervals we see fit to go in and console her while she was crying. 

We decided last night (Friday) would be the best since it would give us the weekend to recoup in case it went terribly wrong. We decided on night one to use timed check-in intervals of 1 minute, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, etc. I also knew that I would soothe her by picking her up and doing a quick rocking to get her to calm down. The webinar suggests one parent lead the charge and since Teddy still wasn't loving the idea, although he was on board, we decided I would do it. I have to admit I was nervous! Getting her ready for bed, I actually had a knot in my stomach! So away we went and here is how our night went:

6:30: Feed Henley dinner, she had carrots and loved them!
6:50: Dad gave her a bath
7:10: Diaper and PJ time!
7:20: In the nursery, nursing Henley one last time before bed.
7:28: In the crib, Mom leaves the room

She would cry for 30 seconds, put her fingers in her mouth and calm down then repeat. It was hard to get one full minute of crying before I could go back in to soothe. 

7:33: Crying for one full minute, Mom in the room to soothe. I picked her up, cradled her until she calmed down. She started closing her eyes and sucking her fingers so I laid her back down. Major crying ensued, I left the room

She did the same thing with short bouts of crying

7:40: Crying for 2 full minutes, Mom in her room and soothing the same way. 

I think this time me going into the room made it worse! We let her cry a little longer this time. 

7:46: Crying 3 and a half minutes, Mom in the room to soothe and put her down. Started crying immediately when I left the room.

From this point until about 7:50 she would have 30 seconds of crying and about a minute of silence. She finally laid her head down around 7:54 and made her last peep at 7:58, exactly 30 minutes later. I was so relieved---not bad at all. 

She wasn't totally distressed this whole time, she was just pissed. I was also worried that she would be standing the whole time in the crib and that only last 1-2 minutes until she sat down and played with her Glow Seahorse and her little Lovey toy she has in the crib.

I was impressed. All of my nerves we put to rest and I was so relieved it went so well!! It felt liberating in a weird way. 

Henley slept from 7:58 - 1:45 (her normal wake time). I got up to nurse her and laid her back down awake. She cried for about 15 seconds before she totally passed out. She only nursed for about 4 minutes so I believe she is waking at this time out of habit. I planned to wean this feeding this week. She woke again at 5 so I got up and nursed her. I think she was actually hungry at this point because she nursed for a little while longer. Once she was finished I laid her in the crib awake again and she cried about the same, 15 seconds before she was out. She finally woke for the day at 7:26! Almost 12 hours of slightly broken sleep. It was glorious!

She is napping as we type/read and went down with about 3-4 cries, that's it! I'm so pleased this is working and it not traumatizing for either of us. She woke up SO happy and babbling like always. 

I hope tonight is similar and we are on our way to the next chapter with Henley. Despite being totally opposed to this in the beginning, I really think this worked well for us. I have to say that Teddy and I make every decision for Henley and her growth very thoughtfully. Every choice we have made from when to introduce a bottle to how to transition her to the crib has been made very seriously and this was no different. We did tons of research and made sure this was right for us. We tried other methods over the weeks and this was our last resort and it worked. Sometimes what we think we need doesn't always work out and we go back to the drawing board. I love that I have a husband that is considerate and thoughtful in these decisions with me. (Although he did tell Henley this was my idea last night before bed lol) ;-)

Wish us luck tonight, I hope it goes well!!

Happy Saturday folks---Henley and I are having a mom and daughter shopping day when she wakes up from her nap!

Mere :-)