Saturday, December 13, 2008

TOUGH LOVE

(Please click on the cartoon to enlarge the image) So we did it. We said we never would and we did. We are the most horrible unloving parents in the history of babies. But then again, since I've talked about it, I've come to discover that we are apparently in the masses. We let our poor, beautiful, sweet, innocent child cry himself to sleep. Actually, it wasn't getting him to sleep that was the hard part. It was letting him cry for an hour and a half at one o'clock in the morning that was hard. Brian and I had decided that Christopher was old enough to survive the night without a bottle. He in fact wouldn't starve. It has just become a habit for him to wake up at two or three and have one. We did a lot of research, because of course I can't do anything without research. The most popular method to get a child to sleep through the night has recently become the Ferber Method. It is a system that works by putting your child in their crib when they are awake at their normal bedtime and leaving them alone. There's no bottle, no swaddling. You check in on them after five minutes of crying and then increase the amount of time away by five minutes each time. You never pick them up, you never talk to them, just give them a pat on the bottom or rub of the tummy just to assure them they are okay and then you leave the room. The idea is that gradually over several nights your child will shorten their time of crying to eventually sleeping through the night. Well, we decided to give it a shot. We also decided it was going to be one of the most difficult things we could do. We planned everything out. We would have a schedule (I love schedules more than I love researching). We would pick up Christopher from the sitter's, get home by six and feed him dinner - a mix of cereal and green beans. Yum! Once dinner was over, he would have a bath, get into his PJs and then it would be time for bed. I would stay up for the first hour of crying and then Brian would take the next shift. We'd do the same for the middle of the night feeding. So everything was going as planned. Once he was bathed, changed and fed, I put him in his crib awake. Then... he rolled over to his stomach, closed his eyes, and fell asleep. What is this??!!! I thought he was suppose to cry for at least an hour? I didn't get it. But I'm not going to complain. Hey - this method is working pretty well. That was until 1 a.m. He woke up as normal for his feeding. And boy was he pissed. I went in when he first woke up, I patted him on the bottom and walked out of the room. We had decided earlier that we wouldn't check on him as often as the Ferber Method suggested. So I waited an hour before going back in the room. It was a full hour of excruciating hollers and crying. When I went in, he was on his stomach, lifting his head in the air by propping up on his hands. It was the saddest look on any face I had every seen. His face was covered in tears and snot. Disgusting yes, but so sad too. Half of his sheets were soaking wet from crying. But I stuck to the plan. No talking. I took the burp rag next to his bed and wiped his face and nose then patted his butt and left. I went into the office and cried right along with him. It was miserable. After my five minutes of crying, I went down and woke up Brian for his shift. It took me almost thirty minutes to fall asleep. Fifteen minutes after that, Brian came downstairs and got back in bed. So the first night took an hour and forty-five minutes. Christopher was so tired the next morning. He had huge under-eye-circles that would normally accompany a long night of drinking. The next night, we continued with the schedule and sure enough, he fell asleep without a fuss. Then then most amazing thing happened after we fell asleep. We woke up at six a.m. We couldn't believe it. Not a little peep out of him - the entire night. I was amazed. Surely this was a fluke. There is absolutely no way this would happen only after one night. But it did. It's been 10 days now and he has slept through the night every night. We've had two incidents were he's woken up to a leaky diaper but once changed, he goes right back to sleep. So... even though that first night was the hardest thing we've had to do - it's was the best thing we could do. I almost wish we had done it earlier. I guess since it has been 10 nights now and we can say it's not a fluke and that we aren't jinxing ourselves by saying how wonderful it is. We are off to Kentucky in two weeks and we'll have to see how he does when we are traveling. From what I've read and heard from others - we may have to start again. But we're keeping our fingers crossed underneath our pillows.

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