Friday, November 30, 2007

On Sleep

Well, I can't post everything I want to on every topic that comes to mind. My Baby is too busy these days, and that is a blessing. But the blog suffers.

So, I will tell a tale of Ferb*er.

This is the system. Break the bad habit of nursing to sleep and get BB sleeping through the night, all in one fell swoop. This is how:

Nap 1: put baby in crib. When he cries, go in to comfort at 5 min, 10 min, 15 min, 15 min, 15min, etc. If he doesn't fall asleep, get him up after an hour and skip that nap.

Nap 2: Repeat.

Bedtime: Pleasant bedtime routine, then into bed and the same method as the naps.

Day 2, etc.: add 5 minutes of cry time to each interval.

Baby should be responding after 3 days to a week and the cry times will have decreased.

What happened in our house:

Day 1

Nap 1: Nursed to sleep, as per usual.

Nap 2: Cried for the hour. Cried harder when I went in to comfort. Didn't nap.

Bedtime: Cried for 45 min, and gave up in exhaustion. Whimpered in his sleep for hours. Slept through the night. Hmmm, this might be working?

Day 2

Nap 1: Cried the hour. Cried harder when I went in to comfort. Didn't nap.

Nap 2: Cried for 45 min. Fell asleep for 20 min, then woke screaming.

Bedtime: Cried for 90 minutes, fell asleep for a few hours, whimpered in his sleep for hours, woke to nurse (kept him awake), cried an hour before going back to sleep.

Day 3

Nap 1: Cried the hour. When absolutely ballistic if I went in to comfort. Didn't nap.

Nap 2: Done. Back to nursing.

So why did I quit? On paper, it looks like it was working, that he was starting to learn to sleep on his own, right?

The change in his personality was horrible. He went from being the happiest, most easy-going baby in the world to the neediest, most anxious baby in the world, literally overnight. He would scream when I left the room. He would scream if we walked anywhere near his bedroom. He would lose his mind if I put him in the crib. He would scream if I lay him down to change his diaper. When he woke from his last Fer*ber nap, he would scream unless my husband and I were both holding him at the same time.

I realize that this could have been a temporary situation. That he might revert to that easygoing temperament in a couple of weeks. But the possibility that he would remain in this anxious state was there. And it seemed a sacrifice that wasn't acceptable to me.

Also, the concern we both had for BB's well-being was putting major, worrisome strain on our marriage. It wasn't worth what was happening between the two of us.

It took me a week of comfort and gentleness with BB to get him over his fear of the bedroom. He is still crying when he wakes up, something he has never done in his life (he would usually just play or call out to me). He still sometimes cries when I lay him down to change him.

I think the problem is that I tried to go from full-on attachment parenting to this very detached style. I don't think it could have had much success. There needed to be an intermediate step. Though, most people say that you must stick with the CIO method for at least 3 days, and I (admittedly) did not do that. Who knows? It might have worked.

Incidentally, I also picked up Dr. Sears' book when I brought home Fe*rber's. It is all about attachment parenting and says that CIO isn't affective. Imagine my guilt when I picked it up and started to read that night.

So, the whole experience has taught me this: I am an attachment parent. The solution to my child's sleep problems isn't going to come from him CIO. I bent to the pressure all around me, from mothers swearing up and down that CIO was the "best thing they ever did". It doesn't suit me and it doesn't suit BB.

So how is the sleep now? It is going quite well, actually. I have stopped nighttime nursing; he has gone a week without middle of the night boobie. If he gets up in the night, I rock him to sleep or bring him to bed with me. And we are getting the best sleep we have for weeks. He even slept from 9:30pm-7:00am this week (in his crib, no waking).

It is a moving target. Naps aren't always of good length, but are improving. We are sticking with a daily schedule, religiously, and following the 2-3-4 rule (works like a charm).

And I have decided that the "problem" was always one of perception. Nursing to sleep is not necessarily a "bad habit". It is a parenting choice. I agree with Dr. Sears on this one - it can be a healthy, comfortable way for a baby to fall asleep. He will grow out of it as he starts to wean.

The major stressor in the whole situation is my return to work in January. However, I have managed (just this week) to arrange my part-time schedule so I work from 1:30-4:30 daily. I can put him down for his morning nap at home, his afternoon nap at the sitter's, and home for bedtime - he never needs to stop nursing! (Ha, Ha, little joke there....)

It just took me 10 months to figure this out. I'll let you know what happens if all my best-laid plans go the way of mice and men.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

As the days go by...

There is no point in making excuses. I took on too much at this point in my life and I am reaping the results of it. So no big, important, introspective post here.

But there is one brewing. Truly. And I intend to elaborate on my Fer*ber experience, you know, so others know a bit about it the way I see it.

Till then, I will be daydreaming about my upcoming visit to Toronto.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

An Open Letter

Dear Doctor F,

I quit you. Sorry.*


*How Canadian of me, this apology. I snicker at myself.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Coming attractions

Well, I am excited that this will be our weekend away. A weekend away that is just for us, not going to visit the grandparents or going to a wedding or whatever. We are going to cheer on Our Team vs. their Arch Rivals.

It will be a heckova road trip, though. Google Maps tells me that our route encompasses 1,636 km. Perhaps that sounds daunting. It is, a little. But nothing in Western Canada is close to anything else. Which means these road trips are always long.

I am hoping that BB's cold will continue to improve, as it has seemed to over the past 24 hours. I am not sure how this all is going to work. He won't sleep in the car. Perhaps this road trip will cure him of that? I don't have high hopes.

If he is well when we return, I guess I am ready to go Fer*ber. I guess I should mention that the main problem we have is that he will not go to sleep on his own. On good days, he nurses to sleep. On bad days, it takes an hour of rocking and walking and bouncing and patting and hairpulling to get him to sleep. When you account for 2 daytime naps, bedtime, then 3-5 night wakings (thankfully, many of those wakings are before midnight), I spend around 6 hours every day helping him get to sleep. This must stop. If he can learn to fall asleep on his own, I will call it Nirvana, even if he does still need a middle-of-the-night feeding.

This inability to fall asleep on his own is a combination of his preference (what baby wouldn't want to cozy into Mommy to fall to sleep?) and my desire to be with him as much as possible. Frankly, he is irresistible when sleeping. I could sit and stare at him for hours, sleeping in my arms. But as nice at that was in the first few months of his life (and admittedly still is), it isn't very practical. I need to be able to get a few things done while he sleeps. And having to put him to sleep each time is an exercise in insanity.

Besides, I have too many hours inside my own head when sitting in a dark room, rocking my reluctant sleeper. My brain has travelled avenues of grief in those hours that I thought I had gently put behind me. Sleep deprivation + darkness + baby in my arms = too many thoughts of the baby who isn't here. Those thoughts just don't feel very healthy.

So, next week look for new photos of our road trip and tales of a Fer*berizing Mommy.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

So. Tired.

BB teething + his sinus cold = I am going to die from sleep deprivation.

I fell asleep during the extraction portion of my facial today. Yes, the part where the esthetician digs blemishes out of my skin with sharp metal objects.

I intend to invite Dr. Fer*ber into our home in 10 days (after our weekend away). Good idea or not? Anyone have experience with the good Doctor? All I know is that Pant*ly isn't getting us anywhere, fast.

Talk amoungst yourselves. I'm going to sleep.