Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Our "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child" Experience, Part 1 - Why We Are Doing This FOR Atticus

From the time Atticus was a week old (except for the occasional night here and there), he was a great sleeper.  He'd go to sleep on his own, wake up once to eat in the middle of the night, and sleep to a reasonable hour in the morning.  I'd brag to people how awesome my baby was at everything.  He rolled over at 3 weeks old, nursed like a champ, and slept wonderfully.  Clearly, it was due to my awesome mothering skills.

Or not.  

I might have been just a touch arrogant. 

Side note:  Why do people feel the need to ask how your baby sleeps?  It's not like it makes any difference to them at 2 am!

Enter age three months.  Atticus decided that he only wanted to sleep on his belly.  Because he was capable of rolling both ways, I decided that it wasn't a fight I wanted to pick, and I put him down for naps and bedtime on his belly.  He would usually go to sleep on his own within a few minutes.  He used the pacifier to fall asleep, but would spit it out as soon as he was in dreamland without waking himself.  I tried to pay attention to signs of tiredness, but I often took too long to get him to bed, and he was usually overtired and fussy.  

The last few weeks have been torturous for me, as Atticus has learned to scoot across his crib.  He wakes both of us up multiple times a night because he has made his way to the opposite side of his crib and is banging his head repeatedly.  He is causing himself pain and causing both of us to get crappy sleep.  I go in there to sooth him, scoot him back in the middle of the crib, and end up nursing him for comfort (not hunger) 3-5 times a night.  (I am all about nursing on demand, but I am not for using my boob as a pacifier). 

I posted on facebook asking what to do.  How could I get my baby to stop banging his head?  The best solution was to get the miracle bumpers.  I started to make some but thought, This will minimize the effects of the problem.  It won't make it go away.  I want it to go away.  We both NEED it to go away. 

We spent the next five nights on the boat, and last night, I got up 11 times (what?  I was am am sometimes an accountant.  I count things like that) between 10:30 pm and 7 am.  Atticus previously slept very well in his pack and play. 

I decided I was done with this crappy sleep crap, and this morning I made a trip to Barnes and Noble with the intention of buying a book to help fix my baby my baby (and me) get some sleep.

I pulled all (yes, ALL) of the sleep books off the shelf and sat in the floor to read excerpts from all of them.  A mommy group walked over to me because I'm sure it was very apparent by my large stack of books, frazzled and tired appearance, and screaming baby that I needed help.  This group of moms overwhelmingly recommended Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Dr. Marc Weissbluth.  One lady said that it was the book that saved her life and kept her from throwing her baby out the window.  In my head, I identified with her because I've often joked at 3 am that one of us is about to go out the window.  I was sold.  I bought the book, came home, put Atticus down for a nap, and started reading. 

Dr. Weissbluth is one smart cookie.  I've never talked to him, and I don't know if he's even hot or not, but his book described EXACTLY what my baby has been doing for the first four months of his life.  I took all kinds of notes from the chapter on months five through eight. (Atticus will be four months old tomorrow and will be starting month five, so I figured that's where we should start).  

So, according to Dr. McSpartypants we are shooting for something like this:
  • Wake and start the day around 7 am
  • Have a morning nap around 9
  • Have a mid afternoon nap around 1
  • Maybe have a late afternoon nap
  • Go to bed between 6-8
Sounds great, right?  Well, except for my better half and I decided that of the two options (rip bandaid off slowly or rip bandaid off quickly), we'd rather get it over with.  That means that we're going to let Atticus cry (as the book says to) for up to an hour for nap times and for an unlimited period of time when it's time to go to bed for the night.  

I read reviews of this book online.  I know it works.  I asked Dr. Google.  Relived moms on Amazon told me it works.  Message board moms told me it works.  What they didn't tell me was the process it took to get there.  You know, like:  Exactly how many minutes did your baby cry each time you put him to bed? How many times did you cry when he was crying?  How many times did you tell your husband that if he didn't shut up, you'd punch him and make him cry like a little girl?  I need details, and these details are no where to be found on all of the internets.  Trust me on that, because I looked. 

So, for a reference for myself (for potential future babies) and for everyone who has googled "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child Experience Not a Review I Need to Read the Play-by-play Please Help My Super Tired Baby We Both Need Some Consistent Sleep" and come up empty handed, I'm here to fill that void. 

TA-DAA!!!  I'm here!!!

The posts to follow will contain more details about my son's sleep and how much crying it took for him to get it than you ever thought you'd want to know.

HSHHC - Part 2 - The First Day

**I know that not everyone is kosher with crying it out.  That's totally your prerogative.  This is mine, and I believe that this is not something I'm doing TO my son.  I'm doing it FOR him.  End of discussion. You have another method?  Write about it on your blog.  This one is mine. **


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