Our Sleep Journey

Posted by  | Saturday, October 25, 2008  at 8:18 PM  
I have never felt comfortable with the CIO method. It truly made my stomach queasy just thinking about ACTUALLY doing it. Laney had the worst case of reflux any and everyone I knew had ever seen. It splattered all over our hardwood floors ALL-DAY-LONG, all over me, all over her, matted in my hair (that's why I eventually cut it shorter) for ONE WHOLE YEAR. Literally. I don't know how she gained a pound. She wore bibs with every outfit all day long for a year, and you never saw me without a burp cloth in hand or on shoulder. Now, knowing that, let's jump to sleep issues.

As a new Mom, I felt a lot of pressure from media, books, and even other mom-friends to try the CIO with Laney early on. That "issue" was all that was talked about amongst new moms and all that everyone asked me about, "Is she sleeping through the night yet?" I felt like that was my one and only task that I had to master and the sooner the better. I now know that many people were mainly asking if I was finally getting adequate sleep, but my mind was zoning in on this "task at hand" that my heart didn't want to face. I DID NOT want to do CIO, but felt like I was "supposed" to. I was downright delirious from a lack of sleep and dreamt of sleeping a whole night. So, despite the heart wrenching, the one time I tried to CIO method was when she was two months old. I was standing in the crack of her door, biting my finger and itching to bust in and save my girl. After a few minutes, the crying completely stopped, and I heard her choking on her reflux. It was gurgling in her throat. At that point, I DID bust through the door as fast as my feet would move, and I picked her up, held her close and decided in that moment, NO CIO for me. "Nope. I won't even entertain it until this reflux is gone," I said. So, I experienced nine loooong months of broken sleep. Was it tough? You better believe it. I was EXHAUSTED. How did I make it? God's grace. Laney did "sleep through the night" early on but the technical term "sleep through the night" means five straight hours according to the books. That is NOT sleeping through the night for me. The main reason I had to get up was to keep putting her paci back in her mouth and that's altogether a whole different issue at hand and one in which I will not delve in this post. Other times I'd be up thirty minutes to an hour, depending on if she was teething. Ouch! That takes a toll on a Mama when Baby wakes up at 6:30 or 7:00 am.

After Laney turned nine months, the reflux significantly improved about 80%. She still spit-up, but was NOTHING like it used to be the first nine months. At this point, I felt like I could entertain the idea of helping her self-soothe, but I still wasn't keen on the idea of CIO. But I tried it a day or so, and regretted every second of it. I thought to myself, "There has to be another way." I knew that when she cried during the night, she was not primarily crying from hunger or was in any pain, but mainly was crying because of her need for Mommy. I felt at that age, she really needed to know that when she cried, someone was there. "At that age" are the key words here and ones I will address in another post. Some may call this spoiling a child. I call it "consistency." I didn't want to send mixed signals, where sometimes I responded to her cry and then sometimes not, for up to hours possibly. Let me just say for the record, I believe every Mother (and every family) has her/their own convictions either way they choose, and I respect their decision. This choice was my family's personal conviction with Laney, her condition and our overall feelings toward CIO. I, in no way, am saying that those who choose to CIO with their children aren't tender-hearted or are insensitive. No way, no how. I want you to understand that I am definitely not saying that. No matter who you are, the heart of mother, whose child is CIO, breaks every second until it's over with. I respect the other POH authors and my friends for the decisions they made with their children, for every mother and every child is different. Hands down, they are all ABSOLUTELY AMAZING mothers.

I purchased the "No Cry Sleep Solution" book by Elizabeth Pantley. I firmly believe in this book and think that it will work for most children, but not all children. Babies are not cookie-cutter babies, so I don't think that one approach will hit the nail on the head every time. I used the principles from Pantley's book, combined with minimal CIO (10 minutes intervals mainly). I was ready to start helping Laney self-soothe for I was SOOOO TIRED. I would go in and reassure her that I was there and that I heard her cries. I wanted her to hear her Mama's soothing voice. I wanted to take it slowly and avoid any abrupt changes, hoping to spread it out over a span of a few weeks, possibly months.

I would lay her down, explain to her that I was leaving and that she needed to go "night-night." I would go in there every ten minutes to pick her up in the beginning and hug her. Then that evolved to going in only rubbing her back and reassuring her. I slowly pulled myself away. Then I just opened the door of her room and stood at the door. A few times I built up to 15 minutes,but mainly stuck to every 5-10 minutes. She would be very upset, and it absolutely broke my heart. Generally, I didn't let the crying go past thirty minutes in one sleep-training session. This was an area that needed addressing, and I was willing to work with her in this slowly, but I didn't want to turn her world upside-down and cause lots of anxiety and panic in her little world if I could try another way. I don't remember EXACTLY how long it took for Laney to sleep through the night, but I do remember it happening fairly quickly at night and the area of naps was where I camped out for a few weeks. By one year, Laney was QUITE the sleeper and a heavy sleeper at that. I could (and still can) go in her room to change her diaper or her pj's (if her diaper leaks or something) and she either not wake up at all or barely wake up in such a daze that all she cares about is getting back to sleep. My daughter's nap time at 22 months is three hours long. Praise the Lord!!

Here's Laney's schedule:

Wakes 7:00-7:30
Naps 1:00-4:00
Nighttime 7:00-7:30 (usually 7:30 nowadays)

So, in my closing thoughts, I want to encourage the new mother that no, you don't HAVE to use the CIO method. You're NOT a weakling for deciding not to CIO. You have motherly instincts that the Lord gave you and you alone, and you have the option to yield to them should you feel the need. Now, you have to be okay with the consequences of not doing the CIO and that's being tired all the time, take naps a lot and have a messy house. Ha! :)

Now stay tuned for another post from me continuing my point concerning "at that age" and why, looking back, I am happy that I chose the route that I did after reading Dr. Sears' book "The Successful Child."


Christy said...

I am so glad that you said every child is different because that is so true. I have two boys and their sleeping patterns are as different as night and day. My oldest is still not able to completely self sooth. We typically have to rock him or lay down with him to get him to sleep at night. My youngest has been the ideal sleeper but only after we figured out that he was lactose intolerant. Now that he is almost a year he is still very lactose intolerant but that is another issue. But he is the perfect example of what the books tell you children should be sleeping. And he set the schedule. Up between 8 and 9, nap around 11, second nap around 3, occasionally third nap at 5:30 depending on how long second nap was, then to bed for the night between 8 and 9 at night. I love this I just wish I could get my 2 year old with this program. He is slowly getting better. And like you said it doesn't really bother us or we would have done something different by now. I am with you on the cry it out method. I tried it once before my second came along and after three hours and still not asleep I couldn't do it any more - it just didn't feel right. I give kudos to those that were able to use the CIO method and have it work. I just couldn't bring myself to try it again. Those were the longest three hours of heartbreak in my life. I have to say that sometimes I think I'm the only one who was unable to do the CIO method and it is good to know I am not alone.

Hollie said...

Thanks for your feedback! You are not alone girl. :) Thanks for stopping by and sharing!! Hope you find restful days and nights ahead!!!

The Lourceys said...

Hollie, all I know is that Laney went to sleep in a pack-n-play in our office so that we could play Rock Band! Any method that will teach my baby to do that is awesome! I'm so very glad I got a picture of Hugh bringing that pack-n-play in the house. I can't wait to blog about it (even though it's LONG overdue).

I really am thankful for this blog and all that I'm learning in preparation to be a mom myself. I cite it often in my emails to friends and family back home!

Mark'sMeg said...

I so appreciate that your post highlights the different ways to teach your child to sleep through the night. I didn't have the heart to CIO cold turkey all the way; I tried and quickly gave up :) So then I started by just rubbing her back til she went to sleep and then once she got the hang of that, I just lay down by her bed a couple of nights so she would feel secure in knowing that I was there. She got used to it and soon I was just giving her a hug night-night and walking out the door. It took longer than the normal 3-day CIO method, but it was worth it for our family's sanity :) I think that it is so important for a baby to get enough sleep, but that each baby is different and there are several ways to do it; you just have to decide what your family can handle. I will have to read that book you mentioned before my baby comes in Jan. Thanks for your post!
Meagan DeLong

The Eckerts said...

Wonderful post Hollie! I can't stand how everyone always asks me if my baby is sleeping through the night. I always feel like that is 'the way' they judge me or something.

My first child was completely on formula by 8 months, but slept through the night, because I did Babywise. I majorly regret doing that. But now, my son, 8 months doesn't sleep through the night but I've got a great milk supply! I wouldn't change this for the world.

Thanks for sharing with us your story. It's great to hear from other women who aren't fond of the CIO method. I don't feel so alone :)

Hollie said...

There are parts of Babywise that are great, and I definitely learned some things in that book, but I quickly learned that I was not a Babywiser 100%. What you said was so right: the rigorous schedule that Babywise pushes poses a threat to women's milk supply. After a few months of enjoying a schedule, which is liberating and oh so nice, mothers begin to love the scheduled lifestyle so much that they aren't willing to demand-feed during growth spurts around 6-7-8 months and usually by eight months their milk supply is all gone. I've heard many mothers say that they don't have a well-stocked milk supply that will take them to a year, but I beg to differ. I think they do. It all boils down to the supply/demand issue. And ya know, it's a-okay that some mom's choose that option. You have to respect each Mom for the decisions that they make, for each Mom knows how much she can handle and what best suits her and her lifestyle. But I simply wanted to point out that I believe it's really about supply and demand. That's also the time where solids are introduced, so schedules need to go out the window for a little bit until the growth spurt has passed. (or you could pump after you nurse, but why pump if you have a baby who will nurse??? No pump equipment or bottles to clean!)

Christina said...

I think you are so right about many Mom's getting so attached to the schedule that they are unwilling to break it when needed for growth spurts and what not!! That's my biggest concern with Babywise, although like you said, there was much about it that I did like. I can remember being so stressed when Will would go through a growth spurt or a new developmental phase and his sleep schedule was all off. But now I realize that their "schedule" is constantly evolving. It seems like just as we settle into one schedule, things change! Such is life with children! :)

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