Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Sleeping Angel

I am a huge proponent of "letting kids cry-it-out" when it comes to teaching babies how to sleep.  People know this about me and often will call for a pep-talk or how-to right before they attempt it with their own babies.  I KNOW that it is for the best.  The theory is that you are parenting and teaching them a lifelong skill.  It takes discipline and commitment and denying yourself from running into the room and scooping your precious infant in your arms to make his sadness go away.  You have to believe in what you are doing or you will absolutely fail and both you and babe will be MISERABLE!  

That being said, I dread 6 months.  And I dread it for the full 6 months.  For the first half  year of their lives, my kids have always slept with us; nursing at will at the all night diner.  I am perpetually exhausted for this duration.  But it doesn't usually bother me because I know that it is so short lived.  Then at 6 months, I let my beautiful baby cry.  Because if they get to the point where they can sit up on their own, it gets WAY worse.  

Ezra has had some issues with asthma and RSV.  I have put off letting him cry because I wasn't ready.  Besides, he is such a good baby - I couldn't bear to have him sad.  (Also the guilt of knowing full well that any bad sleep habits are exclusively my fault since I trained him that way since he was born.)

So I knew that time was fast approaching.  I realized the other day that Ezra was already 7 months old.  I was struggling getting him to sleep naps (at 20 lbs, he is WAY too big for the swing) and he no longer would nurse to sleep.  He never went to bed at night before 10:30 and he was starting to strain those abs trying to sit up.  I knew it was time and my heart sunk.

The first night I gave him an evening bath, and made sure to do a routine so he would learn to depend on cues that bedtime was coming.  I sang to him and cuddled him and nursed him and loved him.  Then I put his in his crib (yes the one he has hardly ever been in), turned out the light and walked out the door.

He cried for 5 minutes.  And then REALLY revved it up.  I was so sad and felt so awful.  After 20 minutes he volcano puked all over his clean bod, jammies, sheets.  So much for that!  We quickly re-bathed him and I brought him back into bed with us.  I felt awful, but I also knew that it would only get worse as he got older.  

The next night I tried again.  This time he cried for 7 minutes and was out cold.  A couple hours later he whimpered for about 30 seconds, and then proceeded to sleep through the NIGHT!  He woke up at 7:30 this morning cooing in his crib!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I could hardly believe it.  The longest he had gone without nursing (day or night) was 3 hours...!  Imagine my elation and how big the girls were (ok, don't imagine that...!).  Even with that success, I still worried about nap time.  I wanted him to be in the routine of night before I tried the day - but then how was I going to get him to sleep?!?!  So, fretfully, I nursed him, sang to him and laid him down fully awake and left the room.  A few minutes later after being distracted, I realized I hadn't heard a peep from him.  I went to check on him and sure enough - sound asleep.  

So it turns out Ezra is super star and I had nothing to worry about.  Not that I would have done it any earlier though... l wouldn't change the first 7 months of snuggling for anything.  But I am just so relieved and grateful that now that he is bigger and needs to learn how to sleep on his own (since I couldn't do it for him anymore) that it was such an easy transition.  Yeah for letting them cry and bigger yeah that he didn't really have to!!!!!!


Sara and Dustin said...

I found your blog from Beth's and it's so fun to read about you and your family!

I, too, am an advocate of crying it out. It's so painful but so worth it. But I've done it at 3 months not 6. I'm THRILLED for you that Ezra didn't actually cry!! How incredible is that?! Thanks for sharing! That gives me hope for the future!

Chantel said...

Good for Ezra. I am so looking forward to the sleeping through the night. One day it will happen.

Aimee said...

This brings back funny memories of me calling for support! I'm really happy for you that it was so easy this time.

missLaura said...

YAY Ez-man and YAY Maja. What a relief. What a good boy.

stone's eye view said...

What a good baby! I am so happy for the both of you.