Sleep Training: A Tired Mother’s Lament

Well, here I am. It’s 11:00, my new bedtime according to Ryan’s and my new “plan of action” to deal with Elliott’s sleeplessness. Ryan goes to bed at 9:00, sleeps until 5:00, and then wakes up when baby wakes at that time, puts her back to sleep then gets up and does homework until she wakes at 7:30, when he puts her back down to sleep until 8:30. I go to bed at 11:00, staying awake for her wakings between 9 and 11, then I “go to bed” only to wake for her between the hours of 11 and 5 (usually 2 more wakings during that time). I know she’s teething right now, I can see the teeth about to poke through. I know she’s a baby, and I love her, and I only want what’s best for her. So I am wondering tonight, if sleep-training is my “epidural.”

I said I didn’t want it, I said I wouldn’t do it, and I put it off until I couldn’t bear the pain and frustration and exhaustion to the point of an emotional breakdown. Is that what I’m going to do with the cry-it-out method? It’s the only thing we haven’t tried because we said we would never do it, but honestly, with no sleep, we are losing it. Am I pushing this for no reason, just so I can have an emotional breakdown in a couple of weeks, and be almost too far gone to wait out the cry-it-out method?

I DON’T WANT TO DO IT. Not only do I not want to have to listen to Elliott cry, which makes me overwhelmingly anxious, but I don’t want to have to do it for days on end, wondering if it’s ever or EVEN going to work, or if I’m just torturing my baby for a futile purpose. But is that better than getting out of bed 4-6 times a night, nursing and rocking her back to sleep, dealing with her screaming when I have to change her diaper, and dealing with running a household while completely exhausted, but still trying to maintain a positive atmosphere? I’ve been praying about this and thinking about it and I just don’t know. Out of all the experts, who is right? Who is right for my baby?

And why aren’t there more attachment-parents out there sharing their success stories on the web? Why can I only find CIO moms bragging about their kid’s sleeping habits? I want to read the testimonials of some sleep-softies like me, someone tell me that what I’m doing has a purpose, someone tell me that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, even if the tunnel is so long I won’t be able to see it for a few more months. I mean, people do this attachment parenting thing, right? I’m not the only one out here? Hello? **Listens to the call echoing in the blackness**

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6 responses

  1. You are not alone πŸ™‚ With Mali I woke up every time he cried and still do. I honestly tried letting him just CIO but I didn’t last. By 1 or 1.5 years old he slept through the night all on his own, and only now makes when he has to potty or has leg cramps. If CIO isn’t for you its okay, Mali turned out just fine even if I did “baby” him over CIO method πŸ˜€

  2. You can do it!!!! I’m so sorry you’re having a hard time.
    So far we have let freddie sleep when he sleeps (which is often during the day and the whole night usually. He still eats 2-3 times during the night but is asleep the whole time. I feed him laying down and he sleeps in our bed so that I just wake up to put him on and just fall back asleep.) And he’s happy and healthy. And I feel fine as long as I get a 10 min nap at some point during the day.
    Lately he’s been getting more into a routine of bedtime(ish) and wakes, crying (when we haven’t gone to bed yet.) One of us goes in to comfort him, usually me because he usually wants to either eat or suck, then he goes back to bed. I feel like if I keep doing this, he’ll get more and more into normal sleep patterns. And once again, he is so happy and healthy! A lot of people probably think we’re crazy for having him in our bed/”babying” him/etc….but he’s good and I’m good.

    You can do it!!! πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

    • Thanks, Nikki πŸ™‚ I’m so glad you and Freddie have such a healthy nursing/sleeping relationship! I wish with all my heart that Elliott would co-sleep with us, but when we lie down with her she just thinks we’re playing a game. The silly little bean πŸ™‚

  3. Em, do whatever you think is best. With Zeke we got a lot of advice telling us that we needed to do CIO and so we did. It worked but it was awful. I would sit in my bed on or on the floor outside his room (just as awake as if I was feeding him) listening to him cry and feeling like the worst mom ever. I still have mixed feelings about it, because I don’t think Zeke has been scarred and I do think that learning to self sooth is a good attribute to have, but it was hard (and it took a lot longer than the bragging moms who say it takes one rough night and then their children sleep like angels every night thereafter). I think the CIO probably has its place and may be what some kids need, but that should definitely be a personal choice .
    It is too late for this, but if you have baby number two someday, this is what our pediatrician told us and it worked with Ashlynn. Because of this or in spite of, who knows? When baby is newborn you don’t let them fall asleep right after eating. You keep her awake for at least fifteen minutes (and if they are sucking that counts as awake, so we often had a finger in her mouth making her suck on it and bouncing and bopping and pleading with her to stay awake. This way she learns to sleep without dependence on food. Then at bedtime you feed her and let her go to sleep. Ashlynn still always wakes up at least once a night and sometimes twice, but she would probably go back to bed without milk both times if we gave her a binkie and snuck out, but my milk is incredibly temperamental so I prefer letting her eat than to have to pump, so alas, I encourage at least one mid night eating.
    So there is your useless advice. You are an incredible mom though. I can see that in every word you ever say about Elliott. I wish I could meet her; she is darling!
    Wow, sorry this is a novel.

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