Tuesday, November 8, 2011

29+29+13=One Tired Mama

After writing this post, I decided it deserves an award.   So I did what any humble blogger would do: I made my own!  If you'd like a tutorial in Paint, just let me know.  You too, with a little guidance, determination, and perseverance, could make something this amazing. 

With that being established, I might suggest that anyone not looking for ways to get their baby to sleep through the night  stop reading here.  Just come back tomorrow, okay?  See ya then.

If you've been keeping track (like I have), you'll know that Madison and I have not had a good night's sleep for over three weeks now.  She's been waking up at least three times a night.  Night before last, it was more like five times.  And that was the last straw for me.

Our strategy was kind of thrown together.  First, I knew I shouldn't feed her every time she woke up, because that would cause long-lasting problems.  Second, I thought that the best thing I could do was to comfort her until she fell safely asleep again.  So that's what we did.  Either Patrick or I would rock her until she was in such a deep sleep that her arms were limp, and then get up and lay her in her crib.  Unfortunately, I'm apparently not very good at either patience or stealth, because I was never successful in the transfer (I'm not sure if I wasn't waiting for her to be in a deep enough sleep or if I woke her up with jerky movements).  Meaning Pat always had to get her back to sleep unless I fed her. 

I seemed to notice things getting worse instead of better with this strategy.  Or maybe it was just emotionally worse for me because I'm so sleep deprived.  Either way, it was time for a change!  While trolling through babycenter.com yesterday, I found an article on "no-tears" (yeah, right) sleep training.  This appealed to me for two reasons:
  1. I knew sleep training (meaning teaching her to soothe herself back to sleep) was what she needed.  She doesn't wake up more than any other baby, it's just that many other babies get themselves back to sleep without help, and she needs us to do it for her.
  2. I'm not okay with letting her cry without me.  I actually tried to make myself do it, and couldn't.  From everything I read, cry-it-out would have gotten the best results, and it would have worked almost immediately.  And I know she would never remember it happening.  And she would get better sleep at night.  <shrugging> But what can I say?  Logic doesn't always win with me.  
There were three methods of no-tears sleep training mentioned in the article. 

The first was the ever-popular Dr. Sears attachment parenting.  He's all about helping your baby learn that sleep is a happy, safe state to enter.  You teach that by rocking, nursing, singing, or cuddling baby to sleep.  That pretty much describes what we had been doing up until now, and it (obviously) wasn't working so well for us.

The second was based on Elizabeth Pantley's The No-Cry Sleep Solution.  Her method differs only slightly from Dr. Sears- instead of rocking/nursing baby to sleep, you rock/nurse baby to drowsiness, then put the baby in the crib to fall asleep on his/her own.  This describes what I (inadvertently) did every time I rocked her in the middle of the night.  Again, it didn't work for her.

That only left the third method, by registered nurse Ima Tracy Hogg.  Her technique, written about in Secrets of the Baby Whisperer, is considered a middle-ground between Dr. Sears and the Ferber method (cry it out).  I was shocked to read that she actually suggested picking up your baby every time she cries, then immediately putting her down once she quiets.  Then repeat ad nauseum.  Apparently, Hogg used this method for her own children.  For one child, the first night she had to pick her up 126 times.  The next was 30 times, the next 4, and before long, the baby slept through the night. 

This seemed just crazy enough to work! 

I decided to try it out last night.  I kept count as I picked her up.  She woke up three times last night.  The first, I picked her up and put her down 29 times in 20 minutes.  The 29th time I put her down, she miraculously turned to her side and closed her eyes!  I could hear angels singing.

The second time she woke up, I again picked her up and put her down 29 times.  And again, the 29th time I put her down, she decided to go to sleep.  (The OCD in me was willing her to cry just one more time to make it an even thirty!) 

The third time, I was all set for another round of 29.  But my sweet girl is anything but predictable!  This time, it was 13, and she was out for the rest of the night.

In all, it was a much better night than I expected.  I plan to try this at least three more nights, and I'll reevaluate from there.


PS- If you read the entire post, you deserve your own award.  Just comment below, and I'll make you something special!  : )


  1. YAY! I've been praying that you would have the wisdom to know what to do in this situation. Glad God seems to have given you an answer!

  2. I'm glad you've found something that works!

  3. I'm glad to hear you might have fond something that works for the both of you. We did the cry it out and that was very hard for me, but it worked and didn't take too long. I have never heard of the idea you are using. Hope it goes well again tonight. :)

  4. Hope tonight goes even better; and that you finally get a chance to catch up a little on your sleep---wishing sweet dreams for all.

  5. That was one the best books I read and we used it with our daughter. (Baby Whisper) Later, at 10 months we also used cry it out... but that was because when I would walk in the room when she had been crying she would smile and clap... no tears. Talk about feeling manipulated. Two nights of cry-it out then and she was a champion sleeper. I think that using what works for you and being flexible to try something else is the only real answer or any of it.

    Hang in there and I hope sleep comes in longer stretches soon for you.