Crying it Out
In yet another case of things-I-said-I-would-never-do-as-a-parent-but-oh-look-there-I-go, we’ve had to resort to letting Lorelei cry it out. I have not gotten an uninterrupted night’s sleep in a year. Strike that. I haven’t had an uninterrupted night’s sleep since sometime in 2007 before I decided to begin a life as bakery-opener whore, but I digress. Let’s just say that everyone has a breaking point and I have reached mine.
About a week after Lorelei’s birthday, we took her in for her one year check-up. I was a little apprehensive because our usual pediatrician had just had her baby and we were seeing someone different. Lorelei has only seen a different doctor – not counting when we were still in the hospital – one other time and she was not a happy camper. She loves Dr. Tara. As per usual, however, my anxiety was for nothing and she was very well-behaved and happy (not counting the blood draw and shot-giving portion of the check-up). In fact, she spent most of the time we were waiting running around the exam room in just her diaper and socks, flinging her arms up and down.
I keep getting off track. So…Our stand-in pediatrician asked us if she was sleeping through the night. I might have laughed.
I’ve heard it all. In the beginning, I was glad for any advice; but as the problem persisted, I mostly just wanted to scream when someone told me their “no-fail” method of getting a baby to sleep. Smile, nod, grit my teeth. I had gotten pretty good at pretending to appreciate any “help” I’m given.
And what is it that wakes her up at night? A car horn honks. She realizes that she’s afraid of the dark. Her diaper is wet.
We’ve tried to let her cry and comfort herself before but she would just scream non-stop. I’ve been told many times to give her five or ten minutes and then go in and – without picking her up from the crib – try to just pat her back and shush her back to sleep. By the time those few minutes have gone by, however, her mood has gone from slightly perturbed to rage-filled histrionics. Nothing – nothing – would calm her. I had to take her out of the crib and rock her back to sleep, usually nursing her as well. Oh, I know I shouldn’t have and I know that she doesn’t need to eat in the middle of the night but it was nurse her for five minutes and then go back to sleep or spend an hour trying to get her to stop crying. I knew we needed to change.
Our doctor told us it would be hard and it would get worse before it got better. We found something that Lorelei loved, that she could cuddle with and would help her feel better when she got upset. (Her stuffed owl, Hedwig, in case you were wondering.) As part of our bed time routine, I would nurse her but while she was holding her stuffed animal so that she would associate that with comfort and not just – well, let’s just say it – my boob.
So far, it has worked okay. We hit a bit of a snag when we went to Ohio for Thanksgiving and the strangeness of her environment completely freaked her out, preventing her from sleeping anywhere other than laying on top of Brian. I was having some serious newborn days flashbacks. A few nights ago, she cried for an hour and a half but it isn’t the painful screeches that it used to be. Instead, it eventually trailed off into pathetic whimpers and then silence and seven solid hours of sleep.
I’m trying not to get my hopes up but I really hope we’ve finally turned a corner in the great sleep battle of 2010.