Sunday, November 25, 2007

More Material for Henry's Therapist

As most of you know, Henry is not a champion sleeper. When he was a tiny infant, he would nap for thirty minutes at a stretch. As he got older, the naps got longer, but never consistently. He has still never, ever, ever slept through the night once. Not once. If I count from the time he goes to bed around 8pm, he usually wakes around 11pm, 2am, 5am and then up for the day around 7am. Sometimes he does a little better, but my sister's newborn sleeps better than Henry. He used to want to eat, but now most of the time he just wakes and wants attention.

Lots of people have told me to "ignore" him, including his pediatrician. She started giving this advice around six months and I have consistently "ignored" her. It just didn't feel right. First, he was/is very skinny so I figured if he was hungry I should feed him. Second, crying is his only means of communication. What if he was hurt, hungry, lonely (not likely since he is usually in our bed! haha), wet, dirty, in pain...I am a sucker so my list of mental excuses goes on and on. I also thought by letting him cry I would be incurring some sort of Karmic debt. When I am old, grey and in diapers, he could just leave me in my bed and let me cry. That is if his bitch of a wife let me live there, but I digress.

Anywho, getting up multiple times per night for thirteen months is getting old. Worse than the getting up is that he won't go to sleep now without someone holding him. We followed that great advice to put him down awake and it worked for a while. Until he started getting teeth or got sick, who knows what it was. I need to hold him until he is dead asleep, not just dozing. If I laid him down before that he would spring awake screaming and we would have to start the whole drama over again. It has been so bad over the past few weeks because he was sick that I was just napping with him...A real hardship for me, I know. But I do need to actually get a few things done now that I am a professional housewife.

So, now that he is fully recovered from his illnesses, the sleep training needs to start. I bought "Solving Your Child's Sleep Problems" by Richard Ferber. He of the "Ferberizing" fame where you leave them alone in the crib (i.e. let them cry) for increasing lengths of time until they fall asleep. I was going to start tomorrow night. He didn't take a second nap today, so he fell asleep while I was nursing him (another thing that needs to be broken, please take pity on me!) I waited about ten minutes and put him down. He immediately sprung awake. I decided right then that we needed to start. We waited three minutes and I went in. In his fury, he pooped so I changed him and we started again. Another five minutes, then seven minutes, then ten minutes...This was pure hell. He was not just crying, he was furious. He was red faced and sweating and stomping his little feet in his crib. Add that to the baby book, I didn't know he knew how to stomp!

I felt so terrible I was in tears. I also ate half of a sweet potato pie but I can't blame that on Henry can I? I brought him a little sippy cup of water to quench his now parched little throat. Finally, about seven minutes into the next fifteen minute waiting period, he stopped. What a relief.

Henry, if you suffer some rare form of insomnia or repressed memories of this period as an adult, I truly apologize. I didn't want to do it and it tore me apart to do so. I am frequently accused of spoiling you absolutely rotten, so you should know that I am only trying to do what is best for you.


Irene said...

Vanessa, we followed "Babywise" at the direction of our pediatrician and some friends that had much success with the method. We started when Matthew was 9 weeks old and it took exactly one week and he slept through the night at exactly 10 weeks old. It was the hardest week of our lives, but it was well worth it. He has NEVER woken up during the night and sleeps 8-8 every single day...and continues to now at 18 months old. I am not bragging...just emphasizing that you need to take a firm stand and stick by it. Henry needs his sleep and so do you. A well rested baby = a well rested Mommy and can make all the difference in the world.

Anonymous said...

Vanessa as you know, well I have always told you, Henry is your little apple right next to his mother the apple tree. You also always got up a few times a night, we never took you out of the bed, we would take about a half hour , pat you on your back , because you just wanted to be up. We would get you back to sleep and it would last about 3 hours. We finally completed this routine when at the age of 3 1/2 yrs you finally slept through the night. We just never understood the whole thing because Kevin was sleeping through the night before he was 3 weeks old and Heather was about 4 months and with that she only got up once a night. I wish you better luck than your father and I had, the only thing I can say is that you have to keep him out of your bed. I know it will be hard, but everyone will get a better nights sleep.

Queenie said...

It's so hard, but you'll be so glad once Henry figures it out and sleeps through the night (if he isn't already). Marcus used to do the same thing, waking every 3 hours, needed to be rocked to sleep, etc. We ferberized him at 3-months and I seriously felt like a new person (after I got over what an awful parent I thought I was for letting him cry like that). I was actually well-rested and happy for once! It also kept me from biting Kai's head off every other night :)

Good luck and hang in there!