Saturday, May 28, 2011

Night Weaning, A Critical Mass

We wake.


My eyes drag crescent-shaped shadows

beneath them--

the dark smudged proof that

I have an infant child.

We are So Sick of It.

In a way I never thought we would be--

rising to meet his cries


Last night,

I got scared when

neither of us wanted to comfort him--

You curled fetal on the floor;

My body and breast felt resent as

I nursed him anyway.

I whined into the dark to your dark shadow on the floor,

"I don't want to act emotionally, I don't want to make decisions

out of exhaustion. It feels too cold."

We discussed again

letting him cry.

I fear the intangible. I fear his personality

hinges on our exceptional attentiveness thus far.

I fear ruining him. Scaring him. Scarring him.

I don't want to act without Sureness.

Do I want to let him wail it out? I don't know. (But not really.) But

What I do know is

I'm ready to stop nursing in the middle of the night

Like so sick of it I want to cry because I haven't had a good night sleep since October 4, 2010.

What I don't know is

How to get there.

Insert suggestions here.

We. Can't. Keep. On. Like. This.


PamJ said...

that is one part i am NOT looking forward to when this baby comes soon. i like my sleep too much. i get on edge when i don't get enough consecutive hours of sleep. & my brain doesn't function 100%.
i'm sure Dax can go without eating for at least a good 6 hour stretch so i suggest the book that helped us TONNES for boy2& boy3 [boy1 miraculously taught himself to sleep at a very young age!] called Sleep Easy Solution by I have to be honest, it is HARD the first few nights but And in the end he will still know that he is loved and will thank you for it by teaching himself to sleep when he needs it most!!

CalKet said...

Hey chic,

Shoot me an email. I want to forward you the phone numbers of a few LLL leaders. You can seriously call tonight if you need to for sanity's sake.

Sweet Dreams

adelantegirl said...

Hang in there. I totally hear you. I think I can count the "good nights of sleep" since Feb 4, 2008 on one hand. But, even saying that, as i nurse my 5mo old to sleep again wishing i was already out myself, i remember that even these multiple night feedings shall all too soon be over and in a few years ill remember them more fondly than I find them now. Chances are you are in the middle of a feeding frenzy growth spurt. Whatever your decision about the scream it out thing, Dax will know you love him. We couldn't do it. I didn't even really want to try. I preferred to snuggle. I figure me kids have the rest of their lives to figure out falling to sleep on their own and ut wasn't something I had to teach them before they understood the concept. Take a nap with him tomorrow, it'll help at least a little! Another place to get a view a bit more outside the mainstream from the "cry it out " crowd if you're looking for another way is to aurf around Blessings on this journey!

adelantegirl said...

"on one hand" from my previous comment sounds too depressing! I think that's how many i awoke feeling completely sleep satiated. But, there have been other decent ones that enable functionality, just not of the solid 8-9 with no interruptions variety. If it's not to nurse then it's to get a drink of water, provide comfort from a strange dream, help them to the potty, or to go yourself! When you're already really tired it seems those nights of 'decent' fade from the memory. just like all times in our little one's lives this season of comfort found only at mommy's breast at the seemingly most inconvenient of times will pass. Just another step of the journey!

GGGGGGG said...

Love you and sorry to hear about the sleeping situation. I was lucky with good sleepers (as far as I remember, but you know it may be like childbirth you forget the bad stuff) so don't have any suggestions other than it seems like what you are doing is no longer working for you. It is ok to try something different.

Maggie May said...

Hey sweetie I am right here with you. Ever is six months (in a few days) and all the sudden going through a lots of night nursing phase. I am reading the book The No Cry Sleep Solution and it's genius. I'm trying a few of her suggestions that have already helped a little. I don't think developmentally crying it out works for babies this age. They don't get it, their brains are looking to be reassured of survival at this age and not being attended to when they are crying just wires them for an anxious whiny response later as toddlers. Ever is our fourth and we haven't let any of our kids cry it out and they were all really independant happy non whiny toddlers and little kids, in my opinion because they felt very secure. My blog friend Lora who works for her state child agency said new research just came out showing AP parenting sets children up to withstand trauma later in life.

You aren't alone!

I just wrote a whole post about being exhausted and overwhelmed.

A lot of it is my 'fault' b ecause i'm not taking good care of myself in other ways.

one of my favorite child writers is PEnelope Leach and I also recommend her book Your Baby And Child Birth to Age Five- i've read a billion times since Dakota was born 16 years ago.


Eva Marie said...

Oh sweet mama..

We did CIO (shoot me but it works) .. I stand by the three day rule.. The first night is miserable.. MISERABLE.. 2nd is better the 3rd even better and by the 4th its like a brand new day..

Whatever you do stick with doesnt happen over night

(i am a behaviorist by trade and because your trying to eliminate something that the baby is use to you will have whats called an extinction burst - basically it gets worse than gets better)

If you need more help honestly feel free to email me, and I can tell you what worked for us..

Mwa said...

Oh, that is so hard! And I know, because I haven't slept properly in more than nine months either.

As you asked for advice, I will happily give it. Here's what has worked with every baby so far for us:

(and we're only not sleeping properly now because they take turns being sick/Charlie loses his dummy every three hours - apart from that, we now have everyone sleeping eight till seven-ish)

(and I hate to let my babies cry, believing that they're always telling me something, so I swear this is not a cruel option)

So, first be very very sure you want to do this, and stand firm, because with inconsistency you're likely to make things worse.

Then, put baby in bed in a separate room. If baby cries, tell him kindly it's time to go to sleep, but leave and close the door.

Now go do something (go to the toilet, collect some washing - anything to stop you running back). Then after roughly four minutes (this will feel like a long, long time but it really isn't) go in and comfort your baby. But DO NOT LEAVE THE ROOM! Also, do not talk if you can help it (maybe just say "it's sleepy time now"), leave the lights off and stay calm. When baby is calmer, leave again and repeat. With my easiest baby, we had to do about three or four repetitions the first night, and by the third night he was sleeping fine. Hardest baby? About ten times the first night, twenty or thirty the second night, then ten the next (roughly), but then by the fourth night she got it. And ALL of them were happier as a result.

Another thing that helped stop the night feeds, was just to give a little bit of water instead and then back in bed. After a few nights, the water wasn't needed again.

Good luck! This is the hardest part of the baby stage, I think. But you will all be so much happier as a result. Because tired mummy is so much less fun than well-rested mama, and the same goes for baby. I know it's hard to believe, but your baby will end up happier as well. Mine now loves to go to bed. You can practically hear his sigh of relief when he lays down his head.

Mwa said...

As for the "crying is bad for your baby" argument, I do agree with that for smaller babies, and any time they feel sick, or bored during the day, or hungry - it's just in this one instant, when they know that you want them to go to sleep and they're just angry because they don't want to (and by this age, they KNOW), I really feel it's fine. Also because you go in and let them know everything's fine every couple of minutes.

I feel now with three children, that sometimes it can't be helped, he has to cry for a few minutes even during the day (I'd be wiping someone else's bottom or changing a wash - whatever needs to be done with five people in a house) - and I don't think he's any less happy, clever, fast to develop or whatever than the others. There's a big difference between children who are just put into a room and left to cry for an hour, and children who are reassured every few minutes but are just taught to sleep in their own beds. It's a lesson in dealing with frustration, which won't do anyone any harm. (Which is just my humble opinion. :-) )

Darcy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Darcy said...

EVERYBODY: Oh my gosh, it's so great to hear all of these thoughts and opinions. I feel so desperate and confused. I am really going to think about all of this. I definitely need a change.

Pam: That's just it: I suck when I don't get enough sleep. Like suck so bad, I feel, during the day parenting, that I feel like so what if he never cries, if I'm crying all the time hahaha....
I feel like he can go 6 hours too. Prolly not more cuz he's big and still not really getting enough solids. I am going to look at this book you recommend.

CalKet: I emailed :-)

adelantegirl: It is nice to hear this support. I feel like truly there are very few people who really get this far without some kind of training, so I always like to hear from someone who just let things be as they may. What I am wondering is: if I did just continued on, hoping he was going through a growth/development phase, when can I expect some reprieve? He is 8 months now, waking every 1-3 hours on average. When can I expect more normalcy, what age typically?

nonni: yes. we.need.different!

maggie may: thank you for your words, it helps me so much to feel not alone! I feel like babies of the breastfed and cosleeping variety suck at sleeping and that is just upsetting because I feel like I am doing a good thing! Dax is 8 months old now and going through some crazy stage of waking up ALL NIGHT LONG. As of yet, we have not let him cry it out and I would like that to continue. Yet I feel like I am falling apart--physically mentally emotionally :-(. When he was younger, circa 4-5 months, we also read the Pantley book, and I AGREE, she is genius! However at that time, I think it was still too early for him. Sleepy but awake? hahahha, he laughs in my face!!! NOW? we are at it again and he seems much more willing to let me pop him off the breast and maybe perhaps sometimes i'm able to put him down sleepy but awake. This is a major component of us moving forward really. We feel we just need to be more consistent. Also thank you for book suggestion, i love new reads and that one sounds like a good one :-)

Darcy said...

Eva: thanks for your support Eva :-). You are definitely not alone in the CIO camp, and there's LOTS of different ways people have done this. almost everyone i know in real life is madly in love with their babies and taught them to sleep in this way. I haven't done it thus far, but if I continue to unravel and nothing else is working. I just might! I am interested in how you did it. I am going to email. Is it similar to any of the versions here (i.e. let them cry a little but comfort them and don't pick up)? I want to hear everyone's methods so i can really make an informed decision later.

MWA: Thank you for the advice (and ps your advice is ALWAYS welcome because I like you and don't think you're a douche). Question tho: When you go back in there after four minutes, how do you comfort baby? Do you pick up? Rock? Pat them in their crib? When do you leave the room? When they are not crying completely, or just 'calmer' crying?
Also, after they fall asleep the first time, when they wake up in the middle of the night, do you give them the water then and go through the same sequence again? How many times in the night was typical for you?
I am attracted to this modified version. I am waffling between the no-cry sleep solution, longer method, and a method similar to this. I like that this worked for you with all your babies. I don't think I could ever just close the door either :-(!

Erica said...

I am not going to pretend like I remember the details of 7 months and I did not wean him from my breast, but have you ever thought of timing an average feeding and then each night cut it down by a few minutes until it's none?
I do remember trying the water thing. I think that actually worked. This stage is hard, but each phase has it's up's and down's.
Please consider napping when you have those opportunities. Your job is to be a mom. You can only be your best if you are happy, rested, and stop worrying about cleaning or whatever you do when he naps.
Take care! Erica

starnes family said...

OK, here we go. My name is Casey and I never nursed my children. LLL has a poster of me in their headquarters. I've accepted it.

So, in regards to nursing and the appropriate routine, I have nothing to add.

What I will throw in, though, is that your being upset/exhausted/emotionally "off" isn't good for the bebe. Perhaps it is time for a change. I applaud your efforts and candor in asking for help!

Darcy said...

Erica: I keep hearing the water thing, so i think we will try that. I have tried to cut down the feedings lately, and that is working more for sure. He seems to be 'getting' it ok when i just pull him off the breast.
We are, for the record, sucking at any kind of weaning, night or day.
Thank god though that i think he just went through a few really bad days and i felt really really tired (obviously), i think he is at least back to his normal. We are trying to let him fuss, not cry, lately and that seems to be helping.
Also, I don't know why, but it seems IMPOSSIBLE for me to nap when he naps. Did you? I don't know why that is so hard for me....but necessary huh?!

Anonymous said...

My first child weaned easily, while the second needed to breastfeed until she was a bit older. I felt some of that frustration too, and especially the tiredness. But they grow up so fast, I never regretted letting my baby wean herself when she was ready.

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