Our journey through infertility, failed adoptions and now parenthood through the miracle of embryo adoption/donation.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

sleep training night one: EPIC FAIL

Since I had all of these years to prepare to be a mom, 12 to be exact, I thought for sure that I would be perfect. Stepford almost, just not so creepy. I was going to breastfeed until at least a year, use cloth diapers, make my own organic baby food, and maybe even solve all of the world's problems in my spare time. I was prepared! Then I had a baby. Maddie started out with jaundice throwing a wrinkle in my nursing plans. I could have still nursed but her numbers were so high we decided to supplement. She then refused to nurse. That coupled with 8 weeks of migraines I gave up.

Now cloth diapering I did so much better. I lasted 13 months with those. High five to me! But making my own baby food? Not so much. But Maddie really didn't care for food until she was 8 or 9 months and I had been given so much food from a friend that there was never any need. So that one does not count. But my biggest challenge was not one that I had even planned for: sleeping. Maddie was a great sleeper at first. But she was jaundiced and it makes then lethargic. That first week was awesome! She slept for 3 hours and we would wake her to eat and then she went right back to sleep. For a tired momma recovering from a c-section it was heaven. Then it was over.

Once she recovered she never slept well again. Hubby and I would take turns but we were always so exhausted. Then at 3 months the ear infections started and things just got worse. Maddie's chronic ear infections caused her to develop even worse sleep habits. To her sleeping meant waking up in pain. It was not every night but I don't think that her tiny brain understood that. She just knew that she did not like how it felt to wake up. We have battled these ear infection for 15 months and now that they seem to be over (crosses fingers, toes, even eyes) we have decided it is time to teach her to not only fall asleep alone but to stay in her bed all night.

Last night was the first night. We started a routine of bath, brush teeth, read books then bed. I let her pick a baby to take with her and she had her blankie and cup of water and we went to her room. She walked to that room like a man on death row going to the chair. It was pitiful. As soon as I hugged her and told her that I loved her she started to scream. And scream. And scream some more. After 30 minutes I went in to comfort her and put her back down. Her whole body quivered and shuddered and she hugged me so tight. I tried to put her back down and the screaming started again. I just couldn't do it. It broke my mommy heart. So I carried her to the living room and held her. She quickly fell asleep but continued to shudder for another 5 minutes. I then laid her down and she woke up and cried but I remained strong and left her. She only cried for 10 minutes, this time without ear piercing screams.

Though not a total loss it was not as I had hoped, yet what I expected. She lasted in her room until 1 am and then cried until I brought her to bed with us. Yes, another bad habit. But one we developed to keep our sanity. The problem with cosleeping with her is that she hates if I move at all and wakes if I do. I move a lot so we both wake up often. I am always so tired and dread night time because of this.

We will try again tonight. Hopefully it will go better. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!


  1. Oh I can’t even imagine how hard this must be. I struggle with even tiny little sleep issues. Tackling big sleep issues has got to be overwhelming. And it just breaks your mama heart to let her cry for even a moment unanswered. Worst of all the sleep issues are no one’s fault, just an unfortunate reality with a constantly sick baby.

    First, let me say that my advice comes from not actually having done it myself. But I did have a thought while I was reading your post. What if you slept in her room with her for a bit? On the floor or a blow up mattress near her bed? I know this is not a good sleep habit, but it would be a gentle move in the right direction. And it’s not like you are getting good sleep at night right now anyway. Then when she was comfortable in her room with you, paired with the good nighttime routine you are starting, you could transition to her sleeping alone in her room.

    Finally, you are a rock star mama! None of us our perfect. And those that appear perfect just spend more time faking it and less time just enjoying life with their little ones.

  2. Wish I had some great wisdom/ advice to pass along. I am struggling with our little one and sleeping. We have several issues one, with her being the third she naps whenever and where ever without a schedule (unlike the first two that had schedules!). Every since she has was in the hospital a little over a month ago she will ONLY sleep at night with me in our bed- I know MAJOR no no but eh it works for us. Don't get me wrong I too have tried the let her cry it out and and she will eventually fall asleep but just like yours my mommy heart can't take it either and she is a strong willed child! My first kiddo NEVER slept in her crib not even for naps, when we converted it to a toddler bed she did sleep in it but not without issues so I am use to it. I also look at it this way they are only little once and I am going to soak up all the cuddle time I can get:) I will sleep when they are older. Good Luck with your little one and sleeping!

  3. Oh how I feel your pain. With our first child...I was super mom and followed my babywise and he was sleeping through the night in his own bed at 9 weeks and we never had a problem. When sickness or teething would interrupt our good routine...a few nights of CIO and we were back on a great schedule. I thought I rocked it as a mom...And then came Genevieve.....She was a much better newborn...slept for longer periods and did not have the reflux issues our son had...but like Maddie...at 3 months old...the ear infections started....she was soooo close to sleeping through the night...we were up to 6 hour stretches when they started. So then we battled the ear infections for 4 months until she got tubes at 7 months. By then...she was used to being up 2-4 times a night and I would nurse her to calm her and ply her with baby motrin to sooth her pain. Sleep training an older baby is so much harder than just working your way into it when they are little infants and don't know any better. Even after the tubes...she still woke at least once every night. We would get the occasional all night stretch...but it never lasted. I was back at work and exhausted. Luckily I have never been one for co-sleeping so I always had her in her bed...but the constant up and down was killing me. I finally had to get serious. I had to try CIO...and it was also an epic fail. She wasn't like her brother who could scream his head off for 10 minutes and then just drop off to sleep. She really got worked up and very distraught and it killed me. It took a few weeks of baby steps to get her to self sooth in the middle of the night. Bedtime isn't so hard...we have a very strict schedule that involves bath, books, bottle and rocking. She loves all the attention and will usually drop off easily. I do suggest you keep the routine very strict for a couple weeks...and just slowly work your way into more hours in bed per night. With the older ones...they are more aware, they have more stamina and changing habits takes a little more work. I don't think your night was a complete fail...I think you learned that although she cried and was upset...you can do this...it may just be that it takes a little longer. But the only other choice is to continue on with the current routine which is not healthy for anyone. Just like teaching our children to read and talk and be compassionate because it is good for them...we also need to teach our children healthy sleeping habits because a good night's sleep is important for everyone in the family. Genevieve now sleeps through the night about 85% of the time at 16 months old. We are slowly working on the 15%....but I am sooo much more functional than I was before and although hearing her cry was tough...I did it, and we all survived and she still loves me and I don't think there are any permanent mental scars from it. Hang in there...night one is over...now on to 2, 3, 4 etc! You can do it...because you are a great mom. don't doubt that about yourself.


  4. I know from experience that sleep training is HAAARD! Just keep with it. It will get a little easier each time. It took us about a week and a half before I could lay Landon down without him crying. When you actually get a full nights sleep with each of you in your own beds you will both feel fantastic. I am a new momma because of the sleep training. Keep it up Momma!


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