Sunday, July 24, 2011

Wait... do I even know how to "self" soothe?

A three day old Felix, sleeping "like a baby."
Up until this moment, I'd consider myself the kind of mom that puts the HIP in hippie.  I did an all natural childbirth.  And sure, I breastfeed...  and yeah, we "co-sleep" and "wear" the baby.  I even make a lot of Felix's food from scratch and we only use whole grain rice cereals.  However, I do break out a jar of Gerber every now and again (mind you, it's the "all naturals" kind).  I traded in the cloth diapering for good ol' fashion Huggies at about 4 months (after he outgrew the first batch of hemp prefolds).  I wear makeup in public if I get the thirty seconds to apply and I am pretty much hooked on "Keeping Up With the Kardashians."

All peace and love aside, I woke up this morning on a mission.  After another sleepless night with a perma-latched baby, I decided it was time to switch my game up.  I've tried the no-cry sleep "solutions."  The "lovie," the swaddling, the swinging, the singing, and the womb sound giraffe (which we do really love). I've given him formula before bed.  I've given him rice milk mixed with breast milk in a bottle before bed. I've tried co-sleeping, in-room-bassinets, and giving Felix his own space.  Call the authorities... I've even tried leaving a (gasp) small pillow and blanket in his bassinet.  Until now, our pre-bedtime routine was bath, book, and nurse to sleep. 

Felix in desperate need of a nap.
The tree baby-hugger in me has avoided these three awful words like a festival chick avoids paying for a beer ("Hey, mama... can I have a spill of your drink?"):  Cry. It. Out.  Yet a nagging little voice (my mother's intuition) has been telling me to look in to similar methods for the past few (stressful, sleepless) weeks or so.  Today, I gave in and let my instincts do the talking.  After researching Ferber and similar sleep systems, I decided to take some tips and go in to this evening with a new outlook.

Here's the run down:
  • Dinner.  Playtime.  Nursing... all before 7:45PM. 
  • At 8:00PM Felix, my Mom, and I started the bath routine.  While my Mom finished up, I did last minute safety checks on Felix's bassinet (which is in our bedroom).  I turned on his crib soother, the womb sound giraffe, the birdie night light, and the constellation turtle... creating a happy atmosphere for Felix to go to sleep in.
  • By 8:30PM, Felix and I were cozy in his room reading his absolute favorite book, "The Very Hungry Caterpillar."
By 8:36PM, I was beginning the battle (oh shit, girl... hold my hoops).  The following are just some of the notes I made during the preceding 49 minutes, clutching the monitor with my eyes on the clock - fighting my own tears and desperately trying to "self soothe."

  • 8:37PM - F in to bed awake.  And OK.  F watched crib soother for a minute, then became upset.
  • 8:41PM* - (I go in room) - I managed to barely soothe F.  He's very panicked.
  • 8:42PM - Very upset.  Crawling.  Standing.
  • 8:45PM* - (I go in room) - Unsoothable.  Offered bottle with water.  He drank at first, then refused.
  • 8:51PM* - (On another room visit) - I sat next to his bed as he cried very hard.  Calmed a bit. 
  • 8:56PM - Periods (1-2 seconds each time) of quiet between crying.  Atleast 10x.  Quieter voice in shrieks.  Is his voice tired?
  • 9:01PM* - (I'm in room for 4th time) - MILDLY soothed.  Rolled over to his side to his "sleep position" and did dull whine.  Refused water and pacifier.
  • 9:08PM - He fell asleep sitting with head against mesh.  Woke up.  Fell back asleep.  Woke up, looks sleepy.
  • 9:10PM - Falling asleep periodically, only whining and slowly crawling.
  • 9:18PM* - (I'm baaaack) - While patting his belly, he fell asleep briefly.
  • 9:25PM - Slumped, sitting, sleeping.
  • 9:26PM* - (My "last" trip... number 6) - The Reposition Voyage.  He woke during re-positing VERY briefly, then went right back to sleep very peacefully.
Sweet Relief.
Tonight was one of the hardest nights I've had to endure as a mother.  Terry was working at the new house and it was super hard going through it without him... though he's such a softie, I'm pretty sure he would've caved in and rocked the baby boy back to sleep.  Thankfully, my mom was helping me get through each 3-5 minute spurt that Felix "cried it out."  During my visits, which were 1-5 minutes long, I would only give Felix soothing words and loving pats.  I would not pick him up or nurse him.  It was AWFUL for both of us.  God.  It was a.w.f.u.l.  But now... It is now 10:29PM.  Felix has been sleeping for 1 hour and 4 minutes.  I've had a glass of water and am sipping on a nice, cold Sierra Nevada.

Do I think he'll sleep through the night?  No.
Do I think he may begin to sleep better if I do this for a few more nights?  Maybe.
Do I think he'll grow up feeling unloved and abandoned?  Not at all.

So... did it work?  I guess that's to be determined.


  1. I hope you got some sleep! My suggestion would be to get rid of the constellation turtle. I've read it is best for them to sleep in total darkness because any visual stimulation will keep them up. We had a mobile that projected images and we got rid of it. I have also read that holding your hand over their eyes and inch or two away from their faces will help. It works for Rocco.

  2. Carly, You and your Mom are both amazing---sounds like you's are on your way and I will pray that it just gets better and easier with each passing night !!!