On January 29, 2014 I called for help via Facebook. I asked all the parents out there what techniques, methods and other crazy ideas they had tried to help their babies sleep through the night. The response was overwhelming. I had 20 people respond and although several methods were mentioned, the conclusion was unanimous: every baby is different.
Just what this exhausted mama wanted to hear. Not really, although it was a great reminder not to compare him to the other kids on the block. William is indeed his own person, he has a personality, moods, and likes and dislikes. Right now, his dislike is sleep. He hates it with a fiery passion that makes his veins jump out!
We've taken your advise seriously, and read the books you recommended as well as skimmed hundreds of Internet articles and blogs. We were already attempting to work with a routine of "Eat, Play, Sleep" which helped give me a guide to work within. William is a snack-eater so a one-stop eating session hasn't workout very well and it takes over an hour for him to fall asleep for naps which makes our "hour of wakefulness" at least two. We have been swaddling him since day one but now he likes his fingers in his mouth,
We attempted to let him cry it out for a few days, but neither one of us could stand it. We've attempted to comfort him without the breast (since I had allowed that to become a habit), we've removed breast milk from his nightly wake-ups and only given him bottles, and added a dream-feed . . . and in the end, we still have no idea what we are doing. Nothing is helping. I know it takes time for changes to click, but we are desperate. And so are our neighbors.
As I read these books, I was a little surprised to discover that each method contradicted another. Even things on breastfeeding (like at what point the hind milk comes, is it after 10 minutes or after 40 minutes?) or rocking (is forward-backward motion really what the baby experienced in the womb?)
And as I read I couldn't help but think "Well, I screwed that up on day one." or "I guess that one [bad habit] is my fault." From the beginning, getting William to stay awake during feedings was a challenge, so much so, that I was sure he never got enough to eat. Add my limited milk supply to the equation and I was feeding him every hour around the clock. Oh, and because he would wake up every time I put him down, I figured he was still hungry and the cycle would start all over again. So now, we have an overtired baby who only falls asleep while being held and fed.
His pediatrician recommended we wait to try any sleep training until he hit the 4 month mark. But after reading so many things, I feel like that was misguided advice. He is already forming bad habits (thanks to yours truly) and now things seem much harder to change. (Harder for me to change than him probably)
Our main goal right now is to get him to fall asleep on his own and sleep longer stretches at night. We've put him in his crib when he's tired but still awake only to have him talk to himself for an hour or more. Or he'll just scream as soon as we put him down (and stop the moment we pick him up). He is so alert and attracted to everything around him he has stopped taking naps in his stroller and carseat too. It seems that he just loves to be awake.
I know every parent goes through something like this and now it's my turn. I didn't think it would be so hard. And I didn't think my son's sleep habits would dominate every conversation I have . . . or my blog. But this is my world right now.