Wednesday, March 16, 2011

That Tingling Sensation Means It's Working

Last week we officially abandoned all hope for the kinder, gentler modifications of cry-it-out for nighttime sleep. They just weren't working. So, we turned the monitor volume waaaay down, decided on a middle-of-the-night feeding time that was acceptable (between 2-3AM or later), and went to bed. The first night he cried. A lot. We stealthily peeked in there periodically to make sure he hadn't poked himself in the eye with a wee little finger or jammed his foot into the crib rails or something, but otherwise did not enter his room until 2AM. The crying lasted for over an hour at one point. I quietly begged KB to just please go ahead and waterboard me, for I would gladly give up state secrets rather than listen to this anymore. Then I went in to feed him that night and he was curled up on his side, in the fetal position, rocking and crying. I wanted to die. The second night, he cried but put himself back to sleep after about half an hour. The third night we reverted again to the prolonged crying. I died a little more inside but kept on truckin'. And by the fourth worked. He woke up a couple of times, rolled around and cried for just a few minutes, and put himself back to sleep. Just like that. And he's been doing it the past few nights, sleeping soundly for 8-hour stretches before his nighttime feeding. This means I am getting roughly 4-5 hours of uninterrupted sleep. Hoo-fucking-ray!

Oh, and the swaddle. Gone. He figured out how to stretch the Woombie out by linking his hands and pushing them waaaay out, so that the neck of the thing was all stretchy and allowed him to work his hands out of it. The effort he was putting into this endeavor, while admirable in its singular focus, was helping to keep him awake at night so we decided to just ditch the swaddle while we're crying-it-out anyway. And he's sleeping just dandy, thankyouverymuch, in his sleepsack. I still don't love that his little hands get cold, but when I go in for his nighttime feeding I tuck his paws in close to me and warm them up. It's our new "thing." (And for the record, Your Honors, I am keeping the nighttime feeding for as long as he wants; I like it, too, since it's our quiet time. Breastfeeding expert-types suggest that once-nightly feedings may last up to a year, after which you can night-wean in good conscience.)

So I am getting caught up on rest, starting to feel better, and turning a corner. I wonder if some of the congestion I can't seem to kick is A) due to the weather changes and/or B) due to hormones while breastfeeding (I remember being a mucous monster during pregnancy). Either way, I still have headaches and the remnants of a bronchitis cough, plus the snot, but it's under control now. And by that, I mean I don't feel like it's actively trying to destroy me. I might be able to start winning at the game of life again. I have more therapy tomorrow, and am making an appointment with the trainer for early next week. I can't really start the exercise routine with the trainer until after next week because...

...we're going to Chicago for a long weekend! It'll be our first family vacation, in good ol' Chi-town (one of my favorite places evah). We're hoping to get back into Alinea for a 12-course meal of AWESOME, but are waitlisted (somebody didn't call for the reservation until it was too somebody made a backup reservation at some other fancypants restaurant just in case). My sister lives in the burbs and is coming into the city to babysit and hang out with us at Shedd Aquarium for the day. And if the weather holds up, some window shopping. Maybe some museums. Who knows? It all kind of depends on how this trip impacts our recent sleep victories. We can't let him cry his face off in a hotel room, but getting up every hour again is not an option. So, I guess we're prepared to turn around and come home if the first day and night is a fail, but here's hoping it's an epic WIN.


Lauren said...

CIO is so hard, isn't it? We had to use full on CIO with my son at 7 months because all the "gentler" versions did NOT work for him. He would scream for hours with the "gentler" versions. Which didn't seem very gentle to me.

It's really hard to listen to, but it worked for us. I'm glad it worked for you! Just an FYI - my son had a sleep regression at 11 months where he was up crying again ALOT. I wanted to get him, but with his personality and temperment it's a slippery slope, so I had to just keep letting him cry. It lasted almost a week, with just a couple of good nights in there. And ever since then his sleep has been great again. So it's like anything else - you may have to repeat it again.

AND, I also believe in a MOTN feed. My son is 12 months on Friday and I am still nursing him once overnight, after 4am. He seems to need it in order to sleep longer in the morning. If he happens to sleep straight through until, say, 6 or 6:30, he doesn't go back to sleep again. But if I nurse him a bit earlier than that, he usually sleeps until 7 or 7:30. Plus, I don't go 12 hours without eating, so I don't expect him to. He sleeps just fine, so I know it's not a crutch for him.

I would actually be fine if he decided to give up that one nursing session overnight, just because I'm a terrible sleeper and it would stop me from lying awake for hours after the feed. But I'm going to let him give it up when HE'S ready. And I know he's not yet.

BTW - I am very impressed with your commitment to BFing. Many people would have given up with the working, and the pumping, and the mastitis, and, and, and... Good for you for still going and not giving up when it would have been easier to quit. I admire that!

Esperanza said...

I'm sorry sleep training was so hard but I'm glad it eventually worked. My daughter was sleep trained at 4 months and had a few regressions but is pretty much a great sleeper. I hope your little man is the same!

bunny said...

Oh, that sounds just aaaaaaagonizing. But if it works, how worthwhile. Come on Jackson, give Mama a break. It's time.

I'm impressed that he hacked the woombie! I got a couple and they seem invincible!

JEALOUS! Say hello to the otters and the penguins for me. I hope you get a magical time of sleeping and generally angelic behavior.

Kelly said...

Oh man, that must have been SO hard, but it seems like it was well worth it. I hope he continues to let you sleep!

hope4joy said...

Have a great time in Chicago! The espresso martini at Quartino is a must as is the gnocchi at Bice. I hope all goes well as you freakin deserve it!!

jenicini said...

You are a tough cookie! I last about a minute with his crying--can't stand it! It tears me up!! Thankfully E is sleeping without this (don't kick me). Anyway, so so glad it's better now. You are going to have a GREAT time in Chicago! Enjoy and then tell me all of your food fun. :)

Trinity said...

Oh man, he defeated the Woombie! And you had the Houdini version, right? The extra-strength one, even. We're still using ours, though last night we tried sleeping without it. AND GOOD GAWD, baby was kung-fu fighting up in my bed. Seriously, that stinker landed a few mike-tyson-punchout jabs in my face several times. And, his little hands were cold. So, back to the Woombie tonight. Every now and then he stretches it out, threatening to burst through it in Incredible Hulk fashion, but eventually he gives it up. I've seen him wacking at the neckline in a "hhhheeeerrree's Johnny" kind of look on his face, so perhaps he'll eventually whip the Woombie's ass. I hope not.

The crying just sounds painful. I know I've shared my fear of sleep regression and setting bad sleep habits...and right now I think I'm choosing to be willfully ignorant. 'Cause that always helps. Sigh.

Glad you're mending, girl. Hope your first family vaycay rocks! So exciting! Do dish on your eats when you come back!

Pundelina said...

Ahhh the sleeeeeep. The magic wondrous sleeeep. It is a beautiful thing, no? Are you now beginning to wonder how you have managed so long without more than 3 hours in a row? Enjoy!

Roccie said...

THey are smart little buggers. Just when you get the pattern down. Wham. New rules. You can do it. You have done much harder things my mighty momma.

Come on down to my town! I will (with your permission) rub that handsomeJ man all over me for luck. No, that might be weird, but I will kiss him head to toe just for fun.

kmina said...

Congratulations, my dear. You should be very proud of yourself. I am still a wimp, but this is not about me, it's about YOUR epic win! You can do anything you put your mind to, and I hope your son learns this from you.

Have a fabulous time in Chicago. I hope you will be pleasantly surprised to find out just how many wonderful things you can do with a baby while on vacation.