Okay, so remember how they always tell you never to say never?
Right. So I kept on reading about babies and sleep, trying to figure out what the best thing for Sadie truly was. And some of the conclusions I’d come to were these: Sadie no longer really needed to wake up every hour. No need at all, especially since she’d night weaned so easily. Sadie was waking up all the time out of habit. Yes, I’d gotten out of the night-duty rotation and had been getting sleep myself. And maybe that’s what helped me see things a little more clearly. Trevor had taken my place, but Sadie was still waking up, hour after hour, and she was still having some level of interaction with one of us.
At one year of age, it was no longer working for her. For any of us. I borrowed a book from a friend (one that I honestly thought I’d Never read, because it was one of those CIO books, and I’d Never let Sadie cry for a minute longer than she had to), and I read a little bit about the author and his ideas online, and I came away with this conclusion: Sadie’s sleep was no longer healthy for her, and her getting uninterrupted sleep for more than two or three hours at a stretch was much more important at this point than her getting regular visits from one of us throughout the night. I started thinking about how hard it’s been for Trevor and me to get by on lousy sleep. And I realized how hard it probably was for Sadie–she’s been learning to walk and learning her very first language. I can’t imagine doing all of that in a sleep-deprived state. I do believe that, during her infancy, she had a true need for all the night wakings–light sleep may protect against SIDS, and she definitely needed to nurse extra at night once I started working.
So here’s what I decided to try. Last Monday I fed Sadie dinner early and went straight into her bedtime routine. I nursed her and then put her in her crib. I told her I lived her and goodnight, and I left the room. I set the timer on my phone for five minutes. She fussed for exactly five minutes, and then she stopped. A couple of minutes later, she started fussing again, so I reset my timer. After four minutes, she was quiet. And I didn’t hear from her again for three hours. At that waking, I picked her up, bounced her, and then put her back. She fussed for ten minutes, I went back in. She fussed ten more minutes, and then was quiet. She slept for four hours. The rest of the night had a few more wakings, but she required very little interference.
Now, I know I keep saying “fussing” instead of “crying,” and that’s because it’s really been more of fussing than crying. When it’s crying, I intervene. Maybe she needs a diaper change. Or some teething tablets.
Aside from last Tuesday night, Sadies sleep has gotten better and better. She slept 11 hours without making a peep the other night. The past two nights Sadie has voluntarily laid down in her crib and not fussed or cried a second until the morning.
We are ALL feeling the difference! I’m not sorry we didn’t do this sooner…I don’t suspect I’d do it before a year if Sadie gets a sibling. But considering how EASY this has all been, and how not traumatic, and how successful (okay, so it’s only been one week, but she is Sleeping Through the Night while cutting four teeth at once, and that’s bug stuff in our book!), I feel very good about the decision.
So now you’re free to “I told you so” me or to hate my guts.
But isn’t she a doll?