Friday, November 21, 2008

Sleep Day Two: I gave up.

4 months, 2 weeks old.
I turned off the baby monitor. I closed the bedroom door.
How is it she can sleep readily in my arms, even to the point she’s folded over my arm like a towel on the shower rod but not on the comfy expensive mattress her dad bought her? I was fine at home alone trying it out but tonight when dh was around, questioning the approach, I gave in at 1.5 hours into it.
In short, the reason why I wanted to try sleep training was because the last two nights co-sleeping and breastfeeding wasn’t working and dh said he could no longer carry our daughter on his shoulder without experiencing any pain.
The naps were difficult but we got through it. The night was my breaking point. Having my husband around caused me to seek empathy which I did not feel I received. On the contrary, we ping ponged back and forth on each other. He questioned the method and commented it was cruel and unusual. I asked for alternate solutions and he responded that I was the one who read everything so he had no recommendations.
After an hour and half of intermittent crying and consoling, I gave in. My gut instinct was sleep training seems oddly animalistic and that her natural circadian rhythm of sleeping from 7-9 and then 10:30-7 was find by me except for the occasional nights where I felt my breasts spent and my lack of time to do anything other than baby related care was frustrating.
DH’s questioning and commenting only made me feel more uneasy about the approach. After trying to explain to him my reasons for attempting to sleep train and why I went against my gut, DH said that I shouldn’t feel the need to justify my actions and that I shouldn’t stress so much. “Why don’t you meditate or do some yoga. Don’t just sit here and justify it to me.”
I left feeling as if the one person I could at least share my feelings with was less than empathetic. I went to get BG and she greeted me with a big old smile. My heart lit up and I hugged her for what seemed like forever. I changed her diaper and DH came over and asked me why I picked her up and essentially nixed everything we did. I told him the reasons why I decided to stop it where mentioned on the couch before he told me to stop justifying. “This is the reason why I don’t read anything. You’re only going to change your mind. What’s the point?”
“You agreed that it was cruel.”
“But you said you wanted to do it. One or two unpleasant nights of her crying and you’re ready to try something drastic. Now you’re going back to the original approach. What do you want to do?”
“I told you what I wanted to do on the couch and you told me not to justify things.”
“I just don’t know about you.”
I felt so upset. My insides were killing me from hearing her cry and my head was circling with everything from ‘All babies need to learn to soothe themselves.’ to ‘Babies shouldn’t have to feel their needs aren’t met.’ I didn’t feel like I could turn to my husband for support or advice.
As BG began sucking her fist, I took her cue to breastfeed her. As I was breastfeeding, DH again came into the room and asked me why I was breastfeeding after I said the books said that I shouldn’t interrupt the sleep training with a breastfeeding session.
“Because I’m cancelling out what I said about sleep training. I’m going back to soothing and bonding. That’s what I’ve been saying since the couch.”
“But you said…”
“I don’t care what I said, I’m going with my gut. I don’t care if you think it’s wrong or right.”
“I just think you’re taking one giant leap back and I’ll be here again letting her sleep on my shoulder while you’re in the bedroom sleeping later tonight.”
Well, in the end, BG fell asleep after a breastfeeding session. She held onto her lovey and slept by my side and not on DH’s shoulder.
How do I feel? I feel fine. How will I feel tomorrow? I don’t know. Today I feel as if sleep training isn’t for me right now. I understand sleep teaching. You want to instill a healthy and happy connection with sleep. I don’t see how sticking her in a dark quiet room by herself illicit a healthy attitude towards sleep. I could be wrong but all day today and yesterday when she was being swaddled, she started whimpering and murmur crying. It was as if she correlated the swaddling with sleep and me leaving her in the crib to cry it out. I don’t want her to think of sleep as something that is painful, lonely or hurtful. Before I started this, whenever I swaddled her, she’d look up and smile at me. She seemed to like her blanket and idea of calm downtime. Maybe I’m internalizing it but I don’t think crying it out gives a positive attitude to sleep.
Again, if there is one thing I learned with this parenthood thing, is that what doesn’t work one day, works the next and what I may think today may be different tomorrow. I’m not turning away from sleep training but today, it’s not for me.
BG is sleeping on average 8 hours straight and taking 3 naps during the day. I think that is completely respectable. She may not be taking her long nap at the hours we think are befitting but she'll get there. She's smart and her body has a good rhythm. We may not get to where we would like to be tomorrow but we'll get there hopefully with encouragement and positivity.

Oh, DH thinks that me going back to work will be a good thing as he believes I think too much about the baby. I'm still trying to grasp that a bit. Does he have a point?