For all you newbs out there, ‘sleeping through the night’ is defined as 5 hours or more of uninterrupted sleep. Hey, that may not be your definition of night, but please tell me where the fuck to sign up. No joke. I cannot remember the last time I slept at least 5 hours straight. Okay. I’m lying. There were three or four nights in the last 10 months that I’ve slept 5 hours straight. I think. Maybe. I’ve lost all judgement and reason and memory, so that’s a guess.
The hardest part about having a baby is the lack of consistent sleep. Ever since month 4 of Charlotte’s life sleeping has been a real problem. A problem for me. Not her. I’m sure she’s fine with it. She calls, I come. If you think about it, not such a bad situation to be in if you’re her. I wish someone would come running to my side if I started yelling or crying.
Some ladies in my mommy group suggested picking up a copy of the No Cry Sleep Solution by Elizabeth Pantley. Upon first suggestion, I figured the book was hokey and offered no real solution. All the mommies that had read it, swore by it. I was getting desperate although I kept putting off getting the book. I checked it out on audio and attempted to listen to it through the work day. Fail. I stalled. And then the lending period ended. Fail. I stalled some more. Why? Pretty stupid for a person so desperate, right? I finally snagged a used copy on Amazon and as soon as I got it began page 1 immediately.
The author talks about her own experiences with her children on having troubles getting them to sleep through the night. Through her own trial and error and several interviews with other moms she came up with solutions that improve the sleeping habits and lives of you and your babies. Routine is paramount. I realized I had no bedtime routine when it came to putting my sweet girl down for the night. I sketched out a pre-bedtime routine followed by a bedtime routine and put the wheels into motion. After dinner, we bathed, followed by some quiet play time in her room, then read a few books, then rocked and nursed to sleep.
Next, I started logging all Charlotte’s naps and night sleeps, how many times she woke up, what time, how, what I did to get her back to sleep, what time did she go back to sleep, where did she sleep. Can you imagine in a nighttime haze trying to write all of this down, all the while making sure in daylight hours it would be readable? I did that for several nights and I could see a glimmer of hope based on the insight I was given night after that.
But then. We went out of town. And it all pretty much all fell apart.
Here I am a month later and just starting to get back on track with her sleeping. I look like hell most days. The bags under my eyes don’t lie. Thank you baby Jesus for concealer. I’m tired. Remarkably, I do a pretty awesome job at functioning throughout the work day and my house is fairly in clean and orderly fashion. When I’m not doing, I just want to be doing nothing.
In ten years I won’t remember any of this. The sleepless nights, the struggle of getting out of bed when you hear her cry (just as you were rifting off to la la land) because all you want to do is just cover your head with a pillow. This is a small struggle within the great picture and adventure that is raising a little baby into adolescence and beyond. I just hope I don’t crash and burn along the way.