After posting about our sleep trials, I received an outpouring of feedback and support. Some suggested co-sleeping which worked for us with Lily some nights, but is impossible with Maggie because she is so nosy and curious. Others agreed those first few nights of crying are really difficult, but worth it, and more than a few suggested the Dock-a-Tot. First off: thank you for sharing your sleep struggles. There’s nothing like hearing you’re not the only one going through a difficult phase. And thank you for all of the ideas you shared. While we decided to do our own thing for the first three nights, there were two potential solutions I plan on discussing with Ryan, and those came from you guys! In the meanwhile, I wanted to give an update on what we decided to do, and how it’s going.
We chose to do some variation of cry-it-out (CYO). This worked really well with Lily when she was a baby, and only took 2 nights of going in at graduated intervals to give her her Wubanub and pat her back. I struggled with it at the time, but I’m so exhausted now that I didn’t have any qualms about doing this. Because this worked well with Lily and has for so many other families, I really thought I’d be sharing our success story today. Disclaimer: I’m not.
Our schedules were already thrown off on the first night because of how poorly we slept the night before. I got home after 5pm, and Maggie was on her second long nap of the day. My mom said Maggie was exhausted and she just couldn’t keep her awake. I woke her up at 5:45pm, we had dinner, and then played a little before starting the nighttime routine.
I tried putting Maggie down at 7:15pm (usually goes down between 7-7:15pm), but she stayed awake in her crib a good 15 minutes. I went up to try to nurse her since she hadn’t before I put her down earlier, but she just rested her head on my shoulder and looked up at me. She finally nursed a few minutes and we rocked, and she was in her crib asleep by 7:45pm.
I slept in the basement with Lily (an adventure of its own), while Ryan stayed in our room. He said she cried on and off from about 9:30pm (her typical nursing time)-12:30am when he gave her a formula bottle. Then she slept until 5am (skipping a usual early morning waking), and fell back asleep after he gave her her Wub (btw she uses a regular pacifier but we can’t get away from calling it a Wub for some reason). She stirred briefly at 7am, then fell back asleep and was still out when I left at 7:26am. I considered this night a success, and left the house feeling optimistic.
Maggie nursed and went down nicely at 7:15pm. She woke at 11:45pm and Ryan gave her a formula bottle. We decided to try this after she slept so well the night before, and because she sometimes only takes milk for a minute or two before comfort nursing. I also don’t have enough of a breastmilk stash to risk her not finishing a bottle.
She woke at 12:25am. I went in and gave her her Wub, turned on her sleep sheep and Fisher Price Soothe and Glow Giraffe (she loves this thing), and patted her back until she calmed down. I was in the room tops 2 minutes. She slept until 3:30am (another typical feeding time), and I had to pick her up when I went in because she was standing and there were blankets under her. Big mistake. I was able to put her back down and walk out within 2 minutes, but I think this fed into our difficulties during Night 3. She was just waking up at 7:40am when I was getting out the door.
The third night was a total nightmare. She didn’t nurse before going down, which meant she woke up again around 8, at which time Ryan gave her formula. She woke up around 9pm just whining, and I went in after about 30-40 minutes and gave her her Wub. She whined and woke up several times throughout the night. At 3:30am, I gave in and nursed her. I just couldn’t be awake any longer.
So where do we go from here? Some options:
- The Dock-a-Tot. Actually, an Etsy knock-off on recommendation from a fellow mommy (thank you!). Ryan isn’t a big fan of spending $80 on something that may not work, though.
- Actually dedicating time to the graduated interval approach. I’m not sure how I would function at work after a night of this though.
- Seek the support of the online Facebook community, also a recommendation from a fellow mommy. I was accepted to the group yesterday so will be familiarizing myself with it today.
I think one of the biggest challenges is that Ryan and I are so tired, we can’t stick to a plan at night. Graduated intervals worked well with Lily, but I literally would not be able to go to work the next day. It’s possible to try this weekend as my mother-in-law graciously offered to watch one of the girls on Saturday since Ryan is working. This makes the Dock really appealing because it doesn’t require us to do anything. But if it doesn’t work, or we decide it’s too expensive, where do we go from there? If you found an approach that you and your partner were able to agree on, please share here!