November 11, 2011

How facebook ruined our "sleep training"

Sleep, sleeping through the night, sleeping in her own all seems to be a thing of the past! Right before I returned to work (so almost exactly a year ago) Sloan started sleeping through the night, it was amazing! I was worried about returning to work as a zombie and was so happy that she finally got it!

We had a few (3 or 4) months of great sleep, she would go down to sleep after our usual routine (bath [most nights], pj's, stories, nurse, sing and rock and then in to her crib) and stay asleep all night. I felt rested! It was amazing! Then she started waking up in the middle of the night again (around 2am), so I started nursing her in the middle of the night again, but it was quick, 5 minutes max and she was back asleep. A small blip in the night, but nothing major, some mornings I couldn't even remember if I got up I was that asleep still. She was able to go into her crib semi awake and just lay there and drift off to dreamland.

Then, about 2 months ago it all changed. Nothing too major has changed...except her sleep patterns! Sloan started acting like her crib was the enemy, she was deathly afraid to go into it. As soon as I started lifting her to put her in she would just start saying 'no mummy, no no no no mummy' and going stiff as a board. We would rock and rock and rock and rock...and then stop and she would lay dead asleep in my arms, but as soon as I started to try to move her to her crib she would wake right up and start with the no, no, no-ing and cling to me. We've had some extremely late nights due to this routine of her falling asleep and then waking and then trying to get her back to sleep.

I feel like we've tried everything! Cry it out? Yup, tried it twice...and both times she threw up EVERYWHERE and we had to start the whole bed time routine all over again, fresh jammies and all. I HATE to let her cry, so that was really hard, then I felt horrible since it was all for nothing since she didn't fall asleep and I ended up going into her room and turning on the light (to clean up) and picking her up. We've tried the pat the bum while holding, and slowly move her to the crib and pat in there...but she doesn't like her back/bum rubbed or patted so she just keeps batting me away. Tried different night lights, different blankets, put her mattress on the floor...the only thing that seemed to work was to either let her fall asleep in our bed, or on the couch or in my arms and then wait FOREVER for her to be in a really deep sleep so I could ever so gently set her down. Then when she would wake up in the middle of the night I would still end up bringing her to bed with us as I didn't want to repeat that whole process again!

Three nights ago I thought I finally found a solution. We were going to try the 'keep laying her down' method (I have no idea what the method is actually called). The first night it took a looooong time. I just kept laying her down while she cried. Each time I laid her down I sat down in the chair in her room. Finally she started to just sit up instead of stand up, then eventually just laid there and kept popping her head up to make sure I was still there. By the time she was at the laying there popping up stage she had stopped crying, but was whimpering and tugging at monkey's ears hard! She finally fell asleep and I crept out of her room...I still brought her into our room when she woke at 3 though. The second night it took just as long! The crying didn't last as long, but then she started trying to talk to me, or just singing to herself. Finally she fell asleep, but again, woke up around 3.

Now, if you've read this far you'll finally get to find out how facebook ruined our "sleep training" (I hate that term!). Last night I was bound and determined to keep trying the laying down method. There was more crying and reaching for me (more than the second night for sure)...and all I could think of was the little blurb that I had read on facebook earlier that day. Someone had read an article on yahoo so it posted the headline on their page "girl age 3 comforts and feeds herself for 3 days alone after mother died" (or something along those lines). As I sat there watching Sloan cry and want/need me, all I could think of was that poor little girl crying out for her mother and not understanding why she wouldn't go to her. I lasted about 5 minutes and then I HAD to pick Sloan up and rock her to sleep. I gingerly laid her in bed and then got up at 3 when she cried out and brought her to bed with us and snuggled for the rest of the night.

As she nuzzled into my arms last night I realized that our new "sleep training" method will be to comfort her as she needs it, whatever that may be. We'll try again maybe when she's older and we can explain the whole "your room", "your bed" thing to her. But for now, it will be rocking and nursing or bed sharing for us!

So ya...facebook ruined it for us, but maybe it's for the best!



  1. Thanks for sharing this! What a great perspective. So many parents struggle with the night time question.

    If it helps.......having come from over the hill and through the woods, it gets easier, they do find their own room and fall asleep on their own. The tired nights will disappear from memory but not the recollections of the night time cuddles, they will bring warm hearts and comfort for years.

  2. awww Sloan.
    awww Joelene.

    I loved this post. I think as long as you are rested enough to function in the morning...

    Keep snuggling that girl.

  3. Such a tough spot! Freddie has been a terrible sleeper. I mean literally plunged me into brutal physical and emotional condition type horrible sleeper. Plus, he comforts by pinching, hard and with nails. Has done since he was wee, but now he is so strong and has strong nails and my neck, chest and right arm are constantly covered in scabs. But my other option is to deny him his pinching and he cries and thrashes about and it's worse. So I just walk around looking like I am recovering from a bad bout of chickened or something!!
    I have had friends tell me that you can't live your life thinking about 'the worst' happening(like your Facebook baby). But I can't help but think about the 'what ifs'. My best friend from high school is suffering brutally with a 2 year old daughter with Leukemia. And I just keep thinking, that if anything ever happened to my children then I would really regret not having cuddled them as much as I possibly could when I had the chance. I'mnot saying that I don't also try to teach them proper sleep habits, rules, discipline etc....but when in doubt I try to errrrr the side of loving cuddles and TRY not to feel guilty about it!
    My only suggestion would be to drop her mattress to the floor or get her a bed big enough for you to lay in too. With both my kids it really helped once I could just lay with them in their room. Because then I could reinforce the concept that from bedtime, till morning they don't come out of their bedroom, while still being there to cuddle and comfort AND getting some sleep myself(even if it was half on the floor).