Before having Hayley, I was one of those people that NEEDED my 8 hours of sleep a night just to function. If I had less than that, it was noticeable to me, and probably everyone around me. When I was working, I loved the feeling of waking up just minutes before my alarm went off. I knew I was well rested and that I was ready to be up. It was great. Since having Hayley, many things have changed......including my above mentioned 8 hours of sleep. No thank you.
When Hayley was a newborn, until she was about three months old she slept SO well, and consequently, I did too. When people would comment on how little sleep you get when they are in the newborn stage, I would kick back and think, "well, good thing I have the world's greatest newborn." I was constantly rested. I had a baby that slept amazingly, and a husband that constantly helped out. It was a breeze! Then......three months hit.......
Hayley has never been a cranky baby, and she takes teething like a champ (no clue when she has been teething until her little teeth poke through), however she started gradually waking up more at night to eat. She went from one night waking, to two, to three, and at one point, she wanted to be up nursing four times. EXCUSE ME?!?! DID YOU NOT READ THE SAME MANUAL I DID???????? Babies are supposed to start out hard and get easier....RIGHT??? Oh, how wrong I was. Hayley decided that four night wakings was about accurate for how much she wanted to eat and maintain her 98th percentile figure.
About a month into her waking up this much, and I was exhausted. I didn't realize just how tired I was, until Daniel caught me sleep walking. Yup, when I'm overly tired, I sleep walk. Creepy right? Not so creepy for me....probably for Dan...but he might be semi used to it by now. Anyway, I knew I needed to change something...I didn't know how, or what...but something. I am part of this online group that is supposed to be about cloth diapers, but we chat about basically everything...it's great. Someone recommended a book called The Sleep Lady's Good Night Sleep Tight by Kim West. I was desperate, so I bought it. This book was great. I used it as a guide, not a Bible...I used some techniques, and ignored others.
My philosophy with attempting to get Hayley to sleep during the night was to keep her up as much during the day as I could (sorry for those of you wincing and wondering how I ever decided to parent a child). It made sense to me. I know if I take a nap during the day, I'm less likely to sleep well at night. Oh my, was I wrong. The book mentioned that babies that are Hayley's age (7 months now) need 1 1/2 to 2 hour naps in both the morning AND afternoon, and possibly a third one hour nap late afternoon. I was floored. Here was Hayley, that maybe took three 20-30 min naps a day, and you want me to force her to take two looooooong naps, at least?? I was certain that she would be mixing her days a nights up...but I gave it a try.
That day I drove out to Lowe's and picked up some black out shades, installed them, and geared Hayley up for her two longest naps since she was a newborn. I did what the book said....I followed some of her techniques, and Hayley took every minute of each of those two hour naps. Amazing right? I was shocked, but in the back of my mind, I knew she would be up all night because of it. I dreaded bedtime (which was usually between 8 and 9), the book said bedtime is best between 7 and 7:30.....so I tried it. Hayley went down perfectly.....I'm sorry, but how is she still tired? She slept a crazy amount and now is ready for bed at 7.......weird.........
I had gone to bed a bit later and was ready for Hayley to wake up and be up all night crying. I knew it was coming. THANKFULLY, I was wrong. She slept like a champ and only kept me awake a little while. She was used to being nursed four times a night, and I took it down to nothing in just one night. Yes she cried, but she didn't get hysterical, and I was there with her the whole time (I just can't do the cry it out, which is why I love this book).
Fast forward four days and she went from waking up so often to only waking up ONCE for a pacifier insertion (and going back to sleep without any hesitation). I call that success. I also feel amazingly well rested now, and I kind of forgot how that felt.
Hopefully it will be a long time until my husband finds me sleep walking again ;)
|This photo is quite a bit older, but she's so sweet :)|