Hi friends! Remember when you gave us your sleep advice here? That was a lifesaver! It’s been two months and things have changed dramatically. I read through all of your suggestions. I ordered so many books. I thumbed through them and researched and sat quietly with myself to tune into my mom instinct. At the time, I didn’t feel he was ready for any traditional sleep training methods. So we hung in there, he and I co-sleeping/breastfeeding with me bouncing him back to sleep upwards of 10-15 times a night. Lou slept in another room so that we would have one fully functioning adult in the house. On the other side of it I can see that we were living in crisis mode still, even though it had become our new normal since my hospitalization.
But then. BUT THEN!!!!! I noticed Mateo started self soothing. He would occasionally put himself back to sleep if I let him toss and turn a bit beside me in bed. I realized that at this stage in the game we were doing him a disservice by not helping him figure out how to sleep for long stretches. He was waking up tired, taking so many catnaps throughout the day, unable to get on a schedule, and having tummy troubles from eating so frequently.
The Happy Sleeper ended up championing the method that sat best with me, and that I felt we could manage. Letting him cry but only for 5 minute intervals without hearing our voices, knowing that he would know we were supporting him through it, felt not only like something that could sit right with me but also was something I felt we could actually DO. I’m not going to lie, I had a lot of angst over the idea about him crying. But I realized at a certain point I was just trading tears. He was going to cry every 60-90 minutes all night long with me, with lots of tears at the beginning of the night getting to sleep REGARDLESS, so it seemed worth it to give it a go. Plus, after 8 months of not sharing a bed with Lou, and feeling like I was a zombie every day, our marriage was a mess. We were snapping at each other, unable to connect (there was a baby glued to me every minute of the day, which did not help the cause), and we were growing more and more distant. There was a moment when I realized, this is how marriages fall apart. This is what cruising towards the end of a relationship looks like. No bueno. Not for us. And not for Teo.
I want to write more on this whole “putting the marriage first” thing later, because I’m realizing how vitally important it is, but also how wildly challenging it can be. But I’ll save that for another day.
Leading up to the night we started sleep training we began working on our nighttime routine. Boob. Bath. Book. Bed. Same deal, as often as we could manage. Some weeks were better than others, but I think even our spotty attempts helped. And then we buckled down with it the week or so before. When the time came to start the sleep training we hooked up a baby monitor. I poured myself a very large glass of rose´and we followed the Happy Sleeper suggestions. Bedtime routine, goodnight script and we put him in his crib.
There were tears. But I quickly realized this was not going to be nearly as bad as I imagined. His cries were more frustration and resistance than sad. And they were intermittent. We saw him making attempts to fall asleep right away, which was SO encouraging. I realized that there will be many time I have to watch him struggle (OUCH!!!), this is a natural part of life, and to swoop in and try to “save” him from it would be doing more harm than good. Huge lesson in parenting for me.
He fell asleep within a half hour and I praised the sleep gods. He started sleeping in longer stretches right away. It was hard to wrap my head around how my baby who couldn’t sleep for longer than 2 hours was all of a sudden managing SEVEN HOURS STRETCHES! And when waking in between the hours when I knew he was hungry and would feed him, he would fuss for a few minutes and go right back to sleep. WITHOUT ME. WITHOUT ROCKING OR FEEDING OR SHUSHING OR BOUNCING. I know all you parents can understand the feeling of absolute peace and happiness that comes knowing your baby is healthy and sleeping soundly. It’s SO WONDERFUL!
I’m happy we waited as long as we did to do it, I know he needed to be ready and we needed to be ready and the timing ended up being spot on for our family. It was difficult, those sleepless months were some of the hardest of my life. And I know there are so many sleepless nights ahead still. But I’m celebrating this small victory- our babe is asleep in his crib as I type this. I see a light at the end of the tunnel for the first time, and it’s not a train. We’re getting out of this in one piece!
I should mention that after one full night of sleep and a cup of coffee I asked Lou should we have another?! HA! I see how they get you now.
In other news, which you may have read here, we’re selling our house! Well, technically, it was sold within a few days of listing. The real estate market is bananas here right now, which is part of why we decided to sell. The other part is that it’s crazy hard figuring out how to juggle a business and mom life, and I’m gonna need some more time to figure it out. Maybe it will fall into place now that I’m getting actual sleep, but I’m not holding my breath.
Rather than finding full time childcare, we decided to downsize our life and live with less. We have the rest of our lives to be working and living in our dream house, but this time with Teo is so incredibly short and precious. At least that’s how we see it. I don’t have the capacity to work at the level I was before AND be a full time mom. And I want to be with Teo as much as possible this first year (maybe tw0… we’ll have to see!) I feel lucky that we have this option, to work part time and mom full time. I also have wild amounts of respect for all moms- those who go back to work (that is SO HARD!!), those who stay at home full time (also, SO HARD!!!) and all of the moms in between. Every mama who is working hard to give her little ones her best self, and them their best life, is a hero in my book.
So where are we moving? I would love to know!!! Ha! We’re staying in a furnished Airbnb for the first two months, and looking for our next house. We may decide to let the market settle down a bit- prices are just silly and there is so much competition for houses. OR, we may find our house and decide that it’s worth it to act now, silly prices and all. We’re also considering the idea of checking out some other places while we’re in between houses- maybe a month in the Pacific Northwest and a month in Nashville? Sounds like fun to me! We’ll have to see what we do. Now that I’m sleeping it all seems so much more possible. Stay tuned…. xx- Sarah