Monday, November 12, 2012

Victory over Sleep Deprivation


I have an announcement. I've waited a week to share it. I wanted to make sure it stuck first.

CLAIRE IS SLEEPING THROUGH THE NIGHT!

I want to shout from the mountaintops that the sandman cometh! I'm shamelessly giving myself credit for making it to the other side of midnight, since George is the only one giving me props for my long slog (Claire certainly didn't). I've been patient (most of the time) and we have persevered!

Another thing I want to shout is, "Sleep training, I told you so! Nah-nah-nu-nah-nah!" First, a qualifier, I have nothing against parents who sleep train. If this decision is right for your family or if it worked for you, great. I would never tell you what to do in your own household.

My target is sleep trainers. More specifically, the ones who sent the message to me that if I didn't get my daughter's sleep in order and pronto, I was doing irreparable damage to her in the form of lifelong sleep issues.

Their voices got into my head. I doubted myself and my decisions for my child. After all, they are called the "experts".

While I was sticking a pacifier back into my year-old child's mouth at 1AM, I was hearing the "experts" warn me that I would face an epic battle to pry said bink from her lips come kindergarten -- along with permanent orthodontic problems. (she gave it up at 14 months, by the way).

While I was rubbing my daughter's back deep in the night, the voices said I should be fostering independence in my child, because she needed to learn to put herself to sleep without my help (um…she did…at 17 months).

While I was breastfeeding her at 3AM, I was thinking about how my baby should be able to go seven hours without eating and of the plethora of advice about how to eliminate nighttime feedings.

It's not their fault the voices got into my head. I wish I had a better ability to believe in myself and have confidence in my decisions. I wish I could've trusted my baby's cues more. I wish there were more voices for me to look to for guidance.

There was one. It was Kelly's mom. Thank god for Kelly's mom.

I was sleep deprived and desperate, when the "experts" were telling me I was doing it all wrong (talk about adding insult to injury). That's when I turned to kellymom.com. I wrote a post about it awhile back. If you are struggling with baby sleep issues, I think it's worth a look. A lot of it still rings true to me today:

Kelly’s mom flat out says don’t believe the hype. Scare tactics are usually designed to sell product of some kind or another, and the product in this case is sleep advice that is targeted at sleep deprived parents not babies burning the midnight oil. In essence, parents are the ones with deep pockets; babies have no pockets at all.

I think she’s right. It’s easy to be swayed by slick websites and offers of professional help when you are near insanity, with a child glued to your boob and have come close to dissolving your marriage in the middle of the night on several occasions. You are willing to consider depriving your child of food. And the business of baby sleep is counting on this fact. 

Kelly’s mom didn’t have a solution to offer, but she provided evidenced-based information that explained the developmental reasons for this grueling sleep schedule. I still felt insane with a child glued to my boob, but I breathed a sigh of relief that our not so normal nighttime routine was normal. 

I don't have a lot advice for moms, because I don't want to give advice. But I do have one piece of advice: Be careful about listening to advice.

36 comments:

  1. So. very. true. Particularly as a mum. I'm not totally sure how mum's don't go bonkers with all the advice out there :)

    Thanks for linking up!

    Sarah @ A Cat-Like Curiosity

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    1. I just about went bonkers, but, thankfully, it's all behind me. (or at least I hope! I'm afraid I'm jinxing myself here!)

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  2. Go you! I am happy for you, and a bit jealous, too! ;)
    How old is she?
    Ours is 13 months, and we dabbled in sleeping through the night on and off for a few weeks, but lately we are lucky if we get to 4 a.m., and then it's "breast-fest" for the last three hours of the night.
    This is my second child, and I too ignored the hype about our "bad sleep habits." We nursed to sleep until a few months ago, and eventually she learned to fall asleep on her own. Just as eventually she will learn to sleep through the night. But when....WHEN???
    Congrats to you mama- way to stick it out!

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    1. Oh, thanks, Stephanie! It's been a looong haul. My daughter is just shy of 18 months. I can relate so well to the "WHEN??". But we made it! Since this is your second child, you are well aware that you will too. I am very much in solidarity with you!!

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  3. Yes, yes, one thousand times yes. So glad you didn't fall prey to what I like to call the "What to Expect When You're Expecting"ification of modern parenting. All scare tactics! Good for you and glad you are getting some more sleep.

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    1. Thanks so much, Deb! Yes, I about fell prey. So glad I didn't!

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  4. Oh God, I do not miss those fatigue- filled days from sleepless nights!! There was a method a long time ago called "ferberizing" your baby, after Dr. Ferber. I was desperate to try anything. Well, it worked, but it was one of the most stressful times in my early motherhood! I am happy to report my kids are all grown now and they sleep like rocks. No traumatization from the Ferber days. Congrats on finally getting a full night's rest. When you get to be my age, it's the hot flashes that keep you awake in the middle of the night!

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    1. I'm getting close to that age as well. I guess that if Claire didn't start sleeping through the night, we could have been up together!..."Sleep like rocks", now that's exactly what I want to hear!

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  5. I'm glad you came out and said it! I don't get into all the advice books and such, I think in the time you've stressed yourself out trying to get them conform, they've sorted it out themselves with less stress all round.

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    1. I love the way you put it! Trying to put the advice into action can be more stressful than the original problem. Sometimes, it just feels like swimming upstream!

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  6. Yay I bet you feel like a million dollars!! They just do it when they are ready, my first slept through from 9 weeks, my second was 9 months!!

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  7. Amen to that! Becoming a Mom in my 30's had the advantage of not caring anymore what people told me to do. I gave my kids the time to make milestones on their own - including sleeping through the night. They seem pretty well adjusted so far - ha! (came from Finding the funny)

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    1. Well...I became a mom at 44, so I'm not sure what my excuse is!

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  8. This is so true. We are just going through a phase of waking up 4-6 times a night. All these reasons go through my head but I just ignore it and trust my instincts because that's whats got us through the first 5 months (so long as I get a few daytime naps in between lol)

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    1. Keep the faith! I'm cheering you on! I know it's hard.

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  9. Well done. Congrats to you and your sleeping baby :)

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  10. 'Be careful about listening to advice' is the best advice you can give, in my opinion :)
    I call what I've done with my babies 'sleep training' but I don't mean it in the sense that the experts do. I use love as my main tool! I'm all for a cuddle, a back rub, a late night feed, but I like to help my babies get there in their own way.
    Anyway, wonderful news that you've regained your nights!

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    1. Love it! Absolutely love it. A mom's love is better than any expert, in my opinion.

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  11. There are so many sides to this issue, and yes, I'm guilty of giving sleep advice, but it's never for $ or TRUST ME I'D BE SO RICH RIGHT NOW! HA! But to my defense (of being the so-called expert on all things Montessori, including sleep) I never gave advice I did not give myself! And since my advice worked for me I happily share it! But you don't need my advice, now! Lucky you! Happy zzzzzzzzzzzzzz!

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    1. The thing that separates good-ol' advice from the people I'm referring to is the dire tone of their message. I'm not joking when I say that I was warned that I was causing permanent damage to my child by not doing some sort of sleep program. All of these people had something to sell -- a book, a program online or a professional who would come to your door and save the day. Plus, then, this advice would get circulated around the web by other people as gospel. I'm sure that does not apply to you :)

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  12. Woohoo! Congrats on getting your zzz's back again. It's tough when babies don't sleep. Enjoy you new nighttime sleeping.

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    1. Thanks! So appreciate the support and empathy!

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  13. Congrats on Claire sleeping through the night, that's such a huge accomplishment. I feel like that is when I started feeling human again :)

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    1. Oh, thanks, Joanna! It is so helpful to hear that I'm not the only one who has chosen this route!

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  14. Kellysmom deserves to be canonized. She was a lifesaver to me too--still the site I refer new mamas to! I found you today, btw, for the first time, through The More Than Mommies Mixer. Enjoyed my first stroll through your site, and added you to Google+. Hope you pop over to visit me at nothingbythebook.com sometime. Jane

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    1. Yes, another Kellymom devotee! Happy to connect with you!

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  15. PS Best baby blog name ever, btw.

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    1. Oh, thank you so much for the compliment, Jane. I find the most gold comes from the dirt, so to speak. That's why I chose "Tao Of Poop"!

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  16. Yay! Horray! jumping on a couch for you...okay maybe not but I'm thinking it, lol. Congrats on getting a full nights rest. Ahhh the luxuries of parenthood. Thank you for sharing and for linking up to the Empowered Living hop.

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    1. I can always count on your support. Thank you!

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  17. thanks for such a great blog. struggling big time in sleep dept. and was just wondering if i've 'done it all wrong'--ie cosleeping, introducing solids 'too late', etc etc...
    so glad to hear form other mums too, doing their thing and 'getting there' in the end--whew! I'm only at 6.5 mo now, but theres nothing nicer than waking up with the happiest person on earth next to me, besides my husband!

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    1. If you are following your instincts, you cannot be wrong. What you wrote about waking up with your child is SO sweet! You are both lucky!

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  18. Follow your own instincts is all a mother needs to hear. Every baby is different and so many 'experts' forget that. Well done, enjoy your snooze time.

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