Sleep deprivation is quite possibly the most challenging aspect of parenting.
If your child is not sleeping that means you are not sleeping. This is a very slippery slope that I have had some hard core, first hand experience with.
My daughter was not a “sleeper”. The first few weeks were okay. Like many newborns, Evalee slept more than she was awake and she managed to get her days and nights organized quickly. But when she was around 8 weeks or so, her sleep pattern (or lack there of) started to show itself.
I spoke with my pediatrician…who basically said that there wasn’t a whole lot we could do except ride it out as “This too shall pass.”
Needless to say, it didn’t pass. It actually became worse. By the time Evalee was 9 months old I was completely exhausted, on the verge of crying all the time, and she was just as tired.
I should mention here that I was breastfeeding exclusively (she had little or no interest in solid foods) and co sleeping. Neither of us were sleeping more than 1-2 hours at a time. A good night maybe had a 5 hour stretch, but those were few and far between.
I started digging on line for “infant sleep solutions”. I came across some “sleep training” e-books, but most of them were a take on letting a baby “cry it out” which I wanted no parts of. At the time, I was part of forum from using Hypnobabies for my birth, so I posted a plea for advice on my situation as I knew most of these moms were like minded about infant sleep.
8 different moms told me to buy and read The No Cry Sleep Solution by Elizabeth Pantley.
What wonderful advice!
Pantley gives you 3 basic principles to work with.
- One is to understand how infant sleep patterns develop and what that means for a realistic night sleep for you and your baby.
- Two is to incorporate a “lovey” or comfort item.
- Three is to develop positive sleep associations, which in time will allow your baby to learn how to self sooth and fall back to sleep with out you.
It took about two weeks of applying the principles from The No Cry Sleep Solution before we started to see some results.
During the process I tried putting her in her crib instead of in our bed and that made a difference almost immediately. I think she just wanted her own space and didn’t need me as much as I thought she did.
By the time she was 10 months we were down to 2-3 night wakings, by 12-13 months we were down to 1 and by 15 months, she started sleeping through the night.
We still had the occasional bad night when she was cutting teeth or had an overstimulated day with her Grandparents, but all in all lack of sleep is a thing of the past.