Friday, June 8, 2012

Detachment parenting

With all of this hoopla about attachment parenting going around, everyone seems to be an expert on how to raise kids. Well, everyone except me. I have no clue what I'm doing.

Before I became a mum I had it all figured out. "My son will NEVER sleep with us." "I will not put my child in front of the tv at such an early age." "I will only feed my child 100% natural, organic everything." Ha! I do feed him all natural, healthy food, but when an organic apple is $7 more than a "regular" apple, I'm going to be cheap. And when sitting him in the walker in front of Yo Gabba Gabba means I can actually pee without a little human trying to crawl on to my lap, then "listening and dancing to music is AWESOME!"

Even after Vedder was born, I still stuck by my guns in not letting him sleep with us.. for like the first few months. Going against every doctors' order, I began to nap with my little man. Then when teething started, so did the co-sleeping. I guess I could have used the excuse that I was trying to bond with my child and let him know that mama and daddy are going to be here throughout all the pain he's going through. But that really had very little to do with him sleeping with us. It was more like "Wait, if he sleeps with us, we'll sleep through the night ((for the most part)) and not have to get up 100 times and walk to his room to comfort him and feel like a normal human in the mornings again?? LETS DO IT!" It was, for the most part, a selfish decision. I'm not saying I totally regret it; I did sleep well for a while and the cuddle time was priceless. But now, ten months old, 26 lbs, and a linebacker in training, those cuddle sessions at night have turned into pulled hair, jabs to the ribs, and enormous headaches in the morning that resemble hangovers, without the joy of actually drinking. And Vedder, he wakes up happy and energetic as ever, not realizing ((or maybe realizing)) he was training for MMA in his sleep using Michael and I as punching bags.

So, let the sleep training begin!!

This started out as awful as you probably think. Friday night was Vedder's first night out of mum and dada's bed. Cold turkey. Which means, I slept on the floor in his room while he woke up every hour and cried in his crib until I brought him down to sleep with me on the floor at 4 am. Saturday night I went to bed at 8pm by myself. When I woke up Sunday morning and walked out to the living room, my only assumption, looking down at Vedder and my husband sleeping on the floor, was that Saturday night went alot like Friday night. And Sunday night? Yep. Same as Friday and Saturday.

So after a weekend of no sleep, I turned to the only reputable source that I knew would offer me the greatest advice. Facebook.
Status Update:
Last night Vedder slept on the living room floor with Michael. Tonight, he's sleeping on his bedroom floor with me. As soon as he is asleep we try to transfer him to his crib but he wakes up screaming. No more in mama and daddy's bed, but the floor with us is just as bad!! How do we get him sleeping in his own crib again?! ((yes, I know we should have done this months ago..and months ago he was sleeping fine in his crib. Then teething happened))
Sometimes I really miss the nights when my late night statuses would be drunken slurs of song lyrics and how I am making memories I will never remember with friends I'll never forget. 
Ugh. Parenthood. 

Then I waited. But not long. The advice came flooding in via comments, messages, emails and texts. General consensus: Cry It Out! The overwhelming empathy was reassuring. There were also multiple responses to my post encouraging co-sleeping, that it benefits the child and solidifies the parents bond, and I shouldn't feel guilty. I dont feel guilty that I'm sleeping with him. I know he'll eventually learn to sleep on his own. And, like I said before, my reasons for bedsharing were more selfish than maternal.

So we decided to do the "cry it out method" mixed with our own twist on the "happiest baby on the block" method. But since my maternal heart strings get plucked every time I hear Vedder cry, my husband took bedtime duty for Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday night. Monday night, we kept our pre-bed routine the same. Pjs. Bottle. Book. Then Michael took Vedder and I stayed away. From the other room I could hear some grunts of protest. My husband ended up rocking him to sleep with music playing, then put him in the crib. He woke up at 1:30 and 2:30, then slept until 6:30. Tuesday we decided no more rocking. We also altered his naps during the day ((45 min am nap & 2 hour pm nap)). I am thinking this was a major change that needed to be made as well. At night we kept the same pre-bed time routine as always. Then Michael swaddled him tight, like we do for naps, turned on the music, and turned off the lights. A few cries but after five minutes, Vedder was fast asleep. I think he may have woken up once or twice in the middle of the night and up for good at 7 am. Wednesday was Michael's last night of bedtime duty for the week. And boy did he go out with a bang!! Normal bedtime routine. Swaddle. Music. Out like a light!! Then not a peep until 7 am on Thursday. Since I had bedtime on Thursday night it went similarly, except I got a few whines, but sleep quickly after and thru the night.

Our one week of sleep training was a complete success!! Not only by the end of 7 days were we getting full nights of sleep, but so was Vedder. I think this had a MAJOR effect on his day at daycare too ((less tears, more playing)).

Now let's just keep our fingers crossed that these full nights last..