I am writing a 5-post series about my current motherhood reflections. Last post I wrote about breastfeeding.
2. Sleep training. For anyone who knows me, you more than likely are well aware of the fact that Zane is a poor sleeper. Currently, he is 22-months-old and awakes from two times a night to every hour (at its worst). I co-sleep with him and night nurse. Even when I’ve stopped night nursing (for at least a month at a time), he still awakes. But let’s rewind to the early months to better learn our sleeping saga.
By four months, Zane awoke once at 3/4am for a feed and was always an early riser at 6am. He transitioned into his own room and crib at 5 weeks. His bed time was 7/730pm. All was going well; I had hopes of regaining my previous sleep life. Wrong! We went away and from that moment on, his sleep went downhill. Not sure if it was the high altitude, his pack n’ play being in our room, his cold, or maybe it was just time for me to never sleep again…
From that point to now has been very blurry with at least four ear infections, rashes, croup, colds, fevers, teething, wetting the bed at night, having a bloody nose at night, having to poop, and more. As his numerous night wakings increased and I became more zombie-like, I thought it be best I conduct the cry-it-out method for some results. I did this method several times and each time was determined, had the resolve, and was not emotional during the process. The most I had to endure crying (as I did the 5, 10, 15 minutes intervals) was up to an hour. The last time I did this method was when he was 16-months-old and it did yield results. He would awake less and even on some occasions awoke around 530/6am. Rarely, but still better than numerous wake ups. But the interesting happening in our family’s case is that when he did begin to sleep better, he would get ill (which in the last case, he got croup) and his sleep would go downhill again!! Croup is a breathing difficulty and a “barking” cough due to swelling around the vocal cords. Lucky me, this happened a day before I was flying to the east coast on my own!! Zane’s pediatrician recommended I co-sleep with him to monitor his breathing, so obediently I did. Long story short, I still co-sleep with him. Since doing so, I have reflected on my thoughts about sleep training.
I (and everyone else) need to remember each child is different and not one person sleeps the same. Yes, I’d love to sleep train Zane using the Ferber method again or even doing a gentler method, but it seems time and time again, our current method works for our family. (I’ll share more about co-sleeping for our family in the next post). Do I love it? Most days. Looking back, I am surprised that I would have Zane cry endlessly to encourage him to sleep. It doesn’t make sense for him being how sensitive he is and always in need of touch. And again, somehow he would always get sick right after he would sleep better! Do I doubt and think of myself as a failure sometimes with his poor sleeping pattern? Of course!! But then I am reminded of the fact that since embracing co-sleeping and not trying to rush him into his own room, he has had no ear infections or major illnesses. It has been over five months and we have lived in four homes! This is a miracle considering we were at the doctor’s nearly once to twice a month, on antibiotics, and he was having bloody noses and other issues when sleeping on his own or being “trained.”
In sum, of course I’d love for Zane to sleep through the night and to have more sleep. But to think that possibly to only get there would mean making him very anxious and insecure accompanied by crying/screaming, I’d rather guide him towards his own room in due time. Since moving to Australia he is now in a toddler bed next to me! He doesn’t always stay in there, but it is a start…
I hope my experience (and sleepless nights) will encourage someone!