Updated: May 3, 2019
I remember waking up after a night of drinking and thinking, “I could sleep for days.”
And then I had a baby.
No amount of articles, books, friendly conversation, or prayer could have prepared me for that first week with a newborn. There were moments I honestly thought, "If I fall asleep I won't wake up for month."
But, as with all things, we endure it because that's what we do; as parents, as women, as amazing magical beings (I can't be the only one who feels like that sometimes).
However, just when I thought I had suffered through the worst of it, I discovered this irritating incident known as "sleep regression." Apparently, "sleep training" can help with the tireless nights of your baby waking every hour (true story). The catch; my son is my son and therefore gentle tactics don't hold much influence.
Now, I am not a doctor; I am not telling anyone what to do or speaking from a pedestal in support of one accord or another. I am just a new momma trying to figure out what works and share my experience with others who may need encouragement in doing the same.
With that being said, we opted for the Check-and-Console method, also known as “Ferberizing.”
Someone needs to hear this, so I will just say it... IT’S OK! It’s ok that he cries for five minutes while you run in the bathroom or hide under the sheets. It’s ok that his cheeks are stained with tears for ten minutes. These babes may be small, but they are mighty.
Still, knowing all this doesn’t make it easier, that I will not lie about. Hearing Andy choke up his tears hurts my heart in a way I never knew possible. But (again – I am speaking of my own experience), it is so important to Mike and I that Andy learns how to self soothe, to know that even if we aren’t there for him, we are still there for him.
The first night of sleep training I put Andy down at 9pm. After two hours of 5 minute intervals, he was asleep. By 1 AM he was awake and ready to fight. Did I mention it was Daylight Savings? (Note: I do NOT recommend starting something like sleep training that way – learn from my mistakes.) He then cried for another two hours of 5 minute intervals before falling back asleep. I was not so lucky. I was up for a total of 21 hours following that endeavor (read: I was a walking zombie).
The following night, he cried for ten minute intervals for about an hour. After the previous twenty-four hours, that felt like he went right to sleep. And magically, after waking for his 3AM feeding, I put him back in his crib, grabbed the monitor, and walked away with his wails in the background. By the time I reached the kitchen, preparing myself for another rough one, I had to stop for a moment - right there in my tracks, in the middle of the doorway - and look at the monitor.
That my friends, that was the sweetest silence I have ever heard. He did it. He cried for barely three minutes, and put himself back to sleep. He slept until 8AM. : Insert hands raised high in PRAISE!
It is going on a week since we started this sleep journey. I’m not sure who has learned more; Andy, or me. Through this trial I have learned what patience is and what love means. I hope that my son has learned to feel secure in his surroundings and understands just how loved he is.
Sleep training is a mother. But its nothing a big ol’ cup of Joe can’t fix. So if you’re venturing on this journey for the first time, coming back to it (as I hear often happens as well, Oh Joy!), or reminiscing on the days of #teamnosleep, I am lifting up my morning coffee to you, sister (or mister).
May the sleep be ever in your favor.