For the past month or so Ted and I were introduced to what real sleep exhaustion means. We thought we were tired when Sloane was first born, that was NOTHING compared to the 3 weeks we endured before, during and directly after Mexico. 3 nights before we left for Mexico we decided to transition Sloane out of her beloved swaddle to a sleep sac. We were told by friends, family and we read online that the first few nights are brutal. They were. Ted and I slept on her bedroom floor the first night, he took the 7pm – midnight shift, I took the midnight-6am shift. She was up every 1/2 hr, her arms flailing, waking her and then needing us to calm her back down. B.R.U.T.A.L. Night #2 with the sleep sac was better. I think we were up every 2-3 hours and that felt like heaven. By night #3 we got a 5 hours stretch – hallelujah!!! We figured we didn’t mind being this tried, we were headed to Cabo.
We arrived in Cabo, Sloane did amazing on the flight and having an extra set of hands with our nanny traveling with us was amazing. The first couple nights in Cabo Sloane didn’t sleep. We thought that maybe a little warm on her bones and some breeze would help our cause, but no. For 7 nights, Sloaney girl did NOT sleep. We were up every two hours to put her pacifier back in her mouth that she was crying for. We thought the sleepsac transition would allow her to find the paci and put it back in herself but we quickly realized she didn’t have the dexterity to do so quite yet. We figured, what’s another week without sleep, at least we are waking up in Cabo.
Upon our return home, our sweet baby girl got bronchitis. The lack of sleep was officially affecting our health, we could barely focus at work, we figured out very quickly that we could not sustain this lack of sleep and we no longer had the “cabo” trip to look forward to or wake up to.
So we did it….we tried the cry it out method.
Night one and two were brutal for me. I cried like a baby listening and watching her on the monitor. There is something completely and totally unnatural I explained to my girlfriends to hear your child cry and not do anything about it. Ted continued to remind me though that those cries did not mean “mom, I’m sad or something hurts,” those cries meant “mom, give me what I WANTTT!” I couldn’t give it to her though. I couldn’t continue to walk into her room every hour on the hour and stick her pacifier in her mouth. At the same time we knew that she was eating PLENTY in the day time to hold her over throughout the night. Her night feeding was down to maybe 2 oz, which means that she wasn’t really hungry, she’s just in a routine to have mom or dad hold and feed her. So between the bottle and the paci, we transitioned the pacifier out first and then the feeding.
Something amazing happened by night #3….SHE SLEPT! Sloane never even cried that long, which we felt very lucky for. She would go 15 minutes and then we didn’t hear anything. Over the next few nights, the cries got shorter and shorter and before we knew it, we had nights of rest from 6:30pm to 6am – no bottle, no pacifier! PRAISE THE LORD ABOVE. The longest she ever went was 45 minutes, but it was 3 different 15 minute cries with breaks in between. We were told you had to “start over” if you didn’t hear crying.
So to all you mama’s out there. Cry it out sucks. It’s hard to hear. Really, really hard to hear but do you know what sucks more, sleep deprivation for your child and for you. Cry it out is worth it. It was necessary for our family and I would recommend it to anyone and everyone.
Last night I was able to put my sweet baby girl down to sleep in her crib with a pacifier. It fell out of her mouth about an hour after she was put down, on the monitor, I watched her little hands look for it. She couldn’t find it. My motherly instinct said to go in there and help her but I waited and watched. She rolled around a few times, started to cry (I can’t even classify it as a real cry, it was more of a frustration noise) and about 3 minutes later, stuck her finger in her mouth and went to sleep. I woke her to her 10 hours later with a smile on her face.
Bright eyes and smiles in the morning: