Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The Perfect Anti-Sleep Storm

Every morning Johnny hits the ground running. Literally. He sits straight up in bed, in all his bed-head glory, then crawls backwards to the edge of the bed muttering "up, up, up," (up means up as well as down), and then slides off the bed feet first. Our bed is pretty high off the ground, so I have to hold onto his hands during this last part until his little feet touch the ground, and then he's off, faster than a speeding bullet, leaving a path of destruction in his wake as he pulls things off the night stand and book shelf and tosses them to the floor. Backing up a little bit. Yes, you heard that correctly, our 17 month old is still in bed with us.

You may remember some other post about my love/hate relationship with co-sleeping and trying to get Johnny to sleep through the night. Well, the struggle is real, the battling is still being waged, sleep troubles are alive and kicking.

We started night weaning Johnny in August. My idea was to cut him off slowly and gradually, but it just wasn't working. Johnny was still spending most of the night in our bed and nursing about 4 times a night. Co-sleeping with an infant is sweet and beautiful because they are small, they don't take up any space, and they stay in one place. Co-sleeping with a toddler just ends up looking like this:

photo from:

Anyway. Sleep deprivation was at an all time high. I had a day where nothing was going right and everything was making me cry, and then something clicked and I knew we had to go cold turkey on the night nursing.  I would nurse Johnny to sleep, and I would not nurse him again until morning. Alex was on board and was ready for any number of unpleasant nights in the rocking chair with Johnny. We were going to make it happen, I knew it was the right thing to do, and I had peace about it.

It turned out to be only a couple of rough nights.  Alex was such a great sport about keeping Johnny out of our bed, even if it meant spending most of the night on the couch with him. After a couple nights like that Johnny did the thing I never thought he would do- he slept through the night! He went to bed at 9:00 and slept all the way until 5:00. Now, 5:00 am is not an acceptable wake-up time, but an 8 hour stretch like that technically is sleeping through the night. And if we brought Johnny into our bed after a long stretch like that, he would nurse and sleep for a couple more hours. So we fell into a great pattern of one long stretch of sleep in the crib, then one quick nursing session and a couple more hours of sleep in our bed. Everyone was sleeping so much better, and I was still getting a couple hours of the co-sleeping closeness that my heart loves so much. Things were going great.

Then it happened. The perfect anti-sleep storm:

Daylight savings, 

Alex out of town, 

and Johnny and I sick, all in the same miserable weekend.

And just like that, all our hard work was undone. We are back to each being up a couple times in the night with Johnny, he's nursing 2-3 times a night, and usually in our bed around 2:00. I thought we had solved our sleep problems. We went cold turkey, we muscled through those few miserable nights.  Do we really have to go through them all over again? Veteran parents, is this sleeping through the night thing always going to be a cycle of learning, getting sick, forgetting, and then relearning? We know now that he can sleep through the night, we know it's not impossible, so as soon as his congestion clears up, it'll be back on the couch with papa. I'm not looking forward to it, and I can guarantee that Alex isn't looking forward to it, but I've gotten a taste of what good sleep is like, and I want it back!


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  1. Iggy was pretty sick about 3-4 weeks ago. Before that we could lay him down in his crib with his bottle, Ian would pat his back for a minute or two and he would drift off into sleep. Now we start the same way but he always ends up in the carrier and falls asleep while Ian paces the apartment for ten minutes and then we transfer him back into the crib. I don't get it. We'll probably need to have a few nights of crying to get back to the old routine. But he's still sleeping throughout the night, mostly. All this to say, I bet in a few weeks you'll be back to sleeping through the night.

    1. I sure hope so. Ugh. Babies getting sick is the worst!

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