Before we get to today’s topic, I would like to share some photos of our Holidays!
It was obviously a very special one as it was Helena’s first and our first as a FAMILY. How exciting!
Christmas definitely feels different with a child around!
I have been meaning to post for the longest time. I wanted to wish Happy Holidays, but I have been so busy I just didn’t get to it.
I am taking a Psychology Course and started a little home-based business.
Anyways, it is only January 8, so I guess it is not too late to still wish a Happy New year !!
Ironically, this post is the complete opposite to the last one!
I am still 100% PRO co-sleeping, but, it was just getting way too dangerous for us!
Helena always wakes up before I do and the thought of waking up to her laying on the ground, hurt, was killing me!!
Our bed is extremely tall, and even tho we have installed bed rails, Helena pulls herself up and walks all along the headboard. I started to think it was possible she could do that while I’m asleep and get hurt!
So, I decided it was time to get her to use her crib. Boy, is it ever difficult!
It is definitely NOT an accomplished mission yet, but it is getting there!
It has been very similar to dieting. I would start it on a Monday, and by Wednesday, I would have given up because watching her cry and suffer was just too much for me to handle.
But now I have finally managed to stick to my goal, and although she cries during 60% of the day and I am nearly deaf, it is a proof of love.
I have learned to zone out when she is crying her lungs out. I just keep reminding myself that she is not alone, I am right here, she is safe, clean and fed. She is just not used to it!
I want her to be independent and tough love is the only method I found to fight separation anxiety.
My Ultimate Goal: For Helena to be independent and adaptable.
I want her to be able to fall asleep on her own, to play on her own…
Basically, I want her to know that I am right there in front of her, cleaning or cooking, and she is not in my arms and THAT IS OK.
I also want her to feel fine and safe both in my arms or on her own.
My Tactic: Tough Love
I have been literally letting her cry herself to sleep. It is very hard.
Be prepared if you decide to try it ! Emotionally prepared!
It all starts with a bed routine. At around 6 o’clock I feed her last solid meal of the day – a baby cereal.
Then I bathe her in a nice, warm bath with lots of toys for her to play some more before going to bed.
After that, I massage her little body with some baby oil right before putting her clean pajamas on. I wrap her in a blanket and cuddle with her for a bit. By this time, Dan has brought me a warm bottle for her (thanks Skye). I initially feed her the bottle with her in my arms, in the rocking chair, just to give it a “head start”, to get her groggy enough to eventually fall asleep on her on.
Then, I place her in her crib. I admit I have been using my body pillow – the one I used to use during my pregnancy – to substitute my presence. I tuck her in real nice with the pillow around her.
She tries to hold on to my fingers while she is trying to fall asleep. I let her for a few seconds, then I step away because I don’t want to create yet one more dependency .
She starts to cry then, but she is pretty tired already.
The first few nights she would literally cry for 2 hours non-stop. I would come back in every 2 minutes to assure her that I was there for her and that I loved her. I would kiss her and hold her without picking her up.
Lately, she still cries, but only for about 20 minutes the first time around. She falls asleep and stays asleep for around 2 hours. She eventually wakes up and, it is kind of funny, it is like she wakes up and realizes ” Hey! I can’t believe this ! I let myself fall asleep! Oh NO ! She won! Where is mommy??” .
She starts crying again, literally picking up from where she’d left off haha
What do I do? First couples of weeks, I would pick her up and cuddle.
Then put her back in the crib. She would cry and cry and I would give up and bring her to bed with me. This time around, however, I let her cry. I felt like the worst mother on the face of this planet. But I had to! Soon, she will be 9 months old, then 1 year old … Next thing you know, it’s been 4 years I haven’t slept a whole night.
She cried for a really long time the first few times, but it got better each time.
Then it didn’t even sound like she was crying anymore, it didn’t feel like she was sad anymore.
It truly sounded like she was just upset at me, like a tantrum. And I actually enjoyed it because it felt like she was just being stubborn and not hurting anymore.
The Results: As I mentioned before, I am still working on it. She still has a really hard time playing on her own in her playpen or on the floor. But, last night, it was amazing. I put her in her crib around 7 and she stayed in there until 7:30 the following morning. It was great. She did wake up about 3 times during the night, but a couple of those times were due to noise hubby made which is totally fine with me as I also want her to be able to sleep in non-quiet environments. What I mean? I don’t expect her to be able to stay asleep next to a freaking speaker box, but I do want her to be able to tolerate sounds like chatting. She cried for about 5 minutes and literally collapsed asleep! – Crying gets them real tired and this is also a plus about letting them cry.
Next Step: Another 6 nights of Helena sleeping in her crib from 7-7 and I will be moving onto my next goal which is to move her crib back to her room!
Wish me luck !
I can’t deny I miss sleeping with her. It is so nice to cuddle, but, unfortunately this much attachment is not doing her any good. Or me. Or my marriage!