Tried sleep training this evening. Did not go well.

At bedtime, I literally pulled her off the breast and immediately dropped her in her crib. She was already asleep.

She then woke up 45 minutes later, crying.

So I gave it 5 minutes before walking in to comfort her without picking her up. Off to a great start!

That’s where the success ended. After 45 minutes of letting her scream, and occasionally patting her and attempting to comfort her, I quit.

Ellen was wide awake, angry, and snotty (AKA unable to breathe). I was bawling.

I feel like a total failure. It seems like my choices in this situation are either pile of shit or heap of shit – either I torture my baby and myself, or I never sleep again. In either scenario, I’m in hell. In scenario #2, at least Ellen is happy.

Rocking my baby and holding her feels natural to me. I just can’t believe that there is no way to have a better sleeper who also gets snuggled by her mommy at bedtime. That makes no sense. Why would I have this instinct if it is wrong? Aren’t we given these instincts for a reason?

Sweet baby Jesus, I want to sleep. But not like that. That’s not right for me. I need to find something different.

The Sleep Dilemma

This sleep thing – it isn’t sustainable.

Also, Lewis was exactly the same… so it must be something I’m doing wrong. And if I’m doing something wrong, that means I have to try something different. My ideas:

  • Larger bottles at daycare. More calories during the day = less hungry at night?
  • Night wean – I’ve already been doing max 2 feedings a night even if Ellen wakes up 8 million times. Time to cut it to 1. And after that? BIG FAT ZERO. If her belly stops expecting meals, maybe she won’t wake up?
  • Maybe “sleep training”?

Sleep training seems like a good idea in theory, but I’m a bit confused by it. Ellen doesn’t have any trouble going to sleep. Especially nursing and rocking. She has trouble staying asleep. All of the sleep training stuff I’ve read is about your kid self-soothing to go to sleep, and says nothing about teaching them to stay asleep. So… does sleep training even solve Ellen’s problem? I have no idea.

Maybe sleep training would help her go back to sleep when she does wake up, so I don’t have to get up a million times? If that’s the case, I would like to try putting Ellen down in her crib “drowsy but awake” to teach her to self-soothe. However, the thought of that is hard, and I don’t exactly know how to manage it 1) because Ellen falls asleep at the breast at bedtime, so how would I keep her awake? 2) Feeding/rocking Ellen to sleep works really well. It’s like magic. 3) Ellen’s room is right next to Lewis’, so if I leave her to her own devices, squealing and screeching, he’s going to wake up and then we’re all screwed. And finally 4) I don’t see my sweet girl all day long. Those snuggles as I nurse and rock her to bed are priceless to me. (although…paying with sleep might be too high a price…)

Another aspect of sleep training that is not super appealing to me is that I don’t really mind getting up once or twice a night to feed/snuggle/rock Ellen. Putting her back to sleep doesn’t actually bother me as long as it isn’t more than twice. Waking that often doesn’t damage me with fatigue the following day, and it is such special, precious time. I could sustain that for ages and have no complaints. So fully sleep-training her is… I guess okay? But it seems like overkill given what I’m comfortable with.

We’ll see what happens. This is constantly on my mind. There has to be a way to get the balance I need. And I’ll keep trying to figure it out until I keel over, because… well… this either gets better, or I keel over!

I got approximately 5 hours of sleep last night, broken into 4 tiny chunks, with a few periods of being awake for an hour at a time.

I don’t even think I can go to work today. Maybe if this was the first crappy night. But most nights are crappy, so the fatigue just keeps building and getting worse.

I might die.