If you’d asked me before having a baby, I would have told you that I wasn’t into the whole sleep training thing. I’d rather be there for my baby for as long as she needs it.
And this is still true to some degree. I quite enjoy our quiet snuggles in the middle of the night together. She wakes up, snuffles about, I reach down and pull her into bed for a feed, plop her back down, and we both drift off again. Those are our good nights, and I love them. And I’m sad knowing that they will have to come to an end.
On the other hand? The sleep situation is out of control. I have had multiple sobbing breakdowns in the middle of the night because I am exhausted and have been up for hours and the baby just won’t settle. She's awake every 1-2 hours all night long, and sometimes STAYS awake for quite some time. It can be hellish. I am running off fumes. I don’t think I've slept for more than 2 hours in a row since before the baby was born, and that was almost five months ago. I have intermittent insomnia on top of that, which seems to be aggravated when we have an especially bad night, so the whole thing is a bit of a mess.
We have been surviving by having her sleep in her swing next to my bed, so I don’t have to stand up and walk to her crib all night long, but she’s getting way too old for this. So our options are: Switching to bed sharing, or forcing her to sleep in her crib all night, with fewer wakeups.
I am not a bed share-er. I’ve given it a go a few times in desperation and it simply isn’t for me. Safe bed-sharing guidelines say no blankets, no pillows, no memory foam. And I can’t sleep in such a sterile environment while a 5 month old baby kicks and thrashes around.
So that leaves the crib. Which means sleep training. Because right now she’ll settle in there fine with a soother, but she doesn’t stay settled all night, and it takes quite a bit of time to re-settle her. Time I simply do not have to spare at 3am if I want to save my sanity.
Baby goes to sleep at 7. Wakes up at 7:45. Fusses until 8:30 when she finally falls back to sleep. Then up again at 10. Fusses until 10:30. Then up again at 12 and won't fall back asleep until 1. Then up at 2, then 3, then 4, then 5, then up for the day at 6:30. THAT is the life I am currently living, and have been. It is not sustainable. There are no “Sleep when the baby sleeps” daytime naps either, because her naps are only 30 minutes long and I’m a crap sleeper too, tbh. I have a helluv a time falling asleep for a nap, no matter how wiped I am.
It turns out that sleep consulting is covered by Ben’s extended medical benefits (whaaaat?!) so I’ve booked a consultation. She assures me that although there will be crying at first, she has gentle methods that don’t ever leave the baby alone to cry by herself.
We won’t be doing it for a couple more weeks, but I’m both excited and scared to see how it goes 😄