Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Wes: 1, CIO: 0

After a month of making everyone miserable, we have concluded that Wes is simply unable to drop his 4:00 feeding.

Instead of waking up with him at 4:00, feeding him, and putting him back down, which takes about ten minutes, we were "sleep training" him by letting him cry (with intermittent patting and shooshing) for an hour, during which everyone in the house was awake, then arguing for fifteen minutes about whether to bag it for the night or not, then feeding him and putting him back to bed (which takes ten minutes).

Arguing about parenting choices at five o'clock in the morning after enduring an hour of hysterical screaming? Not good for the relationship.

Crying it out is supposed to be the means to an end. Everything I've read says that the kid will "get it" around day three and then sleeps through the night reliably after that. That's how it worked for Charlie. It is not supposed to be a month-long battle that ends every night with everyone feeling miserable and defeated. It is not supposed to keep other family members awake (who are two years old and really really need their sleep so as not to be Crabby McWhines-a-Lot the next day, every day for a month).

So last night when he awoke at 4:00 I figured to hell with it and fed him and put him back to bed. After fifteen calm, peaceful minutes, both Wes and I were happily snoozing away. And Charlie never woke up. For the first morning in a very long time we had a happy breakfast together and a happy ride to school. Ryan didn't look at me like I was a bomb about to go off and I didn't feel like a bomb about to go off. He made me coffee, but it was because I asked him nicely to do it while I fed Wes, not because he was afraid without it my head was going to detatch itself from my body and turn into a giant yelling monster head hovering in space like the Wizard of Oz.

The change in Charlie was remarkable. He didn't lose it when we passed the firehouse and the firetrucks were inside. He didn't freak out when I wouldn't give him the peanut butter toast I was having for breakfast. There were no tears when I couldn't make the commuter train magically appear. He chattered away the whole ride to school then happily bounced into his classroom, put Blue Bear in his cubby and gave me a hug goodbye (Mommy Blog aside: He says "Dokey Dokey" instead of "Okey Dokey." It kills me). In contrast to yesterday, when he was so tired as to be near catatonic during lunch and I freaked out and called Pediatrician Man, it was heaven.

So, sorry CIO, we are through. If I have to wake up at 4:00 every day for the rest of my life at least we won't have to go to family counseling. Or jail.

The best part is not viewing Wes as a "difficult baby" anymore. He simply needs to eat at 4:00. And I am meeting a need, not "giving in." He is delightful most of the day and now we can enjoy our nights too. And that is the point of sleep training, isn't it?

Hand to Hand


AJU5's Mom said...

We faced the same thing with AJU5. Sleep training only worked to a point. But, she would not give up the last feeding until over a year when I had basically weaned her. Hopefully Wes will figure it out in the next few months and you can stay happy until then!

Alyssa said...

Sounds like a great decision to keep the feedings :)

Sarah said...

Glad you had a good morning! I am often a bomb about to explode, too-- good image. Also, I remember the middle of the night parenting decisions-- never good ones :)

Anonymous said...

Wow, I thought your kids were quiet and well-mannered before... what do they do now? Serenely go berry-picking? -GM

Kyla said...

Sounds like an excellent decision!

Missy said...

Not that you asked....

Everyone of my kids had to CIO at 4am. But I was sure they were not hungry yet, they would only take an ounce or so (I never could bf, which makes life easier in these situations).

If you still would like to sleep all night, I would say:

1. Wake him up at 10pm or whenever you go to sleep and give him a dream feed, it might get him to go till 6 or 7

2. Put a bottle in his crib before you go to bed - he might wake up and solve his own problem.