Bored Housewives Network

Getting through the day, one bonbon at a time.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Separation anxiety: an update

So, I figured since my last post was kind of a bummer, I should offer some resolution. It only makes sense, narrative-wise, right?

While he still cries for a few minutes every time I put him down awake, Sam's nighttime sleep keeps getting better and better. He slept thirteen hours last night! Thirteen! With the longest stretch being six hours... a new record! Admittedly, there were three nursing breaks in there, but I only had to wake up for two of them, so that was cool with me. I heard him wake up briefly in the early hours, and he didn't even cry. He just kind of babbled cutely to himself for a minute, muttered a little bit, then went back to sleep. I almost fell out of the bed in amazement.

And my daytime anxiety has subsided considerably, to be replaced by karmic wonder at the fact that, within 48 hours of deciding to get Sam in his own bed for daytime naps, a road construction crew has set up camp with jackhammers and heavy machinery 150 feet away from our house. Who else has this kind of luck?

Last night, we put Sam to bed at eight o'clock (eight o'clock! Like a regular baby! Can you believe it?) and I went out for dessert and drinks and wonderful conversation with Libby and her friend Shona, whom I liked immediately (and who has convinced me to read Moby Dick, something I publicly stated I would never do). I returned after 10 to a peaceful house and a still-sleeping baby. I'm beginning to really see the advantages of this new situation.

Anyway. Thanks for the support, all. This is the hardest thing I've had to do yet as a parent (though I'm sure it's too much to hope that it's the hardest I'll have to do ever), and I really needed to know I wasn't alone.

A question to any of you who have gone through a similar transition: Did you find that your own nighttime sleep actually got worse? This is what I'm finding. I'm having a harder time than usual falling asleep, generally not till 1 am. When I do finally fall asleep, though, I sleep like a log. I guess Sam isn't the only one who has to unlearn sone bad sleep habits.


  • At 6:52 PM, Blogger Melissa said…

    I had a hard time getting to sleep at first. The slightest noise, real or imagined, would make me jump up and think that A was crying. And for a good while after she stopped waking at night, I was still waking up at 3 or 4 or whatever. These days I'm out like a light.

    Hang in there, you're doing great!

  • At 8:44 PM, Blogger Cataclysm said…

    Hey Doppleganger!

    Totally relate to what yer talkin' about!

    When Rian first went into his room (about 2.5 months) for nights - done mostly because I was checking on him so often in his bassinet that I thought I'd get more rest if I didn't jump awake whenever he so much as sighed... anyway, after he went into his room I had total separation anxiety that still hasn't subsided.

    At first I would jump up and check on him 4-5 times not including when he woke me up (another 4-6 times), and now its still about once a night. And most mights still I dream that he's in bed, then he turns into a pillow, then I take the pillowcase off in a desperate attempt to help him breathe. And we have never and don't co-sleep at all, except for the morning nap when I'm still so tired!

    And honest, no hard drugs in my past so all of it must be the crazy-mother hormones.

    I remember thinking I would move him back into our room after few days BUT he loved the peace and quiet without me being psycho-mom next to him (and for a while he slept 8-9 hours straight through).

    What mommies need and what babies need aren't always the same thing maybe...

    And one more 'and' - I thought your last posting struck a chord in that we've now seen our sons change so much in 9.5 months that the whole cycle of life is so vivid. I dream of Rian growing up as a confident, sensitive and loving child, then teenager, then adult... but it means that I'll be getting older and the thought of dying is now so awful for me because I'll maybe miss part of his life... I actually really liked writing my 2 wills before I had Rian because I was giving lots of cash away to people I cared about but the will when I was choosing who would raise Rian if I wasn't around was SOOOO hard.

    Hang in there grrrrrl!!!

  • At 8:25 AM, Blogger White Trasherati said…

    Oh god, Kris - I totally feel you on the getting-older-gonna-die-but-I'll-miss-my-kids thing.

    And DG, I still have some difficulty falling asleep right away as the brain is racing about the kids - and they are 7 & 5. The other night I imagined they might get wrapped up in their blankets and smother, so got up twice to check on them. Am I still going to be doing this when they're at college? : )

  • At 9:00 AM, Blogger Melissa said…

    wow, i'm amazed & envious. you went out for dessert & drinks?? now you must tell me how you managed to get sam into his own bed so quickly. i have renewed hope that if you can do it, i can do it, too. do tell, what was your process? and congratulations again!

  • At 9:32 AM, Blogger Tammy said…

    Thanks, everybody. And thanks, Melissa, for giving me hope that I may one day sleep like a normal person again.

    And damn. You guys are spot on about the renewed hyper-awareness of one's mortality. It's always been a bit of an (occasionally unmanageable) obsession with me, and being a mom has totally brought it to the forefront. Hm.

    Melissa, since you asked how we finally got Sam to sleep on his own, I have to tell you we did the crying it out thing, despite the fact that I had huge misgivings about it. We'd been trying the gentle "no cry" strategies for months, to no avail. Apparently, Sam just needed to cry to get through this.

    Here's what we did:

    - Made sure that Sam got a really good night's sleep the night before we were planning to start, as well as really good naps during the day. It meant lying down with him every time and staying as motionless as possible, but he was very well-rested and chipper by the evening.
    - Started his bedtime routine about an hour before we calculated he'd need to go down, even though he was wide awake when we started.
    - Followed this routine: eating dinner, brushing teeth, bath and into warm pyjamas, listening to soft music and "slow-dancing" in our darkened living room, then a story in his room, followed by rocking and nursing until he was drowsy but not sleeping.
    - Kissing him, saying "night-night" and putting him in his crib.

    Per a couple of friends' suggestions, my husband stayed in the room, camped quietly on a Thermarest next to Sam's crib. I turned out the light (no nightlight at all, per everyone's suggestion) and left the room.

    I have to tell you: I expected the WORST. Hours of crying, hysterics, throwing up, and basically a long, horrible, sleepless night. Followed by a week of similarly awful nights. I love Sam dearly and wouldn't change his personality for the world, but he's very strong-willed, very attached, and very vocal when he's not happy.

    So you can imagine how shocked we were when Sam cried moderately hard (but just regular crying, no hysterics) for 15 minutes, then fell asleep. He woke up an hour later, cried for another 15 minutes, then fell back to sleep. All my husband did was give him a little pat on the back when he started crying and said "Shhh." He woke again an hour later, cried for three minutes, then fell asleep for two hours, when he woke up for a feeding. I nursed him, then put him back in his crib, where he cried for a couple of minutes, then fell asleep for FIVE HOURS, only waking up to nurse again. This time, after I nursed him, I put him in his crib and he fell asleep WITH NO CRYING AT ALL.

    His naps have been pretty good, too. I rock him and nurse and sing to him for 10 minutes or so, then put him in his crib sleepy. He cries for a couple of minutes or so, then falls asleep and sleeps for about an hour.

    The thing I'm happiest about is that none of this has affected his personality. Each morning when he wakes up, we bring him into bed for a nice long cuddle, and he's as sweet and funny and cuddly as ever, and he's his normal self all day. So no trauma that I can see.

    Oh, and my husband stopped camping out in Sam's room after the second night, when we realized through trial and error that his presence was actually acting as more of an irritant than a relaxant.

    One other thing: I haven't cut out nighttime feedings, so Sam is still waking up to eat every 3-5 hours, but I can live with that. I'm planning to phase them out slowly, one by one, over the next several months. When I hear him wake up and I know it's time to feed him, I go into his room (and I don't turn on the light at all) and pick him up and rock him and nurse him without saying a word. When he's finished, I put him back in his crib and he falls right back to sleep with no crying at all. I don't think he's even really awake during the nighttime feeds.

    I hope this helps! Good luck with whatever you end up doing.

  • At 4:59 PM, Blogger Melissa said…

    thanks for the info - what an inspirational story! i'm impressed with your perseverence. nile is also VERY strong-willed & vocal, so my concerns are similar to yours.

    okay, i smiled when i read the previous comments about mommy-mortality because last night we watched CRASH, which is very good and very intense. afterwards i couldn't sleep. after about an hour of tossing & turning i poked my husband in the ribs complaining that i couldn't sleep. why? because the movie had stressed me out and made me think about the fact that i am going to die. and made me worry that i might die sooner rather than later, which would mean that i wouldn't get to be with nile and see him grow up and i really, really don't want that. i really, really want to be around for a long while. long enough to watch nile grow up and to correct all the things that i perceive as being wrong with me so nile has only wonderful mommy memories once i am gone. i just layed there forever thinking, i'm not ready to die! then i woke up asking myself, am i crazy? and then i read your comments and i smiled.

  • At 5:27 PM, Blogger Melissa said…

    Well, I am never going to die, ever! So not only do I not think about it at all, I don't even know what you suckers are talking about!

    Heh heh.

  • At 11:56 AM, Blogger Joanne said…

    Quote: The thing I'm happiest about is that none of this has affected his personality. Each morning when he wakes up, we bring him into bed for a nice long cuddle, and he's as sweet and funny and cuddly as ever, and he's his normal self all day. So no trauma that I can see.

    This has been the biggest relief to me with the sleep training that we've been doing with my 8 month old. We're at the end of our second week and we've done pretty much what you've done, except after the first week, we don't go in at all. The longest he's cried has been 30 minutes - well, 29, since I told myself that I'd go in at 30, and he was quiet at 29! My big worry has been that he would hate me, that he would be sad or depressed. After all - HOW could somebody cry like that and not be mad about it the next day? But my husband and I both always say "no hard feelings?" when we go get him in the morning and he is just lovely, more relaxed and happier than he ever has been. He used to get kind of nervous when he got tired, he didn't have a good association with going to sleep and now he will actually put his head on my shoulder. This is a MIRACLE to us. I hated, hated, hated having him cry but I really believe that we were doing him more harm than good by continuing to rock him and constantly going in to give him his pacifier, etc. He does still nurse once a night, but it's not until after 2:00 (he goes to sleep around 7:00).

    I still don't sleep well but I figure it will come. It's especially hard for me if I don't nurse him til like 4:00, because by then I've had five or six hours, which seems like a lot. I have to credit Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child with a lot of our success - once I sucked it up and did what the dear Dr. recommends, it really seemed to work. Good luck with getting some sleep yourself, now, to all of you!


Post a Comment

<< Home