In this blog’s short existence, the most talked about the topic has been my daughter’s sleep habits. Or lack thereof. Back in January, I wrote about how my husband had started to sleep train Quinn. There were a few rough nights. The plan was I wasn’t allowed to go to Quinn if she woke. Only my husband could. If she woke crying my husband would rub her back, talk to her, soothe her, and, sometimes, he’d give her a bottle. Yeah- a bottle at bedtime. Sue us. Taking the bottle away at bedtime is a separate battle. (Which since turned out not to be much of a battle. More on that later). While my husband sleep trained Quinn, her sleep habits changed dramatically. She woke much less and for very short periods of time.
After about two weeks, though, my husband stopped waking up with her and it was Momma to the rescue. Slowly but surely, she got back into her old habits- waking more frequently and for longer durations. The girl plays me. I should note that my husband and I have discussed it and neither of us believes in crying it out. At least not with Quinn. I truly feel each child and every situation is different. Quinn is stubborn and so strong-willed. She will scream like a banshee and never stop if we don’t go to her. If she’s crying like that it is because she needs us. Even if it’s just for a hug, to be put back to sleep, or just to know we are there. A lot of people don’t agree with that. But that’s okay. I beat myself up for a long time and finally convinced myself that it is okay to go to my child every single time she cries. I’m not spoiling her. She needs me.
In the middle of this regression, there were, apparently, other factors contributing to Quinn’s poor sleep habits. So, we held off on sleep training again. One night when we put Quinn to bed, she screamed like she was in pain. We knew she was getting molars and gave her Tylenol or Motrin. She fell asleep for a few minutes but awoke screaming. As I was rocking her and trying to calm her, she puked curdled milk. This happened twice and she slept terribly that night. She didn’t get sick at all the next day, but come bedtime it was the same thing all over again and she threw up curdled milk. But the screaming was so much worse. I was in tears after a few hours. My heart broke for her. She screamed almost the entire night. I had done some reading on night terrors and thought that was what she was experiencing. A few days later, my husband and I had upper abdominal pain. My husband threw up but I did not. I did, however, almost go to the Emergency Room because I was in so much pain. Our 7-year-old came down with it a few days after we did and then our sitter. Even after my husband and I felt better, we still didn’t feel 100% for over a week. We felt terrible knowing this is likely what poor Quinn was dealing with but couldn’t tell us.
Fast forward to March. On March 11th Quinn had a bottle when she woke. But come time for her morning nap, my husband said he wasn’t going to give her a bottle. He did give her a sippy cup. (Mind you, she’s been mostly drinking from a sippy cup for a few months except when it’s time for bed. Again, sue us.) She went to sleep. No bottle! He put her down for her afternoon nap. No bottle. And at bedtime. No bottle. He would leave the room and she put herself to sleep. This is something that never happened before January when he initially started sleep training. And for it to happen without a bottle was mind-blowing. Do you want to know the best part? Quinn would only take a few sips from the sippy cup when he put her down, and then just snuggle it. Now, we give her a little water in a sippy cup at bedtime and I can stop worrying about her little teeth.
My husband got back into the habit of putting her to bed and waking with her and on March 15th, it happened….she slept the whole night without waking. Mind you, she was up at 5:30 am. But, we will take it. She has slept through the night every other night since then, so a total of three times. The nights in between she only woke once and went right back to sleep when I went to her. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the nights she has woken up were the nights that I put her to bed. Ha! But, it’s progress. In a week and a half, she has made HUGE strides. 1) No more bottles. 2) She’s self-soothing to get to sleep. 3) She slept through the night for the first time EVER. 4) No milk at bedtime.
I can hear the critics judging us- that if we had let her cry it out or never gave her a bottle at bedtime she would have been sleeping through the night for months by now. But, we struggled in so many different areas of sleep with her, that I really don’t believe that. It was time. She was ready. We were ready.
Now we just pray there are no more regressions. Only up from here?!