Thursday, April 23, 2009
The big sleep struggle
Ever since the time change this year we have felt like Oliver is ruling our lives at night. He has been going to sleep at varying times (mainly in our arms) and after battles of various duration. Basically Oliver is great at taking naps during the day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon when he goes down with no problem in the crib, but at night he has been wanting only to sleep in my arms or in our bed, or else play with us (in bed) long into the night. This has made for some very tired parents, especially Hugo who has to get up early regardless of how the night went.
Finally I had enough last week and had a long conversation with my older sister (who has a 14-month-old) about these problems. Fan encouraged me to do what I felt was right for Oliver and for our sanity, so I decided I needed to let Oliver cry in the crib for once. This was a difficult decision since everything I have read says not to do this, but I felt that at 8 months old Oliver is now able to use crying to get what he wants, to the ultimate detriment of all concerned. I decided I would nurse and hold Oliver for about 20-30 minutes last Friday night, then when he drifted off to sleep I would put him in the crib and let him cry. Well, he woke instantly when I put him down and cried in the crib for an hour and a half before finally going to sleep. It was really not fun listening to him, and I'm sure it was a terrible time for him as well! In the past I have always picked him back up and nursed him again and again off to sleep, in this endlessly frustrating pattern; I'm glad I remained firm this time, though, as hard as it was. This seems to have worked because it has been almost a week and we have not had another night-time crying session! In fact, Oliver has been going down easily in the crib every night since, somewhere between 8 and 9:00. Occasionally he will wake to burp and have another snack after his first nap of 30-45 minutes, but then he goes down again easily and sleeps til I wake him around 3:00am. By this time I need to feed him again (for my own sake) and he sleeps the rest of the night in bed with us. We're keeping our fingers crossed that this continues...!