I'd already made up my mind about weeks ago, and was just waiting for her to be over a cold. This morning, after falling down a flight of stairs in my fatigued state, I knew for sure this was the time. Good thing I wasn't holding either of the kids when it happened, and I'm OK except for a very sore tailbone, which I'm icing right now.
Here is a brief rundown of my secondborn's sleep history, because it is oh-so-fascinating:
- Newborn: woke every two hours around the clock, but gradually started sleeping for stretches of a few hours at night.
- 6 weeks to 4 months: slept through the night at least 8 hours, most of the time 12.
- 4 months to the present: steadily downhill. During the day, she doesn't eat as well as she used to because it is increasingly difficult to get her to focus on nursing. The introduction of solids has not alleviated this problem, because she's not interested in them yet, and only eats about a tablespoon at a time. At night, she knows I'm at her beck and call, and that's when her appetite is biggest. The last few weeks have been particularly bad, with me stumbling to her crib at least twice a night, banging my shoulders into the doorways like a drunk.
We are all suffering for my lack of sleep. I am an ogre without sleep, and an ogre is not a good mother. I feel worst for Delaney, because, even as a zombie, I can go through the motions of keeping a toddler and a baby alive, but I can't nurture her budding intellect. The best I can do for her is let her take her pick of any of her favorite shows On Demand. Dragon Tales means 27 minutes of her not asking me any questions. I know that's terrible!
For help in my crisis, I turn once again to my sleep bible: Goodnight, Sleep Tight by Kim West. This book saved my life once before, without scarring Delaney's, when she was about nine months old, and I pray it will again. It is a method for getting your baby or toddler to go to sleep independently, without letting them "cry it out." She provides solutions for just about every sleep problem imaginable, and advice for establishing a routine that is ideal for whatever age they are. Her methods make the most sense to me. This is the moderate approach, between those who say that not only should you nurse that baby every time she wakes up, you should be right next to her in bed; and those who say, let her cry it out and eventually she'll start sleeping. I don't think you do the child a favor in either case.
The Sleep Lady reassures me, in the chapter about six- to eight-month-olds, that a healthy baby in this age bracket does not need to eat at night. I feel this in my gut to be true. I also know that once she's not eating at night, she will sleep better, and eat more during the day. But in order to get to that place, I have to get past the first couple nights. (*shudder*) I do not expect Annalise to say to me when I go to her room tonight, and whisper sweet words but don't pick her up, "Thanks, Mom, for using this gentle method of sleep-training, so that we can all -- especially you -- get better sleep at night. I know what you're doing is really good for me."
Hopefully I can give you a positive update on this in a few days.