Saturday, March 16, 2013

To sleep or not to sleep...

Oh the sleep battle...

I think any and every parent has had to battle their child at one point or another to get them to sleep.

It's part of the territory, right?

Well just because it's par for course, doesn't mean it's easy.

In fact I just posted on the topic of sleep not too long ago! And though the big ideas behind that post haven't changed for me...our journey to sweet dreams have evolved a little recently...

So I  yet again decided to share my ideas and my journey thus far on the path to sweet baby dreams.

Back before I even got pregnant, I had all kinds of ideas concerning what kind of parent I wanted to be. What kind of things I wanted for my future children. I got downright passionate about all kinds of ideas before Aurora was even on her way!
I loved (and still do love!) wearing my baby, extended breastfeeding, co-sleeping, baby led weaning and all kinds of crunchy mama ideas!

And that hasn't changed.  No do I think it ever will, generally speaking.

That being said, this past odd week, I really came to a realization about caring for my precious girl...

She just is not getting enough sleep during the day.

I've tried all kinds of sneaky moves to get her to take a solid nap in the afternoons. I won't list them all here, but suffice it to say, that even when I nurse her in the middle of afternoon and she nods off, she will no longer actually sleep...ever.
It will be a 30-minute catnap at best.

And that can even be in our miracle rocking chair, cozied up on the boob, in a state of total bliss.

It's not even necessarily noise that wakes her up. It can be dead-silent, we can be rocking the ambient noise program on my cell phone (which I would ABSOLUTELY recommend to all parents!), and she's just snoring away...

But this past odd month or so, she'll just snap awake all of a sudden and won't got back to sleep again all day.

And no matter how much I love holding my baby all the time, I've realized and can now admit that something has got to give. For Aurora's sake.

So as of just today, I'm starting to sleep train her for naptime.

I won't pretend I like this.

It's in fact the hardest thing in the world to tuck her into bed, then walk away and hear her crying for me.

It's heartbreaking.

But at this point, I feel like it's the only option for us.

Aurora is exhausted every evening, and not getting anywhere near the amount of rest she needs everyday. And despite what I would love to do -holding/wearing her while she sleeps- , rest is so incredibly important for my daughter's development and growth at this age.

So this is how it's going to be.

We'll still be co-sleeping every night. I am incredibly passionate about co-sleeping with my baby. And I wouldn't give up that for the world.

At night she will almost always fall asleep fairly quickly while we're cuddled up in bed co-sleeping/nursing her to sleep will continue every night. As long as she wants it to really...

But now, every afternoon, starting just today, I'll be laying her down for her naps and praying and praying for strength to keep my resolve and that she'll get a good here's my strategy:

I'm cuddling up with her for a few minutes right after I tuck her into our bed. 
Then I kiss her, and sneak out of the room.
Every 3-4 minutes, as long as she's awake and crying/fussing, I come back in and kiss her and assure her that I'm right down the hall, and she's safe in our bed, and everything is alright. I tell her to have sweet dreams and that I love her. Then I leave the room again.
And I just repeat that until she's successfully napping.

Today it took nearly an hour.

And I was fighting the urge to just give up and pick up my poor, crying baby for that entire time.

So I'm just praying for both Aurora and I...praying for wisdom to be a good mother and do what is right for my child.
Praying for Aurora to fall into a rhythm where falling asleep for a nap on her own is easy and comforting, even though I'm not there.
Praying that this whole sleep training thing will start getting easier and easier...and soon!

So that's where we're at around here on our ever evolving sleep journey.

What kind of sleep training did you practice with your children? Was it difficult for you or them? And how did you manage in the end?

I'd love to hear what other mamas out there have to say.