Some Numbers

First off, Charlotte had her 6-month appointment at the doctor last week. For anyone who’s curious, she is presently 17 lbs, 12 ounces and 28″ tall.  Her height is still 98th percentile.  I just wanted there to be some record of that on the blog, but it’s not what I’m here to discuss today.

What I’m here to discuss is this:

Last night, Charlotte slept for 10.5 hours.

7 pm – 10:30 pm

10:45 pm – 3:30 am

3:45 am – 6 am

She cried for maybe 10 minutes combined all night. That’s less than she would cry when she was sleeping ON ME.

Granted, she was insanely exhausted by bedtime since she didn’t sleep the previous night and we could only get her down for one nap yesterday. We are sure that tonight isn’t going to be nearly as peaceful as last night was, but still… SHE SLEPT. The most she has ever slept in her lifeAt least we’ll be better rested going into night 3.

I don’t need to tell you how badly we needed last night. Catch and I took turns crying all day yesterday. I was so grouchy at my mom’s house when we went to watch the Super Bowl that I think she probably wished we would leave. We were so defeated. Thank you Charlotte for knowing when your moms absolutely cannot take anymore.

I also want to say to everyone who expressed concern for or opposition to our sleep training techniques that I appreciate where you’re coming from, but I ask that you respectfully keep those opinions quiet going forward.  We’re already walking this path–it’s not up for debate.  I need you to understand that this approach is not something we entered into lightly. We did plenty of research. We read the book. We talked to other people who have done the same thing. (Special thanks to the two of you in blog land who have held my hand the last few days. I am so crazy grateful for your commiseration and words of encouragement.) We even discussed it with Charlotte’s pediatrician.

Charlotte is not just your average bad sleeper who wakes up a few times a night. Her sleep problems were outrageous. In a 10-hour stretch, she was often awake 8-12 times… and that’s if she was sleeping ON me. If she wasn’t on me, we could easily be up with her most of the night.

Please also remember that this was not our first resort. I wanted DESPERATELY to cosleep with her. I would gladly have kept her in our bed right in between us and nursed her on demand, but she HATED sleeping in our bed. I have been sleeping on the couch with her on my chest off and on for MONTHS. My back is killing me, not to mention that the couch is not a safe place for her to be sleeping.

We also tried the no-sleep methods. We gave that two weeks, and at the end of 2 weeks we were getting even less sleep than we were to begin with, and she was totally dependent on my rocking/singing/hand on her chest.

I hate hearing my baby cry. I hate not scooping her up and snuggling her close to me. What kind of mother would I be if I didn’t hate that? (Hence yesterday’s post, when I was leaning just how much I hate it.) But you know what I hate more? That she isn’t getting enough sleep for her developmental needs… and that the sleep issues she’s having now could plague her through adulthood if we don’t teach her better habits.

This is not a traditional Ferber cry-it-out method. If she’s crying, she receives reassurance from us every 5 minutes like clockwork. She knows she isn’t alone. She knows mommies are there. She’s upset because she’s in a new place and it’s not where she wants to be–and frankly, who wouldn’t prefer to be cuddled up to mom? Of course she’s going to be angry and sad. But we have decided that she is old enough to learn how to make her crib a place where she wants to be and this is how we’ve chosen to teach her.

If my conception and breastfeeding journeys are evidence, I think I have more than demonstrated to this community how willing I am to walk to hell and back for my daughter. I have already exposed how vulnerable and inadequate I feel with relation to her sleep issues. Please try your hardest not to make me feel worse. No matter how well-meaning, to me, it feels like kicking me when I’m down.

54 thoughts on “Some Numbers

  1. I’m SO SORRY you’re getting criticism about the choices you’re making, especially in a situation that I think very few can honestly understand. I know I certainly have no concept of how difficult this must be – I can’t imagine getting as little sleep as you have been and still being a productive member of society. I feel really defensive for you that people have been shitty, so I just want you to know I am cheering you on and am I hoping beyond hope that last night was the first of many where you, Charlotte and Catch get some good sleep.

    • Thanks, Andie! It wasn’t a huge backlash. Just the occasional comment. It was all well-meaning, but I’m just too sensitive to argue about this. Parenting issues can be so divisive. I wish babies came with user manuals.

      • Right?! I went back and read the comments and I think people are just bad at diplomatically stating their opinion when it differs. It doesn’t help that so many parenting decisions have this specter of harming/helping FOREVER, which bulks the stakes up significantly. In any case, I got your back!

  2. Congrats on those victories! Fuck everybody else. Nobody – not a single person – can ever understand your precise situation. And everyone has an opinion. Your baby’s sleep & wellbeing and your health & sanity (cured by sleep) are the only important things.

  3. Yay Charlotte! I know Melody has never gone that long. Definitely well earned rest. Here’s to it continuing so you can really catch up on some sleep.

    By the way, do you see a chiropractor to get your back happier again? Sleeping in bed will help, of course, but getting things aligned helps the healing go much faster.

  4. Seriously, people who question other’s sound, researched, and made from love parenting decisions really piss me off. What right do you have to do that? None. You’re a good mom. You’re doing what is right for your daughter and your family. Solidarity sister.

    • If you compare the supposed lasting effects of cry it out versus the lasting effects of inadequate sleep, inadequate sleep is much scarier to me! The thing with parenting issues is that there are ALWAYS two sides. To everything. We can’t all be right, and we can’t all be wrong…

      • I think people confuse actual neglect, like never responding to a crying baby, with sleep training. I can tell you that Ali has zero problems with attachment or trust or communicating her emotions or intelligence. She’s actually quite the opposite, super bright and the most cuddly 2 year old I know.

  5. I am sososo happy for her! I want to crack open some breast milk champagne! This is a process and the night before was a really difficult step, but it has paid off. I am sorry about the negative comments – with everything youve been through, it’s the LAST thing you need. Ive read through them and was already feeling very disappointed that people felt like they had to say those things. It’s really hard for Charlotte when she is awake crying and not sleeping all night. Helping her self-soothe is so much more loving and effective. As she before a toddler, loving boundaries and routine are going to be important for her to thrive, and sleeping is such a huge part of self-care and a functioning family. And I DO NOT believe in cry it out this is different. I never ever thought I would “sleep train,” just like you, but I see now that sobbing all night and day and giving inconsistent messages about sleeping to my baby was not nearly as supportive as what we are doing now. Each time she cries loudly we do pick her up and nurse or cuddle and try again in a few minutes. Letting her fuss and find her comfy ways to sleep are such wonderful things for her and will translate to her development, not to mention having happy and sane mothers is better for her in so many ways. I’ve always been a mom who wears her baby, cuddles and nurses constantly, and soothes and interacts throughout the day, as are you, but teaching autonomy is a part of creating a secure attachment. Good job Charlotte I am so happy for you and your moms!!!

    • I think learning to self-soothe is going to be a total game changer for our girls–and it’s such an important skill to have. The best part is that our perfect little munchkins will have no memory of this whatsoever. We’re shaping them in this major way, but we’ll get absolutely no credit for it. 🙂

      • Well my night just recently told me how I slept as a baby so at least we can share stories with them! And you’re shaping Charlotte’s coping abilities and personality and attachment with every loving interaction! You’re awesome. Good luck tonight.

  6. Your an amazing mom. I’m
    Sorry anyone would throw criticism your way. Really, parenting advice for me goes in one ear out the other. Every child is sooooo different. Your doing the right thing. This is going to lead the pathway for her sleeping. Tonight isn’t going to be as easy, your totally right lol with Leo he regressed the third night. He fought the change. I’m assuming Charlotte will be well rested enough to fight the change as well, but hey at least mama’s are well rested. This little week won’t matter in the long run. Happy you went for it 🙂 I’m rooting you on 😄😄😄

    • Thanks, friend! At least our resolve is strong now that we’ve seen she’s capable of sleeping! I am going into tonight expecting the worst, but really, it can’t be any worse than night 1! I’m also secretly preparing to maybe call in sick tomorrow. We’ll see what happens!

  7. I am a firm believer in doing what is best for YOUR family. Not everyone has to agree and quite frankly some may not. But those who don’t agree have no business criticizing or passing negative judgment when you are doing what’s best for YOUR family. Sending you so much love and desperately hoping the sleep continues!!!

    • I’m just grateful that it was clear that everyone’s comments really had Charlotte’s best interest at heart. Even if we disagree, I know everyone means well. And yes–hopefully sleep will become a “thing” in our household. Come on, kid! Sleep is trendy!

  8. I know it’s not a competition for who has it the worst, but damn Molly, you, Catch, and Charlotte have seriously been tested with all of the challenges you’ve faced so far, and you certainly have demonstrated that you will go to hell and back for that sweet little girl. The Debbie Downers can just suck it. I am sure that you’ve done (and continue to do) what’s best for C, and I really hope that this good sleep continues because I know you three need this… Badly. Do the dogs have bags under their eyes? On really bad nights of incessant crying, Clementine chooses to sleep in the guest room lol.

    • Oh my gosh–our poor dogs. I feel so bad for them. That first night when C was crying all night, poor Twix was so anxious that she paced and Rolo kept coming to get us like, “Um–your thing is upset?” Then Twix wouldn’t eat yesterday. This morning after such a peaceful night, Twix was like the happiest puppy on the block. She was up bouncing around and wagging her tail. It was a total transformation. They are SO SENSITIVE to the baby. It’s sweet, but also so hard for them.

  9. One of the things that sucks about sharing stuff publicly is that it opens us up for criticism from others who share their (sometimes unwanted) opinions. You are doing what is best for you and Charlotte and anyone else’s opinion simply doesn’t matter!

    I’m so glad to hear last night was better. Here’s to more and more sleep!

    • Sharing is so worth it, though. I seriously love this community. I feel like I’m a better person for having all of you guys to bounce things off of. You help me keep things in perspective.

  10. Well, I wrote this long note but my computer ate it….gist was: YAY SLEEP! and solidarity mama, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: sleep deprivation is a form of torture for a reason. You are not making decisions outside of the vacuum of sleeplessness (you know, where it’s easy to say “I would never do…” or “I would only do…”), you have to do what you can, not what others think you should. And hey, we’ve found that sleep begets sleep, so maybe (hopefully?) tonight won’t be awful? Hoping for clear skies ahead, you all deserve it for sure.

    • I cannot count the number of times in the past weeks that I’ve tried to explain to people that sleep begets sleep. I’m so happy to see you saying it here. I’ve had a myriad of people tell me that I need to keep her up later and stop letting her nap and I want to shout SLEEP BEGETS SLEEP from the rooftops!

  11. OK now that I have read your success and another bloggers success with this method I am sending Corrie to the bookstore to get us this book. I am grateful for all of your sharing.

  12. Congrats on getting some sleep! I hope you guys have found your solution and all 3 of you get some well deserved rest now. You’re doing great and shouldn’t feel bad about any of your choices!

  13. I’m so proud of you for sticking it out. You should be really proud of yourself too. Hopefully in no time Charlotte will get even better and you will get a nice long stretch of sleep! You poor thing. You deserve a nice stretch! Can’t wait to hear how it goes! Xx

    • Thanks, friend! I hope she continues to feel happier and more secure in her crib. I just want her to be healthy and happy and I know sleep is a HUGE factor in that because I feel it too.

  14. Well done and yay for sleep! I’m sure she will test you again but now you’ve had a taste of success (and a decent nights sleep) it should be much easier on you all.
    I guess it’s like all things, a habit is hard to break, and C became used to the old way of sleeping (or not sleeping). Hopefully soon, sleeping in the crib for long stretches will be her new normal habit.
    You are doing great.

  15. I am so, so happy for you all that things are looking better on the sleep front.

    Also, I want to commend you on your articulate and diplomatic reminder to people to be more gentle and less judgemental with their comments on parenting choices. You’re obviously amazing parents, and have been dealing with a really challenging sleep situation – you’ve got to do what works for you, and babies (and their families) are definitely not one-size-fits-all.

    I think most people love their kids a lot and do their very best; what we need as parents is support, not comments about how we’re doing it wrong and might be messing up our kids. It’s brave to share so much of your life in blogland, and I hope that a few over-the-line comments don’t dissuade you from doing so in the future – I know I, and many others, benefit from your candid and thoughtful posts.

  16. Just in case anyone hasn’t said it to you lately, you’re doing an awesome job. Babies are incredibly hard. So very hard. They can’t tell you what’s up and their grip on nuance is, well, not so great. So you? You’re doing awesome.

  17. Hooray!! I had forgotten about it, but my pediatrician also used the “sleep begets sleep” mantra and that helped get me through our adventures in sleep training. I’m glad you got the gift of this night of good sleep to help reaffirm your decision.

      • Also, I went back and read my comment on your previous post, and as a new follower, I think it may have come across as not very supportive, and I apologize for that. My default parenting non-advice tends toward “don’t do anything you can’t sustain for the long run” – not realizing that you were fully committed to the new routine. As someone who basically “ferberized” my first baby, I’m also careful not to be too preachy when it comes to CIO (i.e. “stick with it, it WILL work”) because even though it was the miracle solution for me, I know it’s not right for everyone. So, long story short, do what you’ve got to do and feels right for you.

  18. Yay for sleep! (raises afternoon coffee to toast in celebration)

    Sorry you got any criticism but I like how you see the good intentions in everyone. It is hard putting this stuff out there, but you know your child and what is best for them. My daughter would never sleep in our bed and hated to be touched when sleeping. She needed her space. We gave it. One of her therapists was hard core about the sleep training and I flat out ignored her and did the checking in and reassuring bit and it worked for us. I told her I ignored her advice and months later she conceded that we know what works in our house more than anyone else. It took her a bit though cause she is really hard core on stuff, but you got this. You know your child better than anyone else.

    So anyway, sleep is awesome and I am glad you got some! You keep doing what works for you!

    • You’re so lucky that your instincts were so strong when you were battling that therapist. My resolve wavers. There’s this huge part of me that sees this working and feels like we’re doing the right thing, and then there’s the me who just wants to scoop my baby up and spend the rest of my life holding her on the couch all night. Logically, I know that what we were doing was totally unsustainable, but I sure do miss those snuggles.

  19. Friend, I love you a nd you are an amazing mom, who is doing everything she can for her daughter to thrive! You busted your ass to breastfeed, you and catch have been killing yourselves with the sleep stuff, and you know what?! You’re finally cracking the code! Everyone is getting rest! Screw what people say! You’re doing what’s best for you and your baby and your relationship! So proud of you!!!

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