Through The Night

Having decided, after 21 months of incessant night waking, to let baby F cry it out, here’s how it’s gone:

Night 1

I moved her cot back into her room as she had spent the last week in with me and was getting even worse at night-waking, crying up to six times a night for a cuddle, even though she was sleeping right next to me (so much for that idea). I had an errand to run so the husband put her down at bedtime. This in itself was a recipe for disaster and she cried for a while before dropping off. She was exhausted after another day of barely napping so thankfully it didn’t last too long.

She then woke at 11pm and had an almighty screaming session. After a few minutes I went in and gave her a cuddle, mainly to reassure her that I was home. She then slept until around 5am. This is a HUGE block of sleep for her, and I was frankly astonished she lasted so long. I left her to cry for a few minutes at 5am and she stopped and went back to sleep. She woke again at 6:30, which is our getting up time. Not too bad for the first night.

Night 2

She fussed so much at bedtime. She didn’t want to go to bed and cried as soon as bath and stories were done. I went back in about ten times after putting her down as she was crying and screaming in her cot. She finally dropped off at about 19:20. She woke at 1:15 and screamed like crazy. She was crying ‘Mama! Mama!’ so I went into to check her (can you see how I’m not very good at this??). She was fine, so all I did was say ‘Sleepy-time’, which she understands, and I walked out without a cuddle or doing anything else. She screamed for 15 minutes and went back to sleep at around 1:30.

She woke again at 2:10 and screamed hysterically. It was very, very angry screaming. Again she was repeating ‘Mama! Mama!’, but with real rage. I felt awful, but kept reminding myself that we have literally tried EVERYTHING else out there, and we have reached this point because neither of us has slept a whole night in almost two years. I never left the boys to cry, aside from a short phase of bedtime screaming when L was a toddler. They never needed it – sleeping through was something they just did that I took for granted. Baby F is actually waking as much now as she was at three months old and I am losing my ability to parent my children properly because I am just so exhausted all the time. After 25 minutes of total rage, she cried a bit quieter, still just saying ‘Mama, Mama’. It was so awful. But all that she ever really needs is a cuddle.

That’s fine in theory, but when you have to get up six times a night just to cuddle your toddler for five seconds so she can go back to sleep, you know you have created a habit that is bad for both of you. I reminded myself repeatedly of all the reasons I had decided to do this while I laid awake listening to her. She cried on and off until 2:50 when she changed to saying ‘Out! Out!’ but it might have been ‘Ow! Ow!’ so I went in again (how can you not? How can you know they are okay?). Well, she was fine, sat up in the cot. I laid her down, said ‘Sleepy-time’, and left the room. She started crying again.

One minute later she started calling out ‘Bee Bee! Bee Bee!’ which is her special blanky. I sighed and went back, because maybe she couldn’t find it in the dark. I gave her Bee Bee, said ‘Sleepy-time’ and came back out. She started crying again immediately, now back to ‘Mama! Mama!’. Are you bored of this story yet? Because it was very trying in real life. She carried on crying until 3:50am and I didn’t go back again. Then she slept til we all get up at 6:30. Waking up felt like I was surfacing the titanic.

Onto night 3.

Night 3

She went to sleep at around 8pm after a lot of fussing and crying, and me going back around 8 or 10 times to cuddle her.

Then she slept through, without a peep, until 6:30am.

I KNOW, RIGHT??

Like – what the hell happened?????

The FIRST EVER TIME she has slept through the night. EVER.

I on the other hand woke at 1:30am for the bathroom. Then at 2:18 because I was hot and fidgety. I stayed awake until around 3:30 even though I was so tired because I just couldn’t get comfortable (restless legs is real, people. As weird as it may seem to those who have never suffered this evil ailment). At 5:45am C came in because he’d lost his teddy. At 6:30 we all got up.

I don’t know if this was just a fluke because she was so tired after night 2, or whether the multiple conversations I had with her about sleeping and not crying for Mummy in the night actually made a difference. I can’t imagine that this will be repeated, but at least I know it’s possible. That’s more than we’ve had for the last 21 months!

6 thoughts on “Through The Night

  1. Wow! That’s amazing!!! Do you have a video monitor at all? With Monkey we did a little bit of this and I used to put earphones in my ears and watch YouTube videos and just check the monitor picture every now and then to see if he was ok. Sounds like you might not need it but just in case there is more crying… Last night from 8pm – 130pm I got between 30-60mins sleep with each settling. It got to midnight and I just thought “I can’t do this”. Thankfully it stopped at 130am after I caved and gave her some milk (tried panadol at midnight). Our thing is putting the dummy back in every time but she can sleep for longer without needing it. I think something else is waking her up, maybe teeth or temperature. Who the fuck knows? But I too feel like the walking dead and it just has to end. Pleeeeeeease make our babies sleep more!!!

    • Oh my goodness – I didn’t realise it was just as bad with little H. The little minx! Isn’t it just so frustrating and the worst torture :-(. I am done for when everyone gets up in the morning, let alone getting through the day… Yes, let’s hope and hope and hope that this changes soon. Life is much easier without the SAS-style hell of no sleep.

      • I think we have it a lot easier than you in that it isn’t ALL the time but it is frequent – prob at least half, maybe more – and it kills me. I’m interested to hear how the CIO keeps progressing. Night 3 was amazing!!

        • I woke up more times from my own dreams/restlessness last night than baby F woke me (twice for her, not too bad). I’ll post an update in a few days, but making notes on each wake-up regardless of cause has made me seriously wonder if part of my problem is actually me, not her!

          • That’s really interesting. Will read with interest. H actually slept through last night – woke at 5am though! Interestingly it was the first night I gave her just rice milk in her bottle at bedtime and I am wondering if that goats milk might bother her tummy a little as the rote in is so close to dairy. *sigh*

          • Babies do seem to have such delicate tummies. I know dairy was a massive issue for baby F when I was breastfeeding (although I’d never have believed the idea before it happened to us), so something definitely goes on with different milk proteins. It’s so hard though isn’t it – food, teething, temp, too light, too dark, too hot/cold, illness, fear, boredom. Everything has to be PERFECT for them to actually get any rest!

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