Tuesday, July 21, 2009

No More Bedtime Woes...

There was a time when I DREADED putting Adam to bed each night. We made alot of mistakes early on when it came to a bedtime routine, and we got him used to being rocked or bounced to sleep and THEN put into his crib. We never followed through with encouraging him to learn how to soothe himself to sleep. And then we'd go through phases where we'd rock him to sleep and he'd wake up the instant we put him down, and it would end up being a 2 or 3 hour cycle of rocking and trying to get him to fall asleep and STAY asleep so that finally we could put him in his crib without waking up. I do believe in the (so-called-evil) cry it out method, I was just HORRIBLE about following through with it. It always just seemed easier to pick him up and not have to be stressed out by the crying...but seriously, I wasn't do us ANY favors because he'd be overtired and I'd be exhausted and still have to get work done at night (and it seemed like most nights it'd would be 10 or 11 before he'd finally be asleep)...it was ridiculous. But at the time... while going through it - I was listening more to my heart, then my head.
Luckily, we never had a problem with him sleeping through the night (unless he's teething or sick) - it was soley about GETTING him to sleep...dun-dun-duuuuun - BEDTIME.
At about 10 months old, we finally did follow through and let him cry it out - hubs practically had to sit on me to keep me from going in there...and there were times where I had to talk HIM out of going in there...but after a few days, he did great and would fall asleep on his own.

Aaaaand that lasted for about 3 weeks. That's when the puking started.

One night he cried and cried, and then started coughing, and then he threw up. By then he was REALLY screaming and and we bolted in there it was just be a MESS. We had to change his crib sheets, scrub the floor, clean him up and change his pj's...and he was so upset about the whole thing he was quivering and gasping for air. I just felt so horrible. I absolutely HATE throwing up, so I felt so bad for him...it was obviously traumatic. And I cuddled with him and calmed him down and rocked him to sleep.
And the next night, he threw up again...and once again we were in there changing his sheets and cleaning up the mess - and let me tell you it's an ORDEAL - and of course I'd feel guilty for letting him cry and I'd rock him to sleep.
Thus began his "Let's Manipulate Mama" plan. He started throwing up after shorter and shorter periods of time...and quite quickly he began to throw up literally within ONE MINUTE of me leaving the room. Or we'd hear him start to cough and run in there to catch him - which usually meant me or hubs would end up covered in the vile stuff. It was a good couple of months that we were dealing with this issue on a NIGHTLY basis...and he was always so panicky afterwards, we just felt horrible for him and had to calm him down, which usually ended up in rocking him to sleep because we didn't want to clean up anymore puke...or we were out of clean crib sheets - ha! I talked to our pediatrician...we tried feeding him dinner earlier - we tried holding off on a nighttime bottle - we tried everything stomach related...and it just seemed to be a behavior issue, not a stomach issue.
I got so desperate I stupidly went onto a mother's forum and posted my problem hoping someone had dealt with the same issue and had some advice. Only I got bombarded by a bunch of cry-it-out naysayers who made me feel like I was a horrible mother for even attempting to let him cry and people who said I needed to cosleep with him and cuddle him and he obviously NEEDED me or why would he be crying? Well, I felt guilty for about 3 minutes and then my gut kicked in and said "K! don't listen to these crazies...he is totally PLAYING YOU...he never used to throw up and now he does it on a nightly basis because you go in there and rock him and coddle him afterwards...there is a REASON that he's throwing up!"
So after discussing our problem with a couple of fellow mom friends...we finally decided it was time to get mean. Both hubs and I really felt in our hearts that he was forcing himself to puke - and we didn't want to end up with a 5 year old who forces himself to throw up because he doesn't get the toy he wants or something like that, you know what I mean? We felt very strongly that we needed to do whatever we had to, to stop this behavior NOW while he's still young.
So - we armed ourselves with clean crib sheets and pajamas and a bucket of warm water with a washcloth....we read him a story, we kissed him goodnight and said "okay buddy, we're gonna put you in your crib now and it's time to go to sleep" - we put him down...he immediately stood up and started screaming. We closed the door and waited. Within about 30 seconds he was crying/coughing/gagging...and then throwing up. So we went in with all our battle gear...I cleaned him up - while hubs did floor and crib damage control - I calmed him down while hubs was cleaning....and then we again kissed him on the head, put him in his crib - said good night and closed the door.
He screamed and coughed and we were watching intently in the video monitor while he stood at the side of his crib and we could see him trying to force himself to throw up....but of course he already did so it wasn't working. After just a few minutes, I think he realized it wasn't gonna happen and he laid down and moaned a bit and then dozed off. Hubs and I looked at each other in awe...did he really just stop? Is he really asleep? course we had to sneak in there and make sure he was still breathing because it was so odd...and he was fast asleep. We had ourselves prepared for at least an hour long battle, and it only took a few minutes!
The next night we did the same exact thing...
and the next night - same thing...
By day four, we had done alot of laundry - but we finally reached that magical night of no tears - no puking - and a child who rolled over and went to sleep on his own. And it's been like that since. We did have one small setback when we came back from being out of town - I think he was just out of his routine...but after one day, he was back on track.
I can't even tell you how amazing it is to be able to kiss a wide awake child good night and put him in his crib only to have him roll over and go to sleep on his own. To close his bedroom door and not hear anything, no fussing or crying is such a PEACEFUL feeling.
There is a huge part of me that wonders why we didn't do it alot earlier...or why I'm such a pushover for that pitiful cry. But I have to remind myself that this is my first kid - and no matter what, it IS so hard to hear him cry and know that he'd stop if I just went in there and cuddled with him. And I should just be glad that we've nipped it in the bud by now...because I know alot of people with older kids who still have issues going to sleep or sleeping through the night.
Let's just say that we are all much happier in the evenings over here then we used to be. Hubs and I have time to spend together, and I am able to get paperwork done without staying up until 1 or 2am...and our little man is much more well rested and wakes up jabbering and happy.
For a long time, hubs and I didn't want to admit that we felt like we've turned a corner on this issue because we were waiting for the other shoe to drop - but I think it's safe to say that we've definately turned that corner. Getting him to sleep is no longer an issue - for naps or bedtime. High five to hubs, my damage control partner - we made it!


N.D. said...

such a cute pic! It is sooo nice to have no crying - I was falling into the same routine as you and rocking him to sleep everynight. Bedtime was AWFUL. It took FORever. Finally a few nights of crying it out and he got it and he goes to bed awake and it is so nice. But I love the video monitor idea, I always go up to make sure he's asleep, so I'd love that!

Anonymous said...

AMEN sister!! good job! I'm so glad you've turned the corner :o)

samantha said...

HOLY EFF DUDE. I had no idea.

Just. . .wow.