Friday, November 20, 2009

Fiona's last stand

It's always dangerous to breathe a word about the sleep habits of a certain 10-month-old when she is actually sleeping well. It's been six nights, each one better than the last. I'm holding my breath less and less as we see clear progress. We're determined not to let her backslide here and learning not to be afraid of her protests. (People, this one is extremely indignant and it's best if we steel ourselves now against the furious willfulness that is Miss Fiona.)

Fiona had been waking up every two hours between midnight and 7 a.m. for weeks on end. And I, of course, would go in there and nurse her every time. It was the quickest route back to sleep for all of us, but was taking a disastrous toll on me. I couldn't even carry on a conversation with my husband. Seriously. I would unwittingly tell him the same exact thing twice in the span of two minutes.

Something had to be done.

Friday night, the kids both spent the night at Nana and PopPop's. Jim and I were well-rested and by Saturday night, we were finally ready for action. Well, actually, I was ready to do absolutely nothing. The goal was and still is to not feed her between midnight and 7 a.m.

Saturday night, I fed her around 11:30 p.m. She wouldn't go back to sleep and spent the next two hours wailing on and off, furiously pacing in her crib, and flailing her arms while my husband went in to comfort her. He reported that she just wanted someone in there with her. She laid down and was quiet when he was in there, but cried as soon as he left. She finally fell asleep at around 2:20 a.m. and slept until about 7 a.m.

Sunday and Monday nights, she had her pre-midnight feeding and then woke up at 1:30 and 4:30 a.m. and whimpered for 10 minutes before drifting back off. No one budged. And I don't think that's cruel. I suspect that she has been overtired and because we don't co-sleep with her, getting her in and out of her crib several times a night was not restful for her. She'd also been fighting us so hard on her morning nap that I just gave up for a few weeks. We're back to two naps a day and she's going to bed earlier.

Tuesday and Wednesday nights, she woke only at 4:30 and cried for 15 minutes before drifting back off. The 4:30 wake up may last longer since that feeding has been consistent since birth. (In fact, she was born around 4:30 in the morning.) But, then again, last night, she skipped the 4:30 wake up and woke crying at 6 a.m.

This is progress ... despite my EXTREME aversion to waking up before 7 a.m.

Since the 11:00 feeding has gotten shorter and shorter each night, I will begin cutting it out on Saturday. It is absolutely amazing how even a little extra sleep has helped me to follow through on this.

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