After four months of trying various sleep training methods and trying, night after night, to night-wean my girl, I have officially given up. Every time I gathered up a bit of energy and determination and tried to teach my daughter to sleep through the night, I was left feeling exhausted. Kayden, who for the first 6 months of her life was only up twice a night like clockwork, started waking more and more instead of less and less. But the alternative to feeding her on demand through the night? Being awake with a crying baby for 2-3 hours every night only to have her wake 3 hours later expecting to be fed again. I just can't do it anymore. I need to be able to function and it's far easier to just get up for a quick feed than to deal with a tired, crying baby in the wee hours. And really, why try? She will eventually sleep through the night. I've done what I could to encourage her and four exhausting months later I'm ready to try something different. Or rather, I'm ready to stop trying.
In addition to sleep training not working, the kids sharing a room hasn't been working out wonderfully. It has been a pain. It works well...until it doesn't. And then we have a three year old waking up a 9 month old and we spend the next two hours with an overtired, crying baby while an overtired preschooler struggles to sleep. No more, people. It's time for this house to get some serious shut-eye. Behold, my solution:
In a rush of frustration and exhaustion, I made Kayden a bed right beside my bed the other day. If I'm going to stop fighting the night-time feeds, I'm going to embrace it and try to make them as relaxing and restful as possible for myself. Forget when they say my baby "should" be sleeping through the night by. Forget when they say my baby should be not needing night feeds anymore by. Forget what "they" say about co-sleeping stunting babies' ability to put themselves to sleep. My baby puts herself to sleep just fine for naps and at bedtime. The fact is that she wakes often during the night and if she's still doing it after four attempts at sleep training, then she must need SOMETHING from me through the night. So I'm going to forget what "they" say my baby needs or doesn't need and I'm going to follow my instincts. And I'm going to do what I need to do to survive. And right now that means rolling over and being able to "shh" my baby while still half asleep...or feed her without getting out of bed. And I have to say, as much as I resisted this idea of "co-sleeping," it really is quite nice to not have to walk through the dark, cold house a few times a night :) We'll see how this goes...if all goes well, we'll all be feeling alot more rested in the weeks to come!
As a parent, especially a mother, you hear so many theories about what babies need or don't need and by what age. And don't get me wrong, a lot of it can be very helpful. I'm all for moms giving each other advice and helping each other out! That's why I'm constantly asking for advice and for what has worked for other moms. Sometimes you just need fresh ideas. But when your baby doesn't respond to the things that worked for other moms, then it's important to recognize when you need to just start ignoring what you hear and focus on what comes naturally. Then it's time to get creative and figure out what works for you and your family and your baby. Unfortunately this will likely involve some trial and error. Let's hope this latest sleeping arrangement trial doesn't involve the word "error"... ;)