Today was the first day that I allowed my daughter (now three months and 1 day) to “cry herself to sleep.” WOOOOOOOOOOOOO that was tough.
After a semi-long day out and about. Truthfully it was probably 4 hours. I only planned to be out for two hours or so. I put her in a carrier and packed a fanny pack as our “diaper bag” for the day. It fit the essentials: 3 diapers, a pouch of wipes, a disposable changing pad, a pair of socks if she were to get cold. The front pocket had enough space for my essentials: cash, credit cards, our insurance cards, metro card, house keys and a DSW coupon. I was set to take her out the house for some Sun time meanwhile help myself to some discounted shoes. Long story short, I ran into a friend in DSW and we made it a SaturDate (as she called it). We hung out for a few more hours because honestly we had no other plans beyond DSW.
Four hours later (side note, “four” and “hour” are just ONE letter off yet sound drastically different, one even has more syllables than the other…but I digress)
…Four hours later, we make our way home. By the way, she had been fed a few times while we were out (no cover up, than you very much), and had taken 2 naps in the carrier as well. Today I learned that that carrier has an expiration time – for me at least. I should NOT have worn it for that long. My plan was 2 hours otherwise I may have brought her in the stroller. It’s not my preference if i’m riding the train but it would’ve saved my back today. Nonetheless, we got home around 6pm and by 7pm she started showing signs of sleepiness. This is rather early for her but I followed her lead.
I got her ready for bed and begin to bounce her, as I normally do, on our exercise ball. She fell asleep almost immediately – by this time, it’s about 8pm. I put her down and begin to swaddle her, but she awakens. As I normally do, I picked her up to bounce her back to sleep. I did, she fell asleep again after another 15 minutes. I go to put her down again. She wakes up. OK. That happens. “Maybe she’s hungry again,” I thought. I fed her, bounced her then tried to put her down for a third time. Did she not wake up again?! Lord! Luckily, I’m not sleepy too. My frustration level would’ve been reaching it’s heights if I was also sleepy. But I wasn’t so my reserve of patience came in handy for this night.
By the way (because I’m an awesome storyteller) my husband is out of town and my stepson it at his aunt’s house. So it’s just baby and I, just the gals.
So after three attempts and a full belly in tow, I bounce her for a fourth time and for a fourth time, she falls asleep on my shoulder. I bounce her for a total of 30 minutes. My thought is that maybe she needs to be in a DEEP sleep to go down- for whatever reason. 30 minutes pass and I go to put her down. I swaddle her in a blanket but alas this child wakes up AGAIN! By that time I had had it- well my shoulder had had it. After carrying her for 4 hours then bouncing her for another hour and a half, my shoulders and lower back had had enough.
So, in all my brilliance, I think to let her “cry it out.” She’s obviously tired and this “bounce her and put her down” method does not seem to be working this evening.
Starting at 9:49 I watch my daughter (via the baby monitor) go from whining, to yelping, to full on crying, to trying to self-soothe herself with a hand that was caught in the swaddled blanket. My eyes are glued to the monitor for all of this. I wanted to go in and help her get the blanket off that hand SOOOOOO badly. I wanted to pick her up for a 5th time and bounce her again SOOOOOOO badly. But I knew this was possibly a defining moment. I had to wear my big-mom-pants and let her help herself to some delicious sleep. The entire time I was negotiating with myself how long I would let this go. “Should I do 5 minutes this time and 7 minutes the next time?” …”Is this annoying the neighbors? She doesn’t cry that much, they’ll get over it.” …”At what point is this considered neglect?” “If I crawl in and sneakily the move that blanket from her hand, she’ll SURELY fall asleep on her own.” …”Should I have gotten ear plugs first?” …”This is torture” …”Is THIS what my pediatrician suggests I do for 3-4 nights straight?! It couldn’t be!” I was going crazy, juuuuust a little bit.
To help distract me, I texted my husband the play-by-play of what was happening and how I was feeling along the way. He was very supportive and felt badly that he wasn’t there to help me. I assured him that his absence was fine and that “I got this.” And as I was texting him, mid-conversation, SHE FALL ASLEEP!
Honestly, it felt like 30 minutes had passed, but only 8 minutes did. EIGHT MINUTES!
Today I earned some Mama Stripes. I fought my urges. I stayed the course. She is still sound asleep. And we’re all better for it.
I am exceptionally proud of myself. I am proud my daughter as well….but more me, truth be told. I did that!