Since last Friday we've been trying a new way of dealing with this damned night waking. A friend lent us a book last Friday entitled "Save our sleep" - as you can imagine after this hideous last month or so of hardly any sleep I just about jumped on her when she offered it. The title sold it for me, no doubt the case for millions of sleep-deprived parents all over the world. We don't know why he started this horrid waking but it definitely turned into a habit - one that we're now incredibly desperate to break. Tizzy Hall's (the author) approach is to leave them for a minimum of 18 minutes (for a baby of his age), if they're still crying at the end of that time and you can handle leaving them then do so for as long as you can handle it, as they will eventually go to sleep. This teaches them to self-settle and put themselves to sleep, or reteaches if for some reason they don't anymore.
So he woke at 1am and we left him screaming. Sheesh, talk about hard at that time of the morning, he was screaming at me about how horrible I am and how sad and scared he was - it was killing me inside. He screamed for an hour and a half at full throttle before I couldn't handle it anymore. I was waiting for the calmer cries or the breaks in screams... where the hell are the calmer cried or the freakin breaks in screams?!!?!?! Somehow Chris had managed to fall asleep... WTF?!? ...and was snoring next to me. Oh neat, as if the screaming wasn't bad enough we'll just add some snoring to the mix. GOOD LORD. It was a hard night.
I couldn't do it anymore than that though, and had to go in. Tizzy recommends going in and calming your baby, don't pick them up though, you calm them by patting (or whatever works for yours). So there I was in the middle of the night, sitting naked on the floor next to Caelan's cot, patting this out of control frantic little boy, it was really sad. But eventually he calmed, when they stop crying you take your hand away, if they start again you comfort, anyway you go through this until you no longer need to pat them, then you sit there until they fall asleep, he was looking at me for ages and slowly I hid so he couldn't see me as I didn't want him to fall asleep looking at me cause I just think that's creating another problem. When he was asleep I went out. Lordy, lordy, lordy what a long exercise.
The night waking is definitely getting better - last night he didn't wake at all (though the getting to sleep initially was another story so he was probably just exhausted from the marathon crying session earlier!). The night before only woke once and cried, didn't scream, for about 10 minutes before settling himself back to sleep. The night before that he let rip for about 45 minutes and Chris ended up going in to calm him. But there are definitely improvements in the night-waking - it's not over yet but tis better. The going to sleep is DREADFUL though! He just screams and screams and screams and screams and screams oh and screams and then screams some more - he doesn't do any of the winding down to calmer cries, there are no bloody breaks in the scream!! Lying Tizzy!!! The night before last he screamed for about an hour 15 mins before I just had to go in and calm him. Last night he was having a bloody good go and Chris came upstairs to put some washing away and caved - he went in quite soon and completely forgot everything we'd decided to do. He picked him up and tried to calm him, then put him back in and left. This technique say's when you go in to calm them, do just that and don't leave till they're asleep as she views the leaving again as teasing them and thinks they can get even more worked up and upset if you do that. If they don't calm in 46 minutes (these time frames are bloody weird!!) and you need a break, you get the baby up and go out for a break of 10 minutes. Then put them back to bed and start the 18 minute crying thing from there. If you can keep going and trying to calm them, then you don't have a break and you keep going till they're asleep.
But in amongst all the yuck feelings you get from it and sleep-deprivation Chris just went in and did that and then left. Caelan go super duper freakin worked up then, really didn't think it was possible but he proved it was. So we got him up and gave him some paracetamol, sat him up for the 20 mins for that to take effect and then back to bed. He went straight to sleep from exhaustion the poor thing! But consistency is the key with all of these things, no matter what you've decided you're doing you need to stick to it. Chris felt horrible afterwards and didn't know why he did it, he just couldn't listen to it anymore and had to go in. Poor thing! It's so hard though, when we decided we would do this we decided that we really need to support eachother and in times when I've found it really hard and nearly caved Chris has told me not to and that we have to leave him. When one weakens the other keeps it together and on track - but he didn't even talk to me about last night the silly bum. He went up to put washing away, I was in the kitchen and then he never came back. Opsy. Poor Chris. Poor me. Poor Caelan. Hope it works soon. He's such a damned determined screamer though - apparently most babies have broken the habit and can settle themselves to sleep without any fuss. Mutter, mutter, mumble, mumble... ours is broken!!!
The book worked for the friends baby in 3 days, she's lent it to two other friends and it worked after one night and the other after four nights. Well screw them too! hehe