Should You Buck Conventional Wisdom?
The beginning of March found us moving into a new house. This meant that daddy wasn’t around much (still moving stuff over), bedtime routine changed and then the time change happened. It’s a lot for an infant to process.
On top of that, I think she’s teething. Ugh.
She stopped sleeping through the night. This is torture for me because I really need my sleep, and having a child who slept through the night as early as she did was wonderful.
Maybe she’d go to bed at the usual time. Then she’d be up at 1 am, and it would be a battle until 5:30 or 6 am trying to get her back to sleep. Then she would sleep for another couple of hours, maybe.
Or maybe she wouldn’t want to go to sleep and we’d be battling until 1 or 2 am to get her to sleep. (And by “we” I mean “me”.) Then she’d be up earlier than usual.
I was exhausted. I AM exhausted. I learned a couple of tricks during that time:
1. Give her Tylenol as soon as she wakes up. I’d wait until after changing her, but for the most part she was up because she was in pain from teething.
2. Let her play a bit. Trying to immediately get her back to sleep only prolonged the process.
3. Rocking helped.
4. Singing lullabies helped. This song is one we learned at infant story time at the library. So much better than Rock-A-Bye Baby.
Bedtime had become such a battle that I dreaded it, where I used to love it. Four, five, six hours of working to get her to sleep was wearing me down. I had no free time to myself in the evenings because as soon as I got her down I would just fall into bed, then she would be up at the crack of dawn.
I was miserable. In fact, yesterday I spent more time trying not to cry than just about anything else I did all day.
So when her dad got home last night we discussed it. I told him how I was feeling and we tried to come up with a solution.
One thing we both thought was that perhaps her room was too dark. The night before we cracked her bedroom door and left the hall bathroom light on all night. I was thinking about getting her a glow worm, but then I remembered I have a white noise machine that also has projections for the ceiling. It was set up in her room but we never used it.
I turned the projection on and it lit up the room nicely without making it seem lit up.
The other thing we did? Kept her up longer.
Conventional wisdom says when your kid has trouble getting to sleep, dial back bedtime (put them to bed a bit earlier). I thought about this but if I was spending, on average, 4 hours a night trying to get her to bed, if we dialed bedtime back an hour, then I’d be spending 5 hours trying to get her to bed.
This was not my idea of a solution. This was my idea of a nightmare. (And I should note that I’m saying “I” because she’s going through a mommycentric phase right now where only I can put her to bed and only I can comfort her when she wakes up. If Daddy tries, she screams like she’s being murdered.)
So after dinner, Daddy got down on the play mat with her and played with her for about an hour. They both enjoyed it (he was still talking about how much fun it was this morning) and she got out some of her excess energy.
An hour after her “usual” bedtime, we started her routine: bath, massage, bottle. She went down without much of a fight and was in bed within an hour. She did wake up a half hour later, but I nursed her for about 30 minutes (to make sure she was truly asleep) and she went back down and slept through the night.
When you read about what your child should be doing at their current age, the websites always say “your child may be different”. If conventional wisdom isn’t working for you, stop making yourselves crazy and try something else. It just might work.