So five days into trying to get the Mini Grumpy Egyptian to sleep better and while I am nervous to say much in case it turns out to be a fluke.... things seem to be working. On the first night she sobbed for around five minutes before I went in to settle her, then once she had calmed down I left the room and a couple of minutes the crying began again. It was horrible. I truly felt evil, but when you haven't slept for over eight months and know things will only get harder when you return to work, something needs to give. I sat there and cried outside her room while listening to her cry then after eight minutes (oh yes, I stared at the clock) she stopped and fell asleep. That was at around 8.30pm. She woke up at 5.30am. Now, 5.30am to many is a rather unsocial hour, but WOW... for a girl that has woken every couple of hours (at best) since birth that is pretty amazing.
The next night she seemed to settle quicker, but did cry for the first five minutes. I went into her room, stroked her tummy and she began to doze off. I sneaked out the room at around 8pm.... Ten hours later, she woke up! The next day I decided to try and pop her in her cot for a morning nap. I turned on the white noise I have on my laptop, lay her in her cot, shut the curtains and walked away. One minute later I realised that I had left my phone in the room, tiptoed in and she was fast asleep! Had I not been too afraid to wake her, I could have screamed in amazement. This girl has never, I repeat, never napped unless being held, in a moving car or in her pushchair.
That night I noticed that when I put her into the cot, she would reach towards me and try to hold my t shirt (that sound is my heart breaking). Once I had a little cry because in my mind she was sad that I was leaving and would grow up hating me, I tried giving her the flannel part of a cuddle toy to hold. She grabbed it, snuggled up and fell asleep. This was at around 7:45pm. She woke at 6:45am. I, of course, spent most the night waking up to check she was ok because I was so unnerved by having a baby that slept.
This pattern continued for the next couple of days. However, tonight when I put her in her cot she was a little difficult to settle, but I think she is teething so am putting this down as the reason. It is now 10.40pm and all is well for now.
I still think this was a very difficult thing to decide to do and can see why it isn't going to work for everyone as you have to be very tough. My biggest fears were that the Mini Grumpy Egyptian would suffer in some way or even hold it against me. However I've noticed that sleeping better at night has made her much more content during the day as she will play for longer and be happy looking around while out in the pushchair rather than wanting to be picked up all the time. She still cuddles up to me when it is story time, smiles and reaches for me when I go to her cot in the morning, and laughs at my amazing animal noises so unless she is holding onto her discontent for an expensive psychiatrist when she's older, I think things are ok.
There is a big difference between the way I chose to do this and the ever controversial crying it out method. I could not have just let her cry. I set myself a maximum time of allowing a bit of grumbling and tantrum type tears, but knew if she started to become distressed that I would go in there immediately and comfort her. I find those snuggly morning breastfeeds even better now and given that I too have had a good nights sleep, feel I am able to be a better mum to her. Will her sleeping well continue? Oh who knows, but I am glad we decided to try it and I intend to continue the routine for the forseeable future.
Have any of you tried using white noise to help your little one's sleep? Does your little one follow any sort of napping schedule? My next task is to tackle daytime naps. Blackout blinds?
The (not-so-tired) Egyptian Mummy x