Edith’s sleep situation has become somewhat traumatic for everyone, and Christmas has been difficult to say the least, though I can honestly say that we haven’t allowed it to diminish our fun. I’m not too bothered about the nap time refusal, or the fact that she wants to fall asleep on me or in my bed (remember this post I wrote about having a Velcro baby?) but I draw a line at a full blown refusal to sleep at all, coping with sleep refusal is a whole different ball game to nap refusal and I have felt like I HAVE to do something. I do have a velcro baby, but lately that baby has become a Velcro-no-one-else-can-have-my-mummy kind of baby. She’s also started waking up at 2am and playing until 4am, purely because she wants to make sure that I am there and she can still see me and feel me.
It got to the point where I couldn’t even put the boys to bed because she wouldn’t sleep until at least 10pm and was constantly crying from 6pm due to excessive over tiredness. It was horrible. The boys were upset, I was a mess and she was making herself ill with constant repetitive sleep refusal. So, we got ‘strict’. At 6-6.30pm, her normal bedtime, I took her upstairs, fed her to sleep as usual in her rocking chair and then put her in bed. Obviously as soon as my arms left her, she was up, but if she wouldn’t sooth with me stroking her or re-feeding her, I put her in bed and walked away.
Yep, you read that right. I walked away.
When she was crying.
And I didn’t go back for 15 minutes.
She was in a fit of rage, shrieking at the top of her lungs, but I refused to go and bring her downstairs. I did go and reassure her that I was still there, though to be honest it only made her more furious with me, and made my tears fall harder. I did the same the next night, and the night after that.
Don’t get me wrong, I have hated every second of it. I don’t believe in crying it out, or controlled crying for that matter – no issue with those that do it, but I feel the overwhelming evidence against it is enough to make me doubt it as a ‘technique’. My issue is that Edith has been making herself (and me) unwell to stay awake. I’m ending up having to ignore the boys and eventually give in to her and let her sit with me until 9.30/10pm. I can’t cope with it. I can’t and neither can she. As of yet when the 15 mins have been up, if she is still awake, she has allowed me to re-feed her to sleep and then she’s gone to bed with no fuss. She has only last 15 mins twice.
I’m still co-sleeping with Edie when she wakes up for her night feed, she comes into our bed and we snuggle. That is usually at around 10.30/11pm so she really is only on her own for a short period of time. I am just trying to create a firm foundation for bedtime, and this is the only method I haven’t used yet!
The feelings of guilt are overwhelming and I can honestly say I feel like I’m doing the wrong thing, while simultaneously knowing in my heart that this is the only thing I can do to help the situation we’re in. I don’t believe in autonomous bedtimes (where you allow your child to choose their own bedtime) and I was very firm with the boys that they would have their own bed times, and that they would start the night in their own bed.
So, in short, we’re getting tough on sleeping, we’re being strict at bedtime and hoping that snuggles make up for it the rest of the time.