Monday, June 6, 2011

Sleeping At Last

Sleep has always been a struggle for me. If you ask my mother she can regale you with stories about how badly I slept as a child. Well... I have reaped my reward! I have two children who hate sleeping! I realized one morning as I sipped my fourth cup of tea and was contemplating moving on to Diet Coke at 7 am that maybe I should make some drastic changes.

Zizzy was co-sleeping with us and she would toss, turn, breastfeed, and kick all night. Not even Tom was sleeping. Lulu was waking up regularly and was just as difficult to get back to sleep in the middle of the night as she was getting her to go to bed in the first place. Sleepless, frustrated, and at my wits end I called my cousin Kate who had taken her son from co-sleeping to sleeping through the night in his own room. I said, "How the hell did you do that Would you mind explaining to me how you managed that?"

Kate told me about the Sleep Lady system. The concept is you use sleep schedules to work with the baby's natural Circadian Rhythm to improve sleep at night and you conquer the baby's fear of being alone through her "sleep shuffle" and reinforcement. When you read her book it is actually simple and brilliant! That is until it is 2 am and you haven't slept yet and the baby is still screaming.... (this is not a typical response to the sleep program as lined out in the book. I realized later that I had made some mistakes that caused part of Zizzy's reaction to the sleep changes.)

The first night of Zizzy in her own bed I thought I would die! I almost gave up but all the older more experienced moms around me told me to "stick to my guns." It took two weeks but I got Zizzy to sleep in her own bed! I was so proud of myself!

Then she got sick...

I wanted to comfort her but that unfortunately led to me getting up with her every two hours. I didn't mind while she was sick but she kept it up after she got well! I thought I was going to go crazy! One morning after an almost sleepless night I checked my email and I had a promotional add from the Sleep Lady saying that she had a great deal for a conference she was going to give. Only it was on the other side of the US from me. Frustrated, mad, feeling like that just added insult to injury I fired off a response not thinking anyone would respond. They did.

I received a very nice email from her assistant who said that they had some trainees for their program who needed hours to fulfill their training and they would be happy to help me FOR FREE!!! The way this program works is you have someone who helps you create a sleep program for your child and then talks to you everyday to help you stay on track. It normally cost a few hundred dollars (this is beyond generous! I felt like I had been drowning in the ocean and someone threw me a rope!)

After talking to a sleep coach I realized I had made a few small mistakes that had led me down a slippery slope and into the awful sleep situation I was in. By after correcting those and spending a a little time talking to the very helpful sleep coach I quickly and very successfully sleep trained Zizzy!! Somewhere along the way Lulu picked up on what we were doing and she greatly improved too! Most nights I now get uninterrupted sleep!!!! Now they sleep from 7 pm to 6 am and I am NOT a morning person but I am adjusting quickly and happily! It helps that I am now so well rested!

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