Thursday, December 6, 2012

Sleep-training and pacifier woes...

We've had some seriously rough nights in our house lately with The Baby.  Basically, he naps beautifully during the day, goes to sleep at night perfectly with no protest, and then every night around 2am the shit ever-lovingly obliterates the fan.  Oh thank you, Tessa, for introducing me to Alphamom.  In this post, one of her readers wrote in with a question that is, verbatim  my exact dilemma.   It was nice to know that I'm not alone in my struggles.     
We started "sleep-training" back in September, and it actually went swimmingly (sort-of).  As far as getting The Baby to sleep it was a slam dunk, but I think it was also the beginning of a serious pacifier issue we're now stuck with.  Here's what's happening... I put him in bed awake, as all the "experts" say I should do, and he's 5 months old now, so also according to those "experts," no longer requires a middle-of-the-night feeding.  The hang-up we're having right now is that when he wakes up at 2am there are 2 scenarios.  I either go in as soon as he starts crying, put his pacifier back in, he immediately falls back to sleep (also proving the fact that he doesn't need to eat then), and he may stay that way until 6:30am, or continue every hour or two with the same deal.  The 2nd scenario, which we've been trying to power though for the last two nights is that when he starts to cry at 2am, we do nothing.  I lay there, bug-eyed awake, refraining from clawing my eyeballs out with guilt, listening to him cry, and cry, and cry, and... I'm becoming more and more jealous of my husband by the second, because he can sleep through anything, so he's unable to lay awake with me and share my gut-wrenching misery of listening to our baby wail while I consciously do nothing to help him.

Last night The Baby woke up while we were getting ready for bed also.  So we continued with the trend of the night before, and let him cry.  He only cried for a few minutes, and got himself right back to sleep.  We were feeling pretty smug about it at that point, thinking we were going to be those parents that only have to endure one night of screaming, and come out on the other sun-shiny end of things with a baby who miraculously taught himself not to freak out in the middle of the night anymore.  Not so much.  2am rolled around, and he was right back at it.  Worse than the night before.

So... do I continue going in and putting the pacifier back so he (and I) can drift happily back to sleep, but also have no idea when that charade will end?  Will I still be getting up in the middle of the night when he's 2?  For the love of God!  Or do I suck it up and listen to him scream until he figures out that he has assholes for parents that aren't going to come in and make him feel better when he cries in the middle of the night?  Should I just let him come to that reality as early as possible?

Everyone says that if letting him cry doesn't feel right, then it's probably not the right method for us.  And it doesn't feel right.  It feels fucking awful.  But so does waking up a billion times a night to go put a pacifier back in.  Sleeping in tiny little 1-2 hour bursts every night for the last 5 months feels awful also.  Anyone able to share some thoughts on this?  Anyone?  Bueller?

Thanks for stopping by,


  1. Sounds just like my current dilemma- I'm debating the Ferber method

    1. If it helps you out at all, The Baby in question in this post is now a year and 3 months old, and is sleeping through the night just fine. I decided to keep putting the pacifier back in, mostly for selfish reasons, because I wanted to be able to go back to sleep also, but it doesn't seem to have had any ill effect on his ability to get himself back to sleep now. Now that he has the dexterity to put his pacifier back in by himself, we just make sure that there are a couple in his crib at bedtime. That way if one falls on the floor, he's not totally helpless, and we can stay sleeping.feel free to email me if you have any questions about it. Good luck!