Yet another 4am start reminds me that it must be time to get cracking on my next instalment of the mummy diaries.
Whilst the 4am starts are a killer it is a gem compared to the 2 years I endured previously where I thought I would never sleep for three hours straight again. As I am sure many first time mums can relate, the battle between what your heart is telling you and what all your friends and the books are telling you is constant and exhausting. Instinctively I knew that master H was a delicate little cherub who would not respond well to controlled crying or any other form of self soothing, but against all the fibres of my being telling me to not follow this path, desperation, exhaustion and a rather embarrassing trip to the shops where after going to the chemist to pick up some supplies and then going for a leisurely stroll to Coles, it was not until I entered the air conditioning of the supermarket that I realised my entire boob was hanging out of my dress. I can only assume it had been that way since Master Hs last feed over 50 minutes ago. (Why did no one tell me? Seriously! If you see a women with a baby and bags under her eyes which would put Alice cooper to shame, tell her. She is not an exhibitionist she is a sleep deprived Mum.) Anyway this was the final straw for me I needed help before I was arrested flashing.
So I called a “sleep specialist” who informed me that my seven month old should be able to go to sleep on his own. Sleep time was currently a delicate affair where I would breast feed him to sleep and wait until the precise moment that I could very delicately remove him and place him in his bed. Often I would try to take him off too early and he would wake and scream until I once again placed him on my boob. This could go on for 30 minutes or more. Then I would have a blessed 40 minutes before he would wake and off we went again. Night times were horrible I felt as though I was floating above myself, on edge for the next scream, where once again I would get up and feed him back to sleep. The sleep specialist suggested I let him cry for 3 minutes and then enter the room, calm him and then leave. Each time I was to leave him for longer. After 50 minutes if he was still not asleep I could feed him. Along with the two hours I paid for the home visit I paid an extra amount to be able to contact the specialist with any issues for one week after her visit. Prior to having master H I was always a very calm, cruisy kind of person. Not one to let too much bother me, but having this little person who was relying solely on me to show him the way through this world, may have turned me into a little bit of a control nut. However the specialist said I could contact her once a day for a week so I did. I think I was waiting for her to tell me that Master H was different and maybe her method, although it worked for everyone else, was not going to work for Master H or maybe I just wanted to feel I was not on my own. On the last day of my week I received an email telling me that she thought I had separation issues and I should contact a Psychologist. Now I am a qualified Psychotherapist so I have absolutely no issue with receiving help when needed, however this statement had a far different affect on me. I realised that I was the only one who knew my child and what he needed.
So I packed up all the books and if a mother asked me how Master H was going with his sleeping, I delicately changed the subject. I am sure if I had perused the path of controlled crying Master H would be sleeping through in his own bed in his own room, but at what cost to his emotional wellbeing? So yes it may be a little odd that for two years my partner slept in Master Hs room, while Master H took ownership of our bed and waking with a foot in my mouth or a finger in my ear, while I balanced precariously on the edge of the bed became the norm.
Yes it probably is not ideal that Master H still sleeps in our room, but thank god in his own bed. It is probably not necessary for him to wake at 4:30am for a bottle and climb into bed with us. When I look back at how far we have come since the nights of lying still as can be while Master H slept using my boob as a dummy, I feel happy that I stuck to what I felt was right. That’s why they are called baby steps right?