12 Blessed Hours

Well we’ve had quite the weekend/week around these parts. Neil is working overtime to meet a deadline in spite of a cold that he was thoughtful enough to share with our son. Which means I’m taking care of drippy nose delightful Dash who wants to be held more than usual. Can’t say I mind that (he’s such a cuddle-monkey) though he is getting heavier and heavier. On the plus side, nice upper-body workout.

Thankfully, in spite of the coughing/snot dripping cold, he is still sleeping through the night. I feel the need to say that again, bear with me. He slept. through. the. night. And has been for a couple of months now. For someone who got up every two hours for a year that is an amazing statement. I mean seriously- momma’s tired kid.

A lot of people have emailed me and asked me how we did it which I will happily detail below. But first I just want to say thank you to all of you who shared your stories about your own sleepless kids. It actually does help to know we didn’t go through it alone. Though I don’t remember seeing you in my bedroom when I was nursing Dash every two hours. Hmmmm… Maybe that’s just as well. Would have been weird.

So here’s how we did it:

Shortly after his first birthday we sold his crib.
Shows How Much we Love our Cats
Shocking, I know, but he never used the thing. We bought it because that’s what people do when they’re expecting their first child, and in particular, that’s what crazed-nesting soon-to-be-mom’s go nuts over and make their husband’s assemble rightnowdamnit!

Anyhow, note our cat violet curled up in the sun. She and the other cats got a lot of use out of the crib and were no doubt sorry to see it go. But it had to go because it had no part in our Get Dash to Sleep Through the Night if it’s the Last Thing I Do plan.

We replaced it with a twin-size futon mattress that we put right on the floor. The three or four inches of mattress height were enough challenge for Dash so we’ll deal with a bed frame later on. And no, you will not be seeing a photo of the bed because it’s really hard to make a mattress on the floor look anything but trashy. And yes, our bed and box spring are resting on the floor too, so I know what I’m talking about.

For the first week, I slept with Dash in his new bed. I wanted him to get comfortable there but still have me at arms reach. He woke up here and there, but was almost immediately sleeping better than he had his entire first year of life. So far so good. But the ultimate goal was to get me away from Dash so he would get over the temptation of nursing every. minute. of. every. night. So…

After one week, I returned to our bed and Neil started sleeping with Dash. I won’t lie to you, there was some crying. There was also cuddling and singing and talking and back rubbing. And soon thereafter, there was sleep.

There were maybe two weeks where Neil spent every night with Dash. Dash would wake and be upset there was no nursing on his horizon and cry for a bit. We tried bottles at first (which were no substitute since he wasn’t looking for food, he wanted the comfort) until one night when I forgot to pump and strangely, everything went fine. He adjusted to no milk at night pretty quickly (which resulted in my milk production going waaaaaay down) and started sleeping in larger stretches.

Neil moved back into our room (hello husband!) and when/if Dash would wake crying, Neil would go in to comfort him back to sleep and then creep quietly (note: pay careful attention to just how creaky your floors are when buying a new house. Too creaky? You will be sorry when trying to sneak around on your baby.) back to our room.

And now? Dash sleeps twelve hours a night, waking promptly by 7am. And that means that I have the ability to sleep twelve hours a night, though naturally I do not. I’ve rediscovered the simple pleasure of reading in bed so I waste a couple of hours right at the beginning. But who cares!? My baby sleeps alllll night!

And that’s how we did it. Any questions?

2 Responses to “12 Blessed Hours”

  1. Tracey@Paper Dolls for Boys Says:

    You couldn’t have written a post a needed to read any more! Thank you. It’s the hardest thing to figure out when your tired and cranky. My almost 2 year old is WAY attached to my “boooo” as he calls it. It’s his comfort and I’m TIRED. We’ve been doing pretty much what you did but we (my dh) gives up in the middle of the night when the wee one awakes crying and brings him to me. You’ve given me the inspiration and motivation (through the night!!!!) to try again but with more resolve. Thank you! Through the night???!

  2. HappyDash Says:

    Yes, you can do it too! Through the entire night! (I sound like an infomercial.) I understand why your husband gives up and brings him in to you. The crying is hard to deal with, but it gets better. Promise. (And we’re not the cry-it-out types so don’t think I mean you have to listen to your son cry for hours and hours.)
    There were several times when Neil first started sleeping with Dash and he would cry and cry that I nearly got out of bed to just nurse him already! But I stayed the course (with a pillow over my head) and I’m glad I didn’t get up. Dash got used to not having me at his beck and call at night, and now we have a lovely morning ritual in my bed with some talking, eating crackers, snuggling, etc. It’s the best.