I have never been more happy to see a doctor in my whole entire life than I was this past Friday. On the verge of having self-diagnosed postpartum depression because of an ornery baby who would not sleep, I dragged Emily and myself into Dr. Z's office at the bright and early hour of 10:30 in the a.m., a time when we are usually still snoozing under the covers. But I would give up anything to get more sleep, and in this case, I actually gave up sleep to get it. Kinda weird how it worked out, but let me assure you that it did.
But before I get into that, here are Emily's stats. She is 28 inches long, up 3 3/4 inches from 3 months ago, and she weighs 15 pounds, 8.5 ounces. She only gained 1 1/2 pounds in the last 3 months, which has something to do with her sleep issues. But she's not underweight or too skinny. She grew in those 3 months, she just grew longer instead of heavier.
Apparently, I am starving my child. There is no reason why a 9 month old should not be able to sleep through the night, for at least 10 straight hours. Except that Emily does have a reason to wake up every 3 hours at night, and that's because she is hungry. I thought she was just being a pain in my rear. She doesn't eat very much solid food during the day and I assumed it was because she just wasn't hungry. But no, she is very much hungry and she just doesn't like baby food. She is now on a strict diet of table food and the yogurt and oatmeal that she will eat and does eat well. And since she wasn't getting enough food during the day to sustain her at night, she was waking up to nurse.
Another reason she was waking up (on days when she did eat a lot and wasn't hungry) was because she knew I would come running the moment I heard her cries. Oh, she had me trained. She had me trained good. Dr. Z said that I had to break her from that or she would just continue to do it and I really don't want to be up every 3 hours at night with a 5 year old. It had to stop at some point and that time is NOW. She suggested that I let her Cry It Out (CIO) and that she might cry for 2 hours before giving up and going to sleep on the first night we did it. And even though we have tried that before with no chance of it working, we tried again. We made sure that she ate just as much as her little tummy could hold yesterday, and at midnight (yes, midnight. We are night owls around here) I put her in her crib. She did not cry for 2 hours. Nope, not even close to that. She cried for 25 minutes. And do you wanna know how long she slept before waking up?
10 hours. She slept for 10 hours! 10 straight hours without so much as a peep out of her. And now that I have bragged on her she will probably not do that again for a month or two. But all joking aside, I did it again today at naptime. I put her in her crib for a nap and she began crying instantly. I took a shower so that I wouldn't have to hear her crying (it kills me. That's why she is so spoiled because I NEVER let her cry.) and she was asleep when I got out. She cried for less than 10 minutes this time and she's been asleep for over an hour already. It's working!
I am also going to start a bedtime routine so that Emily will recognize that every night before bed, Emily will recognize what we are doing and she can settle down and mentally prepare for bed. I have read a lot about that and I am hoping that it helps her to cry for shorter periods of time, or even better, maybe she will eventually not cry at all.
I also talked to Dr. Z about giving Emily formula so that I could get a break from her (and give her a break from me) for a few hours, a few times a week, and she could not believe that I never leave this child for more than 3 hours at a time. I really can't believe it either, but it's true. She not only encouraged me to take a break, she also gave me 2 cans of formula to use. I am sure that 1 will be plenty enough but I'm not going to look a gift horse in the mouth so I gladly took it and now I am struggling with the guilt that I am actually considering giving Emily powdered, fake, disgusting-tasting milk. Oh well. We are going to give it a shot.
And so now we will all live happily ever after. I will not be depressed and sleep-deprived, Emily will get to stay at other people's houses (possibly overnight for the first time!) and she will also not be spoiled anymore, and everything is just going to be fabulous and perfect and wonderful forever and ever!
And no, I'm not at all delusional. I just have faith.