Sleep, ah sleep.
I posted a lot about it during Will's newborn days. It was the angst of my early momhood.
Will has actually been a fantastic sleeper since about 11 weeks on. He did have a touch of the 4-month sleep regression, and of course, we've had the odd night here and there. But for the most part, he is solid STTN guy.
This week, that has not been the case. He goes to bed just fine and then wakes up screaming bloody murder at about 11:30 PM. Since he has never had trouble STTN, I have always just gone in and done a little rocking or cuddles to calm him and get him back to sleep.
The problem now is that even if I do rock him, the moment that I set him in his crib, he starts screaming. He is ready to get up and play. The first couple of nights, I indulged him. He had been wrist deep into his mouth during the day and I could see a pesky tooth poking its way through. I gave him some Ty.lenol and a "chewy" (our word for teething ring) and rocked and read and sang. . . for three hours. In the past, even if he had one or two bad nights, he was back to his old STTN habits shortly.
We are now on night FIVE. I am afraid a habit has begun. The night before last, desperately in need of some sleep myself, I did do modified CIO. I hate CIO with a passion, but I love the results. I laid in bed and cried while he laid in bed and screamed. I had to have a little pep talk with myself: Teaching my child to sleep is my job. He will not be emotionally scarred from CIO. He is not in there feeling abandoned and alone. I went in every few minutes and, eventually, he went to sleep, but I could hear the hiccups and snuffles on the monitor for quite some time and it broke my little heart.
Of course, as in all times of crisis 'round these parts, I turn to the good Dr. Google. Most of what is recommended to do we already do. And have been doing since he was six weeks old. He has a bedtime routine, we put him down drowsy but awake, he takes a scheduled nap, we use a fan for white noise, etc. He is dressed warmly enough (but not too warm), he has a comfort "lovey," and a humidifier.
The only thing that Dr. Google mentioned that got me thinking was that any change in his schedule or new developments could throw sleep off. We recently started attending church and leaving him in the church nursery. He hates it. According to the reports, he doesn't cry the whole time, but he is always crying when we leave and crying when we return. The women there are kind and lovely and say that they hold him the entire time.
His separation anxiety has been a lot higher lately. I can't even walk away from him to go to the bathroom sometimes. He really freaks out. M thinks that we should force the nursery issue because he has to "learn" to be away from us sometime. I think that if you "force" someone already freaked out about being abandoned to be left with virtual strangers, that might not make for good results.
Now, I really don't know that this is what has caused our recent string of night wakings, but it's the only thing that is different. Last weekend, we went to two church events, and his usual friend that goes with us didn't go to either, so he was truly "alone" in the nursery. The night wakings started then. My concern is that if it's separation anxiety that is causing the night wakings, does doing CIO solidify his fears and just make it all worse.
So. . . any advice? Any strategies? Thoughts?