Rosebuds: Whatever gets you through the night

By: Michelle Carl, Managing Editor
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The hardest part of having a baby so far has been the lack of sleep.

I love to sleep. I used to look forward to my head hitting the pillow every night before heading off to a restorative dreamland of slumber. But now, going to bed fills me with anxiety: Will this be a good night or a wake-up-five-times night? My baby’s MO is to get one three- to four-hour stretch and then wake up every hour to two hours from there on after. At five months old, he’s right in the midst of teething, making matters worse.

We’ve tried all kinds of things to encourage a longer night’s rest: pacifiers, rice cereal, formula, the Nap Nanny, bath routine, putting him down early, evening strolls, dressing him in layers, humidifier, sound machines — and still haven’t found the magic combo to get him to sleep through the night.

One time, I bribed him to sleep. It was going to be a big day of nanny interviews, so during the 1 a.m. feeding, I told him I’d give him $100 if he slept for the rest of the night. And now he has $100 more in his savings account!

But usually my nights are a blur — I stumble down the hall to his crib and try to tuck a pacifier in his mouth or breastfeed him as I rock him back to sleep.

I’ve discovered the cruelest thing a baby can do to you: fall asleep and then wait until you get snuggled back into your warm bed before letting out a piercing wail, requiring you to get up (again).

I’ve settled on the fact that it’s not a problem that needs fixing. It’s just what a baby his age does, and I’ll have to have faith that he’ll grow out of it. I’m not quite ready for “cry it out” and other sleep training methods, but I’m sure it’ll come to that when he’s a bit older.

And for now, I'll take my meager reward for a hard night's work - a smiling face looking up at me from the crib each morning.

Michelle Carl is the editor of the Roseville Press Tribune and Wesley's mom. Rosebuds appears on Mondays.

Do you have a tip or trick that helped your child sleep through the night? Post a comment below.