“She’s so alert,” was the comment we heard most from friends and strangers when they met our new baby girl. It was true – from a very young age, Viv studied everything intently with her beautiful gray-blue eyes, focused and curious. She amazed us.
We soon learned that “alert” was code for “doesn’t sleep.”
Often, at 2am, those baby blues seemed to be saying, “Hey mom, let’s party.” She was a cheery sort of non-sleeper. The only things that really pissed her off were being in her crib and being alone.
When Viv was about 4 months old, I started exploring our sleep options. Like many parents, I began by immersing myself in the sleep canon – The No Cry Sleep Solution, The Sleepeasy Solution, The Sleep Lady’s Good Night, Sleep Tight, Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child and of course this one.
(Note to self, my first novel should include the word “sleep” in the title–guaranteed best-seller).
Amazon bill: $65
The books didn’t agree on much, but they all championed creating a consistent bed-time routine and providing a dark, soothing, womblike atmosphere for sleep. So, I shopped.
Graco white noise machine: $40
Lavender spray and lotion: $25
Lullaby CD: $15
Custom blackout shades for weird-sized window: $440
I’d read the books. I’d prepped the nursery. It was time to start sleep training, but I hated the idea of my baby crying it out. So I stalled by attending a sleep workshop: $65
The instructor laid out a perfectly reasonable plan of “controlled crying” (letting the baby fall asleep on her own, but checking in at regular intervals). The problem was, just hearing the word “cry” made my heart race and my eyes tear. Wussbag. I decided that a one-size-fits-all solution couldn’t possibly be right for our one-of-a-kind babe.
Like our windows, I needed a custom fit!
I trolled the baby message boards until I found a recommendation for an online sleep consultant. Did you know these folks existed? They are legion. And they are pricey. If Viv ever asks me what she should be when she grows up, I’m going to steer her towards sleep consulting.
After a 30-minute phone consultation, I was emailed a 12-page personalized sleep plan for Viv: $495
I printed it out and made Dave read it too. The first night, I thought we followed the instructions perfectly. Because it’s totally fine if the mom sobs hysterically while screeching, “What if we’re making a horrible mistake!” right? I think I single-handedly turned Viv’s sleep issues into a full on syndrome. Soon after our first failed attempt at sleep training, Viv moved into our bed. And we got less sleep than ever.
By the time Viv was 6 months old, I still hadn’t had more than 4 hours of consecutive sleep, like, ever. And I started to break. A friend suggested a post-partum doula who could spell us for a night, just so we could catch up on Z’s: $300
This woman had such a gift for keeping our sleep averse baby calm, happy and quiet, we came to refer to her as “the magic doula.”
Upon waking utterly refreshed, Dave and I reflected on our first real night of sleep since the baby was born. We felt incredible, but agreed our sleep-related spending was way out of control. We could never again call upon the magic doula.
Never came about three weeks later: $300
Having spend two nights getting to know our little one, the magic doula broached the idea of helping us sleep train. She would come over and coach us all the way through the first (and worst) night, leaving us with tools for completing the process, plus as much email/phone follow-up as we needed. When Viv turned 7 months and was still only sleeping (really, cat-napping) in 45 minute intervals while affixed to my boob, I was finally ready: $550
In preparation for the big night, the magic doula suggested we enhance our symphony of white noise with an air purifier: $175
She also encouraged us to pick up Rescue Remedy drops from Whole Foods, kids and adult formulas, for those of us needing remedies and rescues: $30
And finally, with $2,500 sunk, mommy organically sedated, and some fairy dust from the magic doula, our baby slept. And it stuck. Now 13 months old, Viv typically sleeps 11 straight hours without a peep. And every morning I embrace her as though she’s just won a gold medal in the Night Night Olympics.
While it’s embarrassing to have spent so much on a task that billions of parents throughout time have accomplished for free, I have no regrets. Even though our sleep investment could have bought a week of this:
Or even one of these:
There’s nothing better than this:
(Not our daughter. If you think I’d risk waking her up with flash photography, you’re crazy.)
PS the Rowdy Sprout Rocker Tee Giveaway is still open through March 1. Click here for your chance to win the rock & roll baby/kids wear of your choice! xoxoCB4M