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Now I lay me down to sleep….

By Richie Ann Ashcraft
sleep.jpg I haven’t slept in four months. I don’t mean this in any other way than a literal one. The last full night of sleep I had was on Feb. 4. My baby goes to bed at 10 p.m., sleeps until somewhere between 2 and 3 a.m., eats, sleeps again until about 5 a.m. At that time, he sleeps in our bed for an hour. That’s on a good night and the variations are endless. I find myself fantasizing about the day I will sleep again. (Sigh). The other night I had the stomach flu and was in desperate need of every second of sleep humanly possible. Somewhere in the wee morning hours, I completed the routine feeding, diaper change, and cuddle before I laid myself back down. Just as my brain drifted off, I was snapped back to attention by a sad little whimper. I lay there and sighed. I just didn’t have the energy to walk the 25 feet to the nursery. I silently begged him to fall asleep. “Please soothe yourself…please soothe yourself? I chanted. His whimper was growing into a more demanding cry and still I lay there. •Maybe your dad will wake up?? I listened to my husband•s deeply sleeping breath beside me. Then with a final thump of his little legs on the mattress, it went quiet. “Uh Oh. Is that good? Is he okay? Maybe this Ferber guy knows what he’s talking about? But, what if he’s suffocating?? I dragged my tired sick self across the hall and discovered him sleeping peacefully. My prayers had been answered at least until the next round of care taking began, which reoccurred 1 hour and 41 minutes later. Should I let my baby cry himself to sleep? At what point is it neglect? And when is it okay to put my own needs on equal level with that of my family? There are a baffling number of books on the subject. Ferberhttp://www.babycenter.com/refcap/7755.html himself made an appearance in the news last week stating that letting your baby cry himself to sleep was an extreme method. Co-sleeping doesn•t work for us. Daddy sleeps like the dead and sometimes flails like a fish. And mommy suffers from paranoia and sees the word suffocation and SIDS flash before her eyes on a regular basis. Any suggestions? (I literally just yawned.)