Monday, March 31, 2014
Sleep training, taking the pacifier, and what our day looks like
This is long...You've been warned.
When Noah was Emily's age we had NO structure to his day at all. I just kind of winged it and hoped for the best. It wasn't until I read the book Good Night Sleep Tight that I realized that his crazy day was probably the biggest cause of his sleep issues. I noticed the other day that I folded the page in the book for 9 month olds. That means I didn't sleep train him for 9 months. That sounds crazy to me now. How did I manage to not sleep at all for 9 months?!?
Since Emily was about 2 months old I've been kind of molding her to sleep well. This time around I KNEW how important learning to sleep is. Think that babies just go to sleep if they're tired? Nope. Sorry. SOME do. Their parents are extremely lucky and the rest of us are extremely jealous.
In the first few weeks you are in survival mode. You just do whatever needs to be done to get that baby and yourself to sleep. Emily, like Noah and many other babies, would only sleep if we held her. This is fine for a while but eventually something has to change. I was able to get her to sleep tucked next to me on the couch and then on the bed just laying beside me. She occasionally slept in the swing. Noah was a BIG swing sleeper! So much so that I bought a swing when I flew to visit my parents just so he could sleep in it...I'm an enabler. Anyway even though I loved having Emily sleep with me I was also ready to have my space back and be able to sleep without worrying I'd smush her or something. So began the process of getting her into the crib. I started with naps and then we worked on bedtime. She definitely woke up more in the crib than she did in the bed.
The reason being that when she was in the bed I kept a hand on her pacifier at all times WHILE it was in her mouth. Sounds crazy huh? The things we do for sleep... In the crib if the paci came out she woke up and cried. It had to go. I just took it away. She was about 3 months old. I felt awful but I knew it was for the best. It took about 8 loooong days and nights before she stopped crying for it. She slept SO much better without it and still does. At about 4 1/2 months I gave it back to her during car rides and she gets to have it during her bedtime routine but it does NOT go in the crib with her. I don't want her falling asleep with it and then wondering where it went in the middle of the night when it falls out. Sometimes she doesn't even want it during the routine and that's fine with me.
To get her to go to sleep without me putting her to sleep was a struggle. Previously I would rock her until she was OUT and then pray a lot that she would stay asleep as I put her in the crib. I couldn't really do the "shuffle" like the book says. If Emily sees me she assumes I'm there to pick her up. When I don't she just gets angrier. So I would lay her in the crib and do checks. Every 5 or 10 minutes depending on how upset she was I'd go to the cracked door and just say, "shhhh night night" a few times. After about 8 days I was able to lay her down leave the room and she would fuss a little bit for 5 minutes and then be asleep. I'm okay if she cries some because I know she's fed. She's had a nice soothing and loving sleep routine. She has a clean diaper. She's just tired and needs to sleep.
A few weeks ago I really wanted to get her to sleep for longer stretches at night. She was still waking up every 3 or 4 hours to eat. She never ate much though so I knew it wasn't from being hungry. I decided not to feed her until at least 2 am because she has gone 9 hours without eating at night before so I KNOW she is capable of going 7 hours without a bottle at night. If she woke up before it was time to eat I would just shhhh her like I did when trying to get her to fall asleep on her own. This worked pretty quickly. It only took 4 days. She now sleeps until 3 am.
(I'm sure a lot of this is boring you to death but I really want to remember EVERYTHING! There are so many things that I wish I had documented about Noah and now it's too late.)
7:00-7:30 Wake up (bottle)
9:30- 10:00 Nap (30 minutes OR 2 hours. If she takes a short nap in the morning she takes a long nap in the afternoon and it works the other way too. Long morning nap means short afternoon nap.)
Wake up - Solid food and bottle (soon I'll move her breakfast solid feeding to 7am but for now this is easier.)
12:00-12:30 Nap number two (30 minutes OR 2 hours)
Wake up - bottle (We'll start doing solids at this time for lunch as well.)
3:30 Nap number 3 (30-45 minutes) I'm hoping that soon I can get her to take two LONG naps instead of one long and two short
Wake up- Solids and bottle
6:30 Getting ready for bed: Bath, pajamas, bottle, stories, and song
We always read 3 stories ending with the same book every night. It's a Sesame Street book called Nighty Night. I sing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star a few times and then lay her in the crib. At nap time we just read the one Nighty Night book and sing before I lay her down. We do all of this with Mr. Lion (it's a Taggies lion) who she sleeps with. She likes to rub the blanket part of him while she goes to sleep.
7:00 In bed and asleep by 7:15
Wakes around 3am to eat and goes back to sleep until 7am
Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.
I'm so glad that she's sleeping well now. I'm also happy I didn't wait to work on this as long as I did with Noah. It makes it easier to plan things when I know when she is going to be tired or hungry. I can take her places with out an epic meltdown occurring.