When A was sick over Christmas, I moved the chaise lounge into his room and slept by the bed so I could be close to him and nurse him when he woke and as needed. I was picking him up every hour or two, and since he's been well, he continued to expect me to be there and he would wake every 1-2 hours at night and only took 30 minute naps for the last 10 days. I was drained to say the least. So I decided to implement some type of sleep routine for when he wakes in the night and for when he goes to sleep.
See how I am not calling it "sleep training?" I took in all the book methods and decided to do a bit of a hybrid approach to getting A back to a normal sleep routine. In no way am I advocating for anything here. I truly think that we know what is best for our child, and based on his personality, I decided to keep these things in mind:
- A loves to suck. Pacifier would be a must for his routine. I will reevaluate this as he gets older, but for now, paci it is.
- A gets very very worked up easily, so I need to be aware that and adjust
- A hates a wet diaper, so if I believe that he is awakened by a wet diaper, I need to change it quietly and quickly in his crib and begin the waking routine.
- A loves to hear me sing, so I will make sure that singing is involved in his routine.
- If I hear the scary cry, I will pick him up no matter what.
He used to fall right asleep until the whole Xmas sickness thing, so now I add this routine:
If he cries, I go in after 3 minutes. I replace the paci, put my hand on his chest, and sing part of a song softly. He calms immediately, and I leave. If he cries again, I look a the clock and wait 5 minutes. Repeat the process. If he cries again, I wait 10 minutes. The hardest 10 minutes of my life. I go back in, repeat the process. And that's been it so far. I am lucky.
For the past few nights, he wakes at 7:00ish, and I check his diaper first. It's been dry, so I repeat the process. I'm down to the 5 minute mark there. He then wakes again around 10, and I change his diaper. Again, it takes two trips before he is back to sleep. Then I hear him when I am sleeping. Once around midnight, but he falls back asleep and is mostly just talking and chirping, not crying. He does this again at 2:00ish. Same as the midnight waking. Then if he wakes again (usually around 3:30 or 4:00), I'll feed him because that was our routine before the sickness. He eats then falls asleep until 6:00 or 6:30 when he wakes for the day. So, basically from the 10:00 check to 3:30 or 4:00, he is on his own and is fine. I am confident that this sleep routine will be back to normal again soon, but for now, this is what's happening here.
For the record, I struggled with letting him cry. I mean, I waited for this child for 4 years; why wouldn't I be with him as much as possible. However, I would rather he fall into a positive sleep routine now than deal with it when he is older. I even contemplated bed sharing, but that is not something DH and I want to do.
Naps have been a bit more trying. When I figure that one out, I'll post. We aren't very regular yet, so it's been tough.