Saturday, January 7, 2012

Sleeping Routine

In response to Allison's post

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.
OK. Before daylight savings time, A would go to bed at 7:00-7:30. Since the time change, he goes to bed between 6:00 and 6:30. I've tried to make it later but he seems to get tired and that time is our time. So, bedtime routine begins at 5:00 with a bottle of expressed milk, bath, lotion, songs and bedtime stories. Sometime he gets cranky and we can't finish the stories and songs, but for the most part, this takes us to around 6:00. Then I lay him in his crib, turn on the humidifier and sound machine (I have this one---I've had it for years to help drown out noise from the neighbors at our old place). Then I go and tuck him in, give him a kiss and his pacifier, sing one final verse of a song, and turn the lights off and I'm out. He'd sleep until 3 or 4 in the morning, and then I'd go in and feed him and he'd fall right back to sleep until 6 or 7.

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.


Fairytale Ending said...

Regardless of the techniques you're using, it sounds like you're taking the right approach and first taking into consideration A's personality. I think all the "experts" forget to mention that with their sleep training techniques. Nice job mom, it sounds like you're getting him back on track!

Jill said...

Good luck! I think your plan sounds like a good one. I definitely agree that even though it's really hard, it benefits everyone in the long run. And a paci was an absolute must for us too. (But we did kick the habit recently before 18 mos so don't worry too much.) What kind of diapers do you use? I guess there are special overnight ones (Huggies, I think) that are more absorbent. When C was an infant we often used a size bigger at night. That kept leaks at bay. Maybe it will help him stay dryer?

Allison said...

I appreciate this, so much! These little buggers can be a bitch to figure out. LOL

Ashley said...

You are doing an awesome job!

tushkan122 said...

I've been where you are now - I mean the same problems exactly. 30 min naps and frequent night wakings. I also really struggled with letting my son cry even a little bit, but now that he is almost 2 he is a great sleeper and I strongly believe you are doing the right thing for A. Good luck, hang in there, you are doing a wonderful job!

No Baby Ruth said...

I'm glad you posted this and I can't seem to read enough of other people's experiences with infant sleep. It sounds like you're onto a good plan. S is also a sucker and needs that paci. Luckily now she's reached the point that she can put it in herself. I just throw a number of pacis in the crib with her.

I am still struggling with letting her cry. It's so hard but I am beginning to think that perhaps the end justifies the means in this case. I don't know. I've not yet tried it really, so who knows... ugh. No wonder my baby is confused. Just look at her momma!