Sunday, September 11

That Thing Called: SLEEP

I know I've blog about it before, and I am sure I'll blog about it again; but as a mother of an infant it's a topic that fascinates me: SLEEP.

When Monkey was first born I set a timer when we went to bed at night, as to not let him sleep through a nursing session.  I set the timer in 3 hour intervals.  In the 4 weeks I used the timer, he only sleep long enough for it to go off once.

Then around 6 weeks of age he started sleeping 5 or so hour blocks at night.  It was heavenly.

At 8 weeks of age, he was sleeping 12+ hours a night.  It was a miracle.

When a month later, he stopped.  I was crushed and confused as I commented in this blog post.

Sleep at night was a struggle.  Naps were a nightmare.  Prior to the sleep derailment, Monkey had been sleeping at night in his co-sleeper and napping in his swing. He had been just going down to sleep in both  locations without a problem.  Now we were sitting in front of him while he was in his swing swaying back and forth and trying to coo him to sleep.  Husband was patting his butt at night and I was nursing like a fool in hopes he would sleep.  We were living a nightmare.

That's when Husband and I decided to practice (our version) of Marc Weissbliuth, M.D.'s Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Baby.  We had been following them prior, but I guess you could say we got lazy once Monkey started sleeping so well.  We started with correcting the nap problems.  No more sleeping "in motion"; naps were to be taken in the co-sleeper.  We set up a nap time routine, and then implement the crying it out (5 minutes, go and soothe, 7 minutes go and soothe, 9 minutes, go and soothe, and so on).  Typically after the 7 minute mark he was asleep.  Once or twice he stretched it to the 11 minute mark.  But within 2 and a half days, naps were no longer a battle.  Sure he sometimes goes down with a whimper, but really it's no more than that (unless, he's over tired and then really it's our fault for not putting him down sooner and we comfort him to sleep).

We then went to apply this principle to bed time, and expected a struggle.  But we got none.  His bedtime routine is a short and easy one.  Sometimes we read a story in his room, otherwise it's fluoride, PJs, swaddler, and nurse (or bottle of breastmilk from Husband if I am out).  A kiss on the forehead and a "good night", and that's it.

STTN still proved to a challenge.  We had considered some of the sleep tactic Weisbluth wrote about, but with co-sleeping we really didn't see this as an option.  Family members suggested we move him into his own room.  But we were committed to co-sleeping for the first six months.  Monkey started waking up and wanting to nurse any time Husband or I entered out bedroom, or rolled over in bed, or snored too loud.  I was convinced he was reverse cycling; and tried to combat this... but really I don't think that was the problem. 

Then he turned 6 months, and we moved him down the hall to his room.  It was a bittersweet night, our baby wasn't so much a baby anymore.

In the end it was a move we needed to make, and probably should have sooner (but co-sleeping is recommended for the first 6 months); Monkey's sleep improved.  Some nights he would STTN.  Some nights (maybe twice since he moved) he's woken twice.  Most night's he wakes once (knock on wood), around 3:30 to eat.  Husband and I have talked about whether or not he needs this feeding, and we think he does (ask us what we think in another month however); and we are OK with this.  Monkey goes to bed around 7pm, nurses once overnight (typically) and then is up for the day at 6am.  His first nap is at 8am... and we are slowly falling into a good sleep/nap schedule (which is our goal by 9 months).

I hope we are able to meet the rest of our sleep challenges with him (and I assume there will be some, he is human after all) with our eyes open and we can comprehend his needs sooner, rather than later.


Grumpy Grateful Mom said...

I'm so happy to hear that your little guy is doing great! I am terrible at getting my babies to sleep! I could write a "What Not to Do" book.

I think I've had all of them cry it out at some point which wasn't the preferred method by me but I needed sleep! And they were happier too. I also did a 3:30 a.m.ish feeding for as long as they wanted, usually by about age 1 they gave it up.

Have great Sunday. :)

Morgan said...

When did you start the sleep training routine? Max does ok (knock on wood) on going down at night and usually just wakes once, but naps are still touch and go. He'll sleep if on us but that makes for never getting anything done lol.

By: Kate Nadeau said...

Morgan, We started the sleep training routine around 12 weeks. His lack of good naps is what did it for us. And we've found the better he naps, the better he sleeps at night.

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