Saturday, June 11, 2011

Sleep Wars...Episode II: Attack of the Monitor

I read (and skimmed) about half of Dr. Weissbluth's book yesterday (Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child) and became convinced that Naomi has been overtired. Typically, Naomi would get a short morning nap, one or two afternoon naps, (one lasting at least an hour and 1/2) and would go to bed around 9:30 or 10. She'd then wake up at 11, 1, 3, 5, and 6:45, all before her final wake-up time of 8. Yuck.

Most likely, she started waking up due to a growth spurt, then became accustomed to waking up multiple times a night. So I decided to try Dr. Weissbluth's Graduated Extinction method, which basically is when the baby wakes up, you let her cry 5 minutes, go comfort her, let her cry 10 minutes, go comfort her, let her cry 15 minutes, etc. That way the baby knows that when she cries, you will be there for her, but you are giving her the opportunity to learn how to settle herself down.

We also decided that she will only have her pacifier for naps and bedtime (sleeping). We may change this rule for long car rides, but we'll see. Yesterday turned out very different than usual!

In the morning, she woke up at 8 (after moving to my bed at 6:45 a.m.), nursed, ate some baby rice cereal (homemade from organic brown rice) then after some cleanup and about 2 minutes of cuddling, I put her down for her morning nap at 9:30. She went right to sleep with no complaints or fussing at all! Her morning nap lasted an hour and 1/2. She woke up perfectly content, without crying.

I tried to put her down for her afternoon nap at 12, but she wouldn't go. Daddy finally got her to sleep around 1:40, but she only slept 1/2 an hour, waking up hungry at 2:15.

She started her LONG afternoon nap at 4 p.m., waking at 5 to nurse and going immediately back to sleep until 7:30. She slept 3.5 hours!! She had to have been overtired. I'm thinking about trying to consolidate her afternoon naps into one long earlier nap.

I decided to try to put her down for the night at 9 p.m., 1/2 an hour earlier than usual (idea from the book) to see if she'd go to sleep so easily after waking so late. She did! I was so impressed. She went down without a fuss or fight.

I told myself that since she'd been so overtired, she probably would sleep through the night now, like she used to do. About 10:30, I told Daniel I was tired and going to bed to do some reading before I went to sleep. At 11:30, Naomi woke up. Grr. Time to start the "Graduated Extinction Method". As she fussed, Daniel, who had the baby monitor, said, "What do I do?" I told him to wait a couple minutes, then give her her pacifier. He did, then said, "Your turn". I let her fuss and talk to herself for 10 minutes (which seemed like an eternity), then went in to console her. I picked her up and cuddled her about 8 minutes, then put her back down. She started screaming. I walked downstairs and listened to her cries on the baby monitor for the next 10 minutes. I thought she might have been hungry, so before the 15 minutes was up, I went into her room and nursed her. She fell asleep while nursing, but when I set her down in her crib, she started screaming again. I came downstairs, and was crying myself as I waited out the next 15 minutes. Daniel heard me crying, came in the room and turned off the baby monitor. I distracted myself from watching the clock by reading more in Dr. Weissbluth's book. After 15 minutes, I turned on the monitor to the sound of...silence. I double-checked, turning up the monitor so loud I could hear every breath of Naomi's. Yup, she had finally fallen asleep.

I turned down the monitor just past where I could hear every breath and went to sleep. At this point, it was 1a.m. I dreamed that Daniel was slowly crushing bugs under his heel and I was crying at the inhumanity. I woke at 6 a.m. and stared at the baby monitor. Nothing. Not a peep. Sweet, I thought. It must be working. 7a.m., I woke up to the faintest sounds of a baby screaming. Not crying, screaming. Drat, when I'd turned the monitor down to not hear her breathing, I'd turned it down too far. I may have accidentally exposed my child to the "Extinction" method, otherwise known as "Cry It Out". I am NOT a fan of Cry It Out! I hope and pray this causes no serious harm to my child. But after nursing and eating breakfast, she went down at 8:40 for her morning nap with no serious crying. A whimper or two which was easily pacified by me rubbing her back.

We'll see how well she does tomorrow. In the meantime, the galaxy of dreams awaits...


  1. She'll be alright, stuff happens, but she knows it's not normal. I'm also anti-cry it out, I'll let him fuss sometimes, to see if he'll go back to sleep, but actual crying I get him up.

    I'm nervous that we'll have to have war in the next week or so. He's been good, but he's congested and the only thing that really helps is for him to be upright or continually sucking. He won't take a pacifier, so you can probably guess what that means. And he can only nurse so long before his tummy is full and he needs to be upright, so Jake slept sitting up on the couch with him on Thursday night and I wound up there last night. I'm really hoping that it won't have formed a habit by the time he's feeling better....

  2. Heather, I really think that's what happened with us. She started getting up frequently at night because of illness, growth spurt or teething (not sure which) and then formed a habit. :-( Hopefully we'll get this all worked out.

  3. this sounds a lot like we went through with KL not long ago. . and still go through when she's had schedule upsets. it will get better. Don't worry that you slept through her crying. she's young (if you stick to this method hopefully by the time she is able to remember stuff bedtime will be no struggle) and overtired and needed sleep more than she needed you. i can always tell when we've reached that point. KL wants me to rock her but she won't fall asleep and i know she is severely sleep deprived. that's when i make the determination that she needs sleep more than she needs cuddles. . for her own health and well being. if she doesn't sleep she gets overtired and is more likely to get sick etc. that's my philosophy anyway. i still do the graduated extinction when needed. i don't time it anymore though. i just listen to the tone of her cries.
    i know all bets are off come next week though when she has her casts put on. i am going to do my best to stay on routine though with probably extra cuddles as needed until she gets used to the way the casts feel.
    hang in there!