Monday, June 13, 2011

Sleep Wars...Episode IV: A New Hope

After sleeping til 9a.m. yesterday morning, Naomi skipped her typical morning nap. After church, she fell asleep in the car for her first afternoon nap at 1:30p.m. I successfully transferred her to her crib without waking her up, and she slept til 2:30p.m. She then was happily awake until about 4:45, when she went down for her evening nap. She slept 2 hours, and woke at 7:45, fussy as all get out. So her daytime sleep was 3 hours, better than the 1.5 hours of the day before.

When she woke up, she alternated between crying and fussing. I finally put on an episode of Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution to quiet her down. . . it worked briefly. I needed to work on supper, so I put her in her high chair while I cooked my alfredo sauce. I gave her some green beans, which she fed herself. It was the first time she seemed happy since waking up cranky.

I knew she was tired and needed an earlier bedtime, so at 8p.m., we started our bedtime routine: brush teeth (well, gums at this point, but it's a good habit!), PJs and night-night diaper, read a story, and nurse. She went down with no complaints around 8:20p.m.

At 9:30p.m., she woke up crying. Great, I thought. Now I have to start some kind of technique again. But I was so sick of the techniques, feeling like a crappy mom because my daughter was crying alone in her room, and ensuing nightmares. So I decided to try something different. I soothed her, but didn't pick her up. I rubbed her tummy or back, depending on which side she'd flipped onto at the moment, and I kept trying to give her back her plug. (We call a pacifier a "plug".) After about 20 minutes of crying while I soothed her the whole time, she fell asleep!

At 11:30p.m., I braced myself. She had awoken this time of night for the last several nights, if not the last several weeks. Nothing. She kept on sleeping, and I went to bed myself.

At 1a.m., she cried twice. That's it. Just enough to wake me up, but not enough to get me up.

At 2:30a.m., she cried for 30 seconds. Enough for me to realize she was crying, and sit up in bed, ready to go soothe her again. But before I could stand up, she stopped.

At 4:40a.m., Naomi woke up for real. I happily went upstairs where she gratefully nursed. It was very efficient, and she fell asleep at the end. I put her back in her crib with no fussing!

At 6:45 a.m., She woke up happy. She talked to herself for about 10-15 minutes, until I could wake up enough and get upstairs to get her. She gave me all kinds of smiles when I came in her room. I now know for sure that a rested child is a happy child!

She did have some trouble going down for her morning nap today. I need to troubleshoot it and figure out if I put her down too late, since she got up so early, if there were just too many distractions in her room, or what. I tried to stay with her, but since she was fussing and not crying, I finally walked out of her room, and by the time I got downstairs, she was quietly sleeping. I think maybe I was a distraction to her somehow! Hmmm.

I give last night 7 stars out of 10. I'm very encouraged! Even though she woke 4 times, I only had to soothe her back to sleep once! She soothed herself twice and needed to eat the 4th time. If she'd soothed herself all 3 times I'd have given her 9 out of 10, and if she'd slept through (except for the feeding) I'd have given her a perfect score!

Conclusion: I like a lot of the science behind Dr. Weissbluth's methods, but I disagree with "extinction" and have problems personally with "graduated extinction". I think a lot of what I learned from him was about how many and how long Naomi's naps should be, and how early I should be putting her to bed. I had been putting her to bed around 10p.m., since that was when she'd seemed tired to me. But now, putting her down 8:15-8:45p.m. seems to work a lot better for her. I also see that she can be a lot happier when she's more well-rested. Another thing I appreciate about his book is that he says bedtimes should be flexible, not rigid. You should be willing to put your child to bed much earlier if she's short on naps that day, or if her nap schedule has been changing. Well, I learned a lot, but I think I learned as much about myself as I did about the science of sleep as demonstrated in children!

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