SLIDER

Sleep Training

Once upon a time
Jack slept through the night.
From 6-10 weeks he was the most perfect sleeper.
In bed by 10pm, sleeping until 5-7am.
It was blissful and I thought I was the luckiest mom alive.
Then all of a sudden the good sleep habits ended.
He started waking up every night to feed so I thought it was a growth spurt.
Then he was waking up 2x each night to feed.
I thought it was a really big growth spurt.
Then he was waking up several times a night for no good reason
except that he wanted to sleep in Mommy & Daddy's bed instead of his crib.
Sometimes during the day he will go 6-7 hours between feedings
so I knew he was perfectly capable of sleeping through the night.
I just had been pulling him into bed with me when I nursed
[when he first started waking in the night again
and probably really was going through a growth spurt].
Then we would both fall asleep and he would spend the night in our bed.
Sleeping with mommy & daddy is supposedly much more fun than all by yourself.

Three nights ago this happened:

12:25am Jack wakes up. I give him his binky.
12:30 Jack cries again. I hold & rock him back to sleep then back in his crib he goes.
12:40 Jack cries again. Hold him. Back in crib.

This is Jack Jack at 1am. Wide awake and thinking it's time to play.

12:50 Jack cries again. Give him his binky.
1:02 Jack cries again. I hold him, burp him, lay him in my bed with me until 1:28am.
He is fast asleep so back in his crib he goes.
1:30am Jack wakes up crying. What the!? Back in mommy's bed.
1:47am Back to crib, he's fast asleep...again.
2:05 am He's crying again. I give up and he spends the rest of the night in my bed.
4:00am Wakes to eat.
6:00am Cries, burps.

After that nightmarish night of little sleep I decided we'd better start sleep-training the little guy.
Especially since his naps during the day were also getting shorter and shorter.
The poor baby was so over-tired and not his usual always-happy self.

We started sleep training two nights ago.
It worked out perfectly since it was a Friday so T didn't have to go into the office the next day.
He did have to work from home but he could sleep in a little so it wouldn't be so bad if we were up all night.
I would have started sleep-training earlier but I always felt so bad when I just let Jack try to cry himself back to sleep because T works crazy hours right now (8:30am-9:30pm) and I felt bad having him not get any sleep.
But sleep training is supposed to only take 4-7 nights with the first few nights being the worst.
So we decided to start on a weekend and then if T has to he can sleep upstairs on the futon for the next few nights if Jack still isn't sleeping well.

I "like" Intermountain Moms on FaceBook.
If you are a mom, I recommend "liking" them.
I delivered at an Intermountain hospital
where I got a pamphlet with their FB information.
I have been following them ever since and there is some great advice in their feeds.
A nurse named Dani also gets online 1-2x per week and answers any questions you have...live!
I've never asked a question (yet) but can often find answers to questions I have because others have asked them.
I took my sleep training method from her advice to another mom:

"...after you've had him checked out and there's not any underlying medical conditions, then you may have to sleep train your son. There are two ways you can sleep train him: 1-Crying it out: after lots of love, a fresh diaper, and the normal nightly routine, put him down for bed. If he starts crying through the night, listen to the cry and determine if it's an "I want you to hold me and feed me" cry, or an "I'm hurt and need you now" cry. If you feel like you need to check on your baby based on how he's crying, then you should. However, if he's just crying because he wants you to hold him, you can just let him cry. Up to this point, he's learned that by crying, he gets what she wants most--You! He needs to learn how to go back to sleep without your help and by letting him cry it out, he'll learn to self-soothe. After being persistent for 4-7 nights, he should be sleeping through the night, or at least if he wakes up, he'll go back to sleep without help from you. If this seems a little hard to do, you can try a more graduated approach. When he starts crying, give it 5 or 10 minutes before checking on him, then go in the room, gently touch his tummy, DO NOT MAKE EYE CONTACT, pick him up, talk to him, or turn on any lights....just simply reassure him that you're there by touching his tummy and turn around and walk right back out. If he continues to cry, give it 20 minutes and repeat. If necessary, give it another 40 minutes and do the same thing again. After 1-2 weeks of doing this and again, being persistent, he'll learn to go back to sleep on his own. I hope you're all getting more sleep soon!"

Dani also links to this article.
If you are starting sleep training, I recommend reading it.
We chose the "more graduated approach" to sleep-training.
We do our nightly routine
[book, song, prayer.]
put Jack in his crib with his binky & bunny and start his musical figurine
then leave the room.

We let him cry for 5 minutes
then go in and rub his tummy to let him know we are there
but do not make eye contact or talk to him.
Then we turn around and walk out
[yes, it can be heart-breaking].

Then we set the timer for 10 minutes. Repeat.
20 minutes. Repeat.
40 minutes. 
We've never gotten past here...he usually falls asleep during the 20 minute
or early into the 40 minute.
Once or twice we've gotten more than halfway through the 40 minute.
[He is much better now and rarely gets to the 20 minute stage but when we sleep-train our next child I think I would do 5 min, 10 min, 15-20 min then repeat the 15-20 minute every time until they fall asleep. 40 minutes is a long time to hear your baby cry.]

This is how the first night of sleep-training went:

Went to bed around 10pm.
Woke up at 12:31am. Cried for 5 minutes. Did the rubbing tummy routine.
Cried for 10 minutes. Rub tummy.
Cried for 20 minutes. Fell asleep at the end of the 20 minute cycle. It was 1:06am.

Woke up at 1:32 am. Fell asleep at the end of the 5 minute cycle. 1:38am.

Woke up at 2:12am. Cried for 5 minutes. Rub tummy.
Started 10 minute cycle. Quiet until 2:26am. Restarted the 10 minute cycle.
Stopped crying at 2:36am.

Fussing at 2:40am. Set 10 minute timer again.
[if he wakes up shortly after he has fallen asleep I just let him fuss for 10 minutes. 5 seems too short and 20 seems too long since he has been asleep for a short time already.]
Stopped crying at 2:50am.

Awake at 3:54am. Gave binky. Rub tummy. Started 10 min timer.
Quiet after he got his binky. Fell asleep.

Awake and crying at 4:28am. Started 5 min timer.
Semi-quiet at 4:35am. Started 10 minute timer.

Awake at 7:30am. Nursed him and let him take a nap on the futon where we were sleeping.
[that was probably a mistake since he can't differentiate night & day but it didn't seem to cause any problems in our program.]
Napped until 10:30am.

It was a long, miserable night.
Since T admits to never reading our blog
I'll tell you that Jack crying so long without us comforting him
really got to T emotionally.
He felt so bad for baby Jack that he started crying.
I wanted to cry too but somebody had to be strong!
Otherwise the sleep training would never work.
We ended up leaving the room and sleeping upstairs on the futon so we couldn't hear his cries so clearly.  T got better sleep but I was up most of the night feeling bad for my poor baby.

But guess what?
Last night went like this:
Jack Jack went to bed at 9:30pm, slept until 2:45am.
Had a rough time from 2:45am-4:45am.
We had a few cycles of cry-it-out with some tummy rubbing.
Slept from 4:45am-8:00am.
Nursed then back in his crib and napped from 8:30am-11:30am.
[sound asleep at 11am]
SO much better than two nights ago!

Tonight Jack went to bed at 8:30pm. It's 10:25 now and so far, so good.
We haven't heard even a peep.
Sleep training rocks.
You just have to survive at least one miserable, heart-breaking night.

Our goal for Jack's sleeping schedule is basically this:
Sleep from 8:00 or 8:30pm until 7-8am.
Nap from 9-11am (ish)
Nap from 1-4pm (ish)

I'll keep you updated :]

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