Monday, September 5, 2011

Project Parents Need Sleep

At his 2 month birthday we started working on the Big Goal of sleeping through the night*. Our goals are:

1) Baby Boy can fall asleep on his own, i.e. not lying on one of us
2) Baby Boy can stay asleep for 5 hours (or more :D)
3) Baby Boy will sleep in his crib for more than 10 minutes

The idea is that later we will be able to combine all of the above and be able to put Baby Boy in his crib to sleep through the night. But let's not get ahead of ourselves; we're taking baby steps.

To tackle the first goal, we did a couple of days of swaddle baby + fall asleep on us. Then we transitioned to swaddle baby + cuddle with us + put him down groggy but not totally asleep + lots of shushing and staying close to him. After a few more days (when we were gasping for air) we pulled out the white noise machine. So now we are at the point of putting him down with white noise and staying close by. But he did it; he fell asleep on his own.

So then we started working on part 2- it took a few days where he was waking up after 3 hours or so, but since he wasn't crying for food, just being fussy, we picked him up and helped him fall asleep for a couple more hours before the next meal time. I think the key to this step is that he is nice and full before bed, so I've been pumping/giving him a bottle at the same time to make sure that he gets a good meal in (and he already recognizes the noise of the pump as meal time- amazing!).

We're trying to get a routine together, so before his last bottle, Baby Boy gets a nice bath which he loves! We keep the house dimly lit from around 8 pm and try to keep "play time" more quiet. I always feel like it is a race against time to try to get him down, but we are all going to sleep around 11 pm-midnight, so that's not too bad. I'm going to try and gradually push up his meal schedule so that we can go to bed around 10 pm, but that might take a while. At the very least I'm happy that we're usually sleeping by midnight and not still up at 1 or 2 am like his first weeks of life.

Currently he's getting up after 5 hours, and then 2.5 hours later again- which means that Parents are sleeping 4ish + 1.5 hours= big improvement!

So part three-the crib is in our living area right now and we are using it for naps. I must say that our starting point was : Baby Boy hates crib, i.e. wakes up every time we put him down even if he was fast asleep. Now we are getting short little sessions of alert time 10-15 minutes when he's willing to stare at his mobile, and sometimes he will sleep there for a little while too. We use white noise (water sounds) and he will stay asleep for about 15 minutes or so. I see this is going to be a long road, but little by little. We are so happy of the progress he's made on the first two parts that I can be patient with this one.

*At this point I feel it's too early to start sleep "training", but we are trying to establish good routines so that we can hopefully make a nice gradual transition. If we need to pursue an aggressive strategy we'll re-visit at a later date.

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