Monday, February 10, 2014

The Sleep Chronicles, Part lll

I've written two other posts about sleep on this blog. One was a very naive and hopeful blog about the first (and only) time Ezzy slept all night long. Ten blissful hours of sleep. That was way back in late September, and sleep has been pretty hard to come by since then. The other post I had somewhat resigned myself that sleep as I knew it was a thing of the past.

This post is about my weekend attempt to try to get Ezzy to sleep the whole night in his own crib. Here is how our attempt over the weekend went. To start with, the way our sleep schedule has worked so far is I put Ezzy down (already asleep) into his own crib, where he sleeps about three hours, until he wakes up for the first feeding of the night (out of anywhere from 2-4 feedings). Then I bring him to bed with me and feed him until he falls back asleep, at which point I move to the couch and leave him and Joe in our bed. The main reason for this is I'm too tired/lazy to sit up with him at 2 am. But now he's been waking up with Joe's alarm at 5 am, and I'm also too tired/lazy to get up at 5 am, so I basically have to pick the lesser of two evils at this point.

I've read so many other blogger's say that their child instantly took to the crib, and started sleeping twelve hours straight, without a single tear, once they transitioned to the crib. In my experience, that's magical fairytale nonsense. I'm pretty sure these accounts couldn't have come from real mothers of real babies, and I refuse to believe it's actually that easy for anyone. (And if your experience really was that easy, please wait to share it with me until I've had at least 8 hours of sleep - so in another 18 years or so.)

Here's how my real-life, non-magical, very sleep deprived and unsuccessful attempt went. To start with, I read The No Cry Sleep Solution. (Ok, I didn't actually read it cover to cover, but I skimmed it and picked out a few pointers.) Some of the tips I picked up from the book were:

  • Create a consistent bedtime routine - Check. We've already been doing this routine for awhile now: bath, jammies, story time, nurse Ezzy to sleep.
  • Don't nurse baby to sleep. (Whoops.) If the baby is already used to being nursed to sleep, start trying many other methods, such as driving them to sleep, rocking to sleep, etc., so they get used to falling asleep in a variety of situations. 
  • The bedtime routine should always end in the room the baby will sleep in. Whoops again. I had been nursing Ezzy to sleep on the couch, which watching TV. And that used to work fine, until lately when Ezzy will almost fall asleep, then suddenly wake up totally wide-eyed and smiley.
  • Put baby to sleep earlier. Supposedly the earlier babies go to sleep, the longer they sleep. As in 7 pm is the normal bedtime for babies. Ezzy's bedtime is anywhere between 9-10 pm. 
  • Keep a log of baby's sleep habits. I already unofficially do this, just out of curiosity of how much sleep we're getting each night. 
  • Make sure naps don't exceed 4 hours per day, and don't go past 6 pm. Ezzy's nap schedule varies. He doesn't usually sleep more than 4 hours per day, though now that he's started taking 2 naps per day, it has happened a few times. Same with the 6 pm thing.
  • Get baby attached to a "lovey" - aka, a stuffed animal, piece of cloth with mama's scent on it, etc. I'm trying to get him attached to several different "loveys" to see what he takes to. So far he doesn't seem particularly attached to anything.
  • Use a sound machine and a night light. 
  • Put baby in his crib several times during the day while you're in the room so he gets used to it and considers it a safe place. I've already been doing this for awhile. Ezzy has no problem with his crib, so long as he's not supposed to be sleeping it.
Ok, so those were the tips I planned on putting into place over the weekend. I chose the weekend as our start point, because I figured Joe might need to take on some early morning shifts if this didn't work out. And boy am I glad he was around, because things did not work out very well.

Friday night we did our normal bedtime routine, but we started about 15 minutes earlier than usual, and this time after story time, I turned on his night light and sound machine and nursed him in his own room. I tried to lay him down while he was sleepy, but hadn't nursed himself completely to sleep. He immediately woke up crying. I tried again, with the same result. Then I gave up and nursed him to sleep. With a slightly earlier bedtime, he still woke up in 3 hours. Instead of bringing him into my room, I nursed him in his room, tried putting him back in his crib, which promptly made him hysterical. I tried bouncing him and rubbing his back, and he was so tired he almost fell asleep, but woke up crying as soon as his head touched the crib. I tried nursing him in the rocking chair and putting him in his crib. No such luck. That's when I gave up and brought him to bed with me, where he immediately nursed himself to sleep. And apparently the whole ordeal tuckered him out so much that he slept 6 straight hours. That was actually the most sleep I'd gotten in a row in a long time. So even though it was technically a fail, it worked out ok.

Saturday night I tried putting him to bed even earlier. I started bathtime at 7:00, instead of our usual 8:00. He was asleep by 8:30. He was awake a little after 11:00. Then I went through the same routine we tried on Friday night, except when I finally gave up and brought him to bed with me (almost two hours after he first woke up), I was completely drained - literally - so he couldn't nurse himself to sleep. That made him distraught and angry and kept flailing his head around and screaming. It was around that time I left him to "cry it out" next to Joe in bed. So of course Joe got up with him, and they spent two hours watching TV until I nursed him to sleep in our bed.

Here are a few things I take from all of this:

  • Maybe it's easier to just give Ezzy my bed and take over his room instead?
  • I clearly lack the patience at 2 am to be as consistent as I need to be for any actual sleep training to take place. 
  • Perhaps I should give The No Cry Sleep Solution a more thorough study. 
That's all I've got. For anyone else that had a less than magical experience with getting their child to sleep in their crib, please share what eventually worked for you. Or just commiserate with me. Because, you know, misery loves company.

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