Monday, 27 December 2010

Sleep Training - Day 1

The time has come for Little Guy to learn how to sleep. Never thought you had to teach a baby to sleep...there's so much crap you don't know about parenting until you're in the thick of it!

We're using the book Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Children to help Colt learn how to sleep during the day. It involves adhering to a schedule of naps that flows with his natural sleepiness. His night sleep has been regular and predictable for quite some time, but he's never been much for day sleeping.

I thought Day 1 was going to be great at first. We woke at 6:45, and after a change and a nursing session, he slept from 7:20 - 8:30 in his swing (even put himself back to sleep a couple times even though I turned the swing off). Wow! Then we played for awhile. At about 10:00, I put him in his swing (since The Book advises no longer than 2 hours of wakefulness between naps). He cooed to himself in the mobile mirror for about 20 minutes, let out one or two small whimpers and fell asleep. What?? He only slept for about 40 minutes before he woke up crying, which usually indicates he hasn't had enough sleep. And it was downhill from there.

When we went for the afternoon nap around 12:45, he fell asleep nursing and slept for about 15 minutes in his Pack & Play, and then woke up screaming. The Book advises letting the baby cry for no longer than an hour at nap time, so we let him cry, hoping he'd fall back asleep. Yeah, right - he cried the entire hour. Longest hour of my life. The attempt at a late afternoon nap was even worse - he fell asleep nursing, but as soon as I laid him in the P&P, he woke up screaming. This time I didn't let him cry as long - The Book says a late afternoon nap might not happen and I couldn't take another hour of screaming.

Our next sleep time: bedtime. The Book advises putting babies to sleep between 6 and 8. No problem - he usually goes down around 7ish, give or take. However, he was so exhausted from today's endeavors that when I nursed him at 6:00, he was out...or so we thought. I swaddled him and laid him in his crib, just like we do every night. 20 minutes later, he was screaming. Now, this is pretty normal. It sometimes takes us one or two tries to get him to sleep. We never thought much of it. But our new method also has a prescription for night sleep: Let the baby cry it out AS LONG AS IT TAKES. Whew. For our little guy, it took an hour and a half before he fell asleep. My living room is spotless, because I couldn't just sit there and listen to his cries. It absolutely broke my heart and almost broke my resolve. Thank God Bryce is here for support.

So, we'll see how he does overnight after our first attempt at day sleep. If we're consistent, The Book claims young babies can catch on very quickly. I hope it's true.

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