Disclaimer: Sometimes, on this blog, I like to post just for myself, as though it were a journal, record, or baby book. A lot of bloggers that I know do that as well. If you read this and enjoy seeing some of the inner workings of our family life, great! If not, don’t read these posts because it really is as simple as that! I just want to say this now so as not to have people take this post personally and think that I’m attacking their parenting, faith, or lifestyle. I acknowledge many different ways to parent, and certainly this is not the only one, but this is what we have chosen to do with our family life. We have reasons for doing it this way, just like I know you have reasons. Being human is to be complex, and we all have been given the freedom of choice, so let’s all respect each other, and in the words of my great grandmother; “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” (Let’s amend that statement for bloggers, “if you don’t like what you’re reading, don’t read it.”)
Back sometime before Thanksgiving, Eliot and I were working on our sleep routine, and we made some GREAT progress! But as many parents discover, holidays are loved for many reasons, but not for the change it has on sleep routines. So basically since before thanksgiving, Eliot and I have had absolutely horrendous sleep habits and have been cranky with exhaustion. Even Daniel has been affected. How we could get on the right track for sleeping has been on my mind ever since then, and in the haze of nighttime, I recalled working at the bookstore and a top seller parenting book. The name really caught my attention, because I don’t really read parenting books yet (I’m very particular about what kind of parenting book I read so I don’t read much). “The No-Cry Sleep Solution” by Elizabeth Pantley sold like hot cakes at the bookstore, and many tired parents swore by it when picking it up for a second read as they were on their second/third kid. I decided to give it a go after reading a lot of reviews, and I’m only in the first couple of chapters. So far, it’s extremely helpful, as it describes mine and Eliot’s sleeping behavior perfectly! It advocates crib, co-sleep, and bed-sharing, and really just wants baby AND Mama to sleep well by making healthy sleep associations.
So, as I fall somewhere in the middle of “cry-it-out” and “parent-sleep-martyrdom,” we decided to begin last night. For the duration of this experiment and exercise, both Mama and Daddy are making sacrifices. Daniel picked up some coffee for me yesterday so that I would be able to do daytime after really going back to those foggy, sleepy, newborn days at night, and he is sleeping on the couch so that he’s able to get enough rest for working through this last semester. Parenting really does cause unity in the couple from what I have experienced! Unity in sacrifice, compassion, and love. It’s more than being able to just cuddle together in the bed at night (although one night in, and I do miss that).
This particular parenting method asks that parents log their baby’s sleep habits on day one and then again on day ten and twenty after practicing the method with the baby. So last night was day one’s log and it went like this:
Bedtime at 9:05 (nurse to sleep, put down in the crib)
Wake 1: 9:30 p.m. Soothe back to sleep
Wake 2: 9:45 p.m. nurse to sleep 10 minutes
Wake 3: 10:40 p.m. nurse to sleep 5 minutes
Wake 4: 12:16 a.m. nurse to sleep 15 minutes
Wake 5: 12:45 a.m. Nurse to sleep 10 minutes
Wake 6: 1:30 a.m. Soothe to sleep
Wake 7: 1:50 a.m. Nurse to sleep 15 minutes
Wake 8: 3:00 a.m. Nurse to sleep 20 minutes
Wake 9: 3:50 a.m. Nurse to sleep 5 minutes
Wake 10: 4:30 a.m. Nurse to sleep 10 minutes
Wake 11: 6:00 a.m. Nurse to sleep 10 minutes
Wake 12: 7:20 a.m. Nurse to sleep 5 minutes
Wake 13: 8:30 a.m. Nurse sleepily, wake up for the day
Outcome: Didn’t sleep longer than 1 hour and 10 minutes at most.
Naptime – Begin at 11:00 – Nurse to sleep, down in the crib
Wake 1: 11:06 a.m. Soothe to sleep
Wakings between 11:30 and 12:00 during the practice of the method
Up at 12:15 p.m.
Outcome: Fussed when being put down drowsy OR asleep but began soothing without sleep by 12:00 p.m.
What I have found from this method is that it is very hands on and time consuming. But it is already showing me after one day that the gentle encouragement works as promised. Eliot is even in a better mood today after his nap, even though he only slept soundly for thirty minutes and slept fitfully the rest of the time. I attribute that to knowing I won’t abandon him. The book elaborates on the finding that children are emotional beings rather than rational beings, and as they learn security in their crib, home, and mother, they are more readily able to soothe quickly and wake less.
This is the first of what I believe will be a long process, but my hope is that by the summertime, Eliot will be sleeping through the night with minimal nursing in his own crib so that we are able to move him to his own room with little fuss after the move. I’ll be posting again on Day Ten to log what our practice as accomplished.