Sunday, September 27, 2009

Ahhh, sleep!

We have been working on sleep here in our happy home. After so much travel in the past few months, with the past few weeks being very full, plus teething and who knows what else, Miss had gotten into some bad sleep habits. While on the road, she would often wake 3-4 times per night. And it was very difficult to get her to go back to sleep without nursing her or or else waking the entire household or hotel where we were staying. So, we got into a bad habit of eating in the middle of the night again (her, not me). Miss also started a pattern of fake-out sleeping. Nearly every time I would try to get her to go back down to sleep at night or go down for a nap, she would be peacefully sleeping on my shoulder, and then as soon as I would begin to bend to put her in the crib or Pack'N'Play, she would tense up and be screaming by the time I would lay her down. This would go on for up to an hour, over and over. Sometimes I would go through this for an hour only to get a half-hour nap out of her. I thought I was going to go mad. And for the past several weeks we were never at home long enough in between trips for this to return to normal. Or rather for me to help it to return to normal. I had a plan to address it during this period of three weeks home. So this week we have been working on it.

Wednesday I received Dr. Ferber's book* at my door and read the relevant sections. I was already familiar with the general concepts of his method, but wanted to read about a few additional points related to night waking. Wednesday night we got a baseline. Thursday night was a bit rough. By Friday night we had successfully cut out one night feeding (she had consistently been waking for two since we've been home), and last night she slept through the night. The whole night. She went to bed at 8 and didn't make a peep until 7 this morning. I can't remember the last time she did that. And she is back to napping very well, with three to four hours per day rather than two at best. I'm a happy momma. And she is really a happier baby with much less fussing and crankiness.

I'm kind of surprised by how easily she adjusted back to her old ways (she used to be a champion sleeper). There have been some unpleasant moments, but overall this process was not nearly as hard as I expected it to be. Thank you Dr. Ferber. And thanks to all who gave advice, support, and help (I recall hearing something like, "Give me that baby, you look like you're about to lose it") during the weeks when sleep was so scarce. I don't necessarily expect that Miss will amazingly be sleeping through the night every night from now on, but I am happy to know we have drastically improved the situation and have some new routines to get us through any future bumps in the road.

Ferber, R. (2006). Solve your child's sleep problems. New York, Fireside.

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