Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Sleep Training: Who Trains Who?

For the first 4 months of baby E's life, our sleep philosophy was to try to listen to his needs. When it seemed like he needed some extra cuddle time in the early weeks, we co-slept. On the nights he went down easily, he slept in his Rock N Play (which my mom dubbed the "manger") next to our bed. We alternated between co-sleeping and the manger for a few months and then moved the manger into his room and that became his primary sleep space. He naturally gave up his middle of the night feedings and started sleeping longer on his own and even though his preferred sleep hours and not ideal (7pm-4:30am), we considered ourselves lucky that he was progressing on his own.

As he is quickly outgrowing the manger, we know we need to transition him to his crib soon. We tried occasionally putting him down for naps there, but he would never stay asleep for more than 20 minutes at a time and then he would wake screaming and cranky. His crib aversion is strange, since he will sleep HOURS at a time in our bed, even by himself.

For reasons unknown to me, I decided to try to move him to night sleeping in the crib cold turkey. Naps were NOT working there or even being tried consistently so why I thought this was a good idea is BEYOND me. We tried for 2 nights and both nights he woke up every 20 minutes.

Now maybe a younger mother would have been able to hang in there, but I am almost 35 and I don't have the endurance I had in my 20s to go without sleep for days. By the second night he was so exhausted during the day he would fall asleep mid-bottle and was missing ounces and NJhusband and I decided to abandon our sleep mission for now.

We went a full week of doing 1 nap in the crib and have now worked up to 2. It's going....better but it's still a struggle to get him comfortable in the crib. He consistently wakes up every 20 minutes like clockwork. For naps since I religiously watch the monitor I've been letting him take a lovey (one of those creepy stuffed animal heads attached to a tiny blanket) with him and it seems to make ALL the difference. I don't think I would let him sleep with a lovey all night at this age, but I'll cross the all night bridge when I get to it. For now, we are inching towards crib success.

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