Thursday, May 8, 2008

Newborn Sleep Schedule Owen vs. Sleep part IV

So over the last three weeks, I've been working on transitioning Owen (now 9.5 weeks) from co sleeping nights and day napping in his Moby wrap to sleeping in his crib full time. This was a kid that I was SO SURE would never EVER go to sleep drowsy but awake. So take heart, stick to your program, it's possible. I am proud that he's now sleeping full time in his own crib and going down for naps without crying and I put him down awake.

Refresher: the child would NOT sleep well at all in any other fashion so I resorted to wrapping him in the Moby. He loved it. It worked well to get us out of the "overtired" state and into the "I'm-more-willing-to-try-new-sleep-places state." That took about a week. He napped in the Moby twice a day, sometimes more, if needed. I, of course, did not want to get stuck later with a 20 pound baby that has to sleep on you, so I took advantage of his first nap time in the morning... he's most well rested and feed then. At first I swaddled him (when he liked it) and let him sleep on his side with a sleep positioner, then one day when he was fussing a lot, I decided to unswaddle him and flip him to his tummy and POOF, the child put himself to sleep. It was also during this time that I was diligent about putting him down (mostly swaddled on his side) in his bassinet beside our bed for any night awakening. It was hard because before I was nursing him in bed and we were both falling back asleep. Luckily we have a comfy chair in our room that I utilized so I wouldn't resort to nursing in bed. When he was successfully sleeping all night sessions in his bassinet (took several nights) and doing well in his crib during the day, I moved him to his crib at night. This took about a week and a half. No matter how much I wanted him to sleep beside me, I resisted because I didn't want him to get a mixed message.

During the day, I also slowly transitioned from the "rock him to sleep" and pat him on my left shoulder to being firm about when I put him in his crib to pat him a few times, let his eyes open and close and then let him cry (unless he SQUAWKED like an alien, then I picked him up and start over). I found it much easier to let him cry if I close the door and sit in the next room on the computer to pass the time. Five minutes goes by fast when you are responding to emails. At first it was hard to hear him cry (but really, not THAT hard) but Sleep Lady really reminds you if you are going to make a rule/carry out a plan with your child STICK TO IT. Owen would cry some naps but not others... If you stray from the plan it's called intermittent negative reinforcement (or something) and babies get confused and learn to manipulate you (ie. they know if they cry 2 minutes Mom will pick me up--they can be very stubborn). So once I put him down, I don't pick him up and he goes to sleep (I should mention I never let him cry more than 10 minutes). Now I can put him down and he'll turn his head from side to side, make some little noises, move his hands and put himself to sleep. It's amazing the difference from a couple of weeks. Most of the naps and bedtime, he doesn't cry anymore.

**Our nap time routine also DOES NOT involve breastfeeding because I wanted a babysitter or my husband to be able to duplicate the same system so Owen doesn't become dependent on me to sleep.

Highly alert babies sometimes sleep best on their belly because it "shuts" out the rest of the world. I am certainly not advocating folks start putting babies on their belly, but for Owen, it was his only comfort. If you suspect this to be the case with your child, consult with your midwife or doctor. If you are reluctant to put them on their belly, (believe me it still scares me) remove the mobile from the crib, make sure your crib sheets are pastel colors (or at least not black and white, or patterned) and try to create a soft comforting environment for each nap session. Try a routine each time doing the same thing: ie, change diaper, sing same song, rock for certain amount of time in chair, then off to bed.

During the day, I always breastfeed him when he wakes up (if it's been over 2.5 hours since last nursing) and make sure he takes a full feeding. He's nursing about every 2.5-3 hours now. I really try not to nurse him in a 2 hour window unless I can tell he's hungry. If I do end up trying a nursing session early, I make sure he's not snacking (you can tell by time). This way I don't "fall" for those same signals again.

My biggest problem right now is a regular bedtime. Sleep Lady recommends a gentle bedtime routine and regular bedtime (within 30 minutes) starting at 6 weeks including but not limited to massage, a bath, singing the same song, rocking, a kiss then down in the bassinet or crib. Many people can keep their child up from 8-10PM and put them down each night at 10PM... I struggle with this. I think Owen is ready for an earlier bedtime like 8:30 or 9PM but it's hard because his last nap can be from 7-9 or 8-9 and then he'll wake up VERY sleepy much as he does in the middle of night, ready only for breastfeeding and back to bed. So sometimes we miss the bath at night because he's too sleepy. I guess I can try to keep him awake if he wakes up in that late evening but before 10PM time frame. I look forward to the time when he takes 2-3 regular naps and night time is a tad more predictable. This should be around 4 months.

It was hard for me to find a basic schedule of a normal infant online, so I'll continue to post sample Owen schedules as they change all the time.

last night worked out like this:
7PM up from 3 hour nap (YIKES-- nursing 20 minutes)
7:20-8:30, up with Daddy playing, taking
8:30 down for his last "nap" short fussing, not crying (missed out on bedtime routine: ie bath, etc)
11:45PM-- nursed 20 minutes and back to sleep
3:45AM awake-- nursed 10 minutes and back to sleep by 3:55 then chatty by 4:10 so I nursed him again until he took a fuller feeding (maybe he'll eventually skip this one)
5:45 AM awake talking, cooing, Dad pats him, tried to put him back to sleep. 10 minutes later, flips him to his backside: 15 minutes of talk to himself in his crib
6:00 AMMom goes to get him, and talks to him in our bed, I nurse him around 6:30 ( I would like him to sleep from 3:30-7AM, eventually, but pooping wakes him up)
7:30AM, seems sleepy, 1st catnap (no crying)
8:40 AM awake, nurse + playtime on new Baby Einstein mat with hanging toys (loves this but is easily overstimulated with it at night)
9:50AM looks sleepy makes a couple 'unhappy' sounds, change diaper, put down (no crying)
10AM first good morning nap (I expect this to be his usual nap time)

I hope this helps out there. I'm interested in what works for other people. Please feel free to comment. That's the hope of this blog. :)


jennifer said...

Congratulations! Hopefully we'll get there too someday. I haven't the balls for CIO yet, but maybe soon if things don't get better. I'll let you know how the darkening shades work. We had planned on loading some white noise onto her ipod but I can't find any on itunes. Do you use a cd or do you have a noise machine? Also, at one point I also tried swaddled side sleeping in a positioner but I couldn't find a positioner that worked well. Which do you use?


Cameron Clark said...

Thanks. CIO is all about when you, the parent, are ready. I think many CIO'ers would say the same. I wasn't a strict CIO'er, but tried to be consistent. So wait until you are there. Ferber believers will point to his study that says it's easier to do it the younger they are.. ie: at 9 months expect them to cry for 45 minutes not 10 the first time you try it. We do have room darkening shades but I've gotten mixed messages from experts on this... so I don't make it pitch black but rather close the shade 90%. One thing you don't want is for babies to confuse day and night. So be sure when they wake up from napping you make a deal of opening the shades and nursing in a brighter, louder environment. I have a noise machine. I don't know the brand. It's called Life Sounds or something. I'll check. Also the sleep positioner is a velcro white cloth that has two bolsters and a head pillow (never used the head part) all parts velcro onto it (surprisingly soft). I'll find out the brand. Obviously positioners are not as safe as a crib with nothing in it... but again, use your best judgement. I have and still do check on him every hour he's napping and use a monitor.