Monday, October 20, 2008

Sleep update - baby sleep routine 7.5 months

I thought I'd give more details about my success after my Sleep Lady phone consultation. I'll outline his overall schedule and then some exciting developments!

6AM awake, hungry, nurses
8:30-8:45 - super baby food breakfast
9 or 9:30 first nap
10:15-11AM - wakes up, usually he's hungry and we nurse again
11-1PM- playtime, errands, etc.
1PM second nap
2:30-3PM awake, hungry, nurses,
5-6PM solid food snack/dinner usually nurses again
6:30 bath with Daddy, nurses in a room OTHER than his
7PM bedtime in crib
midnight snack - I feed him once and only once at night and I let him wake up which is usually between 11PM-1AM.
6AM awake. repeat. :)

I will mention it wasn't until between 5 and 6 months that his daytime sleep regulated. I worked really hard at 8 weeks to get his daytime sleep to be consistently in his crib. At first he napped after he was awake for 2 hours 3 hours and our schedule changed every day. It was nice when I started to notice a pattern and could put him down more regularly. It's GREAT to be able to count on nap time. Owen is happy all day and everyone comments on what a happy baby he is. I attribute it to his personality but really, its all about the SLEEP!

So I talked to the Sleep Lady last Wed. We have a call scheduled for this Thursday as a follow up. In our conversation it became clear that we needed a more consistent approach. She figured out that Owen is using Mommy and Daddy as his "baby tranquilizer" ... our mistakes include patting his butt until he fell asleep and rolling him over (from back to belly -- he sleeps on his belly but cries on his back), a very inconsistent response at night and the occasional nursing to nap or to sleep. I pretty much nursed him to sleep for 6 months. We also noticed that Owen does much better in the middle of the night if Matt goes in and comforts him. Owen knows that Matt doesn't have nursing capabilities, so this eliminates this as a possibility and he seems to fall asleep easier. Plus, we discussed that Owen probably only needs to nurse once each night IF THAT. I know people out there think their babies are hungry. If your baby is eating 1-3 minutes and falling back asleep, you are a sleep CRUTCH and you are not fostering your baby's ability to put himself back to sleep. We also discussed that Owen seems to fall asleep better if we leave the room rather than stay and linger shhhing him too long, etc. I realized we haven't been giving him much opportunity to fall asleep on his own. So our tactics included the following ideas:

1) We decided to move the last nursing of the night to either before the bath, in the bath or after the bath but in the bathroom. This way it separates the nursing from the sleep. After this we would continue our routine of changing him, reading stories and putting him down
2) no more rolling him over AT ALL and obviously no picking him up unless tantrum ensues. Instead standing by the crib shussshing him is encouraged.
3) no more patting his butt until he's sleeping, a little pat pat is fine but not consistent and regular pats-pat-pat in a rhythem. Again, we decided to shusshhhhh standing beside the crib, especially in the middle of the night.
4) Allow him to whimper and cry a bit (5 minutes worth) especially in the middle of the night when he wakes up but is only partially aroused. We are giving him a chance to get back to sleep and not arosing him further up by rushing to his side and stimulating him.
5) Each time we put him down to nap or to sleep, we all had to stick to our routine and rules and let him cry up to 10 minutes prior to going in to comfort him further (barring of course any screeching, howling, etc...) Most times he cries for less than 3 minutes, sometimes not at all.
6) Concentrate on longer daytime nursing sessions and offering him both breasts and NOT nursing more than once per night and only after 6AM in the morning.

So I've been keeping a log. His daytime sleep was easy to fix, he's already doing well with that, but I eliminated nursing at ALL prior to a nap and focused on the hour prior to his nap or when he has just woken up. It's hard sometimes to fix your nursing schedule but start by getting a consistent FIRST nursing session each day at the same time. This helps a lot.

The nighttime waking was amazing. The first night we just let him cry and whimper a little bit at times when we knew he wasn't hungry and really needed to keep sleeping (ie: 10PM, 3AM, 4AM, 5AM). Without changing anything but our attitudes, he put himself back to sleep! Many times in a minute or less. All it took was NOT rushing into the crib. If he didn't get back to sleep himself, Matt went in, NOT me because as soon as I go in, he freaks out and wants to nurse. Kudos to my awesome husband for really stepping it up and helping out with this.

It seems every night we have more success and Owen does seem to be going down easier and certainly has weened himself off the nursing to sleep he was so accustomed to. Now for the Grand Finale!....

Last night he slept from 7:30PM-11PM
11PM woke up and I went in and he nursed very well
4AM he wimpered for a minute, fell back asleep himself
6AM awake! SUCCESS!
(I was gone all day, noon-10PM, so this really was amazing when you consider he doesn't take a bottle but was drinking breastmilk from a small cup). I got nearly 7 hours of straight sleep and so did Owen. INCREDIBLE Progress.

Funny side note. If it's not one thing, it's another. He can now pull himself to stand up in his crib. So when you put him down for a nap, he stands up, and can't get back down. So we do have to return to his room and release him from the standing position and lay him down, but then we leave... (eventually he can sit himself down but not yet).

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1 comment:

Sarah/Gran said...

Owen, you are so cute! I'm pleased for all of ya'll that the sleep problems are solved - or almost solved.