Saturday, May 31, 2008

Sleep Training Day 1

Leah's fever has persisted all week. It's been around 100.4 or so in the eveneings and 99.2-99.6 during the morning/midday. But we decided if it was under 100 tonight that we would start sleep training anyway. Hopefully it wasn't cruel of us, but if we didn't start now then we'd risk not being done by the time Shafi's parents return from Atlanta, and we don't need 4 of us listening to her cry.

She napped from about 5:15 to 5:45 and then we played calmly for a little while. We started the bedtime routine around 6:20. I bathed with her, which she enjoys. And then we even had a pretty good post-bath drying. I wrapped her up in my robe with me and dried her face and hair - which is the part she hates. Then I got her calm before taking her out of the robe and lying her down on her towel on the bed. I sang Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and Rock-a-Bye Baby while drying and lotioning her and she stayed calm. Then I did my favorite baby massage - getting her body and arms and legs first with the lotion and then using my hand to spell out I L U on her chest/belly while slowly and in a calm voice saying "I Love You". She fussed a little while I put a onesie on her and swaddled her, but as soon as I put her to the breast she calmed right down and ate. We had the room ready for sleep - lights off and white noise turned up.

I fed her from both sides and let her keep eating until she was done - about 20minutes. Then I burped her - she let out a huge burp and also a little spit up - and did some of our usual bouncing and shushing, but this time with the intent of stopping while she was drowsy but awake rather than waiting until she was in a dead sleep to put her down - about 10 minutes following the feeding. I put her down at 7:10, left the room, and left the door a couple inches open so that we could peek in. She was quiet for about a minute or so after I put her down and then she started crying.

She started with a fairly soft cry - soft for her anyway. I would call it her "please pick me up now" cry. After about 5 minutes it started to escalate and became fairly hysterical - she was having to stop and catch her breath periodically. I decided I would go peek at her every 10 minutes but without her knowing I was doing so - hopefully. We had agreed that the only reason we would go in would be if she got out of the swaddle (or if something was wrong of course), but I had been really careful in getting the swaddle on really well, so luckily it wasn't a problem.

Each time I looked at her she was still crying but lying pretty still. Then suddenly at about 7:35 the crying slowed to a whimper. And a few minutes later it had stopped altogether. I peeked in a couple more times in the next few minutes and while I couldn't tell if her eyes were open, she seemed to be awake but totally quiet. She was moving her head back and forth a little and moving her legs a little bit. When I check at 7:45 she wasn't moving but I heard a little smacking sound, which sometimes she makes when she sucks on her lip. Shafi went and checked on her at about 7:55 and she was sound asleep.

Being the crazy mother that I sometimes am, I did go in and check on her a few minutes later. I put my hand lightly on her chest to feel her breathing. And I put my forearm to her forehead to make sure she didn't feel too feverish. Everything seemed fine.

Shafi and I are incredibly relieved that night 1 of sleep training went so well. I had been betting she would go 90 minutes. He had said he thought even longer - maybe 2 hours. So I think with that mindset we were both pretty calm and dealt well with the almost 30 minutes of crying.

We'll see how well she sleeps tonight. I said that if she goes until at least 10 then I'll feed her as needed when she wakes in the night. I want to give it a few nights - until she goes down with no more than 5 minutes of crying - before trying to wean her down to 1 night feeding.

Then when Shafi's parents go to LA in a couple weeks I will complete any remaining sleep training - which could mean letting her cry in the morning too. The plan is that she should sleep 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. with a feeding in the middle. So if she wakes earlier then we'll need to leave her alone, even if she cries, so that she learns to at least lie in bed quietly if not sleeping until 7 in the morning. Theoretically her body clock will adjust to waking in the middle of the night for a feeding and then sleeping until 7.

And hopefully when she's getting enough night sleep she'll start taking better regular naps rather than having to nap every other hour like she does now. And also once we know she's capable of self soothing and putting herself to sleep at night then we'll follow a similar method of sleep training for naps - so we'll put her in the crib and she'll put herself to sleep. Then, as I wrote about a couple weeks ago, morning and midday naps should then last at least an hour. If she cries for an hour then it's a failed nap and we wait and try again for the next one. Or if she sleeps for less than an hour then we leave her alone until the hour is up. Just like we expect overnight, her body clock will adjust to sleeping longer for these naps and then taking a nap or two in the afternoon also.

So soon we ought to have a well rested baby on a schedule!

And for now she's a bit of a fussy not quite well rested baby who naps frequently - but she's so darn cute!

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