Sunday, November 27, 2005

Sleeping like a baby - HA!

Peanut is now about 7 1/2 months old and we recently had to make another concerted effort at getting her to bed in the evenings and to sleep through the night. Back at 10 weeks or so, she slept through the night for the first time and did so for several months.

When we moved to Dallas, there were several nights of adjusting to the new timezone. The advice i read was the babies who are breastfed should be fed when they wake during this time. So I did. Peanut was waking maybe 1 or 2 times a night.

But, then it continued. Every night she would wake up at a random time - sometimes 2 am, sometimes 4.30 am - crying, crying, crying. We couldn't bear to listen to her cry so we'd bring her to our bed for a feeding. Which ALWAYS put her back to sleep.

At her recent well-baby visit, the pediatrician simply said you've got to stop the night time feedings. period. she's not hungry, its just habit. And, its going to get worse at around 9 mos when babies develop more adult sleeping cycles and wake more frequently during the night. i felt the hairs on my back stand up in protest. i didn't like the advice. But, recognized that we should try it.....

Baby sleep training is about as controversial as it gets in the baby world:
Sears vs Ferber vs Cry It Out vs Baby Wise vs everything in between.

The aim is to get baby to be able to fall back asleep by herself. It should start with baby going to sleep by herself. We adjusted our evening routine so that milk came before story time. After story time, we turn out the lights, snuggle for a bit in bed and then I put Peanut in her crib while she's still somewhat awake. This was surprisingly easy. There was only about 5 evenings of more intense crying, standing, and crying. We'd go in, lay her down, rub her back/belly and walk out. Once, when it went on for more than 40 mins, I admittedly 'milked her down'.

The nighttime wakings were more of a struggle. When she woke up, we'd give her 5 mins or so to see if she calmed down. Usually she doesn't. Then, we'd go to her crib , lay her down and try the belly/back rub. It wasn't working - at least the first few nights. I'd often have to pick her up and rock her to sleep. It'd take like 40 mins before she settled back to sleep. Exhausting.

Now, about two weeks later, we've had 5 nights of no wakings. Last night, she woke at 4 am, papa went to rub and soothe. She slept for 1/2 hr. Mama's turn. She slept another 45 mins. Mama again. She slept until 6.30 when its morning milk time.

Not an easy path, but it can be done, and I feel in a gentle way.


Mia said...

Dear Piritta: With (only) one experience behind (Aleksi, 3 years) my tip would be to listnen to your motherly voice and act according to that. :-) All babies are individuals and their mother knows them best! When recalling the first 9 months with Aleksi, I remember that a clear day rhythym helped (eating & sleeeping at same hours daily).Also, it might be the teeth? For that, try the homeopathic gel. If you want, I can get you one of those from France over X-Mas time :-) Enjoy the moments with your little Princess, they do grow up so quickly... :-) Cheers, Mia.

Peanut's Mom said...

Hi Mia, I also think it was a combination of the teething - she had three top teeth coming in at once! - and her becoming more mobile making her hungrier. So, I've been trying to feed her very regularly during the day and keeping to a schedule. I think that had done the trick as she's now sleeping through the night again.

The ironic thing is that I still haven't been able to adjust MY own sleeping patterns so I'm the one who wakes up at night to check the time, listen for Peanut, etc, etc :-)

Have a great time in France for the holidays!