The biggest change that we made was to move Lorelei’s bedtime up to 7am from 830pm. The other kids go to bed at 8pm, so we would get them to bed and then concentrate on getting the baby to bed. Now it is reversed and we not only have time to spend with the kids, we have a much needed break before hitting the sack. It feels less like a merry-go-round that we can’t get off by simply having that extra time.
So that was good, but I was staying home more often and realizing that Lorelei would be tired and unless she fell asleep while nursing, she didn’t nap and she definitely didn’t nap consistently or anywhere near a schedule. Red Flag! I started to do more research about sleeping at night and nap times and how much and when and came across a great article on The Sleep Site. I agreed with almost all of the information and although the attachment parents feel strongly about co-sleeping and not night weaning until 18 months, I’ve found that we are cry it out kind of parents.
I read up on sleep schedules and expectations, took the wisdom from raising two kids, and settled on a game-plan. I realized that Lorelei does not know how to fall asleep. I also realized that our “helping” her fall asleep was hindering the process and still making us crazy. If, at 3-4-5am she doesn’t go back to sleep while nursing, then she won’t go back to sleep until she is ready to nurse again and falls asleep on the boob usually 1-2 hours of screaming later.
I started this week with working on naps. Once I saw that she was tired; e.g. yawning, rubbing eyes, fussy, I would go put her down for a nap. If she needed to nurse, I would keep her awake through the session and lay her down awake. She would cry and I would wait patiently going in every 5 minutes to tell her quickly and concisely that it was nap time, lay her down again pat her back and walk out of the room. It takes about 20 minutes, but she does fall asleep on her own.
At bedtime we’ve started a bath, quiet time, singing, nursing routine and repeat the nap time thing until she falls asleep. My hope is that she’ll learn to put herself back to sleep and won’t wake so often to nurse and won’t wake for crying sessions at all. If the nursing sessions (4-5 a night) continue, we will take away the pacifier and/or start night weaning. We definitely wouldn’t do a cold turkey kindof thing with the night weaning and we would prob start with no paci’s at naps. She can already put it back in herself, I don’t want to get to the point where she’s asking for it and angry about it being gone.
So, that’s where we are at with that. It was interesting the way it was put in the article I read: going to sleep in one environment (on the boob) and waking up in another (in the crib) is like falling asleep with a pillow and waking with it gone. (That would suck.) Another example was what if you ate lunch everyday at 11am and then one day it changed to 1230pm? (That would also suck.) You’d think we’d be pros by now, but each child is different and we are different with each child. I think they do that on purpose. ;o)