Day 1 - following Elizabeth Pantley's No-Cry Sleep Solution
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After keeping a few nights of sleep logs, and then keeping a nap log today, we're heading into our first night of trying to get longer/better sleep without Isaac having to 'crying it out.' A few things I did differently today:
1) Came up with some key words that I will say to Isaac when he is calm and peaceful and near sleep. Once he gets used to hearing those words, they can be used as a cue to help calm him down, and even help him settle down for sleep.
2) Watched closely for signs that Isaac was sleepy. A good friend told me to try to put him to sleep before I even start seeing the signs, or it might be too late. Babies that are overly tired have a harder time falling asleep and staying asleep - they don't know that sleep is what they need to make them feel better. Isaac starts getting sleepy when he's been awake for close to 2 hours, especially in the mornings. Although I'm not a big fan of watching the clock, it can be helpful when trying to get your baby down for a nap before he gets past the point of no return and is too tired. When I start seeing signs - glazed over eyes, slow blinking, eyes drooping, hands moving up towards to face, yawning - I know I better try to get him to bed immediately.
3) I love holding my sleeping baby, but when I hold him and he's asleep, he gets used to sleeping in my arms. I think there are times, special occasions, for holding him when he's asleep, but I think that it's important to put him down in crib most of the time so that he gets used to sleeping there. Today, when I noticed that it was around the time for him to have a nap or saw any signs that he was tired, I gave him his pacifier and bounced him for awhile. When I felt his body start to droop and his breathing became more slow and even, I put him in his crib. He is still awake at this point, sucking away on his pacifier. I still swaddle him (I kept him un-swaddled tonight just to try it out, and he lasted 5 minutes in his crib until he was awake again) so I did that tightly. His eyes slowly closed.
4) The next thing I did was take out his pacifier. I think pacifiers are great, but I want Isaac to be able to sleep without it. If he goes to sleep with it, and it falls out, and then he wakes up without it, he might have a hard time falling back to sleep. So I'm going to try to use it to help him fall asleep, but then before he is asleep take it out. The first couple times he didn't like being without it, but I used Pantley's guide to help remove it. Take it out, give it back, take it out, give it back...and eventually when I took it out, he was ok and fell to sleep. I was able to do this 3 times successfully.
5) We started a bedtime routine. We have always kind of done the same thing before bed anyway, but now it's more a conscious thing. Bath, jammies, nursery time (play with toys, read books, listen to stuffed animal ducks that play the same tune over and over and over), family time (with dad, too), nurse, bounce, sleep. The book suggests that it be an hour routine, so I started at 6:45, hoping to end with Isaac going to sleep around 7:45 or 8. By the time I was done with everything it was only 7:15. I noticed that Isaac was already exhibiting signs of fatigue...so I put him to sleep early. By 7:30 he was sleeping.
Tonight I will start using the different phases in the book to help Isaac sleep better/longer in his crib. I will also try to feed him less at night. Instead of every time he wakes up, it will be more like twice or three times in the night. I will also keep his wake up times and bed times as consistent as I can.
The point is not to be rigid, but have some structure while at the same time being flexible. (Babies, after all, are often unpredictable!)
I'll report back now and then to let you know how it's going. Sweet dreams!