Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Taking my own advice

We're officially on Day 5 of the new schedule with improvements on all fronts. And, I'm pretty sure about the time I feel confidant that all is settled, we'll be on to the next schedule ...

As mentioned, I moved Girly from 4.5 to 5 to 5.5 ounces over about 2 weeks. She did fine the first night after a day of 5.5 oz bottles, but she cried a lot during the second night. I wasn't sure if it was hunger or not, so I tried out 6oz bottles on Sunday and Monday and she did fine. This is still appropriate for her age, so we'll leave her there for now.

Remember what I said about "Start as you mean to go?" ... well ... we had gotten off track. After working so hard to reach quiet naps and bedtime, it became easy to just give her back the pacifier if she cried out. One time won't hurt, will it? She already knows how to soothe herself to sleep, right?

One time turned into several times a night and turned into several weeks of stumbling through the hall at 3am. Yes, I was only up for a minute, but disrupted sleep does not equal happy Mom. I kept thinking that it would just get better - that she would grow out of the habit.


Also, remember what I said about parents teaching their children bad habits? Yep, guilty. I slowly acknowledged that our weeks of replacing the pacifier as a stop-gap method to get her to sleep had reinforced the night waking.

After polling my very wise friends who are better at this than I am, I've gone back to being hard core. I let her cry during naps and especially at bedtime and during the night. I'm not above giving her the pacifier once, but I have to hear in her cry that she is tired and will fall asleep and not that my visit to her room will stimulate her and make her think it is happyfunplaytime.

I was robbing her of the opportunity to learn to self-soothe. I just assumed that if I didn't go in, she would cry long and hard. In reality, it is almost always less than 10 minutes. Plus, she is learning to find her fingers/thumb to suck on, which helps. (She isn't quite to the point of finding her pacifier and putting it back in her mouth).

(As I type this, she woke from a deep sleep, cried for 4 minutes and fell back asleep).

One of the great quotes I read about "crying it out" was along the lines of this .... your child may cry for 10 or 20 minutes while falling asleep for a nap, and then sleep for 1-2 hours. If you can't stand to hear them cry that long and get them up, you are robbing them of hours of good sleep that they need. It is helpful to re-frame all of this: you are teaching them skills they need for life and providing them with restorative sleep.

So, the last two nights we have committed to not going into her room at all after she goes down to bed. She has cried less than 10 minutes while falling asleep and during any night waking. We went from going into her room up to 5 times a night, to last night she only woke once and went back to sleep. I peeked in from the door to make sure she was OK (and she was, of course).

(** this is one of the great things about foregoing bumpers in the crib - I can see into her bed from the door to make sure she is OK, without her really seeing me**)

Everyone is more rested and we're on the right track (again) ...

1 comment:

Carrie said...

Love that quote.