Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Whoops, we broke our baby

Ahhh .... how quickly you forget.

As I've said, we worked darn hard to get our Girl to sleep and nap well. All of our hard work paid off and we had a pretty blissful existence for weeks 10-17 of her life. Starting at about 4 months, though, some little issues started to sneak in.

I've read that some sleep issues can crop up around 4 months, perhaps having to do with the fact that your baby is getting much stronger, more independent and on the verge of reaching a lot of developmental milestones.

Naps still went pretty smoothly for us, and she went to sleep really easily, but there started to be lots of waking during the night. During the early morning hours. Boo.

At first it would just be once or twice a night - she would cry out from a deep sleep and would fall right back to sleep if we put her pacifier back in her mouth. Then, it became several times a night, usually between midnight and 4am. And, it appeared that she was wiggling out of her swaddle, or at least getting her hands up by her face.

We struggled with the correct response ... give her the pacifier or cry it out? Since she fell back asleep so easily, it seemed easiest to replace the pacifier. Multiple minutes of crying at 3:15am doesn't seem like the right solution for anyone. However, we got to the point of replacing the pacifier 4 or 5 or 6 times a night, which was a bad habit.

To further complicate matters, I really felt the swaddle was the root of her problems. I thought she was wiggling around so much that she woke herself up and cried. I loved the swaddle, and still do. It was becoming clear, though, that she was just getting too big and too strong and it needed to go.

It happens that all of this took place the week or two before I planned to move around her feeding and sleeping schedule and I knew it wasn't fair to do all of it at the same time. I had to postpone the feeding schedule change due to sickness, but on Saturday morning she was her normal happy self and I took advantage of the opportunity to de-Swaddle.


I miss my easy baby!

I decided to go cold turkey on the swaddle. I've read lots of opinions, but most said it didn't really matter if you did one arm out, two arms out, then quit. I found an internet post from the maker of The Miracle Blanket and he also recommended cold turkey as the best way to go. (You can find anything on the internets!) I never used The Miracle Blanket, but even the maker said 4 months is about the time to stop using it.

Girly was almost always quiet in her bed, or she cried a little and fell asleep. The first day I heard her talking in her bed and going back to sleep on her own, I thought the swaddle could go. I just picked her next nap and substituted a Sleep Sack for the Swaddle Me. You may be asking yourself - "why is she using another prop that will need to go later?" True - this might bite me - but I think the routine is a good sleep cue.

Lots of crying ensued. A 4-month-old can cry longer and harder than a 6-week-old and it makes me happy we did our sleep training way back when!

It is also fascinating that Girly really didn't know what to do with her arms. She never had the experience of having "arms" in her bed when she slept, so they just flailed about. She would hit herself or take her pacifier out and then get mad. She also slept like a mummy with her arms out in front of her. (Cute!)

She napped pretty poorly Saturday and Sunday, although she was so exhausted by bedtime that she went to sleep pretty well. She apparently did well at daycare on Monday, and did so-so at home on Tuesday. Tuesday night was good - she went to bed without a peep and only woke once in the wee hours of the morning. She woke up happy at 5:15am - too early - but she talked in bed for about half an hour before really getting mad.

I am hopeful that she will be "adjusted" by this weekend. And, I am hopeful that the middle of the night shout outs will be a thing of the past, because I'm still not sure what the "proper" response is.

Next task: Move from 6 to 5 feedings and move bedtime to 7pm.

So help us God.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

congratulations, sounds like you've passed the 'hardest time' and fingers crossed for a continued easy transition from the swaddle. all the best with those early morning wake ups too.
we got a Peke Moe sleep sack when we transitioned our boy from the swaddle (for future reference). Was great to keep him covered and cosy when they can lose the blankets, so a sleeping bag may be good for those early morning wake ups too! :) all the best to you .