Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Getting Baby to Sleep


So 6 months into this parenting thing, we are still struggling with Cayden not sleeping. There is so much conflicting information out there. The pediatrician thinks he should be sleeping through the night by now. I've read other sources that say it's perfectly normal for him not to be sleeping through the night just yet. I've spoken to other mothers who say their babies didn't sleep through the night until they were 1 or 2 years old. Not only doesn't he sleep through the night, he's not big on napping during the day either. It would be nice to get a good night's sleep but I've accepted and gotten used to the fact that my baby is just not a good sleeper. I was prepared to wait this out and see if he ever starts sleeping but our pediatrician gave us a handout at our last appointment that gives tips for getting baby to sleep through the night and my curiousity has been piqued.

According to the author, Barton D. Schmitt, Cayden is a "trained night feeder". The author contends that after about 8 weeks, babies should start eating at longer intervals. Cayden still eats on pretty much the same schedule as he did when he first got home---every 2 hours or so. Besides not spacing out his feedings, there are a few other things that I am apparently doing that I shouldn't be. Getting him out of the crib the minute he wakes up crying is apparently a no-no if you want your child to sleep through the night. Nursing to sleep is also another reason that he may not be sleeping longer than he is. In all honesty, it is never my intention to nurse Cayden to sleep. It is my intention to feed him but he has always fallen asleep while he was nursing, even as a newborn. My attempts to wake him up were usually unsuccessful. Having him sleep in the same room with us is also a recipe for trouble apparently. Aside from the fact that I would like to get some sleep most of the time, I do want to help him sleep better and it worries me that he does not get as much sleep as he should. So, after reading through the document, there are a few things that I am willing to try.

1. Move his crib to another room- He has already outgrown his Pack n Play so we bought him a brand new full size crib for the other bedroom. He has been sleeping in it since Sunday. It's been an adjustment for all of us. We've been leaving the light on because I don't want him to wake up and freak out. The first night was something out of a dream. He slept from around 9:00 to 2:30 in the morning or so. The second night, we seemed to be right back to square one with him waking up every 2 hours on schedule. The third night was better. He slept from around midnight to 2:30 and then again from 2:30 am to 9:30 this morning. It's a work in progress but I think he'll get the hang of it eventually.

2. Trying to spread out his feedings- this has been harder for me because I constantly worry that he's hungry. We're starting out with 3 hours and will eventually work our way up to four. Yesterday, he woke up an hour after I'd fed him and laid him down to sleep. He was crying but I'm sure he wasn't hungry he just wanted the comfort of the boob. I put him in his bouncy seat and rocked him in it. He eventually quieted down but we only made it to 2.5 hours because he kept crying for the boob and I relented. I definitely need to break him of that habit. The article recommends distracting him but that is easier said than done.

3. Placing him in the crib drowsy- This is tough because even though Cayden is clearly sleepy, putting him in the crib seems to wake him right up. I have been having to lay him down while he's sleepy and he usually wakes up. But instead of picking him back up like I normally would, I leave the room. So far, the longest he's cried is 10 minutes before going back to sleep. I can deal with that.

4. Drop the night feeding to one feeding- This has worked for 2 of the past 3 nights. I think the fact that he seems to be doing it so quickly is a sign that he truly is just mostly comfort nursing at night. But, he has always been a big comfort nurser...even as a newborn. It took me a minute to figure out that he wasn't really eating when he seemed to be on my boob non-stop.

Not giving bottles in the crib does not apply to us and trying to get him to attach to another security object besides me is a long shot. He refuses to take a pacifier and he likes his stuffed toys but not as much as he likes me. The article says two weeks but I'm thinking we're going to need more like 30 days. I am seeing some improvement in only three days but it's not consistent so we have to keep working at it.