Let’s talk about sleep some more, shall we?
Last night we completed night three of “The Happy Sleeper” method. Major props to Molly over at Hound Mamas for introducing me to this. The funny thing is that we had sort of been doing this on our own without knowing it, but the reason it wasn’t wholly successful is that we hadn’t been as structured as the plan calls for.
My official grade for this sleep training method is that it is a huge success. It is what is considered to be a cross between CIO and attachment parenting. Look, I wanted to do the 100% attachment parenting thing, but it just doesn’t work for us. We’re still pretty attachment-y. Charlie nurses when she wants. I am with her every hour except when she spends six hours in her crib at night and when I spend a few hours at the law firm every week. She still spends half the night in our bed, BUT nursing to sleep, rocking to sleep, holding to sleep? It wasn’t working for us. Not because I didn’t want to put the time in, but because with those methods Charlie was waking up every hour to two hours screaming her head off, needing the 30-45 minutes of nursing and cuddling all over again. This would continue until I just got into bed with her eventually.
I’m sorry. My world is my child. It really is, but she goes to bed at 7:00 pm. And if you tell me that I am wrong for wanting the hours between 7:00 and midnight to be my own to clean, meal plan, sew, spend maybe five minutes with my husband, POSSIBLY even have sex? Well we can’t be friends. If I’m wrong for that in your eyes, sorry not sorry. Those hours are what make me a better mom. I love my child. I smile just when I see the top of her head as she naps on my chest. But I need a few hours at night. And she needs to learn to sleep on her own, and for longer periods of time. Teaching your children to sleep is a gift, period. That’s all.
So anyway. Happy Sleeper. A big part of this is that we moved Charlie to her room. That was huge for us, because she’s been either in a bassinet, a pack n play, or our bed her whole life, but the minute, and I mean the minute I would creep into our room to go to bed she would be awake. Didn’t matter how ninja like I was. Babies just know, man. They just know. So night one, Friday night. We do her bedtime routine, Bath, Baby merlin sleepsuit, nursing, story. Then we said goodnight to everything in the room, turned on the sound machine, turned off her lamp (she has a red nightlight in the room) and said our mantra:
“It’s time to go to sleep. I’m right down the hall. Momma and Daddo love you very much.”
And walked out.
And she cried. Of course she cried. Five minutes later I went in and said the mantra again. And again five minutes later, and again five minutes later. Eventually Chief came back from getting dinner and he went in and said it because I was becoming Jello like and wanting to bend.
She cried for almost an hour exactly. But then….she slept. For 3.5 hours. Then she woke up to eat and I fed her immediately. Then put her back down and she cried for a minute maybe, and went back to sleep for another three hours. At this point I pulled her into bed with us which had been our plan from the get go. Half the night in her room, half the night in ours.
Night two she cried for 2.5 minutes. No need for the mantra. She slept for another 3.5 hours. I was SUPER tired on Saturday so when she woke up I just pulled her into bed with me because I knew I didn’t want to get up at 2:00 am and get her out. Last night she cried for less than two minutes and went to sleep. When I put her back down after nursing she didn’t cry at all. Just went straight to sleep. She slept for about 2:45 after that and then Chief got her and brought her into bed with us when she started to fuss for milk.
So I consider it a huge success honestly. she’s not sleeping long stretches yet, but she is putting herself to sleep on her own in her room. Honestly I think she’s digging having all that room. With the pack in play her arms were touching either side and it would wake her up easily when she would move. She sleeps solid and hard in her crib. And I’d be lying if I said I weren’t enjoying an hour of reading or TV in our room with the lamp on before I fall asleep.
I haven’t started the plan for naps yet because i need to put the black out curtains in her room and honestly…..I’ve been enjoying a few last days of letting her nap on me. I think she’s going to resist naptime change, HARD and I’m dreading the tears a little bit.
Tonight I start the slow process of weaning her from that first feeding. I don’t want her to stop nursing at night altogether, but at almost eight months every three hours is really not necessary. So I’d like to cut out the first one, keep the 2:00 am one for a while and eventually cut out the early morning 4-5 am one. Waking up only one in the evening sounds like a dream. Sometime when she’s about a year I might work on getting rid of the 2:00 am one. Weaning is really slow on this plan-you just nurse 30 seconds less every two days, so it takes about two weeks to cut out a feeding, but that’s fine. 30 seconds isn’t going to be enough for her to even really notice what’s happening and it should help her slowly shift to taking more in during the day.
I have so many sewing projects to work on this week! I still have my baby gifts for our friends to complete and MPB has commissioned me to make her a chenille blanket just like the one on my last post! I’m so excited to make this happen for her and love the idea of my work going out into the world 🙂
I have another post in me with some good and bad news about Dora kitty, but this one is already long enough, so expect that later.