September 18, 2010

teaching ry to sleep

So if you've been reading for any length of time, you know that Ry is not the best sleeper. Nights aren't horrible, but naps are short and getting her to sleep is near impossible. I wasn't a fan of any 'cry it out' options, but honestly what parent thinks 'Oh hey, how about we lay the baby in the crib and let her cry until she falls asleep. that will be fun!'. Right, as far as I know, no one.

But then this past weekend happened. This weekend the second my bum would touch the glider Ryann would start crying/screaming, kicking, punching and pulling my hair. She would arch her back and throw her head around. She would scream until she fell asleep, all while I was holding/rocking/singing to her. In all honesty we were both crying until she fell asleep. Sometimes walking around the house seemed to help, but ultimately I felt all of this was ridiculous. She was tired. She needed to sleep. I needed to step back.

I planned to use a version of the Ferber method. Sorry I don't have any resources to specifically give you, just google it if you need to. Basically I would put Ryann in her crib awake (I wanted to try the putting her down drowsy thing, but she wouldn't let me get her there), once she started crying I would wait five minutes, go in to pat/shush/soothe and then leave the room. Then the wait time was 10 minutes, then 15... The first night? Not so good. We occasionally lay Ry in the crib and let her play while we are getting ready to leave the house, so honestly I think she just thought it was playtime. It was a good 30 minutes before she decided she didn't like the situation. Then the crying started. My heart broke. Five minutes later I went in to soothe her, she got SO excited to see me. I moved her back to the middle of the crib, said I love you, did a little back rubbing until she stopped screaming, and left the room. She was fine for another few minutes, then the all out wailing began. I waited the 10 minutes and went back in. She had spit up ALL OVER the crib. So I picked her up to clean her off while Chris changed the sheet. At this point she dug her head into my neck and whimpered until she fell asleep. Seriously, it was killing me. But she was asleep.

Fast forward to nap #1 on Monday. I sat down in the rocker with Ryann and it was instant ticked off baby, so I stood up, swayed with her a bit, said 'I love you' and put her in the crib. Again it was another 30 minutes of her just hanging out, chatting to herself, spinning in circles. Then she got mad. I went in and soothed her. Then she pooped. Obviously I had no choice but to pick her up and change her diaper. Since I was already holding my girl with the giant elephant tears on her face, I rocked her to sleep. She was only asleep for 30 minutes, not that it surprised me, but... For the afternoon nap again she just hung out for a while, then the crying started. This time it was only a total of eight minutes of crying before she was asleep by herself in the crib. I was amazed. Still upset by the fact that she cried herself to sleep, but amazed. She slept for 90 minutes. Monday night went the same as Sunday, crying, spitting up, and me eventually just rocking her to sleep.

Enter Tuesday. I put Ry in her crib for the morning nap, she hung out for a little bit, and then started crying. The WORST I have ever heard her cry. My heart was breaking to pieces. After the five minutes I went in to soothe her... she was seriously so excited to see me (mind you I'm not talking to her, no real eye contact, just back rubbing). She was smiling, kicking her legs, super excited. I left the room. She screamed. I seriously didn't think I could do it, I told Chris I couldn't. She screamed for almost the entire 10 minutes. I went back in to soothe her a little bit, she was so close to sleeping I could tell. BUT, she pooped. Seriously? So I changed her diaper, put her in the crib, and she cried. But less than ten minutes later she was asleep. She slept for an hour.

When I put her down for the afternoon nap she was crying before I left the room. I think she finally figured out that crib + seahorse = mommy leaving me in here. It took all of my strength to not turn right around go get her. Amazingly, her crying did not escalate into hysterics, and slowly tapered off until she was asleep. I didn't have to go back in and soothe her. She was completely asleep less than 15 minutes after I put her down. She slept for two and a half hours! Tuesday night went about as well, she was just laying in the crib for about 10 minutes (I have a video monitor so I was watching) before she started fussing. But five minutes later she was asleep.

Wednesday for morning nap again, no real crying, just 15 minutes of fussing (I would equivalent to complaining) and she was asleep! I was worried because it was thundering out, I figured surely she would wake up. She did after 30 minutes, looked around, rubbed her eyes, and went back to sleep. HELLO PEOPLE, she went back to sleep!! That has happened one other time that I can remember.

Since then going down for naps has generally only taken her 10 to 15 minutes, and rarely does her crying/fussing become that unbearable 'I'm a horrible mother' cry. Thank God. I can't handle that one very much at all. Since she started putting herself to sleep her naps have lasted anywhere from 1 to 2.5 hours. It hasn't really seemed to affect how long she sleeps at night, but I'm hoping it helps her get through soon.

Now I'm not interested in using any 'cry it out' method to teach Ry to sleep through the night just yet. She doesn't eat all that much, so I still feel like sometimes she needs that middle of the night bottle. I try to get her to eat more during the day, but she just won't. She isn't hungry. But if she starts getting the hang of this sleeping thing, and starts eating more during the day, I might consider some form of sleep training for the night. Honestly though? There is going to be teething, colds, nightmares, diaper leaks, etc. that are going to wake her up. So there is part of me that thinks babies/toddlers sleeping through the night regularly is myth :o). At least that is what I tell myself, being the parent of a baby who no longer sleeps through the night...


Jen said...

Oh, I feel for you :( Our daughter slept through the night (8 hrs) at 7 weeks old and was sleeping 14 hours straight by 4 months. She was a great sleeper until she was 3, now she rarely sleeps through the night lol. My son on the other hand, is 9 months old and has never slept through the night. I could write a novel about this, but I will just say that I have been there and have read every book on the subject and we are exhausted too. Hang in there!

NainaDG said...

Ashley, I'm in a similar boat as you. My son falls asleep fairly easily (I rock him to sleep) and does naps really well, but he wakes up several times at night. I tried CIO once and I couldn't do it but I do wonder if at some point I'm going to have step back from the craziness and try it again. I'm glad to hear Nap times are getting easier.

Dana said...

I am doing the same thing right now with Noah! I am working on his naps and letting him cry it out and it is slowly getting better, but getting better nonetheless!! I have been writing about it on my blog. And it has helped Noah to eat more during the day. I totally agree with u on the whole myth of babies sleeping thru the night so early and so often. I have read that if ur child does that consider urself blessed!!! Noah slept thru the night lastnight but I have a feeling it was just a growth spurt and won't be a regular thing, or maybe there is something to this whole self soothing thing...who knows!! Keep up the good work, I know it is sooooo hard to let them cry it out. I was so against it at first and it was super super hard to let him cry. But now he only complains like u said Ry does and then is off to sleep :D

Expat Girl said...

Madison is 3 months old and I have her sleeping from 8pm till 8am but only since I started putting her down awake and letting her soothe herself to sleep. The first few attempts were heartbreaking but she got the hang of it and now I am a very happy mama!

Elizabeth said...

My second baby was up at night several times until she was 15 months old- I got pregnant and decided that I wasn't getting up with her anymore. It took a few weeks and now she sleeps through the night- a lot of the time the waking ends up being a habit so a little crying in bed without you will help them break that habit. It really is heartbreaking to listen to your baby cry but in the end you will say it was worth it. A well-rested baby is the happiest baby. Sleep is the best gift you can give her! Oh- try reading Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child.

Rebecca said...

i'm SO glad you posted this! i've been working on getting my Grace to nap better (she's 11 weeks today) and i ended up having to let her CIO. it broke my heart at first, but she would cry for a while, end up falling asleep for a good nap, and wake up smiling!! it's like she NEEDED to work through it and get the crying out of her system. now she fusses sometimes, but often goes down to sleep without a tear. she's not sleeping through the night yet, but i'm like you and feel like that middle of the night feeding is good for her since she can be a skimpy daytime eater.

it's so great to read about other mom's experiences, so thanks again for this post. love your blog by the way :)

Anonymous said...

I can sympathize. We finally let Shelby cry it out for a few nights because her sleep had regressed so much (she was just shy of 6 months). It was hard, but we made it through and it was worth it. (I blogged about it.)

Unfortunately, now she has a really bad cold and is sleeping in the car seat/swing so she can breathe. I have a feeling we're going to have to do CIO all over again once her nose clears up and she's back in her crib.

Teaching babies to sleep can be so hard. No matter what you decide to do, know you're not alone!

sarah @ life {sweet} life said...

I am so with you on this! My son is 4 months old and is the same way about not eating all that much during the day, and quite frankly, I'm not too stressed about changing it. I don't mind getting up with him (once!) at night as long as he goes right back to sleep. :) We're working on naps now and also getting ready to transition to the sleep sack. I'm worried about that as he's a huge fan of the swaddle, but he's rolling too much now for that. So this week should be fun! I also just started reading the Healthy Sleep Habits book, so we'll see if that helps me any. :) As always, Ryann looks precious! She has such a pretty face. :)

Jenn said...

I am going through the same thing with naps. My daughter falls asleep very easily at night.
We have done the cry for a certain amount of time and then check on her. Last week it was 10 minutes and she was out. This week she is teething and the naps have gone out the window. Praying that she goes back to taking good naps soon, mama has to clean the house!
Hope she keeps sleeping like that for you.

E Jones said...

Ashley, I waited wayyyy to long to sleep train and boy- after I finally gave in, I so wish I had done it earlier. Read, "Sleeping 12 hours at 12 weeks." The author is a baby sleep coach (yes, I know, crazy but there is such a thing:)) The book is written so you can read it in 1 hour- 2 hours tops and it gives you the step by step specifics. Your a great Mom!

kelsey jo said...

I have a question about this whole thing, hopefully I can get a few opinions! My son (11 weeks) is a HORRIBLE napper just like Ryann, he'll sleep for 20-40 minutes AFTER I spend at least 20-30 getting him to sleep! I'd like to try the method you're using for napping but I'm wondering if because we still swaddle him at night should we be swaddling him for naps as well? I've tried the swaddling for naps before and it works if I rock him to sleep but with the (semi)CIO method you're using I'm not sure the SwaddleMe could hold him! :)
Any opinions would be appreciated! And I LOVE your blog by the way. I'm an avid reader...just not a great commenter!

Ashley said...

Kelsey Jo-

We stopped swaddling for naps a month or so before we stopped swaddling at night. Sometimes if she wouldn't settle I would swaddle her, but otherwise she has been unswaddled for naps since just after 3 months, when we started transitioning into the crib.

Also, I feel if you are going to do any sort of cry it out, that they need to have their arms free so they can attempt to soothe themselves. That is just my personal opinion, but Ryann can flip herself into a comfortable position. Sometimes she sucks her thumb, sometimes she pushes the sleep sack into her mouth and sucks on that. (She won't take a paci)

If you really want to get good at all the sleep things quickly, I would think unswaddling and using a little bit of cry it out all at the same time might be something to try.

Hope that at least gives you something to think about!