July 24, 2013

boo sleep training.

I know I know.  You're probably thinking either A) this girl talks about her kids' sleeping habits too much or B) if you don't like sleep training (in our case, a cry-it-out method) why are you doing it?  Well if Elsie would let me rock her to sleep, in a reasonable amount of time, and actually stay asleep, unswaddled, in her crib, then you better believe I'd be in that glider snuggling my baby.  But it just wasn't the case.  She was still sleeping partially swaddled in the rock 'n play and needed me to rock or nurse her to sleep.  Honestly it still wouldn't have been that bad, but I can't just ditch Ry for 20+ minutes here and there to get Elsie to nap.  And Elsie gets so sad and pathetic when she is tired.

So Sunday we went all Ferber on her adorable, unsuspecting little self.

uh mom?  what the heck is going on here?

Bedtime went pretty much as I suspected.  E cried and cried and CRIED.  It was so sad.  Elsie is a really good baby, she tolerates and puts up with a lot, so we rarely hear a real true cry from her.  My heart was breaking.  I quickly wanted to give up and go get her, but I told myself I was committing to three nights, and if after three nights things didn't look much better than screw it.  We'll figure something else out.  I went in at the appropriate intervals according to Ferber's book to rub her back and try and soothe her a bit, but my presence did nothing for her.  She just continued to scream.  After about 35 minutes she finally calmed to sad, pathetic little sobs, and by the 40 minute mark she was asleep (about 9:15pm).

Elsie continued to be restless for another couple of hours, which was not surprising at all.  I'd be a little out of sorts too, if I went from sleeping all wrapped up in an upright position to completely free on my belly (she immediately rolls to her belly when she is put down).  Thankfully she never truly woke up and required me to come back in there until 3am.

She woke up at 3, and was fussing a bit here and there.  She seemed to be trying to go back to sleep, but couldn't.  And her fussing was starting to escalate.  So I decided to feed her.  She has been waking between 3-5am for a feeding for quite a while, so I assumed she was legitimately hungry.  Plus, I'm not sleeping training in the hopes of her sleeping through the night.  That isn't something I'm concerned with yet.  I just don't need an hour+ circus trying to get her back to sleep.  Anyway, I made certain to not let her fall completely asleep nursing.  When she was done, I rocked her just a little, gave her a kiss, told her I loved her and laid her back in the crib.  I was tense walking back to my room, expecting another 40+ minutes of tears.

But she didn't cry.  Not at all.  There was maybe a peep or two while she tried to figure out how to get comfortable, and it did take her at least 20 minutes to fall asleep.  But she didn't cry!  I was so incredibly thankful for that.  She slept for just over two more hours, and woke up for the day around 6:20.

There were still lots of tears for naps on Monday, but for each one it took her less than 15 minutes to fall asleep.  Unfortunately she only slept for half an hour.  The third nap of the day I decided to give her 10 minutes to see if she could fall back asleep, and she did at the nine minute mark.  It was only additional 40 minutes, but she needed sleep.

Elsie's thoughts on sleep training...

Monday bedtime went very similar to Sunday, lots and lots of tears.  Part of the problem, I think, is she is falling asleep nursing, and then is ultra pissed when I lay her down because I don't wait until she is out cold.  That time it only was 30 minutes of crying before she was down for the night, so an improvement I guess, but she was also more worn out from barely napping all day.  She did wake again around 3am.  I watched her try to go back to sleep for about 15 minutes, but she was starting to get more and more worked up.  I went in to change her diaper and feed her and she had pooped.  I'm sure that is part of the reason she couldn't sleep.  But after she was fed she went to sleep by herself with minimal resistance, and slept until 7:30.

The first two naps on Tuesday were the same as Monday, took about 10 minutes for her to go to sleep, and then she slept for about 35 minutes.  For her third nap she actually slept about 90 minutes without waking up.  I was thrilled!  But bedtime was still awful.  Not quite as bad as the previous two days, but still 25 minutes with a significant amount of tears.  And the middle of the night didn't go quite as well.  She woke up very upset around 11:30pm.  I tried to give her a few to see if she could figure it out on her own, but she just got louder and louder.  I decided to feed her and lay her back down.  She didn't fall back to sleep quite as easily as the other two nights, but she did manage to go back to sleep.  However she woke again at 4:30am.  This time I changed her and fed her, and laid her back down.  Again, more fussing than the previous two nights, but she still went back to sleep without me coming back in the room, and was out until 7:45.

This morning nap didn't go very well at all.  Her cries were much more intense than yesterday during nap time, and it took her a good 20 minutes to fall asleep.  And she was only asleep for maybe, 5-10 minutes.  We had a play date planned, so we left the house.  She fell asleep in the car on the way home and slept for about 20 minutes.  Maybe an hour later she was rubbing her eyes like crazy, so I decided to put her down for another nap.  She cried hard for another 15 minutes before finally giving in to sleep.  She woke up crying 40 minutes later.  It had been three hours since she last ate, so I decided to just get her up and feed her.  She passed back out.  I know I should probably have kept her up, for the sake of her learning to put herself to sleep without sucking, but I felt so bad because she was so tired.  So tired that after about 15 minutes without her squirming at all, I was able to carry her from our family room to her room and lay her down (in the rock 'n play, whoops) without her flinching.

So I'm not really sure where to go from here.  I know we're only on day three, and we have three habits we're trying to break (swaddling, sleeping in the rock 'n play, nursing/sucking/rocking to sleep) so I need to cut us both some slack.  But with Ryann I saw a significant improvement by the third day of the Ferber method.  I'm sure it is harder with Elsie because not only are we changing up the situation entirely, but we don't really have a set schedule.  What we do changes daily.  Nor does she have a consistent wake time.  I wish someone could tell me exactly what to do.  I keep hearing just do what works for your family, but I'm not really sure what works for us, you know?  I hate hearing her cry, it hurts my heart so much, but spending so much time rocking her doesn't work either.  I guess I'll give it a few more days and see where we are at.  If it isn't getting better, well... I don't know.

And because I regularly get asked on instagram, we use this monitor.


~Stephanie Hurst~ said...

Lol love the last pic!

Stephanie @ The Good Stuff said...

Hahahaa! Love the pic!

Anonymous said...

Elsie may not be a good candidate for CIO. Some babies don't "cave" to that method. We didn't/don't sleep train, but if we had, our daughter would also not be a good candidate (her meltdowns in the car are evidence of that). If she's a swaddle addict, what about trying the Merlin Magic Sleep Suit? My 8 month old was a swaddle addict and we transitioned her over to the Merlin Suit and she loves it. We just bought the larger size and have no plans to wean her from it as long as it continues to work.

You said you don't know what works for you, but what gets her to sleep the fastest and easiest? If it's nursing, then nurse! She won't be nursing to sleep when she's in kindergarten. And you can always revisit some form of sleep training later, if you wish.

J Young said...

Keep it up! I've done a loose version of the Ferber method with both of mine and it sounds like you're having fairly good success to me! I agree that it's probably harder because you're trying to break so many habits at once, but quitting now will just confuse her even more. Big hugs to you and good luck!

Skye said...

I hate to say it - but routine is the way to go - do the same thing day in and day out (as far as times of feeding, naps, bedtime, etc) and within a few days or week, you will start to see a difference. Both my kids were on schedules since day one and they both did very well. I did have to CIO with both at some point... but it didn't last very long after a couple of days. Its hard to find something that works for you - but stick with something you think will work and it will work eventually. We do something called BABYWISE - Some are against it but both my kids slept thru the night at weeks - so it worked for me. It's just putting your kid on a daily routine. Kids thrive on routine and knowing what to expect. We do a very basic routine - Sleep; awake time; eat; sleep;awake;eat.... etc. ... and I am on the go all the time- and still manage to follow the baby's routine even being out! :) Good luck. You'll figure it out. I think its harder trying to implement something the older the baby gets ... :(

Skye said...

meant to write both my kids slept through the night at "7" weeks above :)

Rhian said...

Hope your coping ok, I've been there ( with my first we got into bad rocking to sleep/ nursing to sleep habits) and its so hard!
Don't want to force advice on you, but if you wanted to look at what worked for us we used a book called 'dream baby guide' - its not as hard as CIO but not wishy washy either. Took us 1 night to go from rocking to sleep constantly and up 8 times a night nursing back to sleep, and no naps to 11-13 hr nights and 2 hr naps ( this was at 8 months).
I've just had baby #2 (2 boys under 2 right now!) and feel your pain with the sleepless nights! Trust your instincts cos nobody knows what's best for your bub better than you!

Anonymous said...

you said that sucking helps get her to sleep...did you try a pacifier for nap/bedtime? Just keep up with the cry it out method and try to work out a set schedule that you can stick with on a daily basis.