As I think back to where I was a week ago, I am thrilled at our progress! A. has always been a ‘good sleeper’, but I also think that I have learned how to draw out sleep habits that will lead to everyone getting more rest. Besides the obvious benefit of restful sleep, I think one of my favourite things about a baby who sleeps well is the guaranteed time to myself in the evening.
As a mom to so many children who are home all day with me, I am only just starting to appreciate how essential it is for me to take care of myself. Some women need spa time or outings with girlfriends on a regular basis. Some need time to read or talk on the phone. I like all of these things and am really not terribly fussy — I just need a little bit of time to do pretty much whatever I want for awhile. If I know that I can put a baby to sleep and then have 3 or 4 hours to myself, it is Heaven. However, if I have not helped a baby to learn good sleep habits, it is a tense time of trying to replenish my mommy-energy while wondering every second if I will need to rush upstairs to nurse a baby back to sleep for the 4th time in an hour and a half.
Because I know that in the evening, I will have this time, I can be a much better mom during the day. Knowing there is a time and a place for the things I want to do helps me stay on track with activities that are other-focused. For example, I love sewing. When I am on a real sewing-bender, it would be very tempting to cut the kids’ homeschooling short and rush off downstairs to whip out a very cool new nursing tank top. However, being assured there will be time for the cool nursing tank in the evening means I don’t have to take the time from something else I should be doing.
I don’t know about your children, but ours go berserk after dinner. They are about an average level of calm the rest of the time, but the after-dinner hour, when we would like them to settle down in preparation for bed, sees them running, jumping and generally acting like crazed-lunatics. It is, truly, almost more than this introverted mama can bear! However, knowing my personal time is only minutes away gives me just the patience I need to mother my children a little bit longer.
Anyway, onto our sleep teaching progress.
I was starting to feel a bit discouraged because by day 4 or 5 A. had started to cry as soon as he realized we were into our bedtime routine. (He would begin crying when I started singing ‘Twinkle, twinkle’…was I that bad?!) I wondered when it would happen that I would just place him in his bed and he would happily chat himself to sleep and was feeling nervous that as gentle as I had tried to make this, he seemed unhappy. However, we appear to have turned the corner. A. no longer cries when I start our routine and I can mostly just sit and read a book or sometimes even duck out of the room as he falls asleep. I’m so proud of him!
Our last 24 hours:
6:54am Woke for the day
8:20am Bedtime Routine/Soothing (8 mins)
8:28am Fell asleep for Nap One
9:20am Woke Up (Nap One 51 mins)
10:52am Bedtime Routine/Soothing (12 mins)
11:05am Fell asleep for Nap Two
12:41pm Woke Up (Nap Two 1h 36 mins)
2:24pm Bedtime Routine/Soothing (8mins)
2:33pm Fell asleep for Nap Three
3:20pm Woke Up (Nap Three 46 mins)
It was tempting to try to keep him awake until 6:30pm since he often skips Nap Four, however, he seemed tired, so I put him to bed.
4:49pm Bedtime Routine/Soothing (8 mins)
4:57pm Fell asleep for Nap Four
5:59pm Woke Up (Nap Four 1h 2mins)
7:44pm Bedtime Routine/Soothing (14 mins — not too much crying, just took awhile)
8:00pm Fell asleep for the night
2:21am Woke Up; nursed 15 mins
2:38am Back in co-sleeper, fell asleep without help
6:19am Woke Up; nursed in bed with me (23 mins — but I fell asleep and woke to find him asleep still happily sucking away, so I don’t know how long he would have nursed if he didn’t fall asleep, too!)
6:38am Snuggled him in beside me and we both went back to sleep
8:01am A. Woke Up for the morning (I was long gone by this time!)
Well, that ends my daily sleep updates. I will post another update about our gentle sleep teaching in about a week. It took me all day to get around to blogging, so I’m off to bed!