This is going really well. I think I finally understand baby sleep and how to avoid a whole bunch of problems.
As an attachment parent, any time a sleep book mentioned crying of any kind, I would put the book right back on the library shelf. However, now while I am still not into ‘plop the baby in bed, say ‘goodnight’ and walk away’ philosophy, I do understand that if my baby is going to be a good sleeper, I will need to gently take charge.
Just like a baby doesn’t necessarily relish going in a carseat and will probably protest, it doesn’t mean that his idea of not riding in one is the best thing for him. Of course, as with the carseat I am going to be there to support him through and minimize distress.
However, this method really isn’t all that distressing to be honest.
One thing that I have gleaned from several sleep books that I have checked out from the library right now is that the most important first step is to just worry about teaching baby to go to sleep on his own in his own space. Several sleep books said that after a baby is going to sleep well on his own the nighttime should work itself out (read — baby will most likely be sleeping through the night) within about 2 weeks regardless of what I do during the night. Several books have also said that until about 6 months, some babies continue to have 1-2 hunger-based night-wakings.
Onto our last 24 hours. Yesterday, I left you with our first nap in progress.
Thursday Morning to Friday Morning:
7:14am Woke up for the day
8:39am Started bedtime Routine/soothing to sleep (6 mins)
8:45am Fell asleep for Nap One
10:19am Woke up (Nap One 1h 34 min)
11:44am Started bedtime Routine/Soothing to sleep (4 min)
11:48am Fell asleep for Nap Two
2:08pm Woke up (Nap Two 2h 20 min)
3:33pm Started bedtime Routine/Soothing to sleep (9 min)
3:42pm Fell asleep for Nap Three
4:22pm Woke up (Nap Three 39 min)
6:00pm Seemed tired; started Bedtime Routine/Soothing to sleep (8 min)
6:08pm Clearly a no-go — have been thinking he is giving this up; got him up and rejoined the family
7:07pm Started Bedtime Routine/Soothing to sleep (7 min)
7:14pm Asleep for the night
Now, probably a total of three times in the night, A. fussed or cried briefly (never more than a few seconds per cry burst). I held back and asked myself, “Would I be up to this bedroom yet if I heard him and was walking from downstairs?” If not, I waited and several times, he put himself back to sleep easily.
2:39am Woke up (7h 25 min at this point!); I nursed since I had decided not to offer a dream feed and I thought he was probably hungry. It ended up being a good move. I sat up to nurse (8 min) and then returned him to the co-sleeper where he wiggled a bit and settled himself.
2:51am Fell asleep
7:02am Woke for the day (4h 11 min)
Isn’t that too good to be true?! This attachment parenting mama is seriously happy.
So, the key lesson for today (reminding myself here, too!):
If you want to have a good sleeper, baby needs to learn to fall asleep in his own bed (or your bed if you are co-sleeping) from awake, so without nursing/rocking/wearing then being transferred. This is the first thing to work on and is best worked on early, starting at about 6 weeks to 4 months. It can be done gently and humanely, but baby needs to go to sleep in the place where he/she will sleep without any sleep associations that you don’t want to have to replicate later in the night.