WE HAVE SLEEP! At Night That is. One Win at a Time

Thanks to EVERYONE'S awesome advice - Chris and I developed a sleeping plan. And first, let me just say that I feel so lucky to have a virtual mom's group when I can write a rant of a post and get almost 20 comments from other moms who have experienced the same thing. I love that everyone has a different idea, a different experience, a different plan that worked for them. Every kid is different, every parent is different, and so it's awesome to get to weigh through all the comments and figure out things that would work for us. The internet is awesome. And you guys are even awesome-er :)

Alright, so now: our sleeping plan...

I wrote that post on a Friday. Friday went just like normal, and Saturday night started out the same too. But then at about 4:30 after being up with her for another hour we frustratingly kicked her out and put her in her room. She bawled and was so upset - and I can understand because I'm sure it felt like she was being banished. But we were all exhausted. She cried, I cried. And after about 20-30 minutes of both of us crying we all fell asleep. Chris fell asleep much sooner... :)

Sunday night Chris and I went out to dinner for a date night and my mom was babysitting. We talked about what we should do moving forward and vowed that we really had to be consistent - so that night we would put her to bed in her own room. I was super sad thinking about it and it honestly gave me anxiety, but I knew it was the right thing to do. I was really happy about having co-slept up until this point, but clearly me, Chris and Zoe were not getting enough sleep and something had to change

That night we came home at 6:30 (early dinner, we're 28/34 going on 70) and started her nighttime routine. Then, when it was bedtime we brought her into her room to her mattress still on the floor and read her some stories. We read a couple more than normal (because I was sad) but we kept things the same. Then, it was bedtime. I got teary, so I exited first so she wouldn't hear or see me cry and Chris stayed in her room with her for another minute or two. She was laying on her bed and he was giving her some little cuddles and then he made his way out. She was definitely a little upset, but to our amazing surprise she only whimpered for about 10 minutes, and then fell right asleep. Holy shit!

We agreed that we wouldn't do a full on cry it out strategy because we didn't want so much change at once. But when she did fuss we decided we would go in, pop her pacifier back in, give her a couple back rubs and then leave. She fussed two times from 7:30 to when we went to bed at 10:30, but as soon as Chris popped in she went right back to sleep and wasn't upset when he left. Yay!

That night she woke up two more times and Chris popped in and again, she went right back to sleep. I didn't even feed her! Chris told me I might want to at some point in the middle of the night, but I was honestly too tired to really comprehend what he was talking about and fell right back asleep :)

The girl LOVES pillows - which I know, are a SIDS warning. But sometimes you have to give in to something that works.
In the morning we fished her out of her room when she woke up and brought her into our room for some snuggles and play. She is so damn happy and playful in the morning and we didn't want to miss that. She was pleased with herself and played and chatted and crawled all over us. I was happy we didn't break her :)

The next night we did the same thing and it was only one wake up before we went to bed, and another one in the middle of the night. This time I did feed her.

The next night it was 3 times, and no feeding.

And each time when we first put her to bed she would fuss a little bit, but never longer than 15 minutes. Once in those first 4 days Chris went back in to give her some rubs, but other than that she put herself to bed each time in her room all by herself, and it made me very happy :) Hooray!

As for the nighttime feedings, she usually wants one at about 3:30, and with her being in another room I become fully awake now feeding her and I used to only be semi-awake with her laying right next to me. I have had sleeping problems throughout my life, and for the last 3 or so years 2:30-4 seems to be a very problematic time of waking up and not being able to go back to sleep, so that feeding usually wakes me up to the point of not being able to fall back asleep for at least an hour. And that sucks. So now I'm trying to completely wean her from feedings at night - she's finally sleeping so I want to sleep through the night too! :)

By night 5 she fucking slept through the night! I on the other hand woke up at 5am because I wasn't used to so much sleep and I had no idea what to do with myself. As the nights have gone on, she's been doing great. A bad night now (3 wakings) is what a good night used to be, which is so awesome. Most of the time it's just one wake up, but we've had a couple other sleeping through the night days too, which has been completely awesome. The last 3 days have had a couple more wake ups than normal, but still, way better. Fingers crossed it stays this way. Sometimes she even puts herself to sleep after only a minute or two. Bless that child :)

Naps though? They still suck. Well, they don't SUCK anymore because she no longer just wails and wails, but she still struggles to go to sleep. Now that her mattress is on the ground she'll crawl around and play

Sometimes she'll wimper a little and fuss and we'll go rub her back. But for the most part, she's content to roll all over the place making a mess :) Then when she's tired she crawls up on her mattress to go to bed. Sometimes she doesn't make it all the way

Why do they suck? Well, they're still not very long. Every once in a while she takes one that's 40 minutes, but for the most part they're still just 30 minutes. And sometimes she won't take them. We have decided to give her an hour in her room - and if she hasn't fallen asleep by then and is still messing all around, we come get her. That happens about once every 3 days. Usually her afternoon nap. Then she's up from about 1pm to bedtime at 7:15. She usually doesn't actually have a problem with it and isn't really too fussy.

Two things of note:

1) We decided not to fully let her cry it out. It's just something I can't do. I know that some people think that's what's best for kiddos, but for us, letting her fuss a little bit to figure it out and then have us go in there to pop her pacifier back in or give her a little back rub seems to do the trick. And it's something that makes us happier. We don't stay in with her to make her fall asleep, we just go in to say hi, and then leave. It usually results in a wail right after we leave during the day, and then either immediately playing, or falling asleep within 2 minutes. At night she just wants her pacifier and can't find it.  So it's a practice that seems to really work for us. And I feel like because we aren't staying in there to get her back to sleep, more just reassuring her, she's still figuring out how to go back to sleep on her own.

2) I do not believe in sleep begets sleep. I know that has been one of the biggest pieces of advice that people have given us (both here and elsewhere), but I have found it to make absolutely no difference at all for Zoe. In theory when she has taken really great naps, that would mean she sleeps well at night - but sometimes she slept like complete shit and sometimes she slept good. In theory when she slept really well at night, that would mean she would take great naps - but sometimes she would take her standard 30 minutes, or sometimes she wouldn't sleep at all. We used to track her sleeping on a spreadsheet and I found absolutely no correlation between good sleep during the day and good sleep during the night. Or vice versa.

So that's Zoe's sleep for you

We seem to have found a structure that has really worked for her sleeping at night, and frankly, if we're all getting better sleep at night, "bad" naps are something I can deal with now. Thank you for always giving your input and always caring. You folks are wonderful.


Michelle said...

Yay! Congratulations - enjoy your sleep :-)

Deb said...

Soooo glad it's working out! I could never let my kids cry it out either. I always thought/believed "naps" could just be an hour or so of either sleeping or playing in their crib/room - basically just a break for all concerned. Whatever works and you know your kid best, always!

Laurie said...

Congratulations, Mom and Dad, you did it! Made a plan, carried it out, and now everyone's much happier! And besides, you just taught her a little bit of independence, which is our big goal as parents, right? Sounds like everyone's winning at your place!

Anonymous said...

So happy that you found a solution that works for your family and everyone is getting more sleep!

One comment on the naps though, if that is her typical nap environment, no wonder she doesn't sleep. I wouldn't be able to nap with all that sunlight! Maybe try black out curtains (I'm cheap and did tin foil in DD's room because the black out curtains weren't cutting it.) Also, maybe a pack in play or her crib for naps something to keep the toys/play area out of bounds for naps. Sometimes my DD will just talk to herself in her crib for an hour, but at least it's a physical break from crawling, pulling up, playing with everything.

My DD loves pillows too. Haters to the left. :)

Bunny @ 86n It said...

So happy for you!

Kelly said...

Yay! So happy for you and glad things improved so fast. Sounds like you all REALLY needed the sleep. Enjoy!

meryl rose said...

Thanks everyone! And Zoe continues to sleep better and better - for the time being ;) I know something else will throw us for a loop sometime in the near future :)

Anonymous - sunlight doesn't seem to bother Zoe for naps, though sometimes we do close it. I've noticed no difference between getting to sleep, staying asleep and having the curtain open, so usually I just leave it more open out of laziness :) And she actually hates the crib more than anything - as well as a pack in play. We've never found them to be successful for us, and she used to start wailing the second we held her over the crib, so she actually goes down more easily now that she has access to her toys. She'll crawl around and play, then crawl up to her mattress if she wants to sleep, or she just continues to crawl around and play if she doesn't want to. Ever since we took apart the crib and put the mattress on the ground naps are no longer unbearable (sobbing for nearly an hour before while feeling trapped). To each baby their own I guess :)

Laura said...

I am so glad for the update! I'd actually been thinking about you and hoping things were going at least a little better. It is so hard to be a good parent during the day (when it really counts) when no one in the household is sleeping.

Zoe seems like such an active little baby, I wonder if you concentrated her naps all in one after lunch attempt it might help. Some babies aren't really nappers, which is hard, but sometimes that's how it is.

It really is okay to give your child some down time even if it isn't nap time. As long as they are quiet, it gives you time to grab a cup of coffee or answer emails. If they do fall asleep, bonus!

I'm so relieved for you!

meryl rose said...

Thanks Laura! And yes, I totally agree about the down time. Even when she doesn't end up taking a nap, she seems a bit more collected after time in her room by herself.

Erin said...

Yay!! I'm SO happy for you guys. This seems like a major win. Since Zoe is 9 months, she doesn't NEED to eat in the middle if the night and it seems like she's getting there. :)

I think as Zoe gets older, the sunlight for naps *may* effect her more and more. My advice would be to make it dark in there and train her that darkness means sleep... Even if it seems to make no difference now, I think for all people, darkness is a cue to sleep (or really, light means it's not a time to sleep). Invest in a video monitor so you can still see her - hands down some of the best baby $$ we spent.

Even though babies are "supposed" to be taking 2 naps still, it seems Zoe has grown out of her second nap already. Maybe try to push off the first nap until later and maybe she'll sleep longer???

I'm sorry she doesn't like the pack n play. That's going to make it harder to travel. :( (Our 4yo still sometimes sleeps in the pack n play for fun lol).

meryl rose said...

Thanks Erin! Yeah, her not liking the pack n play is a SUPER bummer and I have thought the exact same thing regarding travel. We may honestly just have to bring her little mattress with some pillows to try and recreate it. Who knows. And yes, I have started to make it darker in her room for sleep, especially now that it stays lighter for longer.