Tuesday, February 22, 2011

lessons in lullaby pt. 2

another update on our attempts at getting our little boy to willingly go to bed at night...

while trial and error is as much a part of parenting as knowledge and skill, we have been proven wrong in our various efforts with putting baby c to sleep lately. but, as i mentioned in my last post, we threw out our old ideas and read up on some new ones as well as put our feelers out for other suggestions. our newest attempts are to put c to bed awake and let him put himself to sleep. no, it's not as 'hands off!' as it sounds. the suggestion originated with my friend arinn's success with her son, so we did some reading up on the idea. i have yet to pick up the book she recommended but we have been implementing some of the actions of this routine. after a few failed attempts, we made a solid effort yesterday to make this work. e was home on a work holiday and we thought we would first use this tactic for nap time.. good idea in theory but it was an epic flop. our little guy screamed and carried on for almost an hour and only wanted me to pick him up and nurse and rock him to sleep. though i resisted, following the suggested method of comforting him by showing him we did not abandon him but not taking him out of his crib.. it was hopeless and nap time was abandoned after almost two hours of trial and one short 10 minute snooze.

fast forward to bedtime. with a nap missing in the day, we noticed little c tiring around 7:00 p.m. and decided to start preparing him for bed with a goal of sleep by 8:00 p.m. i prepared him a bottle for this trial run (8 oz of previously frozen breast milk), and brought him upstairs to begin our nightly routine. now, normally i breast feed him but i wanted to exclude that last night just to see if he would not fall asleep while eating. the idea is to put him to bed awake but drowsy enough to sleep. so e fed him (c ate the whole bottle.. growth spurt much??) while i prepared his bed and room for sleep. changing out the crib sheet, which our cat likes to cover in hair when the crib is unoccupied, filling his humidifier, turning on his night light and so forth. once he was fed and full, e burped him, lotioned him up, and put him in some new super soft jammies. c was still awake and in a good mood (which we've learned is the key) so we carried him into his room and put him in his crib. after handing him his ring toy, which he loves to grasp, and turning on his mobile, we talked to him for a minute, bid him goodnight and lots of love, and then left his room to see what would happen next. after about 10 minutes of him cooing and shimmying around he fell sound asleep. success! the clock read 8:04 p.m. and our child slumbered soundly.

fast forward once more to 9:00 p.m... and a stirring and fussing baby. c woke and began to fuss a bit, but we waited to see what would come of it. after about ten minutes he seemed to have convinced himself to fall back asleep. then the screaming began. this is not unusual for him, truth be told. he's been waking after thirty to sixty minutes lately after falling into what seems to be sound snoozing and refusing to fall back asleep. once the screaming began i went into his room and gave him his favorite 'pucky' (pacifier), patted his stomach softly, and turned his mobile back on. from what we read we were to let him know we were still there for him without taking him out of his crib. after a minute he calmed down, spit out the pucky, and closed his eyes. just when i thought he has dozed off he woke and began to cry again. i put the pucky back in his mouth, patted his belly again, and handed him his ring toy to hold. he calmed and began to focus on his mobile, so i slowly backed out of him room. ten minutes later the crying began once more. i repeated my actions and left the room.. ::duplicate the crying and calming for the next hour:: finally i decided that he must be upset over something more than being in the crib. i lifted a sobbing baby from the crib and he instantly began to rub his face against my neck and mumble his hungry sounds. go figure that i had pumped already and hadn't managed to fill back up on milk. to the kitchen we went to grab the freshly expressed milk and made a bottle. i carried my hungry baby to my bed and snuggled him in to eat. and boy did he eat! five ounces went down in a matter of moments leaving me shocked at the empty bottle in my hand. with the eight ounces he devoured earlier and the ravenous way he sucked down the five ounce bottle i knew we had reached the peak of his three month growth spurt right on schedule. after burping him and changing out his diaper, i tucked my drowsy babe back into his crib, popped the pucky into a greedy mouth, and set the mobile spinning and singing. bidding my sweet boy goodnight, i left his room and waited.. while sitting in bed listening for cries of distress i began to notice a very different sound.. THUMP, THUMP, THUMP! confused, i raced to his room prepared for something shocking to reveal itself. i stopped at the cracked door, pushing it open a bit more only to find my happy child kicking his legs in delight at his mobile and slamming them back onto his mattress. over and over and over he kicked and cooed. e came to find me standing in front of c's door with my hands braced on the frame, smiling. he asked what that sound was and i just chuckled and whispered 'he's banging his feet on his bed while he talks to his mobile.' we laughed and listened and finally the thumping slowed and then halted as a sleepy boy finally made his way into dreamland.

so, all needs met, this new method seems to have merit and i am confident that with more practice, along with consistency, that nap time and bedtime will no longer be a battle. when baby is happy, mommy is happy, too.

*edit* i employed our new method to nap time today and within 15 minutes had a baby catching some zzz's.  a little fussing, some momma reassurance, and the crib became a nice place for c's afternoon nap.

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