Aviana sleeps quite well at night and has done now for a while. I really can’t complain. We have been able to get her down around 7pm after a bed time routine for almost two months now and sleeps through to 6-7am with one or sometimes two night feeds. However her napping is not so great. She requires us to help her get to sleep mostly by swaddling and rocking. Occasionally she uses a pacifier. And she FIGHTS nap time sleep. You can tell she is tired, but she cries until she has been rocked to sleep. It’s exhausting. Sometimes it takes just 3 minutes, other times 30 minutes. In addition, recently, for her night time routine I have been nursing her and she has fallen asleep at the boob, if she isn’t fully asleep when I put her down she screams, whereas before she was good at going down without needing to be nursed to sleep. I think part of that is my fault because I took the easy route when I was travelling in the UK because I was on my own.
Realising we are encouraging some bad ‘sleep associations’ we thought it’s time for introducing some good sleep habits. So we took out the baby sleep solution book again and decided to give it a go. I already wrote about the 4 stages here and what I thought about this book.
Today was Day 1. The first stage is to get the number of feeds during the day down to 4 – i.e. every 4 hours. Aviana has been demand feeding every 2-2.5hrs during the day, so I decided that my goal is to get the number of feeds to 5, i.e every 3 hours. The book suggests a number of ways to stretch out the feeds – incrementally, mostly today I succeeded in feeding her roughly every 3 hours. It was hard work distracting her after she woke up from her naps because she is so used to being fed after waking, but we only waited 15-20 minutes. Hello Little Miss Grumps! But we did it! She has also been less distracted whilst nursing because she is actually hungry and wants to eat, rather than snacking. Well, this is just my gut feeling because clearly Aviana can’t tell me!
We also started to try the good sleep habits…and it didn’t go quite as planned because I screwed up a bit. The first time I put her down for a nap I started with a semi new routine: change diaper, read story, close curtains, sing a lullaby, put on sleep sack, switch on white noise machine, lay her in crib, give her a kiss and leave the room. The book suggests limited crying of 3-5 minutes before going back into the room to reassure Aviana that I am there for her, calm her down, pat her, but not pick her up. I did this 3 times and she went to sleep the third time I came into the room. Score!
Then I royally screwed up the next nap. I thought I would be able to get to the shops and back again to put her down in her crib, but she fell asleep in her car seat 3 minutes out from getting back home. I made the mistake of trying to get her out of the car seat, into her sleep sack and put her in the crib. She woke up and cried. So I tried the 3 minute thing and used the ‘toolbox for distracting’. After the third time of going back in I could not stop her crying. I stayed with her and tried shhh-ing, talking to her in a calming way, patting her and she just would not stop crying. Minute after minute passed and I thought to myself how much longer do I wait until I pick her up? It was awful, but it had worked earlier so when should I give in? Aghhhh??!?! I decided to pick her up as soon as she was due her feed. That was it. She had gone from being pissed for being woken up after 7 minutes of being asleep to being pissed because she was hungry and I TOTALLY missed the cue. It was rough and I felt bad for missing the signs, 45 minutes of intermittent crying, to get no where. Ughhhh.
For bedtime I didn’t nurse her to sleep and nursed her in a different room rather than in her room (apparently a bad sleep association), and I made sure she was still awake when I put her down, I kissed her good night and left the room. She fell asleep almost straight away with zero fuss.
Day 1 Summary – positive progress in stretching feed times, but mixed progress on introducing a good nap/bedtime sleep routine. But that’s OK, Rome wasn’t built in a day. The book says that bad habits take three days to make and seven days to break. And so it continues…