We're having a big week here in the Stasul Household as we have introduced both (a) sleep training, and (b) solid foods. Yes, I must be some sort of glutton for punishment.
The first four nights of sleep training have gone much better than expected, compared to our first attempt six weeks ago. In our house "sleep training" translates into getting Monica to sleep in her own room. Truly, I have no issues with her sleeping in our room for the foreseeable future, as she is only four months old. The main problem is that she has outgrown the bassinet, and the only other place she has wanted to sleep is in her swing, which she is also rapidly outgrowing. We have tried the pack n play in the bedroom and she wakes up after four hours, which feels like a regression compared to the glorious eight hours she will sleep in her swing. Combine this with pressure from more experienced moms to move her into the crib, as well as recently reading this Scary Mommy Post , we're beginning to fear that this kid might be trying to permanently move herself into our bed until she moves out of the house. And THAT, my friends, is not happening.
In attempt to maximize our chances of even placing her in the crib without her screaming till her head explodes, JK relocated the humidifier, radiator, and night light to her room. We also set up the remote thermometer so I can check the temperature in her bedroom without going in there (that room has issues - it's always freezing!) as well as her swing, which is only to be used under the most desperate of circumstances. Yes, our electric bill is off the charts since this baby got here.
I am not a fan of crying babies - mine or anyone else's. I am not a person who hears a baby cry out in a restaurant and thinks "oh, how cute!" Rather, I think, "why the hell didn't they leave this kid with a babysitter, I'm trying to eat my meal in peace." And if you think I'm mean, my husband is much worse. This may or may not come into play here, but we are not on board with many aspects of the "cry it out" sleep method, nor are we interested in spending entire nights listening to our baby scream her head off while we pace back and forth in the hallway, periodically asking each other what we should try next.
So we devised an extremely loose plan and, god save us, it seems like it might actually be working. Knock on wood, we've only done this for four nights, but we already seem to be making progress. It is more or less the same plan we tried six weeks ago, but for reasons unknown, it is now being met with success. I take Monica up to bed for "snuggle down time" and nurse her. She is usually pretty much asleep at this point. Then I creep over to her crib and put her down. When we tried this six weeks ago, she would immediately start screaming like a banshee. Now (for whatever reason - age? trust? I have no idea) she either stays asleep or just cracks open her eyes. I make sure NOT to make eye contact and skedaddle on out of there as quickly and quietly as possible.
Then we wait for the inevitable crying/whining, which is guaranteed to ensue... if not immediately, within the next 45 minutes. This is where JK's part comes in to play. If the crying/whining becomes actual crying, he goes in and checks her diaper and tries to rock her to settle her down and then put her back in the crib. It is KEY that I do not go in to her first, otherwise she just wants to nurse, and then I'm stuck in there for an hour. I only get involved when crying is approaching a hysterical brink of no return; at which point I do nurse her and get her back to sleep and start the process over.
After this, she has been waking once more, but it is just crying out in her sleep. She goes back to sleep within five minutes without us going in to her. Again, if she went beyond whining, we would start where JK goes in the room to her to check the diaper and take it from there.
Per night, two rounds of this whole process where I have to get involved is probably my limit. Things might play out differently if she would take a bottle, but...that is another battle for another day.
So, key learnings thus far:
- DO NOT MAKE EYE CONTACT - this only wakes up the baby and results in cutesy attempts at engaging in playtime.
- I cannot go in there first - she is much more clingy with me in general and will just try to nurse off and on all night long if I keep going in to her first.
- Recognize the difference between whining/fake crying and real crying. When she is whining, she is not in distress, just trying to get our attention.
Once the Grub actually settles down and is asleep (normally my last time going in there to feed her is around 11:30pm), she is sleeping until about 4:30. A solid five hours total. I get up and feed her and then she usually goes back to sleep for another two to three hours. And, lucky her, 4am just happens to be the WORST hour for me to do ANYTHING, so more often than not she just ends up right back in our bed until we get up for the day. I try to convince myself that this is as much for her safety as anything else, as we're very much at risk for me falling asleep in the chair and dumping her on the floor if I try to stay in her room and feed her in the rocker. Therefore, I'm still waking up to this in the morning:
Hopefully over the next couple weeks, I'll be able to draw on some ever-depleting reserves of stamina and try to stay up at 4am until she is back in her crib. And THEN maybe we can work towards skipping the horrid 4am feeding.
Next post we'll talk solid foods....and when I say "solid" I use the term very loosely....