silent night...holy night...

With everything in my life, I am organized. Since Audrey was born, I wanted to get a schedule for feedings, sleeping, seeing visitors, play time, etc... I understand now that is hard to accomplish. The minute we think we've got a routine down, she changes it on us. 

For the most part, we are constantly dealing with a sleep routine. Chris and I thought we were literally the most blessed parents because from about 3 months to 4 1/2 months, Audrey slept 12 to 13 hours including 3 two hour naps. Not to mention, they were all on schedule and she absolutely loved going to bed. 

With a cocktail of Day Light Savings ending and her teething, everything went screwy. She then wanted to blend her late afternoon nap and just keep sleeping- since it was dark at 4 p.m. After that, she wanted to wake up around 2 a.m. and then again for good around 5 a.m. That was not going to work. 

I am still trying to figure this out. Audrey now is back to three naps: a shorter morning nap, a long afternoon nap, and a quick evening nap. She then wakes up around 6-7 p.m. and stays awake until 8ish- not waking up again until 5 a.m. Friends gave me a book they praised called, Healthy Sleep Habits, Healthy Child by Marc Weissbluth, M.D. Here are some really good points that 
helped me:

  • Overstimulation (i.e. overly tired). My mom would called this, "Rummy". If Audrey does not get good naps and is being kept up past her bedtime, she will get overstimulated and then I have to prepare myself to listen to her cry for 15-30 minutes sometimes. I have cued into her sleepy signs like rubbing her eyes, having heady eye lids, etc... I like to put her down at this point and not at the point where she is crying because it is "nap time". She goes down SO much easier when I get her before she is overly tired.
  • After 4 months of age, the best sleep is in their crib. The author makes it seem like you must not have a life because your baby must sleep every nap and bedtime in their own crib. OK, that just doesn't happen. But, I do prepare for her nap time and bed time when we are elsewhere or running errands. I make sure she has her bedtime pacifier and blanket. These things are markers for "sleepy time." If we are going to a hotel or someones house for dinner, the Pack N' Play or a crib is the best. She won't sleep well on a bed or in her car seat.
  • A well rested baby is a baby who wakes up babbling, smiling, etc... If she is crying when she wakes up, I know it is not time (even if it has been two hours). I give her the pacifier and she goes back to sleep.
  • Never wake a sleeping baby EXCEPT when you are trying to protect a sleep schedule. About a week ago before we started getting this new sleep routine down, Audrey wanted to continue to sleep after she went down around 4 p.m. I started to nicely wake her up around 6 p.m., and she stays up until between 7 and 8 p.m. Now, she is waking her self up. 
  • Letting your baby cry it out is NOT the way your baby will learn to sleep- she will learn to sleep when parents focus on timing and soothing style. I will let her cry, like I said before, for 15-30 minutes because she is overly tired; however, if she wakes up in the middle of the night screaming, letting her cry for an hour does nothing but keep us all up. I usually know that she is trying to tell me something. 
  • Big meals before bed do NOT make your baby sleep better. I heard it many times, "Put rice in her bottle. It will make her sleep better!" Chris and I were so excited to try this. We were then disappointed because it made no difference. We actually found that Audrey sleeps better when she is not extremely full. If she eats a bunch before bed, she usually wakes up more hungry. If she goes to bed with a smaller amount of food, she wakes up at her normal 5 a.m. and has a snack of 1-2 ounces less than what she usually eats. She goes back to sleep until 7:30 a.m. 
The author made a good point about babies 4-6 months of age usually don't like to be awake more than two hours during the day. Audrey was exactly that. Right at two hours from her last nap, she would start complaining. 
The author also created this sleep pattern that by following some of the stuff, Audrey is exactly on: 
Start of the day 7 a.m. 
First Nap 9 a.m. 
Second Nap 1 p.m. 
Third Nap (varies)- Audrey is around 4 p.m. 
Bedtime 6-8 p.m. 
First Awakening 
Second Awakening (Audrey skips the first awakening, and this one is at around 5 a.m.)

Just like us, babies will have good nights and bad nights. I wish Audrey could just say, "Mommy, my teeth hurt." But that doesn't happen. Therefore, I try really hard to pay attention to the way she is crying and moving in bed. If she lays there and is staring at me, she normally just wants comfort so I give her the pacifier. But the last few nights she will just toss and turn violently and cry. I can tell she is in pain. I usually give her a little Tylenol and food. 

I would suggest getting the book. It goes all the way through childhood since as far as I know, there will ALWAYS be sleeping issues and new things to learn.


Melissa said...

Babies are born to bring joy to parent's lives and also to make us humble. We work so hard to set up routines that make us sane and babies work so hard at following no routine. But, you will get there. When you do get there, enjoy EVERY minute of it because before you know it something else will disrupt the blissful routine and you'll go through it all over again.

You're doing a great job! And your Audrey is a cutie.

Sherri said...

Hi! I'm a new follower of your blog & I just think Audrey is such a cutie!!! Sherri

Blog Design by Alt Coast.