You’ve probably read Part 1 so you know that I love my little girl to pieces and think that she is perfect in every way. BUT, and that’s why there will be plenty more parts to this series, she has become a horrible go-to-and-stay-asleeper.
Over the next couple of weeks, I will be blogging about our
desperate efforts to teach our 5-months old Emma to go to sleep and stay asleep. Since she’s been doing quite alright during the day and is somewhat on a schedule, I’ll focus more on the night sleep (or lack thereof).
The ability to get back to sleep is key when it comes to snoozing through the night. Some babies seem to do this naturally. But if your baby doesn’t, it’s a skill she’ll have to master.
If your baby needs more help and you think she’s ready, you can try a more involved method of sleep training. Your options include various no-cry and cry-it-out techniques. What will work best for you depends on your parenting style, your personal beliefs, and your child’s particular needs. ~ Baby sleep basics: 3 to 6 months, babycenter.com
This chapter explains what we’ve been doing so far in regards to sleepy time and how and why we decided on proper sleep training.
Read To Sleep Or Not To Sleep Part 1 for our daytime nap schedule.
Emma’s bedtime is at 7pm. Our goal is to have her fast asleep by 7.30pm. She has then been waking once some time between 11pm and 1am which is when Paul comforts her and miraculously manages to put her back to sleep right away.
An hour before bedtime, we start winding down and provide a calmer, quieter atmosphere – unless we’re still out and about which usually allows her to fall asleep in the car. Our ritual for the night consists of the following:
- a bath (every other day)
- diaper change and PJs
- feeding > ideally, Papa gives her the bottle (breast milk) so Mama can catch a break
- putting her down to sleep if she’s really sleepy
- rocking her before putting her down if she’s fussy
- reading, singing, praying
- while she’s in her crib or bassinet we put one hand on her chest
We have these little helpers ready to assist us – there is, however, no data to prove if any of these aids actually help:
- musical mobile (above her crib)
- lullaby/worship playlist
- white noise iPhone app
- her security blanket
- she does not take a pacifier
Our Her sleep environment looks like this:
- closed curtains allowing for some daylight for nap time/dark room with a soft night light for nighttime sleep
- we’ve recently put her to sleep in her crib but are diverting to her bassinet in our bedroom on nights where she is extremely fussy
- quiet and warm room temperature but not too warm
- warm mist humidifier (since she’s had been congested for a while)
- sleep sack (we retired the swaddle once she learned to roll over)
- no toys (besides her security blanket), no blankets, no pillows
So far so good. Now, we need some serious help to get these ‘tools’ to be successful.
There’s lots of
overwhelming helpful information on sleep methods available. Paul and I decided that – for now – we are against CIO (crying it out).
People often think this method of sleep training involves leaving babies alone to cry for as long it takes before they fall asleep. But “cry it out” (CIO) refers to any sleep training approach — and there are many — that says it’s okay to let a baby cry for a specified period of time (often a very short period of time) before offering comfort. ~ Baby sleep training: Cry it out methods, babycenter.com
When I see Emma’s little mouth shiver and I can tell she’s about to start wailing, I can’t help myself and have to comfort her. No matter how much sense this whole a-baby-needs-to-be-able-to-self-soothe thing makes, I just suck at letting my little one be in distress. So we ruled out the likes of Ferber and Mindell, no matter how gentle their CIO approach was.
After watching the video diaries on babycenter.com of two families on their quest to getting their child to sleep – one ferberized their child, the other went with Sears – Paul and I made a decision: For the next three weeks we will give the Sears family of doctors and their famous Baby Sleep Book a chance.
The book was delivered today. I sincerely hope our (bedtime) story is gonna have a happy ending.
(…to be continued.)