Monday, January 21, 2008

The Sound of Silence

You never realize how beautiful the absence of sound is until you've been trying to help a baby learn to sleep on her own. Up until 3 days ago, Alyson has slept with us in our bed. We had been unsuccessful in helping her to sleep on her own in the past - she'd wake up soon after we'd put her down each time and we also just like to snuggle with her. She's now two months old and though not yet able to sleep through the night, needs to start learning to comfort herself and sleep in her crib.

Day 1, January 18:
We put Alyson down to sleep after feeding her and making her comfortable. This being our first attempt to really try to get her to sleep on her own, it took quite a while for her to settle herself. Every ten minutes, we'd go in to comfort her and make sure that she was alright. Since I'm such a softy, Erik "let" (read sent) me go pick up a movie to rent so that I wouldn't hear her cry. When I got home, she was still crying but not as wildly. After 1 hour and 3 minutes, we broke the rules and picked her up to comfort her. The "rules" dictate that you're not supposed to pick the child up when you're comforting them, but this wasn't working for us - everyone is different and though she wasn't dirty or hungry, she didn't want to be comforted in the crib. When we put her back down a minute later, she slept just fine... for a half hour. We then brought her downstairs with us where she slept in her swing while we watched our movie. Since we were having such "success", we decided that I'd sleep downstairs with Alyson in her bassinet so that Erik could be rested for work the next morning at 5 am. That was not a fun night, but she did sleep off and on throughout the night in her bassinet.

Day 2, January19:
After fifteen minutes of her crying, Erik found me having an emotional battle with myself by Alyson's crib. I was not doing well with hearing her cry and my attempts at calming her in the crib were not working. He took over with her and told her in a firm voice that it was time for her to calm down and sleep. She calmed right down and we turned her over to her tummy (yes, we watched very carefully) and she went to sleep within about a minute. After she was asleep, we came back in the room and turned her over onto her back, and like magic, she slept for hours. The first night feeding was a breeze - I fed her and burped her until she was drowsy, then laid her down to sleep. A couple more hours and she woke me again to eat. That time was a little harder - Erik had to "Alpha Dog" her (calm assertive energy), and then a few more minutes of crying ended with her being placed on her side (again with supervision) and she slept better than a baby.

Day 3, January 20:
Miraculously, Alyson did not cry at all when I put her down to sleep on day three. I kept checking her to make sure she was still breathing - this couldn't be our baby - our baby didn't sleep like that! Well, apparantly, she does when we prepare her well and get her used to the idea. Similar midnight experiences with feeding, though this time Erik didn't have to Alpha Dog her - I'm learning to be calm and assertive myself. Once, she did cry for a few minutes and I checked her right away without any results. I let her cry for another 5 or 6 minutes to tire herself a little and went in to check on her. This time I picked her up and comforted her (against "the rules" and laid her back down on her back. I left the room while she was calm and awake (following the rules) and didn't hear a peep out of her until we woke up this morning at 7:00.

Day 4, Tonight:
Alyson slept in her crib today for her nap (a very new development) instead of her swing and I'm very proud of her. I'm trying hard to time her naps well so that she'll be tired enough to sleep but not so tired that she can't by the time we try to put her down. We fought sleep all afternoon - I wanted to let her have a nap so that she'd be good to go, but every time we put her down to nap with Daddy (normally one of her favorite past times) she'd wake up and want to be awake doing something. Consequently, we started her nighttime routine a half hour early. Daddy bathed our cutie while I played paparazzo and took lots of pictures. He then gave her the bottle he prepared while I read her the story of the three little pigs. After we had a family prayer, we put her down to sleep and left her with kisses and "good nights". She cried for less than five minutes before she put herself to sleep. I'm overwhelmed with the success that we had. I don't want to jinx our efforts by saying that out loud - I know that we'll have good nights and bad nights, but we're thrilled with our results and so proud of ourselves and our baby.

Love to everyone, and most of all, good night!
Cara and Erik


Alisa & Jared said...

What cute photos! By the way...have I ever told you about "Babywise"? If you don't own NEED to borrow my copy ASAP! It will make life easier, and naps much more predictable, and easier! :) We need to get together!

Alyson, Cara and Erik said...

Definitely! I go back to work in 2 weeks and won't be able to see you as easily. I can't wait to meet your little one!

Jodi Jean said...

oh my goodness ... i'm jealous. one of these nights i need to train adian. i'm sure it would have been easier at 3months instead of 11.5. sheessh!!

Jodi Jean said...

holy moley trying to train an independent 11.75 month old is HARD!! in case you were wondering, and things were going good, until he got sick and we babied him! sheesh! i hope alyson is still sleeping peacefully!