Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Let Her Be

For the last 3 months we babied our baby. Sounds kinda like an obvious thing to do to a baby, but we over did it when it came to bedtime. Our typical routine would be to nurse her, and then bounce her, sway her, or whatever her so she would almost fall deep asleep in our arms. And then at the last minute (sometimes after the last minute when she was really fussy), we would put her in her crib and hold her there until we were confident she was asleep before we snuck out.

On good nights, she would be so sleepy after nursing that she would go happily into her crib and fall asleep after a quick bounce or two. On bad nights, we would bounce and sway her for up to an hour (alternating turns of course). The unpredictability that bedtime brought, as well as the uncomfortableness on bad nights, led us to try "sleep training" now that Kaylani is 3 months old. And we figured if she could learn to roll over, she could learn to sleep on her own.

There are many different methods of sleep training, and after reading through a few of them, we decided on the "gradually leaving" technique. The premise of this technique is to put her down (you're small!) right away, say goodnight, and then leave the room without picking her up or doing anything. On the first night, if she's still crying after 5 minutes, go back in, calm her down without picking her up, say goodnight, and then leave the room again. After 5 to 10 more minutes, do the same thing. Then, you increase the time by 5 minutes every day. It also says that this technique could take awhile to work, but we gave it a shot anyways.

So last night, Mommy put her down (you smell like a baby!), said goodnight, and left the room. After 5 painful minutes of hearing his little girl cry (not a full out cry, but more like a whine/whimper), Daddy went in, put a reassuring hand on her chest, kissed her on the forehead, said goodnight, then left. The next 5 minutes were even more painful then the first. I sat on the edge of my bed staring towards her room, and listened to her while trying to restrain myself from going in there to pick her up. It was tough, but I sat there on that bed for 6 whole minutes (Mommy joined me halfway through).

After 6 minutes, there was silence. Another minute went by and there was a trace of a whimper, but not a strong one. Few more minutes went by and there was nothing. Only the sounds of Daddy and Mommy sitting on the edge of the bed breathing quietly together could be heard. 10 minutes had passed since Daddy last went in there and there was only silence coming from Kaylani's room. Hooray!

Of course, the first thing Daddy wanted to do was go in and check on her to make sure everything was alright, but he didn't out of fear that maybe she was awake and staring at the door wondering why her parents had abandoned her. Mommy did take a peek in her room an hour later, and she was sleeping. She didn't even look like she was sad, so that was a relief. I completely expected her to be asleep with a big ol' frown on her face. Luckily, that was not the case.

So that was "sleep training" day 1. Tonight will be day 2, although Mommy tried it this afternoon with successful results again at nap time, so maybe this won't be as bad as we thought. Well it's about time for us to give it a try, so while she's sleeping (or staring at the door wondering why her parents abandoned her), you can look at a few pictures from the last 3 days. Or, even better, you can check out this video of Kaylani rolling over! Mommy got it on tape today and Daddy even got to see it live! For us though, it's now time to just let her be.


Doug Swist said...

Stay strong!

JonnyTam13 said...

Thanks for the encouragement! We lasted the 13 minutes it took for her to fall asleep tonight, but it was a close one!

Rina said...

Sounds like you've read Healthy Sleep Habits, Healthy Child or whatever it's called. He's been right on as far as sleep milestones for Conner. The only thing we can't figure out is how to get Conner to take long naps. Does Kaylani?

JonnyTam13 said...

I actually haven't read that...I've just been reading snippets from the Babycenter Guide to the First Year. The last 2 nights have gone okay, but she didn't nap very well at all during the day today. Unless you consider only napping for 30 minutes good!

Rina said...

Nope! That's what Conner does...30 minute naps. Yesterday he did take two 45 minute naps plus a 30 minute, which was better. I shouldn't complain about his naps though, b/c he slept for 10.5 hours last night. Man was I sore!

Anyways...the lingo you used in your blog was EXACTLY the same as the healthy sleep book. Good luck!