On Sleep--Part Two

{ Wednesday, June 16, 2010 }
In my last post, I shared our sleep issues and now I'm back to tell you how we've (hopefully!) solved them.

First of all, I gave up on the idea of the bean sleeping every moment in her crib and decided to focus on naps. I told the bean I'd meet her halfway and continue to stay with her in the evenings after she fell asleep if I could just get her to nap on her own. I also let go of the idea that this would be a quick transition and set up a multi-step plan that we'd work at over the course of several weeks.

The first step was to get the bean used to sleeping without a body right next to her. Instead of cuddling with her through her nap, I started to roll away from the bean after she drifted off to sleep. I also stopped nursing her to sleep while lying down and instead would sit up and hold her until she fell asleep, since my ultimate goal was to be able to nurse her in a chair and then put her in her crib. This took a good two weeks to get to the point where the bean would fall asleep easily this way and nap soundly without cuddling up to me.

For step two, I brought the mattress out of the bean's crib and put it on the floor right next to our bed and had her sleep on that. This step was probably the most difficult for her to adjust to and there were a few days that I ended up laying on the mattress with her, but after another two weeks, she finally got it. (Yay!)

Next, I moved the mattress into her bedroom and put it on the floor next to the crib. We play music while the bean's sleeping, so I moved that into her room too. At this point, I started to put the bean on her mattress by leaning down as if I was reaching over the crib rail to try to get her used to that feeling.

After a week of that, I put the mattress up into the crib and fully expected a repeat of our previous experience (i.e. screaming as soon as her head hit the mattress), but I was shocked that it actually worked! Not every time, but I could usually get her down in the crib after a couple tries.

At first, the bean would only nap for about 20 minutes at a time, but I wasn't complaining. I was loving being able to get some things done, but after a while of that, 20 minutes turned into 30 minutes and 30 turned into 40 and then one day she napped for a full hour without waking up. She'll now nap for 1 1/2 to 2 hours at a time, which makes me so happy that I'm doing a little happy dance right now as I write this.

After the naps were established, I started putting the bean in her crib at the beginning of the night, and that started with 30 minutes stretches. We're now up to 1 hour at a time in the evening and I'm totally fine if that's how things stay. I'm able to get some things done in between her wakeups and at some point I give up and bring her to bed with me.

I never knew how many things I could accomplish in such a short period of time, but I usually map out my plan of attack before I put the bean down and then I run like crazy getting things done. It feels so good to be able to accomplish some things and I feel like a better mother when I can focus on her while she's awake and leave the chores for naptime. Here we go with the happy dance again!

So there you have it--how we got the bean to finally nap in her crib. Knocking on wood and crossing my toes that it stays that way!


nutella said...

Well done!

Val said...

you are a Mom with a mission... impressive... ever think about coaching???!!