I’m combining all my other blogs’ content to this site. Please bear with me as I post older content. 🙂
Hello again. It’s been a while since I’ve posted any content, in fact I think I haven’t posted since I was in my second trimester!
Well, I have since given birth to my beautiful little one, Fiona, and am now working through a new stage of life with her: sleep training.
It may seem a bit late as she is almost 7 months now but in reality sleep training can be initiated at any age. In my case, in her earlier months I was so worried about her weight gain (as she is small and has been consistently in the 5% quartile) and her potential food sensitivities that I was eating (she’s exclusively breastfed and she occasionally had blood in her stool), that I focused on nothing else.
As a result, Fi now appears to be in a bad holding pattern where she fluctuates between waking up twice a night to waking up every hour or so from 12pm-5am and fighting going back down to sleep unless I feed her. Her daytime naps are a total crapshoot (sometimes she sleeps like a goddess, other times she will fight it for hours but is too tired to do anything else).
So, I am working on reading through the research about various techniques to go about breaking the latter habit, looking at everything from the Ferber Method to the Sears Method. I’ll be headed to the library later today to get the official books on various methods, but in the meantime, from scouring the internet at 2am, here are a few of the suggestions (from secondary sources):
The gradual retreat/disappearing chair method
- place chair by crib
- put baby down when drowsy then sit on chair
- when baby cries, go to her and pat/stroke her but avoid eye contact
- when baby stops crying, move chair slightly further away and sit
- if baby cries again repeat pat/stroke and no eye contact
- when baby stops crying move chair further back again
- repeat until baby is asleep. might take 10 minutes for them to fall into deep sleep
The kissing game method
- put baby down when drowsy and promise to return in a minute to give a kiss
- return almost immediate to give another kiss
- take a few steps towards door then return and give another kiss
- promise to return in a minute to give another kiss
- put something away/do somethin in room, then give another kiss. 6. promise to return in a minute for another kiss
- pop outside room for a few seconds then return for a kiss
- as long as child is lying down she gets more kisses (no chat, cuddles, stories, drinks)
- repeat until child is asleep
The Ferber Method
- put baby in crib awake, turn off lights, say goodnight and leave room
- if baby cries, come back after predetermined time (a minute or two). Pat baby in reassuring way but don’t pick up. Leave room promptly
- this time stay out of the room slightly longer before returning to reassure baby
- continue with longer and longer periods of time
- if baby wakes in the middle of the night, start back over with lowest wait time at beginning of night
- on second night, wait a little longer than previous night (so first night try for example 3 min, 5 min, 10 min. second night try 5 min, 10 min, 12 min)
The night weaning method
- start gradually by nursing baby shorter periods of time or giving smaller amounts of milk in bottle, prolong time between feedings by patting baby to sleep
- make sure baby get plenty to eat during day (decrease distractions)
- offer extra feeding in evening
- avoid weaning during transitions (vacations, traveling, teething)
- have non-boob feeder comfort during night
- eliminate feedings one at a time. tell her she can nurse in teh morning. pat her belly/back
The pick up, put down method
- if baby cries when first put down, put hand on her chest with “shhh” or key phrase
- if that doesn’t work, pick up and repeat phase
- when she stops crying but is still awake, but her back down even if she starts to cry on way down
- if still crying, pick her up again. do until you can see signs that baby is settling (cries getting weaker)
- when behavior settling, don’t pick up anymore. place hand on chest and say phrase
- leave room
- if baby starts to cry, repeat process again as many times as needed until she’s asleep
The nighttime crier method
- put baby down when drowsy
- Visit baby briefly ever 5-15 min if she’s crying
- make visits boring, brief, but supportive
- do not remove child from crib (no rocking if you do). Most babies cry 30-90 min then fall asleep
- middle of night crying: temporary hold baby until asleep (helpful for transitions) if she cries for more than 10 min. little talking, no lights. dad is often more effective 6. give baby security object 7. phase out nighttime holding
The overall commonalities between all these methods is that you first have to have a good bedtime routine established, and that you should feel free to adjust the timings as you feel best fits your baby.
So far we’ve attempted sleep training once with Fiona (last night in fact), and it took hours to get her down. Jake had to do it because she got ragingly upset if I tried to and me attending to her didn’t result in her getting fed. I am handling the nap version of this today (so far unsuccessfully) and then we’ll see how tonight fares.
Speaking of how things fare, that brings me to my other adventure. I have finally gone and signed up for a postpartum doula course and will be working my way through that in the coming months. I might just skip ahead to do the reading that pertains to sleep habits and use the material to help inform my ongoing real life experience. I’ll be taking the little one to the library next to where we live to stock up on the necessary books and then I’ll come home and work through them with her.
More to come about my course and in depth sleep training experimenting with Fiona soon!