Posts Tagged ‘sleep training’

Enter Sandman

Exit light | Enter night
Take my hand |We’re off to never-never land

Dreaded Sleep. Everyone I live with is terrible at it. She may be cute as a peach, but Maisie is the worst at night, and daytime naps are a gamble. Wesley has “a scary imagination,” in his own words, which keeps him from resting peacefully. Some nights he’s up for two hours trying to settle himself into slumber. Steven is the lightest sleeper you’ve ever known, startling at any noise (ahem, my snores) and tossing around.

Every night I pray for stamina and endurance and to not get annoyed. I’ve adapted enough that either I 1) drift off quickly (and have one ear open) or 2) function enough on adrenaline to get by. But lately I feel like my life is spent trying to get these three people to sleep, and I’ve tried SO MANY PRODUCTS to survive aid us.

The Natural Baby Sleep Solution (fascinating and pretty accurate)
The Wonder Weeks (just as helpful as with Wesley!)

Angel Dear lovies (Wes named his “Didi” and so naturally that’s what Maisie will call hers)
Cloud B Twilight Turtle (Wes still sleeps with it at night)
Weighted blanket (A perfect Christmas present! Seems to work well!)
Nested Bean Zen Classic weighted swaddle
Baby Merlin’s Magic Sleepsuit (it’s helping, a little)

DreamTents bed tent (makes him feel cozy and safe)
Baby Einstein Sea Dreams Soother (seems to be more distracting than soothing)
Marpac Dohm sound machine (hands down the best)

RMO Counting Sheep essential oil roller (if nothing else, he smells good)
Lavender essential oil in a difuser
Nuby Soothing teething tablets
Melatonin (so far, this has helped Wes tremendously, but I am cautious about its regular use)

This list looks crazy long. While some things work for a time, the one thing that works every time is, well, time. And proximity. That is, every family member sleeps if they’re physically touching me.

We’re trying a secondary self-soothing technique for Maisie, since I can’t handle another night of crying-it-out. (Steven wins all the awards for his stubbornness. It’s because of ME that we’re even in this mess!) It involves fading – staying right by her side as she falls asleep and slowly moving further away each night. I haven’t yet made it past the crib because she loves holding my hand and trying to grab the hair that falls as I lean into her crib.

My aching back and nearly-numb limbs get a good stretch as I make my way back to our bedroom throughout the night – sometimes as many as four times.

And then there’s sweet Wesley, who hates to be alone, fears the dark and works himself up over strange outside noises. Steven helps get him ready for bed, and I’ll pop in to say goodnight after Maisie’s stable. Some nights it’s thirty minutes before I can calm her down, and I’ll later find Wes with a book and a flashlight.

“Mama, can you stay with me?”

He prefers that I crawl into his bed tent with his comforting lights and weighted blanket and stuffed animal friends and pray and talk until he gets drowsy. Some of the best conversations happen under that tent! I used to get so upset over his dependence; I now (usually) cherish this time.

After I’ve comforted the two kids, there’s hardly an evening left for me to enjoy. Many nights I don’t have the right attitude and grumble over the sacrifice. I sigh and complain and throw the bedcovers to the side. I pray with desperation and plead, “PLEEEEEEASE let us sleep tonight!”

Instead my focus should be praying for discernment. I recently heard a speaker share a few best practices for mothers. Turn my worries into prayers. “What do I do now?” becomes “Show me how to _____ “

This season will pass. Someday. My kids will likely never know how their concerned mother worried over their sleeping habits. I hope they only know how well we loved them.

[With wisdom and understanding] 24 When you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet. -Proverbs 3:24

Posted: February 27th, 2019
Categories: Leah
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Bootcamp: Final Night 10 & Recap (Graph)

Whew! We made it. We’re still slightly sane, too! Ok, I’ll get right to the night’s stats before I delve into my thoughts about the journey. First, let me recap Day 10. I had to work on Saturday, so I knew after the crazy-wake-up-every-two-hours night before might have done detrimental damage to Steven’s baby duty. Correct. Via text message from Steven, it was “Apocalypse.”

Apparently Wes didn’t sleep more than 20 minutes the ENTIRE day. Whoops. Might be because the one swaddle that works was in the laundry. Or maybe it’s because he was severely sleep deprived from Night 9. Whatever the case, the day was a wash, and I knew he’d be crank central for the nighttime routine. Somehow – truly, only by the grace of God – I found enough creative ways to keep him awake until, get this – 6:30! No way, right?! WAY.

  • 6:30-7:00 p.m. Bottle, bath, jammies, singing. Out within a half hour. This is getting really easy. Dare I even say that?
  • 9:30 p.m. Night chatting begins, but he gets himself back to sleep. We ended up putting ourselves to bed as well… We’re getting lame.
  • 11:30 p.m. Wes woke up hungry. He fell asleep a few minutes after nursing.
  • 3:00 a.m. Another round of night chatting, but he was back asleep after a few minutes.
  • 4:30 a.m. Hungry!
  • 6:00 a.m. Wes was up for the day. We let him squeal and coo for several minutes before I picked him up and brought him in bed with us. I let him nurse and giggle before turning on the light at 7.
  • 7:00-8:00 a.m. A nice, leisurely morning as a family. Lots of smiles and laughs – what could be better?

Sleep-in-Crib Hours: 10:15

Total Sleep Hours: 11:00


Nights in Hours

Overall, I think we did a fairly decent job tackling one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. Yes, I’m serious. It was difficult. They don’t publish a million books on sleep training for nothing. But, I’m so glad I made up my mind to endure the restless nights, the first terrible ones, especially, because I now feel less inclined to jump at his every noise, and I know that he’s getting far better rest at night in his own room.

We still have a ways to go, as he continually wakes 3-4 times each night. Thankfully we have his 4-month check up next week, so I can get good feedback from the pediatrician.

I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again. If nothing else, I’m pleased with the one, consistent result: HE SLEEPS IN HIS CRIB. And he doesn’t fuss about it any more. Daytime crib sleep is still a bit of a challenge, but the hardest days are over.

Thanks, again, to everyone offering up prayers, support and words of encouragement. It’s helped tremendously. I feel like if I can do this, I can probably get through most parenting woes – however, you may see me blog about those incidents in order to cope!

I deserve a Salted Caramel Mocha at Starbucks. And Steven has his wife back.

Posted: November 13th, 2011
Categories: Leah
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Bootcamp: Night 9

The calm before the (fuss) storm

After the Insoluble Crying Day, I warned my mom, who watches Wes on Fridays, that he might be a little bit of a pain in the rear end. She had a morning appointment, so I stayed at home until she arrived. Wes was pleasant and super sweet, but I kept thinking that it would easily phase into SUPER FUSSMAN. We snuggled and had a fun morning together. When he started to get sleepy, I semi-tried to put him down for a nap by swaddling, singing and swaying until Mom arrived. Of course, once she got there, he was bright-eyed and alert, ready to play.

I left them to go work for a few hours, and throughout the day I wondered how bad of a mess he had been. When I came home, however, Mom reported that he was an angel all day… of course he was. And he even SLEPT 1.5 HOURS! I can’t say I wasn’t a little jealous. She has magic hands.

Getting him to stay awake past 6 p.m. is still a challenge, but I’m getting more creative.

The following report of the night’s progress is from memory because I’m writing this nearly 24 hours after it happened.

  • 6:15ish Skipped the bath again. After the normal routine, Wes was out cold within 15 minutes.
  • 6:30-9:30 p.m. Played around on pinterest, which I just joined, hung out with Steve and the dogs and enjoyed a quiet evening.
  • 9:30 p.m. Really surprised that Wes woke up so early in the evening! I had fed him a 5 oz. bottle earlier, too! Slightly annoyed, but I was able to nurse him back to sleep within a few minutes.
  • 11:30 p.m. Another wake up. Really?! He nursed for less than 5 minutes and was back asleep.
  • 1:30 a.m. Wes woke up again. I rocked him until he fell asleep.
  • 3:30 a.m. Wes woke up and cooed a little. I was so tired of getting up every 2 hours that I just let him chat to himself. We heard him kick and make all kinds of noise until falling back asleep.
  • 5:00 a.m. He was up for the day. You can tell a difference between just night-chatting and when he’s ready to be up for the morning because he continues to squeal with delight. Yes, cute, but also annoying when you aren’t getting adequate sleep. When I went to pick him up to bring him into our bed, he gave me the sweetest, widest grin. You just can’t be irritated long at a face like that.
  • 5:00-7:00 a.m. Per usual, when Wes sleeps with us, he wakes up often. This isn’t the best scenario, but it’s better than a loudly squealing kid in the room next door.
  • 7:00-8:00 a.m. Steven, the Great, picks up Wes, takes him into the living room, and plays with him so that I can get another hour of sleep. Best husband award!

Sleep-in-Crib Hours: 10:00ish?

Total Sleep Hours: 11:00ish?

I have a feeling my graphs of the second half won’t be very impressive. He’s had a “bad” few days, but I guess I can’t expect fool-proof progress from a nearly 4-month-old. My biggest achievement, which was why the whole sleep training began, is that he is at least used to falling asleep (and staying asleep) in his crib. Now, if only I could maintain 4-5 consecutive sleep hours each night with a gradual increase to a full night’s sleep. I would feel like a rock star!

Posted: November 12th, 2011
Categories: Leah
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Bootcamp: Night 8

We’re nearing the finish line for this 10-night stretch. I feel like I’ve climbed into a hole and haven’t been able to join reality in a while, but I know our process will be worth it once we get sleep nailed down in this house.

I had an early work morning, so I picked up Wes and got home around 4 p.m. It was nice to have a little time with him before I had to get dinner ready and start the bedtime routine. It was still a chore to keep him up past 6!

  • 6:30 p.m. Skipped the bath but continued our regular bedtime rituals. Remembering last night’s mistake, I made a 4 oz. bottle that knocked Wes into Sleepy Land. He was asleep by 7 p.m. I’m hoping to gradually increase the time we start getting ready for bed so that he will be asleep by 7:30. Ideal world. We’ll see.
  • 11:30 p.m. I was almost asleep when Wes woke up for food. I can’t complain because this 4-5 hour stretch each night is his best sleeping time, but it’s challenging our own schedules…
  • 11:45 p.m.-12:00 a.m. About fifteen minutes of sucking, grunting and kicking. I finally went in and rocked him to help him fall asleep. I think he’d get to sleep better if I only swaddled one arm in so that he could find his fingers. I’m afraid of this, though, because he bats himself awake.
  • 1:30 a.m. Another night feeding.
  • Around 3 a.m. Wes woke up yet again, but I was curious to see if he could make himself fall back asleep. He didn’t need another feeding, so I just waited. I eventually fell asleep, so I imagine he did, too, because we didn’t hear any protesting until 5.
  • 5:00 a.m. Up and squealing. I’m hoping (if I’m successful) that I can change his fall asleep time, which will also postpone morning wake up. I brought him into bed with us since we weren’t ready for waking.
  • 5:30-7 a.m. As usual, Wes didn’t sleep that well in our bed. I guess it’s a good thing that he’s sleeping better in his crib than with us, but it makes it difficult to get any snoozing accomplished! He did finally settle and stopped chatting, but he certainly didn’t want his pacifier, as he knew it would knock him out.
  • 7:00 a.m. We’re all up, giggling and playing in the Shattuck bed. I love this part of the day. Even the dogs enjoy it.

Sleep-in-Crib Hours: 10:30

Total Sleep Hours: 12:00

His daytime fussiness is becoming a problem. Yesterday he cried inconsolably all day at Jillian’s. He didn’t sleep much, if at all, during the day. He did finally take a nap when we got home, but it was a fluke day, and he’s going to have to learn how to nap while not in his own bed. I’m sure this is a hard task to learn, and I really don’t know how to go about making it happen.

I read in The Wonder Weeks that he’s right in the middle of another “leap” forward in development. This is one of the crankiest periods, between weeks 15-20. He’s just now 17 weeks, so I imagine we have a few more to endure with Mr. FussPants. Thankfully we’re on a semi-predictable road that he can expect each night. I’m certainly glad I don’t remember any of my early years in life. It must be a crazy, scary adventure.

Posted: November 11th, 2011
Categories: Leah
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Bootcamp: Night 7

I don’t know if it’s because every other day he has a different schedule, but the last few days I’ve been at home with Wes, he’s been awfully sleepy ALL DAY LONG. Growth spurt? Maybe, I really have no idea, but this is totally unlike him. He’s usually so alert, happy and playful, and it’s been awkward trying to know what to do with him.

Starting at 9 a.m., Wes was ready for a nap. I tried all the steps from nighttime sleep-inducing, and it worked to an extent. We used the sound machine that Steven purchased, and I do think it helped a little. Now, let me just say that this is the first time I’ve ever tried putting him in the crib for a nap since he was just a weensy newborn. I’m sure it’s because he’s not used to it, but needless to say, he didn’t sleep long or very well. He is a catnapper anyway, but I thought swaddling and continuing the same practices as nighttime would allow him to get the rest he really needed and wanted, but he only slept 30-45 minutes at a time. He took a morning, late morning and early afternoon nap before getting tired again at 5 p.m. It was a chore to entertain him enough to stay up until 6.

  • 6:00-6:30 p.m. Brief bath and same nighttime routine. He was soooo tired that he stayed asleep the very first time I put him down after nursing. Record time – only a half hour of “preparations!”
  • 6:30-9:00 p.m. Steven was out at a few meetings, so I had a nice, quiet evening with the dogs. I don’t know when that last happened. Weird.
  • 9:30 p.m. Wes woke up hungry. This could’ve been avoided, I’m sure, if I had just given him a 5 oz. bottle before we started the nighttime routine. He usually falls asleep while eating, but if you pretend you’re removing the bottle from his mouth, he continues to eat.
  • 12:45 a.m. Another night feeding.
  • 2:45 a.m. Yet another night feeding. I really should’ve given him a bottle.
  • 5:30 a.m. I was up for an early work day. Wes was ready to get up, too. He squealed loudly in excitement for nearly an hour. Poor Steven. I know he was trying to sleep longer, but I’m sure he couldn’t with the house shaking around him.

Sleep-in-Crib Hours: 10:45

Total Sleep Hours: 10:45

Still a little worried about the time that he goes down at night. If this early bedtime continues, I’ll likely have to work 8-4 (instead of 9-5) in order to get home and dinner started before crankster sets. I guess this could be what we gradually train during another 10 day stretch, if needed. We’ll see how the next few days go.

Posted: November 10th, 2011
Categories: Leah
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Comments: 1 Comment.

Sleep Training Resources

What am I using to reference during the sleep training experience? I figured some of you might be curious, so here’s a list. I may add to it as I find more sources.

Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child – Marc Weissbluth

The No-Cry Sleep Solution: Gentle Ways to Help Your Baby Sleep Through the Night – Elizabeth Pantley

The Happiest Baby on the Block – Harvey Karp

And a few online links:

I’ve also heard that On Becoming BabyWise is a wonderful resource. Unfortunately I have yet to pick up a copy of this book.

Posted: November 9th, 2011
Categories: Leah
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Comments: 2 Comments.

Bootcamp: Night 6

The combination of the DST time change and consistency in sleep training has my little baby so sleepy by the time 5 p.m. rolls around. After I picked him up after work, he got fussy and tired in the car. I knew I’d barely get dinner on the table before I had to put him down for the night. Thankfully, he thinks Steven is pretty neat, so Daddy entertained him long enough for me to fix dinner and snarf it down before getting to pjs of my own (I have learned to just get ready in case it’s a long night.).

  • 6:15 p.m. Skipped the bath, since he was already fussing. Sang while I changed him and got him into pjs. Got him all wrapped up in the swaddle blanket again, even though he hates it at first. He started to nurse, and I realized his preferred pacifier was somewhere on the floor of our bedroom. I remember hearing it fall to the ground last night. I picked him up (while still nursing), and tried to look under the bed and bedside table, but it wasn’t working. Keep in mind, I was singing to him during this whole ordeal. He was still so sleepy that none of this bothered him, and he just nursed away. Finally, I called Steve in to help me find it. Of course it was covered in dust bunnies from being under the bed, so he got it all cleaned up while we went back to the rocking chair. Still unphased.
  • 6:30 p.m. I put sleepy Wes down in his crib. He didn’t even stir. Didn’t need that pacifier, either!
  • 7:00 p.m. For the first time in 5 nights, I work up the courage to tiptoe into the living room and hang out for the evening with the fam. Didn’t even bring the monitor with me! I guess I should mention that I also got the kitchen cleaned up and the dishwasher going. Hooray for feeling productive!
  • 10:45 p.m. Wes woke up. This is much earlier than the last few nights, but he went right back to sleep after nursing.
  • 1:30 a.m. Another night feeding. I had to rewrap him in the swaddle because his arms were completely free. Once in the crib, he stirred for about 5 minutes and settled himself to sleep.
  • 3:45 a.m. Up again. I nursed him, even though I’m not sure if he was really hungry or not.
  • 5:30 a.m. Wes was up for the day, but obviously, we weren’t. I brought him into bed with us to get him settled down again. We were able to semi-sleep with a few brief wake ups for an hour or so.
  • 7:00 a.m. We’re all awake.

Sleep-in-Crib Hours: 10:00

Total Sleep Hours: 11:00

So, it wasn’t a perfect night. We didn’t get to spend much time with Wes at all when home from work. He woke up several more times in the night. He nursed a lot more than usual. I think the culprit was the temperature. I had him bundled up in his sleeper and the swaddle blanket like previous nights, but it was close to 10 degrees warmer last night. Each time I picked him up, he was a little damp. I’m sure he was sweaty and uncomfortable, so perhaps that’s why he didn’t sleep as well.

Also, Steven purchased a white noise machine for the nursery yesterday. It actually came via UPS yesterday evening, but the kid was already asleep, haha! I’m anxious to see if it helps him sleep through one of the wake ups – I know white noise helps me tremendously.

If it weren’t for all these books I’m reading, I would be concerned that he’s going to bed waaaay too early. But, I keep seeing that many babies are wired to sleep around 6 p.m. This sucks because it makes the early evening very tight and there’s hardly any time to spend with our baby. I’m sure, over time, we can adjust his sleeping to a slightly later time, and he might naturally get into that rhythm.

To make up for the “lost” time with him last night, we played and cuddled as a family in bed this morning. It was so nice, and what a wonderful way to start the day. Now, being slightly vain, the next worry of mine is FLAT HEAD. It got better once he started sleeping with me (since he was on his side), but now he’s always on his back, and I’m getting concerned I’ll have to battle this ridiculous issue again. Oh, joy!

Posted: November 9th, 2011
Categories: Leah
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Comments: 1 Comment.

5-Night Recap (Graph)

Nights 1-5 in Hours

I thought I’d give a “mid-term” update to see where Wes stacks up. My friend, Julia, is a huge graph nerd. She reminds me of the episode of How I Met Your Mother where the group decides an intervention is necessary after Marshall shows up with large signs showing pointless data for nearly every situation.

I feel a little bit like Julia right now. But truly, the graphs I create over the next 10-20 days will help me see how much progress we’re making each night. All-in-all, I’d say we’re well on our way to success.

PS – I’d like to thank those that have reached out to me regarding our sleep training experience. It helps to receive encouragement from so many people. I know all parents have to go through this at one point or another, but rarely do I hear about how gosh darn difficult it is! I hope logging my journey helps not only Wes, Steven and I, but the weary parent who is afraid of this major step. IT CAN BE DONE! Anyway, thanks a million.

Posted: November 8th, 2011
Categories: Leah
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Bootcamp: Night 5

It’s very difficult to start a brand new nap schedule when you’re working from home. I decided to wait until next Friday, when I’m actually AT HOME and not working to start the schedule. That’s all fine and dandy, except it made the day very long and sleepy for Wes. If he would just fall asleep in his crib by himself, he would have had a much more pleasant day. Instead, I let him doze and nurse pretty much all day in order to lessen his crying and allow me to finish working.

I do think all this sleeping during the day IS helping him sleep better at night, however.

  • 6:00 p.m. Wes was still being fussy-tired after his early evening nap, so I decided to try putting him to bed after dinner. After all, he isn’t aware of the time change, so it’s really 7 p.m. his time… We took a bath (he enjoyed it for once), sang some songs and nursed.
  • 6:30 p.m.-7:00 p.m. After rocking to almost-sleep, I put Wes in the crib. He did so well being swaddled the night before that I went ahead and tucked his arms in again. I only went in to assure him twice before he fell asleep.
  • 12:00 a.m. Woke up, nursed and fell back asleep.
  • 3:15 a.m. Woke up to nurse again. The last couple nights that I’ve used the swaddle to keep him from startling, he has somehow worked himself completely out of the blanket by the 3 a.m. feeding. I rewrapped him, and he fussed only a few minutes before falling back asleep. Hooray!
  • 5:30 a.m. Wes woke up again. This is good, though, because I haven’t been able to get him back to sleep in his crib after 3 a.m. He was sooo awake and ready to play, and I knew the only way he’d relax himself back to sleep was with the rest of the Shattucks.
  • 6:45 a.m. We’re all awake. He woke up a few times after being in our room, but I figured he might since he hasn’t been sleeping as well with us as in his crib this week.

Sleep-in-Crib Hours: 10:00

Total Sleep Hours: 11:15

The “No-Cry” Sleep Method recommends completing a 10-day stretch to see an improvement. It also counts the number of wake ups during the night to monitor how that improves. Then you do an evaluation, see if anything futher needs to be changed, and complete another 10 nights to see improvement from additional issues.

After 5 nights, I think we’re on to a successful path. I know it will continue to get better once I get a specific nap schedule going. I had said earlier that I thought it would probably take all of November to figure this out, and now I believe it even more. I guess it’s a good thing, looking at the distant future, instead of worrying why results aren’t solid within a week’s time.

Onward we go!

Posted: November 8th, 2011
Categories: Leah
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Bootcamp: Night 4

This is certainly a roller coaster of an experience. After the 2+ hour afternoon nap, I had a very pleasant, happy child to play with. He started getting sleepy again around 4:30, so I let him nap with me for another hour or so. It was great just to hold him close and be cuddle bugs without getting irritated. He was up, but still sleepy after 40 minutes or so. I said a prayer, took a deep breath and made an executive decision to try the nighttime routine again, even after Night 3‘s fiasco.

  • 6:45-7:00 p.m. Bath (I’ve decided this doesn’t work well when he’s already tired. He just looks uncomfortable.), pjs, singing and nursing.
  • 7:00-7:15 p.m. He laid down in his crib after I rocked and nursed him to almost-sleep. Briefly stirring and slightly fussing, he calmed down after a few minutes of reassurance. I crept out and camped on the bed until he cried within 10 minutes.
  • 7:15-7:30 p.m. After another round of picking up and soothing, Wes went back to sleep.
  • 7:30 p.m.-12:00 a.m. Sound asleep! Feeling like a prisoner in my own room, I was able to catch up on my episodes of Pan Am, New Girl, Up All Night and some of Once Upon A Time, until I got sleepy enough to turn off the light. Steven and the dogs joined me! It was nice to have the “family bed” for another night.
  • 12:10 a.m. Wes is back to sleep after nursing.
  • 3:15 a.m. Another nursing session after he woke up hungry for the second time.
  • 3:30 a.m. I thought he would go back to sleep because he acted very tired, but he couldn’t stop stirring and jolting himself awake to frustration. I picked him up and brought him into bed with us. Oh well.
  • 7:00 a.m. We’re all up after a fairly good night.

Sleep-in-Crib Hours: 7:45

Total Sleep Hours: 11:15

Now, if I could just get him back to sleep after the 3 a.m. feeding…

Things to consider: Last night I brought back out the Miracle Blanket swaddle. He hasn’t enjoyed being swaddled the last month or so because he easily frustrates that he can’t move his exploring hands & arms. Giving it a try again last night, I swaddled his arms in, and it greatly helped him initially fall asleep without startling.

I also let him nap as long as he wanted yesterday – even if that meant sleeping with/on me. I think all the books are right, “sleep begets sleep.” Since I’m shifting to part-time next week for the remainder of the year, I’m going to try hard to keep a consistent nap schedule that follows the times when he’s usually sleepy during the day (late morning, early afternoon, early evening). I’ll have Mondays and Fridays with him, so this will help keep a very long weekend schedule – hopefully if this week is still rough, we’ll be able to get into a groove relatively soon.

Right now, I’ve set the crib soother to entertain him as long as possible in hopes that he’ll fall asleep on his own. Not working – he’s crying now. So, I’ll end this post so I can assure my little boy that all is okay.

One day we’ll make it!

Posted: November 7th, 2011
Categories: Leah
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Comments: 2 Comments.

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