Last month, I wrote that teething was disrupting Anneliese’s sleep, and it really made for some awful nights. Napping was rough as well, because her room didn’t get dark enough with the sun-blocking curtains.
So I bought the No Cry Sleep Solution on Kindle and read it, and covered Anneliese’s window with lots and lots of tin foil. From the outside of the house it looks positively ghetto, like I’m expecting an alien invasion.
Naps got a lot better, though they’re still pretty short. 45 minutes is far better than 20 minutes though, and occasionally we get an hour and a half long one. Nights have varied.
Some things I’m working on implementing from Pantley’s book:
- Starting the bedtime routine much earlier than before. Whenever possible, I tend to start around 6 or 6:30, as soon as Anneliese gets the least bit unfocused or less energetic or if she yawns even once. Sometimes it’s a little later if she had an early evening nap.
- HAVING more of an established bedtime routine. I’ll admit, although I’m a huge fan of routines, especially for children, I hadn’t really set one up for Anneliese yet for her bedtime. Even though many nights, a few steps are left out, especially if she gets very tired (though if I begin early enough, we have time to do everything), her current routine looks like:
- undress Anneliese,
- offer the potty,
- bath time,
- after-bath massage,
- nursing her wrapped in the towel with the lights on,
- offer the potty again if/when she seems to need to pee,
- then diaper her and put her jammies on,
- read a story and/or nurse more if she is still hungry,
- then rock her to sleep or just hold her until she’s asleep, or put her on her bed and pat her back until she’s asleep (trying not to have her fall asleep while I’m nursing her).
- Creating a “lovie.” Hers is this adorable super-soft sheep. I’m “creating” it by wearing it in my shirt sometimes, so it will smell like me, and when I nurse her before bed or naps, I tuck it between the two of us, so she can hold and pet it and associate it with nice nursing feelings. When I lay her on her bed, I put her arm around her sheep. Sometimes she pulls it closer to her and pats its fur, which is really adorable.
- I TRIED the “Pantley Pull-Off” which is basically trying to unlatch the baby before she’s asleep while nursing… I can literally do this dozens of times, and every single time, Anneliese will squeal and re-latch. So instead of this I’m trying to – as I said before – nurse her BEFORE it’s time for her to actually fall asleep, and help her to sleep a different way.
- Creating a “sleep cue” sentence. When Anneliese is totally relaxed and drifting to sleep, but not asleep yet, I say, “Time to go to sleep now, Baby Girl.” The idea is that after a while of doing this, she’ll associate that cue with sleepy calm feelings, and later when she’s upset and overtired, I can say that sentence to her and she will relax. Who knows if this will work or not.
- Using white noise – which we’ve done for a while, because it really helps.
The biggest change in sleep this month though is that Anneliese is now sleeping unswaddled. Part of that book’s “main idea” is that the baby needs to be able to get back to sleep during those momentary wakings in the night we all have… we as adults don’t even really notice waking up as we roll over or flip our pillow to the other side, or pull up the blanket. But if a baby isn’t comfy enough to drift off again, it’ll be a full-on wake-up even if nothing is really wrong.
So I figured, having her sleep unswaddled will eventually be helpful for this, because she will be able to find her pacifier if she needs it, or adjust to a more comfortable position, or whatever she needs to do. The first time I put her to bed unswaddled (on her tummy was the ONLY way possible, because her arms fly around and keep her from sleeping), it took me 80 minutes of back-patting and comforting before she fell asleep. The second time, it took 20 minutes. The third time, it took 8 minutes. The fourth time, I put her down and walked away, and she drifted off.
Of course, it’s NOT like I can just put her down and walk away every time. Last night, for instance, she woke at midnight and was hungry, so I nursed her, and put her back on her floor bed. 90 minutes later (she wasn’t crying or upset, just awake, and didn’t want me to leave the room) I woke my husband to “take a shift.” I was exhausted. But sometimes, she goes to sleep very easily.
BTW, we are still cosleeping, but I do try to start her in her room for the night, which I think many cosleeping families do. Once I’m in bed, if she wakes, I’ll bring her back to my room. But if I’m awake and she wakes up, I try to settle her in her room for another sleep stretch. She seems to usually sleep for longer periods of time when away from me, because being close to me makes her want to nurse. Once I bring her to my room, she nurses for much of the night, though sometimes I can put her in the cosleeper for a 2-ish hour stretch of time.
Anyway, I guess I’m not really looking for advice… just writing out thoughts, and things we’ve been doing. I do intend to re-visit the “sleep plan” I made before I got sidetracked with the unswaddling thing, and to go over it with my husband now that he’s home, so we can be consistent and he’ll be on board.
This post turned into a whole big sleep post, so I’m going to go ahead and publish it. I’ll write the rest of the 7 month post tomorrow, and take pictures for her 7-month “birthday” too. I meant to take photos today, but Anneliese got several naps in, and kept waking up with “blanket face.” But by the time the “blanket face” had faded, she was ready for the next nap. haha!