Today started off well, with a happy, smiling Juna, and equally happy, smiling parents! Her late morning nap required only twelve minutes of held crying, and one ten-minute intervention at the forty-minute mark by Bradford to get her back to sleep, for a total of one-and-a-half hours. She hasn't napped that long in weeks!
We determined I should again put her down for her afternoon catnap, and in the spirit of consistency, I ventured to use the new technique. I'll admit I was nervous, seeing as how my usual reaction to Juna's crying is utter and absolute panic and sadness, but I surprised myself. I held her as she writhed in her swaddle, lightly patted her back and whispered "shhhhh" over and over. She eventually relaxed into me after only ten minutes, and five minutes later I laid her down in her crib. I continued to pat her belly and whisper "shhhh", and watched as her little eyes fluttered and closed. It took a grand total of fifteen minutes! I stayed for an extra ten to make sure she was really asleep, and then tiptoed downstairs, victorious! She again slept for only forty-five minutes, but that was the perfect length for a catnap.
We went to the park again today, and Juna was a doll the whole time. It felt so good to be out in the world and not be worried about her getting upset. One thing about this routine that works really well for us is the scheduled feeding. She eats with more intention at each feeding, because they're spaced out by an extra half hour (we used to feed approximately every two- to two-and-a-half hours, sometimes less, sometimes more). We are able to leave the house for a half an hour and know that she will not need to eat for that time. I am also able to pump more regularly, since I don't have to worry that pumping will interfere with her next feeding. This will enable me to get out every now and again.
Tonight, after Juna's last feeding, I made a last minute decision to put her down myself. She was already relaxed in my arms, so I swaddled her up and sat down ready for the fight. It only took about five minutes of her fussing, no crying, before she settled herself against my shoulder. I put her down in her crib, eyes wide open, continued to pat her tummy and shush her, and within two minutes she had closed her eyes. I sat down in the chair next to her crib and listened to her little sighs and rustling around, and then, miraculously, heard her breath become more even and shallow. I crept downstairs and she has been asleep ever since. That was almost three-and-a-half hours ago! I am going to try the dreamfeed again and see if we can lengthen her nighttime sleep.
Now, we are not out of the woods yet, but considering we have been executing our plan only two days and three nights, this is excellent progress! Juna seems much happier and more relaxed, though that could be because she is expending an incredible amount of energy to learn her new sleeping technique. The predictability of her day seems to agree with her; she doesn't seem panicked about when she'll be eating or resting next, and enjoys our little activities with clear, bright eyes and a calm demeanor. I'm actually looking forward to seeing how tonight goes!
|Ready to go to the park!|