Sleep Training: Day III and Night IV

We took steps forward last night with a successful dreamfeed at 11:00p.m., and no wake up until 2:10a.m. I think Juna would've settled back to sleep, but our dog was pacing around and then scampered across the hardwood, which startled the baby. We briefly considered throwing the dog out the window.... It did remind me of our experience "sleep training" Huck when he was a puppy. We brought Huck home at the tender age of twelve weeks, and for the first six months, we were completely erratic in his training, especially at night. We tried crate training, but he cried so much I couldn't stand it and would take him out after a few minutes. We tried teaching him to sleep in his own little bed, but he wouldn't fall asleep, instead he'd run around the room and pee in the middle of the night. Every day we'd try something different, and the result was a very confused puppy. Sound familiar?

We eventually taught him to sleep in his own bed next to ours, but it was a long, drawn out process that took almost a year. Hopefully we will have more success with Juna, whose sleep is a priority for me for her health and well-being! She had an early wake up this morning (6:10a.m.). Baby Ninja managed to get a hand out of her swaddle (how?!). Because of the early wakeup, things have been rough today. I gave her a snack when she woke, then put her back in her crib for another half an hour while she babbled. We got her up at 7:00a.m. like usual and she ate again. She seemed pretty tired around 8:15a.m. so instead of waiting until 8:30, we put her down early. Getting her to sleep for that first nap was a struggle, taking about 15 minutes with lots of crying. Once again, she awoke at exactly 40 minutes (we forgot to do the fake pickup/putdown), and it took about fifteen minutes to get her back to sleep. I then let her sleep until 10:15 instead of 10:00. We kept her 11:30a.m. naptime on schedule, and that again was a big struggle, and again she awoke after a mere forty minutes and refused to go back to sleep.

I called Sasha for support and to inquire about the early wake up. I knew that we probably should've handled it differently, which is why today didn't go as well. She told me that we should have let Juna get up at 6:10 a.m. and then adjusted the schedule accordingly, so everything happened a bit earlier. We fought so hard to stay with her scheduled waking/eating times that we forgot to watch Juna and see what she needed (I believe there's a life lesson there...). She also said it's completely normal to feel like we've taken a step back, and that it often happens at this stage in the training. The important thing is to continue to be consistent and know that it WILL work. It takes time to learn a new skill, especially for a little baby!

Because of that, I put her down early for her 3:00 catnap. I started at 2:40, but she didn't fall asleep until 3:00. She cried and screamed and fought me, but I kept telling myself not to get worked up, to send her a lot of loving energy, and stay calm. Eventually, she gave up and melted into me, and I was able to put her down still a little bit awake. This nap is meant to last forty-five minutes only (it's in bold-faced type on our detailed schedule), and of course, this is the one time she jumped the forty-minute nap intruder! I watched her stir, open her eyes slightly, and settle herself right back down. What's a mom to do? Even though it goes against the rules, I decided to let her sleep awhile longer, hoping to reinforce this new skill. I knew I might regret it later, but from my reading I know that sleep begets sleep, and as my father says "never wake a sleeping baby"!

Juna woke up exactly an hour-and-a-half later, much happier than her earlier wake ups. We had a lovely afternoon walk, and it was once again time for her nighttime routine. We've found it works best if I take the nighttime put down, since I'm already holding her drowsy from nursing. Transferring her to Bradford seems to stimulate and upset her. She had a good long feed, and once swaddled, settled easily on my shoulder (no crying!). I didn't feel like I needed to do the shush/pat very long, since she was already relaxed, so I put her right in the crib. I patted her little belly for about a minute until her eyes closed, then turned off the light and sat in the chair next to her crib. She chatted and babbled for a good ten minutes, and gradually got quieter and quieter. Still no crying, but I didn't think she was completely asleep. I felt good about putting her down this awake. During the day, she screams practically the minute you set her down, so we have to get her almost asleep before putting her in the crib, and then we have to shush/pat for another ten minutes until she falls asleep. Tonight, I felt like I really did the technique the way we're supposed to, and though it actually takes quite a bit longer for her to fall asleep than her naps, she is really putting herself to sleep on her own. I'm hopeful that eventually, she will transfer this knowledge to her daytime rests!

Even though today was much harder than the previous couple days in terms of getting her to sleep, she is still sleeping more hours a day than before we started this program. She is now getting between twelve and fourteen hours a day, a marked improvement from her previous ten or eleven hours. We also can count on at least three forty-minute naps and an earlier bedtime, and that predictability is wonderful for all of us. Juna's temperament during the day remains happier, more relaxed and alert. We are now able to play with her more now that we aren't spending half of her awake time soothing her with pacing and bouncing. Bradford and I still feel great about our progress, despite the setbacks we experienced today.

Stay tuned for tomorrow's journey as I attempt to do this on my own while Bradford goes to work. Should be interesting....
happy, relaxed Juna!