Tuesday, April 7, 2009

New Sleep Solution.

I didn't mean to keep you in suspense, my other post had to be cut short because Colin woke up. Here is the rest of the story. In the original plan the author assumes you have a way to put your baby to sleep already and then outlines how to slowly move toward baby going to sleep on his own. The plan is meant to be less traumatic for the child with no tears, something that in theory sounds ideal. I wanted this to work in the worst way because I hate the idea of letting Colin "cry it out." However when I tried to take steps forward it lead to a three day crib strike which was miserable for everyone. We tried co-sleeping but Colin just wakes up more and neither Sean or I sleep well. I was falling asleep while he was nursing which meant he slept ON TOP of me which quickly spiraled into him only wanting to sleep on top of me, I couldn't even put him next to me. Obviously that was not going to work. Additionally, it just isn't safe anymore with him being more mobile. I can't put our bed on the floor for many reasons one being storage. So I'm in the midst of formulating a new plan. The No-Cry plan didn't work for us so we are moving on to the "some-cry" plan. I still refuse to let Colin "cry-it-out", I'm just not that desperate yet. Our new plan will be based on Tracy Hogg's book The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems. She describes herself as middle of the road between Ferber (Cry-it-out) and Sears (Attachment Parenting/Co-Sleeping) and while I don't agree with everything she says I like the sound of her sleep plan (especially that part where it should only take a week).
Neither Colin or I could go cold-turkey on night time feedings so I'm instituting a plan right now to start pushing him to go through the night without eating, even if he can't do it without waking up. Sorry kid, the all night snack bar is closed (the open all night aspect of it is closed anyway!) Once I get him to stop eating then I will go "balls to the wall" with Tracy's plan. So here is a quick outline of the plan as of right now.

  • He goes to sleep without nursing to sleep. He actually started moving in this direction on his own and I just pushed him further. In the weeks after Switzerland he was ending the nusing session, sitting up on my lap and then resting his head on my chest. If he tried to go back to nursing I simply didn't (and continue not to) let him. This does result in some crying but there have been no real tears involved, he is simply letting me know this is not the way we usually do this. I just change possitions and songs freqently and he eventually goes to sleep. (Honestly this has been easier than I thought, he cries more when I try to clean his face than from not being allowed to nurse)
  • We set a "goal time" for how long he has to wait before eating. He generally goes to sleep around 7/7:30, the goal time the first night was 10.
  • After three nights at that goal, we add 1 hour to the goal time.
  • Beyond the goal time I'm more flexible, but I have started adding a new goal time 3 hours after the first. We start to have trouble around 4am because he has often decides to be awake for an hour or two at that time, so I'm very motivated to just put him back to sleep as fast as possible at that hour.
  • Once he is going the whole night without eating (which will hopefully make him a better eater during the day) I will then institute the Pick Up/Put Down method to break him of needing us to go back to sleep (I have a faint hope that he will wake up less once he knows there is no food invovled, but so far no dice). It is just what it sounds like. Colin cries, I pick him up and as soon as he stops (and not a second later) he gets put back down, at which point he will cry again, and you repeat until you basically exhaust the child into sleeping. If Colin were younger she says it would only take three days for him to sleep through the night but he is 8 months old so she is guessing it will take a week plus. You can see why this is appealing!
  • Meanwhile, I am trying to break Colin's nurse to sleep association at nap time. We are further behind at nap time because of the No-cry's advice, but we are trying to move forward. I hate messing with naps because I have just gotten him back on track taking two good naps (1.5-2hrs) but I know in the long run it is better for him (and me) to fix it now. It is hard through because if I push him to much I miss the window and that just sucks!
So that is the plan. I'm hopeful this will work, it will really be a test of my persistence more than anything else. Already I am seeing some signs of improvement. For example, Colin used to get very upset when Sean tried to soothe him in the middle of the night and now since I'm not letting him nurse, he doesn't seem to care if Sean is the one to go in. In fact, when it comes to putting Colin back in his crib, Sean has an easier time than I do.

Wish me luck!


Erin said...

This sounds like a workable solution. I used some of her stuff in my conglomerate sleep-training method for Sam and Ben -- I like the "pick up/put down" theory -- because it seems like it would be reassuring to them that you're still there -- but a reminder that they need to go to sleep on their own. When we stopped the middle of the night feedings, I didn't try to space out the feedings, I just cut down the amount in the bottle until they were only getting an ounce -- and they thankfully decided that it wasn't worth waking up for an ounce of breast milk!

One of the most frustrating things I've run into is that none of the sleep-training books I've looked at talk about sleep training twins. Maybe I should ditch law school and write a sleep-training book for other mothers of multiples ... :)

Keep us posted.

Kristy said...

Lukas will tell Colin how it is... just wait until friday.

Daisy and Ryan said...

Good luck with this! I look forward to hearing how it works. :)

We're working on naps lately... We're doing our own little version of nap boot camp - the attachment parenting way. Haha! ;) He was nursing to sleep the past couple weeks. It's hard not to do that when he still nurses every two hours! I wasn't wanting to, but he would usually end up falling asleep on me. So, we're trying to get back into the old routine. He sees me going for the crib and starts getting upset. Or even when we finish the book! Hopefully after a week (surely that's all!!), we'll be back on schedule. I certainly hope so - this isn't a lot of fun!

When you co-slept, did you sit up to feed Colin? Just curious based on what you said about him falling asleep on you. With Aiden, we lie facing each other, so it's fine to fall asleep when he wakes to nurse. I know I'll eventually have to work undoing this - but it's working for us for now. I'm trying to focus on naps - that's our big issue as of now.

Let us know how it goes!! I might try to incorporate some into our schedule, too. I tried the up-down thing the past couple days. He figured it out and was having NOTHING to do with it yesterday. Man he would scream as soon as I inched towards the crib at all. But we'll get there. We did it once, we can do it again. (Right?) ;)

Daisy and Ryan said...

oh - and i've been having to let him fuss just a little bit. not all out crying (i'll go in when that happens), but a little fussing.

and did you read my recent post about him and the breast pads?? i swear, those are his favorite things in the whole world! haha! but it does help some!! he's falling asleep now with one clutched in his hand.

and you know - i feel like almost anytime he's in his crib and i am looking down on him...he is staring at my breasts the whole time! ha! that's all he wants anyway. but it really does seem like he looks just at them and pays no attention to the rest of me.