Monday, May 4, 2009


A long and boring blog about our progress with Colin's sleep issue. (I think most people are probably sick of reading about this but for posterity sake I'm continuing to document it!)

We have turned a huge corner (in my opinion) in our constant quest for a full nights sleep. No Colin has not yet started putting huge chunks of time together while sleeping, but I have been making huge progress in curing him of his need to nurse to sleep. He has been doing very well at night taking the final step of going to sleep without nursing but still needed nursing to relax and settle into 'sleep mode'. Nap time was always trickier because I live in fear of the skipped nap. However this past weekend I was toying with the idea of just ripping the band-aid off and stopping it this week. This week was supposed to be 'Boot Camp Week' starting Wednesday night, Sean had even taken Thursday and Friday off of work but after us being so sick last week we aren't ready for boot camp yet (and Sean was happy not to miss more work.) We will get back to it but I'm thinking I can accomplish pieces of the goal without the extreme measures yet of the 'pick up/ put down' routine.

Last night after arriving home late from Long Island, Colin didn't show much interest in nursing (having eaten right before we got in the car) so I just held him and sang him some songs until he feel asleep on my shoulder. Feeling empowered I only allowed him to nurse for about 5 mins before his first nap of the day today and NOT AT ALL before his second. There was a good bit of crying involved, particularly before his second nap. At one point I looked at the clock and said to myself 'if he is still crying at 2:30 (ten mins away) I'll let him nurse', but by 2:30 I was laying him down in his crib fast asleep! Tonight I even decided to switch the order of his bed time nursing session and his story time with Daddy. Again. he cried and struggled in my arms but it lasted less than 15 mins and he was asleep. I know people think I'm crazy for not laying him down and letting him cry it out alone, but all I can say is I can't do it. Having him cry in my arms is 100% different than having him cry by himself.

I realize I have just substituted one crutch for another at this point but it is such an improvement! I am one step closer to putting him down and walking away and having him drift peacefully off to sleep. I find myself using an approach similar to one outlined in 'The No-Cry Sleep Solution' but I'm actually allowing him to cry a bit and having much more success. This isn't 'easy as pie', but it isn't nearly as hard as I expected it to be. Tomorrow should be easier, and by Friday I hope to have no problems at all!

Our overnight weaning has seen some set backs during my illness and subsequent decrease in supply, but we are working back toward the 4am goal we were achieving last week. The night before I got sick Colin actually slept from 9:00pm to 2:00am, that is FIVE HOURS, that is technically "through the night"! The best part, I was also asleep most of that time, waking with quite a start at 1:30 with the odd feeling that I had overslept. Colin has been doing well going back to sleep quickly without nursing most nights, and at least once a night he resettles himself without us even needing to tend to him. It doesn't help that 'city noise' (horns, alarms, fire trucks, etc.) causes at least 20% of his night wakings. All in all, I'm very encouraged by our progress on all fronts! Baby steps I know, but very important baby steps in my opinion.

A random picture (from our trip to the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens) to reward you for reading all this:


Erin said...

I'm glad that things seem to be going smoothly with the sleep training without having to use the full CIO idea if that's something you're not comfortable with using. I never thought I would be able to use Ferber, either -- and I know I couldn't use it on an infant -- it seems so harsh to me to use this method on a 4 month old baby! That being said, Ben is back visiting Ferber bootcamp after he got in the nasty little habit of eating during the night when he was sick. They are almost 14 months old and I have finals this week and next week -- I cannot be waking up with him and still expected to pass law school at this point!

Daisy and Ryan said...

I'm always amazed at how similar our boys seem to be with their sleep issues! We had our naptime boot camp last week, and it really helped. For our routine, I've been nursing, doing a story, and then he's into the crib. I need to blog about our progress, too, just haven't felt like it with our household being sick, too - though not as bad as you guys! (We also switched the nursing order at night, so I nurse and THEN he goes to daddy to get dressed for bed, story from dad, and dad puts him to bed - it's going pretty well, esp after that Daddy-strike! Before, I nursed after he was dressed - so he went back and forth, but I thought this might help him be ok with daddy and need me less to get to sleep. Seems to be!)

I'm like you in that I can't let him cry alone. I would rather him cry in my arms if he is going to cry!! A friend of mine that feels the same way says "nobody in our family cries alone" - what a great way to put it. :) And you're right - baby steps! It is STILL an improvement. And if it takes small steps of improvement to eventually get to our goals, we'll still get there - and do it lovingly with as little crying as possible. I know how frustrating it can be. We've seen success this past week, but it's not perfect and some naps are still just barely an improvement. The past couple days I haven't been as patient b/c it's wearing on me, but I'm trying to keep my perspective. Glad you are, too! :) Keep up the good work, mama! Sounds like you guys are making some great progress!!

Daisy and Ryan said...

PS - Based on what I'm hearing from my other friends with babies....we are not in the minority! :) Some do have great sleepers, but I know many that don't! Makes me feel a little better knowing that I'm in good company, at least.

Erin said...

I wonder if/how my parenting style would be different if I had a singleton. Daisy and Becky's comments make me think! I don't love the idea of leaving a baby crying in his crib -- but I didn't have a lot of options -- having one set of arms and two babies made juggling tough. And now, if I go in and take Ben out of his crib, Sam's awake in a nano-second and wanting to be held, too. Hmm

Becky said...

Erin I agree with that statement is it hard to know how I would have handled twins differently. Singletons, and particularly first born singletons, afford me a certain luxury of time to 'play' with my parenting style. Watching you with the boys made me realize just how 'spoiled' Colin is. When he gets cranky in the stroller I take him out, you don't have that option! The boys have responded well and learned to be more tolerant and patient...
I suppose there is the option of having the boys sleep is separate rooms, but that seems a little cruel. They were used to sharing a womb, they might be lonely in their own rooms. I wonder if anyone with twins does that?

Erin said...

Well, I hope you have your parenting style figured out by the next pregnancy -- seeing Sean is hoping for a set of twins! :)

I think that you're right about the ability to "spoil" a first-born singleton. My mom said the same thing about my brother when he was an "only child" and I see the same thing with my brother and Zara and Aidan. And I don't think that it's actually spoiling the child, it's being able to be more responsive to their needs -- a luxury I don't have, unfortunately. There are certain things I would love to do -- like swimming classes -- that I can't do without another adult present, and Roy's schedule is tough to predict.

Some parents of twins do split them up, but I am not crazy about that idea. They've been together since conception (ha, awkward!) -- and I would think that they would be very lonely without the other. Ben's crying doesn't seem to bother Sam -- but if I go in to give Ben attention, Sam wants attention, too!

Daisy and Ryan said...

Good point about the twin scenario.... I already wonder how things will be for the next one we have! Right now, I can sometimes treat Aiden as an only child b/c Camden is so much older and independent. So we can do some fun classes, spend the entire week on nap solutions, etc, etc. But I'm completely aware of how things will change when we have our next one in a few years - well, not HOW they will change but that they WILL.

I used to work in a nursery with 6-12 month olds...and I can't for the life of me remember how I did it with all those babies now! It would be me, an assistant, and ten babies... And we got the job of teaching them to go from however many naps they wanted to one big one. And I did not have a room full of crying babies all the time, I do remember that. (I so wish I could remember how I did it...) I plan on starting to watch another little one in the fall for more income, so I guess I'll have to figure some things out. I keep hoping that by then Aiden's naps will be worked out - and that the other child will be a good sleeper, too. But either way - I'll have to figure it out. Once you're in the situation, you just HAVE TO.