In my few years of parenting, I have found nothing more challenging than putting a baby to sleep. I'm not sure what it is, but nothing intimidates me more than this daunting task. It's not just that I'm wishing I could get a fraction of the sleep that the little one is getting. It's also how important I know his sleep is, and how I know that habits, good and bad, are learned early. Before Athan was born, I did my research to make sure I felt prepared to get it right from the start this time. Hudson was a good sleeper, sleeping through the night by 8 weeks, but I remembered that putting him to sleep could be a challenge.
I wanted to record our thoughts right now so that we can see how this sleep journey goes. Since I'm publicly sharing that we're trying this new method I'll have a little more accountability to stick with it. And maybe if you think about it, you can pray for us to wisely teach Athan good sleep habits, but not at the expense of enjoying the journey!
Well, at some point in those early weeks we must have made some mistakes this time, but it's hard to say when it was or what it was. All I can say is that by the end of his first month, I was already frustrated with trying to put Athan down for sleep. It could take up to an hour to get him to sleep. Obviously, that is frustrating for us (me- Jay does help, but it does work, too!). The new complication this time around is having Hudson. I feel so guilty when I'm working with Athan for an hour back in my room and practically banishing Hudson from the room. We got better at it with time, and I realized Hudson's noises were often not the cause of Athan's insomnia. It was just Athan. And to brag on Hudson for a bit- he has been terrific. He has not in the least started to resent his baby brother for taking up so much of Mommy and Daddy's time. He has also complied for the most part when we've asked him not to drum, hammer, or play the piano when Athan is sleeping.
So, back to that little one. We've tried MANY different approaches, often saying to ourselves, "this is it!" We've hovered over the bassinet holding his arms, tried more awake time & less awake time, given him the pacifier an insane amount of times, attempted a strict schedule, let him "work it out" (not cry it out), rocked him and rocked him, walked around, stood in dark closets, and the occasional last resort of just finally driving around the bock.
What have we learned from all of this? We know very little, but will survive. Two months have already passed, and he has actually slept. To my surprise, he does have a bit of a schedule that HE created. Short nap at 10, long nap at 1, medium nap at 4, short nap at 6:30, and bed at 9:30. The predictability does help me.
This week we're employing techniques from the Baby Whisperer, so far my favorite baby book. I spent a good deal of time researching additional information from forums devoted to answering baby whispering questions on Saturday. We came up with a very specific sleep routine. So far it really has gone well and given us more confidence. We're two days into it and not using that stupid pacifier anymore to sleep! :) (It just wasn't working for little A) As I read the posts, I feel like I received permission in a way not to make Athan fall asleep the "right way" every nap. The reality is we have two young children, and it's just not always possible. Our goal right now is to follow his sleep routine for 2 naps a day and at bedtime.
P.S. Thank you, Aunt K, for answering all my sleep questions and reassuring me over and over again! :)
Here's a bit of what we're using. http://www.babywhispererforums.com/index.php?topic=26671.0