Thursday, August 7, 2014

Sleep training

I've said this before and I'm sure I'll say it many more times, but Miranda turns the whole idea of the "third kid, same gender = super easy" up on it's head!  EVERYTHING has been different with her.  Not necessarily bad, just different.  The biggest difference is the sleeping at bedtime.  She is completely different when it comes to sleeping at night.  Mackenzie and Meredith both slept through the night by 4 or 5 months.  I fed them a bottle, gave them their lovey (and paci for Meredith) and put them in their crib.  Even now they are pretty easy to get to bed.  They have their occasional night where all of a sudden they are "scared of the dark", but it takes all of two extra minutes to reassure them everything will be ok and they need to go to bed.  It's probably more like a command than a reassurance - "no your not.  you have 2 night lights, light up stars on the ceiling and a clock that is a light. plus you have a gazillion loveys in your bed and you share a room with your sister.  go to bed."  Whatever you want to call it, it works and both big girls are in bed by 8 most nights. ;)

So, when Miranda turned 10 months I decided I needed to finally get her in her own bed.  I had slept with her in the guest bedroom up until that point and I could tell I was only creating more of an attachment of her to me in the night.  I was feeding her when she would cry (another difference - nursing) and while that's not a bad thing when she's hungry, it's not fun when I'm just a pacifier to get her back to sleep.  Not to mention the waking was happening way more often than it needed to - especially at 10 months of age.  I bought a sound machine and started putting her to bed in her own crib and would go into her room to feed/comfort her every time she woke up.  Most times I would bring her back into the guest bedroom with me around 1 or 2am because I had already been up 2 previous times with her since 8pm!  Clearly things weren't working for us. 

So, when Brandon was going to be out of town last Friday night, I decided it was time to try a version of "crying it out."  Now, as with most things in life, everyone has a difference of opinion and that's fine.  Some people think its horrible to leave a baby crying and I was trying to avoid this method in the beginning, but since she was 11 months old and sleeping worse than when she came home from the hospital, I decided a little tough love was worth a try.  However, I decided on using the "longer and longer" method or "Ferber" where I would go into her after certain periods of time to provide a quick comfort and not just leave her crying all night and her not knowing if I was a round. 

I had the big girls sleep with me in the master bedroom so that hopefully they wouldn't wake up to Miranda's crying.  The very first night she woke up 3 times between 8 and 5:45.  Each time I waited 3 minutes before going into her room.  When I went in, I gave her her lovey and tried to put a pasi in her mouth, then walked out.  Then I waited another 5 minutes before going in again to do the same thing.  After that I would go sit on the couch to wait for 10 minutes before going in again.  I never had to go in that 3rd time because she always fell asleep again.  I would watch her on the monitor and after I would give her lovey to her at the 5 minute mark, she wouldn't let go of it and used it to comfort herself.  At 5:45 she woke up crying and I instantly went in to feed her.  The second night I was a little nervous because the big girls were going to be back in their room and I was worried we'd have everyone awake in the night.  That night, Miranda woke up 3 times again, but I never had to go in there because she would fall back to sleep within 3 minutes.  Again, she woke up at 5:45 and I instantly picked her up and fed her.  By Sunday night I was completely stoked that this was working and I was officially sleeping in my own bedroom again!  Sunday night she woke up once or twice and I went straight in to give her her pasi and lovey.  Now that she knows I'm not going to pick her up or nurse her in the middle of the night, I don't mind going in there to help her find her pasi and lovey.  Monday night was the best so far.  I put her in bed at 8, did a dream feed at 9:30, went to bed at 10 and she woke up at 2 and then again at 6:30!  That means I had 4 hours of uninterrupted sleep x 2...in ONE night!  Do you know how long its been since that happened?

I am beyond thrilled that this is working.  All three girls are in bed at 8 and I try to go to sleep by 10.  That means Brandon and I have 2 hours of no kid time.  We are able to talk (without interruptions), play on the ipads, read and just relax!  And I get to wake up next to him, not in another room!  It's awesome! ;)  Sure I still have to wake up in the night to find a pasi for Miranda or help Meredith use the restroom or reassure Mackenzie after a bad dream, but those are little things and USUALLY not all three in one night, so it's easy.  I'm getting sleep and am feeling much more rested throughout the day with more energy.  So, say what you will about the Ferber method of crying it out, but for my child it worked and I am super thankful!

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