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Friday, November 16, 2007

Working it Out and Sleeping Like a Baby

Well, DearDaughter2 got sick a couple of weeks ago again. She is only 3 months old and she has already been sick twice. The first time she got sick, DearDaughter2's airways to her lungs got constricted which made breathing very difficult for her, almost like an asthma attack. So, she ended up in the hospital for 2 days with Bronchiolitis. Since that time, she's been on a daily breathing treatment and will be through the winter. It was these breathing treatments that, I think, prevented her from having another bout of Bronchiolitis this time.

Anyway, before DearDaughter2 got sick the first time she was on her way to giving us many hours of sleep at night and after DearDaughter2 recovered from her first illness she did do very well with sleeping through the night; giving us 9 or 10 hours. However, when she got sick this second time, she began waking up every 2 or 3 hours at night and I comforted her by putting her to the breast. This week, she finally began recovering from her illness, but she was still waking up every 2 or 3 hours at night. I didn't mind comforting DearDaughter2 during her time of illness, but I think I started a bad habit for her. In addition this habit hasn't been good for my rest and I feel like I've been walking around like a zombie these past few weeks because of the lack of sleep.

So, yesterday, I finally took the time to really work with DearDaughter2 on her sleep. Basically, it is setting up a sleeping routine to help cue DearDaughter2 that it's time to go to sleep and then laying her in bed awake and having her soothe herself. It is different from allowing DearDaughter2 to just cry herself to sleep because I am still there to comfort and encourage her. This is the routine I've set up:

  • diaper change
  • read a book
  • prayer time
  • song time
  • feeding time (bedtime only)
  • lay DearDaughter2 in bed awake

She did very well during her naptimes. The first time I practiced this routine she fell asleep within 5 minutes. The second and third time I practiced this routine she fell asleep within 10 minutes. When she didn't fall asleep within the first 5 minutes, I returned to the room, sang her the bedtime song and repeated "night night sleepy sleepy love you" to help cue her to fall asleep. Now, the big test was at night. She had always done well during her naptimes, but bedtime has always been a struggle because I've always nursed her to sleep. It took DearDaughter2 about 1 1/2 hours to fall asleep. For the first 1/2 hour, I walked in and out of the room every 5 minutes to calm her, sing to her, and to repeat to her "nigh night sleepy sleepy love you" to continue the cue that is was time for bed. She protested this routine because she was used to being nursed to sleep at night and I know she was confused about this change. So, for the next hour, I sat next to DearDaughter, comforting her, singing the same bedtime song, and repeating the "night night" phrase, and once in awhile speaking words of encouragement to let her know that she was doing a good job. She finally settled down after 1 1/2 hours and fell asleep. She awoke again around 2:30am, but I waited 10 minutes and she was back down to sleep again. For the next few days or so, I am going to stay in and not go out, just so I can be consistent in this bedtime routine for DearDaughter2.

To me, I think this time I'm spending to help DearDaughter2 learn to sleep on her own is beneficial to her, myself, and DearHubby. It will give us all good rest, which our bodies need to function during the day. What's so funny is that I've been practicing a bedtime routine with DearDaughter1 since she was 13 weeks old and this worked for her to learn to sleep through the night, but I just didn't take the time to do the same for DearDaughter2. I think it's because DearDaughter2 was doing so well on her own with sleep that I thought I didn't have to.

Lastly, with this bedtime routine, I also eliminated swaddling (both with DearDaughter1 & 2). I was afraid that DearDaughter2 would be too cold, but I had her in a fleece sleeper and I cranked up the heat and it looks like she was ok.

It's about 7:30am and soon, I will be getting DearDaughter2 up for her first feeding. I am so proud of her and glad that she got a good night's rest. As for me, I didn't get that good of a rest because DearDaughter2 is in the same room as us and I hear her every time she stirs, but I look forward to tonight...Hopefully it'll be a good one.

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