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Cassius Daniel:
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Monday, October 4, 2010

Where is the sleep training method for the 1 bedroom apartment family?

Monday, October 4, 2010

Cash, sleeping peacefully for once...

I think the question that new mothers hear most frequently after the general "How's the baby?" is "So, is he/she sleeping through the night yet?" It doesn't matter if your baby is 4 weeks or 4 months old, this is apparently at the forefront of everyone's mind when they think about how new parenthood is going. Your baby sleeps through the night = everything is going ok. Your baby doesn't sleep through the night = I feel an enormous amount of pity for you and also joy that this isn't my life.

So when friends and coworkers inevitably ask me how Cash is sleeping I say..."Okayyyy....". And that basically is the truth. He sleeps ok. Does he sleep through the night? No, not even close. But does he get me up every 1.5 to 2 hours or some other horror stories I've read? No, he's not that bad. Basically, depending on whether or not he napped alot at daycare that day, Cash goes to bed anywhere from 5pm to 8pm, sleeps about 4-5 hours, wakes up to nurse, goes back down for another 3 hours, nurses, and then (hopefully) sleeps to his newly self-established wake up time of 5:30am. From there he likes to "talk" really loudly,smile and play for about an hour before nursing again and going down for a nap between 30 minutes to 2 hours and then, maybe, take another long nap at some point in the afternoon. He is not the most consistant baby.

Now did it used to be this bad? No, he used to sleep for about 6-7 hours, nurse once throughout the night and then sleep to about 6-6:30am. In other words, those were his glory days. But then about a month ago, I went back to work and he got his first cold at daycare and everything has been all screwy ever since. So Ross and I decided about a week ago to attempt "sleep training" with the help of the Sleep Lady method which was recommended by Ross's coworker. Basically, the method tells you to put your baby down "drowsy but awake" at a consistant time each evening so that he learns how to put himself to sleep. Then, choose whether or not you want to dream feed your child (meaning feed him around 10 or 11pm when you are about to go to sleep) or feed him upon his first night waking but then, after that, you don't feed him until 6am. When he wakes up other times during the night, you need to try to soothe but DO NOT pick him up out of his crib. Also, you need to establish a morning and afternoon naptime and stick with it.

Sounds easy enough, right? However, what does one do when you are right next to your child's crib? I can sit there and pat his head and shush him for hours, but I can't leave and close the door to his wails so that he can attempt to soothe himself for a couple of minutes. He knows that both of us are right there. Plus, it's not exactly easy to let the process run its course when you are not even two feet away from your screaming child. Also, we have neighbors who already dislike us enough since we fill up the community trashcans with diapers and block the hallway with the stroller most days.

So, Ross and I quickly modified and tried to soothe by picking Cash up but not feeding him. No dice. When you live in 450 square feet, there's not exactly a divying up of nighttime parenting. If Cash wakes up, we both wake up. If one of us is pacing the apartment with a screaming baby, we are both there in spirit. Plus, given the fact that Cash is in full time daycare, establishing a consistant nap schedule is unfortunatly off the table as well. Does Cash usually nap during the lights out period of 12:30-2:30 at daycare? Usually but not all the time and with a room full of lights and other screaming babies, I can't exactly demand that the day care providers make my son nap at certain times during the day. So the best I can do is try to adhere to the 12:30 - 2:30 schedule on the weekends as well even though that pretty much only gives him one long nap a day when everything I read tells me he needs two. Plus, on the days he doesn't nap he is so tired at 5pm that I feel I should just swaddle him up and put him down for the night. But then on days he does nap, he wants to stay up and since Ross doesn't get home until 6:30pm, I'd like him to stay up to to have some Daddy-time. His natural "bedtime" just hasn't presented itself yet, so we can't establish a routine and I have no idea how to enforce one in our situation.

So Sleep Lady pretty much got thrown out the window and we are back to adhering to Cash's demands. I'd like to know where there is a sleep training method for people who HAVE TO (not choose to as in co-sleeping) sleep in the same room with their baby. Not everyone has a door to shut or 1000 square feet to separate themselves from their baby in order to instill "proper sleep habits". Also, most of these methods don't really seem to be designed for working parents. For 5 days out of the week, I have little control over my child's nap schedule. It's not my fault, it's just the way that it is. If I try to demand a certain schedule, it would be pretty unreasonable considering the constraints of day care and affording a full time nanny who I can tell what to do isn't an option. I figure there has to be some kind of method out there for people in our situation but until I find it I guess I just have to continue to live in a zombiefied state with a permanent coffe cup in my hand.

5 comments:

Lisa said...

Books like this frustrated me as well. I found that I took a few modified tips from them and pieced together my own strategy. I didn't feel there was enough explanation to implement the steps fully. We have success putting Hazel to bed awake maybe half the time. And maybe half the time she lets me pat her and give her a pacifier when she wakes up in the middle of the night. Sometimes she just needs to eat. The dream feeds did not work, but the evening/afternoon cluster feeds do work for us to get her sleeping longer at night.

We're still not on a regular napping schedule either, but we try to do it related to when she wakes up in the morning (e.g. nap 2.5 hours after she wakes up, then she's awake for about 4 hours again and that's when we do nap 2). Baby books made me feel like crap about both sleeping and nursing. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Is there a way that you could put a partition around his area so that he does not see you or could you make a partitioned area in the Living Room. What are the plans when he gets bigger? Sure hope it all works out for you.

Anonymous said...

My baby co-sleeps with myself and my husband. Until he was weaned at 13.5 months, he woke up every 2-3 hours during the night to breastfeed. Women that I know with exclusively breastfed babies reported having similar experiences.

Ken and Jenny said...

Thanks for posting this. I continue to search for a solution, and hope you have found one too in North Carolina!

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