Sleeping Like An Angel...

Saturday 4th December 2010

My baby is being a super angel at the moment... unfortunately not at this precise moment itself (she is upstairs in her cot 'going to sleep' by chatting and grizzling - but I am sure it won't be long until she crashes; well I am hopeful anyway *grin*)!

This is an old photo from a couple of months ago...

For any of you who have been following this blog, you'll know we have had problems with her sleeping during the day - I have always blamed this on reflux, and I still believe that has had a LOT to do with it; but *cringe* I also think they way we have handled her sleeps has had a big part to play! Never mind, we are on the right track now I hope!

So how did we get to this point?

On Thursday Button woke up at 5:15am (which Dad thought was pretty cool, as he got cuddles with her before heading off to work - but Mummy was NOT impressed)... at 6:45am I managed to get her back down to sleep for 50 minutes, which at the time was considered a LONG sleep! She got back up at 7:35am, and at 9:25am it was obvious she was tired and needed to head back to bed - bear in mind at this stage we were rocking and walking her to sleep. At 10:10am, after putting her down three times asleep, and having her wake up as soon as I popped her in her cot - I'd had ENOUGH!

So I popped her down in her cot, kissed her goodnight and left her... We were going to start the 'Verbal Reassurance' technique on Monday anyway, as that was two weeks after starting her on reflux meds.

That sleep was a disaster - she 'talked' for 20 minutes, and then screamed for 30 minutes (I did go up a couple of times and do my 'Verbal Reassurance' as the technique says to), then I made the decision to get her up as it was her feed time. So in the next hour and a half she got a full feed, her medication and her lunch; as well as a visit from our neighbours! At 12:30pm Laura and the boys went home, so I took her back upstairs and popped her down - it took one intervention and 15 minutes for her to fall asleep for one and a half hours of sheer bliss; and I have never looked back!

That afternoon I put her back down for another sleep at 4pm and this time it took 18 minutes and no interventions, and she gave me 35 minutes (which was perfect, as we only want a short sleep late afternoon to tide her over till bed time). BUT that night it took an hour... we put her down at 7pm, she 'talked' for 10 minutes, grizzled for 10 minutes and cried hard-out for 40 minutes - which required three interventions, and just as I was about to head up for the fourth intervention she finally cracked and went to sleep. I think in that last 15 minutes or so, Mummy cried harder than she did! I HATE leaving my baby crying, we have never left her to cry before - it was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do.

But as hard as it was - it has been paying dividends ever since! Yesterday I got her down for three sleeps during the day - totalling 3.5 hours, she has NEVER slept that long during the day in her entire life; and none of them took more than 15 minutes for her to settle, with only one intervention required altogether. Last night we popped down to the shops to buy a birthday present for Mr. C's friends little girl (we are going to a 9year olds birthday party today), and got her home at 7:45pm, had her fed and in bed by 8pm and she was sound asleep by 8:15pm - this is late for us, we generally try and have her in bed between 7-7:30pm, but her late sleep was 1.25 hours and she woke at 5:15pm; and as it was Friday night we made an exception! This morning, like yesterday morning, she slept right through the night and didn't wake up until 7:30am! YEAH FOR SLEEP-INS!

So there we have it - it took one hard night and my daughter 'got it', she is one smart cookie; and we are VERY proud of her! And just in case you were wondering about this mornings sleep - she chatted/grizzled herself to sleep within 20 minutes, no tears this time (other than when I first left the room)!

I had been putting this off for months, we had tried doing this at 3months of age - but she just spent hours crying, it always took a minimum of 25 minutes for her to go to sleep, and the entire time she spent screaming... she learnt very early on to make herself gag, as I'd always come running then. So we gave up - it was far to traumatic for me and her.  So I have to admit to expecting the same reaction this time, but I guess age and a much 'happier' tummy has made all the difference, and the battle was not half as tough as I had anticipated. I also think it helps that I made the decision and was prepared to follow-through with it; last time I was only doing it because I felt the pressure - there was this unwritten expectation that she should be able to put herself to sleep by that age, and I was spoiling her by still rocking her to sleep.

I think next time, no matter where the pressure is coming from, I am just going to trust my 'Mummy Instincts' and decide what is best for my baby and me, and try not to succumb if I don't think it is right. I do believe we have done the right thing this time, although if we'd got onto her reflux sooner and insisted on medication, then I think we could have got her self-settling sooner as well. But the way she has taken to it so quickly leaves me believing that we did the right thing by waiting (although I'd never wait that long again *grin*), and we now have a very secure child - which is why she handled it so well... she knows we'll come and get her when she wakes up or if we felt something was wrong; and she is not so old that we have spoilt her and 'ruined' her for life either.

So - societal pressure, go suck on that!


PS - No one in particular put pressure on us, this is not personal... I just felt an underlying expectation; which quite possibly says more about me than anyone / anything else!


MaxineD said…
Well done - and I am sure next time will be different as it will be a different child ;-).
Enjoy the party.

Jenn said…
Just so you know, you wouldn't have "spoiled" her by continuing to answer her cries.

I have a 18mth old, unspoiled, bub who struggled with reflux and terrible sleep for the first 12mths, and especially when dealing with new medication/dosages etc I never felt comfortable leaving her. 10min is a VERY long time when you don't understand object permanence.

So I never did. And she now "self settles" very well, having had no crying sessions. In my opinion self settling is a developmental thing and will happen naturally if you let it.

But I understand the need to do whats right for your family, and I also understand how hard it is to ignore societal pressure (I've been ignoring it for 18mths now). Enjoy the sleep you're getting!

I guess I just wrote this to be the one voice among all the others who say "leave the baby to cry!". Not to condemn you or anything. Just to point out its not the only way.
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