Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Clara: 8 PM to 8 AM

Like most newborns (especially breastfed newborns), Clara was awake to eat every 2-3 hours at night for the first couple of months. Miraculously, at 9 weeks, she started sleeping 8 hours straight every night, and soon she was up to 10 hours straight. If you've seen her sausage-like arms and legs and chubby cheeks, you know she was getting plenty to eat; so, we just counted our blessings and let the girl sleep as long as she wanted.

Come 4 months, Clara was still sleeping basically 8 or 9 PM - 6 AM, but all of a sudden it was hard to get her to go to sleep. She'd fall asleep on my shoulder after nursing, but when I put her in the crib, she'd flip out. It was taking an hour or so and numerous attempts to get her to settle down. Before this happened, I would've told you I'd NEVER let her "cry it out," but I started reading up on sleep training, and realized two things: (1) we'd just been lucky from 9 weeks to 4 months -- now she was becoming more aware of our existence, and would naturally freak out if she fell asleep on our shoulders and woke up alone, on her back in the cold, hard crib, (2) "cry it out," or some variation thereof, is pretty much the only thing the mainstream experts say works (other than letting the baby sleep with you, which is something we're not willing to do indefinitely for a variety of reasons).

Sometimes she plays so hard, she falls asleep on her playmat.
   "Ferberizing" is the most common method. You put her in the crib sleepy but awake, let her cry for a few minutes, check on her and tell her everything is OK, then the next time wait a few more minutes before going back in there, etc. etc.   Here's how it worked for us:
Night 1:  Cried for 45 minutes, checked on her twice, picked her up once.  Then nursed her a little more and put her back in the crib. Cried for 10 minutes then fell asleep.
Night 2: Cried for 10 minutes then fell asleep.
Night 3: Cried for 45 minutes before falling asleep. We checked on her twice but never picked her up.
Night 4: Cried for 2-3 minutes then fell asleep.
Night 5: Cried for about 5 second then fell asleep.
Night 6: Cried for about 10 seconds then fell asleep.
Night 7: Cried for about 2 seconds then fell asleep.
Night 8: No crying!

I hated to let her cry AT ALL, but ultimately bought in to the idea that a good night's sleep over a long period of time is better for her than crying for a few minutes a few nights is bad for her. Of course maybe it's just easy to say that because this WORKED for us. Who knows?! 

My baby, asleep tonight in her crib.
 We've also started putting her in the crib for naps, and that's going well. We wanted to wean her off of naps in the swing before she gets too big for it.  (Clara has always slept in her crib at night, but often rejected it during the day.)

In the last few days, she's been going to bed a little earlier (7 PM) and waking up a little earlier (5-5:30 AM). She always nurses as soon as she gets up, then helps me feed the pets, and plays on her playmat while I eat breakfast. Then, we wake up Daddy and they start their day while I get ready for work.

It's very hard for me to leave in the mornings, and many times I can't resist helping feed Clara her morning fruit or just watching her and Scott playing sweetly. This morning, we had mangoes*(WARNING: this video is ridiculously long and boring for anyone other than Clara's parents or grandparents):

 Clara thought it would be fun to feed herself...

What do I do with this?


I got MOST of it in my mouth, Daddy...

I love you, Mango Daddy!
After mangoes, Clara and Scott took turns making funny noises:

Then I nursed her again, put her in the crib for a nap, and headed to work with a smile on my face.

*we had a very juicy mango, and just peeled it and put the cut-up pieces in a mini food processor, squeezed in a bit more juice from the pit, and gave it a whirl to create a delicious puree. you could add a little water or formula/breastmilk if your mango isn't so ripe.


Janet, The Queen of Seaford said...

Love it!! The mango feeding that is. The crying, oh my God, I used to break into a cold sweat trying to let her cry herself to sleep. Didn't work. I have two daughters. When they were babies, the older one needed to go to sleep in my arms....had to be in the ragdoll state before putting her down. The other one would push at me to try to get out of my arms, she needed to go to sleep by herself. Funny kids, no two are the same. Do what is good for you and Clara. (and hug her bunches and bunches-- because soon she will be moving in with her fiance or traveling around Europe with one of her housemates.) I miss my babies!

Ginger said...

Janet, that last part of your comment is HILARIOUS :-) Seeing as how I hate to spend any of my free time away from her already, I am in for big trouble!

Lindsay said...

This was interesting to read about I just posted something about her sleep habits and how they have changes a little. I posted it like 2 days ago and I think she has changed again...I guess that's just how things go sometimes :)

Becca's Dirt said...

It's hard to let them cry but it doesn't hurt them one bit. She is precious and growing so fast.

Samantha said...

Your daughter is BEAUTIFUL!

I'm so glad to read the success of ferber for you. I'm pretty sure that I'm going to start it soon because I know the longer you wait the harder it is. I just don't know if *I* am ready for him to sleep on his own yet-even if that means I'm up 6 times a night!

Anonymous said...

I just read the Ferber book too! I have the same feelings about the crying, exactly - I don't want to do it, but that's what seems like works (and I will if I have to). Glad to hear it worked for you!

Etosia (e-tasha) said...

Clara is beautiful!!! We are currently trying different methods of getting Rylin to sleep in her crib so far no luck for us! But hopefully we will get it down soon! We also have the joovy chair in orange i wanted it in white leatherette so bad but was afraid it would stain!