Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Achieving Sleep Perfection

Superman has never been a bad sleeper...in fact, some may claim that he is a great sleeper.  I have spent enough days and nights near tears when he wouldn't fall asleep to say that he isn't a great sleeper, but I am not really complaining either. 

Lately things have been a bit rough on the sleep front and just like any other time something gets rough in my life, I hit the pause button and evaluate. 

What has been happening: Superman was sleeping 8:20pm-5:30ish, waking for a feeding and going back to sleep till 7:30-8am.  Then he started waking up a for an extra feeding around 2am and waking up for good around 7am.  He has also not been napping as well as he has in the past.  He has been waking up 15-20 minutes into the nap or in some cases, just refusing to fall asleep at all. 

Things that have changed recently: He learned to crawl and is working on pulling himself up to standing.  He just got another tooth and has been teething really hard for the last couple of weeks. I am back at boot camp which means the morning nap is later than it used to be.  He has started eating solids as part of his lunch.  He dropped a feeding after his nap.  He has also started not wanting to go down for a nap if he fell asleep in the car on the way home from an outing whereas he would transition with minimal difficulty before.

As you can see there are a lot of new things or things that have changed recently.  When I was thinking about all of this the first thing I thought was, "Wow, I need to cut this kid some slack! He is growing, changing, developing so much right now.  No wonder he can't sleep!" 

This certainly didn't help him start sleeping better, but I found that I was a lot more understanding of him and therefore a lot more patient (No, I am not a saint. There were still tears on my part on those days when he wouldn't sleep, but they were tears of sympathy and frustration versus just frustration.).  Thinking about all of this also helped me "let go" of any previous schedule we had and really listen to what he needed. 

I thought he might have needed more milk than he was getting so I tried adding back the nursing that he seemingly didn't need anymore and tried that for a few days.  That didn't change anything.  He would only nurse a couple of minutes at the most and he still waking up for the second feeding.   So I let him drop the nursing after the nap and then started offering both breasts every time he nursed.  After about 2 days he slept through the night again (well till 5:30)!  So I have been doing that now for a couple more days and things seem to be improving on the night sleep front.  Could it be a coincidence?  Sure, but it seems to be working so I am not about to change it.

The naps however, have not improved (YET), but that doesn't mean I haven't learned anything. 

One of the things I have realized is that he has settled into the nap after boot camp really well.  He ends up sleeping most days from 11:15ish-1 for his first nap.  If I try to put him down for his first nap earlier on non-boot camp days? He does not want to sleep.  He may be down right exhausted, but he will not nap.  So on non-boot camp days I am adding in an extra feeding where he is doing what I like to call a "NOB" or "nap on boob".  He isn't really nursing a ton, but he is resting and that helps him make it to the actual nap time.  When I first tried the extra feeding, he would fall asleep and I would try and put him into the crib for the nap.  Every single time I tried to do this? He woke up and wouldn't nap.  So I have had to give myself a little reminder when I start to think that he might just actually nap earlier this time, to resist the urge and let him "NOB" for a few more minutes.   If I am successful in resisting this urge? I am rewarded with a good first nap later that morning. 

I have also learned that I need to be back home before he starts getting tired.  This is much easier said than done, thus the reason I am still having some problems.  I have found that if he does fall asleep in the car and he isn't going to transition for his nap, I can play on the floor with him for 15-25 minutes and try again.  It doesn't always work, but it is always worth a shot. 

The final thing I have learned?  Do not let anyone or anything make really loud noises when he is napping.  I really hadn't stopped to think about what could be waking him up until I was upstairs when our dog Lola shook right in front of his bedroom door and Superman woke up.  Darn dogs!  I love them dearly, but I love my well rested baby more.   For whatever reason this does not wake him up when he is asleep at night, just when he is napping.  So, from this day forward dogs are going collarless during nap time.  

We also had a solicitor come to our door today and that got our other dog, Clyde, barking.  I was a total blubbering idiot to him.  I think my comment to him was: "baby.sleeping.dogs.no.stop.barking.pleasedon'twakethebaby.I need to go!"  So now I have hung this sign on my front door:

I was contemplating typing it up really nice and laminating it, but then I found this sign and directions on how to make it here at Samster Mommy.  Only problem is that I don't want them to knock either since my dogs would then bark.  Any ideas for what it should say instead?


Mommy C


Anonymous said...

When they become more aware of their surrounding they may be too distracted/ enthusiastic to nap. Have you read the sleep books? I like "The SleepEasy Solution" and "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child". My suggestion: dream feed! And I don't tiptoe during naps, because I want bevy to be a resilient sleeper, but we do indulge in white noise since the living room tv hangs on the other side of the wall where baby's crib is. Email me if you want more on this. Nicole R

Lori @ In Pursuit of Martha Points said...

I like your sign. You didn't swear at anyone, so that was admirable restraint.

I could offer some tips for nighttime, but it sounds like that's sorted itself out. Naps? My little one was in daycare so they took care of naps, not me.

Sorry, I am no help there.

Oh my gosh...with the teenager I had almost forgotten all that time!

Mommy C said...

@Nicole- I have the Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child. It has been really helpful.

@Lori-Thanks for visiting!

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