Sunday, May 16, 2010

Best Sleep Training Tool Ever

(Not the kid, the chair)

Of the sleep books and websites I've read, my favorite has been The Sleep Lady's Good Night Sleep Tight.  I do have Pantley's The No Cry Sleep Solution - count it as my second fave - but it hasn't been quite as helpful as the Sleep Lady.

In her book the Sleep Lady describes a technique called The Sleep Lady Shuffle.

Let's be clear: every book (ok, the ones I've read) about sleeping discusses Cry It Out.

Let's also be clear: understand what you're talking about when you discuss CIO.

Unmodified extinction is where you put them in their bed and leave and let them cry until morning.  That's really CIO.

Modified extinction is the rest of the recommendations.  Yes, Ferber was describing modified extinction.  Even Pantley in her book recommends modified extinction - if you can do it (she says).

Modified extinction is where you put them in their bed, and you can intervene with the crying at intervals or in different ways.  You lengthen the time before you intervene, until the intervention is no longer necessary.  Many people still refer to this as CIO (because there's crying).  However, there are ways that you can do it that are gentle.

The Sleep Lady Shuffle begins the first night when you put them in their bed.  You then sit in a chair next to the bed, offering comfort in a variety of ways, until they are able to fall asleep.  You continue this for three nights.  You then move the chair halfway to the doorway, so your comforting becomes less hands-on and more verbal comfort.  However, you are still there and present for the child as they begin to fall asleep.  After three nights in that position, you move your chair to the doorway.  This slow process gradually helps the child learn independence falling asleep.  After three more nights, you move to just outside the doorway if that is necessary. 

That's where my little piece of equipment has come in.  It's a chair

(there's that kid again)
but it also folds out to a sort-of-bed-like-thing that a certain Mommie can lay down on and help her baby go to sleep.

I had it in the chair position for nursing.   We had started nursing in her room as part of our bedtime routine, then I would take her into my room to go to bed.  No nursing once we got into my bed.  She would fuss and squirm.  Or just squirm.  Sometimes she sat up and sang to me.  If she tried to stand up and pull on the headboard I'd gently lay her back down, but if she was just sitting and jabbering, I left her be.  Meanwhile, I was laying down with my eyes closed (cuz I'm sleep deprived and in a comfy bed - what would you do?) listening to her jabbering and singing, or fussing, depending.  Eventually she'd lay her head down on the pillow, and a few minutes later she'd be asleep. 

All the books give these great examples.  The first night takes an hour or more, the second night takes 45 minutes, by the third night they're asleep in 15 or 20 minutes.  Um ... no.  The first night did take almost an hour, and there was some crying.  But I was right there next to her, and it was the "I'm so sleepy" cry, not "OMGI'mabandonedandIthinkI'mgoingtodie"cry.  A week later we were down to half an hour, but then we hit a plateau.  It was okay, I can think of worse things than laying in a bed with my eyes closed for half an hour being sung to by my favorite girl on the planet.

Then a few nights ago, she got really sleeping when nursing.  So sleepy she was almost asleep.  She let me put her in her crib and put a blanket over her.  She turned her head to one side and then the other, and then she was asleep.  Hallelujia!  I crawled into my bed alone and stretched out as wide as I could.

Until midnight when she woke up and I didn't have a plan to deal with that, so I just put her in my bed and nursed her back to sleep.  What, I said gradual, right?

The next night, the brain starts racing.  Ok, what do we do now?  First of all, I'm working and doing advising, so I hadn't planned on getting to this stage yet.  It was only a fluke that she went into her bed the night before.  Do I try to put her in her bed again and see what she does?  What if she totally fights and its a big disaster?  What if it works?

That's when the chair-thing became a bed-thing.  We nursed, we read books, we played with toys, we listened to music, we turned on the ocean sounds, we got an extra cuddle, then she went into her bed.  I laid down on the cushion and pulled up a blanket, and waited.  She pulled up and cruised around her bed.  I have a crib light attached at one end, so she played with that for a bit.  When she was bored with cruising, she started fussing a little.  I just talked to her from my spot on the floor.  Finally, she laid down and went to sleep.

Are you kidding me? 

Again, she woke at midnight and I brought her into my bed.  I'm not sure how the "night weaning" is going to go now that we're on a "no purees" diet so I'm less confident that she's not hungry when she wakes up.

So our new nap ritual is her in her bed and me on the cushion.  Our new bedtime ritual ends with her in her bed and me on the cushion.  It's perfect if you're doing the Sleep Lady Shuffle, or if you just want to be there as your baby learns to fall asleep on their own in their bed.


Oh, yea, and she took two steps today on her own.  Twice.  Grandpa missed it both times.  Guess I shouldn't teach my daughter to walk when he's trying to watch golf.


Funky Mama Bird said...

That chair is brilliant! I wish I had one a few months ago when Gunnar went through his odd little, "I must see mommy at all times or I will never see her again phase." I wound up on his floor in a sleeping bag for a few nights.

The things we go through for our kids!

Laraf123 said...

What a great tool! I actually need to get one of these to use as an extra bed when we have guests. (They usually get my room and I get the floor!)

Two steps? Hooray!!! Can you video her walking and show it to grandpa during the commercials?

Billy said...

That chair/bed looks like a really great idea for teaching your little girl to go to sleep in her bed alone! Glad to hear how the sleep training is workig out :-)

And yay for the little walker!!