I haven't had this much sleep since college. I've had so much sleep, I'm giddy.
Funny thing is, I have been waking up several times a night still. I'll get out of that pretty quickly - I hope.
She had been going to sleep in her bed well. She had even been going back to sleep in her bed, if I went in and sang and patted and talked and sat there until she went back to sleep. But she kept waking up. Every two to three hours. One sleep book (that I found to be pretty useless in this process) said that once they are going to bed on their own, the night wakings should resolve themselves. Not. I no longer dreaded bedtime, I just dreaded the rest of the night starting at 11 p.m. when she would usually wake the first time.
When I finally decided to go for the "all night in her bed with no nursing" phase, I thought it would be tough. "Tough" doesn't quite come close. All of the gentle, no crying techniques that I had accomplished up to that point worked to get her in her bed. But when she wakes up in the middle of the night, she's mad. She wants to nurse, and she wants to nurse NOW, dammit.
I developed a go-to-sleep song phrase based on a suggestion from a website (scroll down to "practice a jingle"). I sang it at bedtime while sitting on the special chair. So she was used to that as her go-to-sleep signal. In fact, if she's sitting up in bed while you sing it to her, she lets herself fall right over on her pillow. The website suggests using that for night wakings also.
The first night was ok. She woke every three hours like usual, and I went into her bed and sang the song and patted her until she wasn't screaming anymore. Then I sat in the chair and waited until she was asleep before I crept back to my room. But by about 2 am, I was ready for some sleep, so I just took her into my bed and nursed her each time she woke up until our normal wakeup time, around 7:30 or 8.
We did that for a couple of nights. One night I wasn't up for any of it, and just took her into my bed when she woke at 11.
So you can imagine the screaming and wailing the next night when we went back to training after mommie being inconsistent! It was awful. I was a mess, but I sat there every time she woke up and sang to her until she went back to sleep.
Saturday at dinner mom and I were talking to her about sleeping well. I looked at her and said "it doesn't do you any good to wake up, mommie will just come sing to you like she did last night. You might as well just sleep."
Um, and she did. I woke up around 11 and thought "she should be waking up soon". I then woke again and looked at my watch - 5:45 am! I jumped out of bed and snuck into her room. I couldn't hear her breathing, so I panicked. I know it's the cliche - every momma says the first night they slept through the night that they ran in to check their breathing. But to go from waking every three hours to sleeping almost 9 hours I thought was impossible, so I was expecting the worst.
When I turned the light on dimly to check on her, she woke up. I praised her and hugged her and took her to my bed to nurse.
The next night, she did it again. She slept until around 5:30 and I took her to my bed for morning nursing.
This morning she slept until 7:00, and we sat in the rocker to nurse.
Just in time for us to leave on vacation in two days. I'm HOPING that doesn't mess it all up. I can't believe she's such a good sleeper now!
Resources: These are the books and websites that I used to make The Plan. Here is a summary of what worked for us.
- (Lori Mindell's book was useless. I didn't agree with some of her advice, and some is actually contradicted in the sleep literature. Don't waste your time. She has no good advice to address night wakings at all.)
- The Sleep Lady's Good Night Sleep Tight. She has a website too, but I only used the book. This was one of the best resources!
- A post from a physician that is pro co-sleeping.
- A blog post from a mom. I can't find the original (I swore I bookmarked it - maybe at work?). She got the technique from Supernanny's book, and thanked DadJam for blogging about it, so I'll link to him.
- Anna Wahlgren's cheat sheet, also linked above. One of the pages on her site is a bitter, venomous reply to some criticism by physicians that are against her suggestions that babies sleep better on their tummies. I tried to look past that, and just use the material I thought would work for us. I thought her theory was interesting that night wakings are children looking for security, and if you can "answer their questions" they will learn to sleep.