Friday, October 2, 2009

Not Naptime

I've mentioned before that Quinn loves to be held - a lot. And for the first three months I was down with that - he's a baby! an infant! you can't spoil a baby! And I still believe all that. But now - he's almost 5 months and it's feeling like we've transitioned from "I need to be held" to "really, Mom, I'd prefer to be held and I know I can make you do it if I really try".

Along with the desire to be in Mom's arms has come a desire to NOT be sleeping alone in a crib during the day. At first it was really only a problem with napping. His night sleep had been pretty okay. He started going 6-8 hours at a time and went to bed with just a little rocking/singing. But we always put him down asleep. The same tactic did NOT work so well for naps. We could get him to sleep, but then after 20-40 minutes he'd wake up and that was that. There was no more sleeping.

I have memories of Lily being such an easy, great napper - so when I started trying to put Q down for regular naps a la the Weissbluth schedule and it just didn't work I was dismayed (to put it lightly). Of course, I was also torn since it's not like the 3rd and 4th months of Q's life were all that easy/consistent. Our schedule was so crazy with hospitals and all that. Of course he learned to just grab a cat nap whenever he could while riding in the mei tai.

But once we got back to "normal life" a bit and Q hit 4 months and was headed to 5 it became apparent that he probably wouldn't just miraculously start napping one day. After a particularly frustrating day of trying to get him to sleep I went back and looked at my old g-chats when Lily was the same age. Turns out that she wasn't quite the miracle sleeper I remembered. She did something similar - a number of 30 minute naps. So that helped a little with my state of mind. However, we did have evidence that Lily *could* fall asleep on her own:

Quinn, on the other hand has NEVER just passed out while playing.

In the meantime his night sleep started to deteriorate a little as well. He would still do long periods of sleep, but putting him down became much harder. The time it took to rock him to sleep increased. There were nights when he'd wake in the middle of the night and stay awake for awhile after eating. Sometimes as long as 2 hours. We got tired and cranky - all of us - including Quinn. Maybe it's just because we have fewer resources with two kids, but sleep has definitely seemed a little harder to come by this time around.

So of course I've been googling furiously, looking for help/advice/encouragement anything. It does seem like short, frequent naps is not all that unusual for a 4-5 month old. So I am holding out hope that his naps still will consolidate into something more regular. I would love to start working from home in the next few weeks, but can't really do that until I know I'll get at least an hour or so here and there to myself. In the meantime I've started handling day time naps by being a little more "zen" about it. Sometimes he snoozes for 30 minutes in his crib, sometimes he grabs a nap in the stroller and usually his afternoon nap is in the ergo while I watch TV or snooze a little myself.

We did, however, decide it was time to do something about the going to bed bit. By the end of the day Q would sometimes be quite cranky from not sleeping enough. So although bedtime started as a pretty easy stint in the rocking chair until asleep, it morphed into something far more complicated. First we'd rock and rock and rock. He'd finally fall asleep. Then we'd sneak into the room and put his down as LIGHTLY as possible - leaving arms underneath him until we were sure he wasn't wake and then SLOWLY extracting ourselves. Sometimes this worked. A lot of times he would start to cry the minute any part of him hit the mattress. So then we'd pick him back up and start all over again. Gordon compared it to starting a lawn mower - it often wouldn't take on the first try.

Tuesday I had a particularly bad day with it all and decided we had to do something. So that night we started with sleep training. We did some version of the Ferber deal with "pick up/put down". I found this babycenter sleep post and it was really helpful. We started Tuesday night. He cried for about 50 minutes - including three check-ins by us. It stunk, but he eventually rolled over onto his tummy and went to sleep. The rest of that night was pretty good too. He woke up to eat, but when back to sleep pretty easily on his own each time. Wednesday night was much the same. Although we did have the added drama that night of Lily getting out of her bed and WAKING HIM UP ON PURPOSE after he had finally fallen asleep. Thursday night the crying period before sleep was down to only 30 minutes and tonight - there was hardly any crying at all. In fact he went down without any crying, but then after about 15 minutes cried for maybe ten minutes. That was well over an hour ago.

It's always a difficult decision - what to do about the sleep thing. I was worried that maybe he's just too young, its too soon etc. But on the other hand I do believe that good sleep habits are so important - both for parents AND the kids. Tonight's bedtime was so great that I'm feeling better about it again. Let's hope this pattern continues going forward and the eventually he works out the nap thing too. Fingers crossed! One positive side note of all of this is that we used the opportunity to also ditch the pacifier at night. You know, so we could avoid dealing with that again!

Who Me? Trouble? Nah!

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