Today begins my week of school vacation. I just caught myself wondering, hmmm, should I finish looking at my magazine or take a nap while Liam naps? That sort of brazen planning must come from a mom who has a baby she is confident will take a nap. Because if you have a baby who won’t go to sleep easily or consistently you would find yourself dreading the time in the morning when you knew the baby should be sleeping and that you should be doing something for yourself. Like peeing for the first time in 16 hours. That act of not sleeping is stressful. And there’s no doubt in my mind that the baby can smell your anxiety like a full boob in front of their face. They know that you know that they’re not going to sleep and they just have to fuss long enough for you to do one or several of the following things: 1) Let them sleep in your arms while rocking them (very cozy); 2) Take them to bed with you for a family nap (even though Mom’s bladder is bursting and she could really use this time to…you know…do something else. Yet also very cozy for Baby.); 3) Strap you into that warm car seat where the soothing motion will lull you to sleep. (Can’t fight the power of motion!) or 4) Just let you stay up even though you will undoubtedly make her life hell with crankiness and you may or may not fall asleep with your cheek in some pureed vegetable medley about 2 hour before you were supposed to get ready for bed anyway. (You know you gave a really good fight when this happens.)
It’s been about 17 days since we began “sleep training” Liam, following Kim West’s The Sleep Lady’s Good Night, Sleep Tight. (Go to the first blog post of the sleep adventure here.) The child is cutting teeth numbers 5 and 6 on either side of his two front teeth. Rumor has it those are the worst for pain. And you know what? He’s still sleeping! In 17 days there have been one handful of nights where Husband has had to get up around 3 in the morning to rub the back or send some soothing shushes across the room. Some nights it takes 30 seconds for Liam to conk out in his crib and sometimes the time it takes for him to soothe himself is about 40 minutes. Either way we have gained the confidence in knowing that once he falls asleep he will be asleep for at least 8 hours, but usually 11 hours straight! Having an “alert” baby means that he really doesn’t want to sleep, he wants to be playing and moving. Today, for his nap, he finally gave into sleep while in the middle of babbling. If I could understand his babble he was probably telling me how much he did not want to be sleeping. I managed to take a picture with my phone as he drifted off with his mouth open mid-sound.
Having the confidence makes the process so much easier. Instead of “hoping” he’ll go down for a nap, or crossing your fingers when you leave the nursery, you know that your hard work (10 minutes, 30 minutes) will result in a sleeping baby. Before The Sleep Lady I would “try” for an hour or more and then give up.
Now we’ve been practicing with sleep during travel and trying to train Liam to sleep just a little longer in the morning. Oooh, fancy sleep stuff! Another shout out to the Hubs because I’m not so sure I would have gained this confidence so successfully without his help. Even this weekend we were at my step-sister’s birthday dinner Saturday night and Husband left early to put the baby to sleep within a not-too-far-range of his bedtime, letting me stay and visit an extra hour and a half with my family. Whaddaguy!!