Dumplin’: Sleep Training Day 5

Yesterday evening was kind of a funny one. Baby boy was super fussy during the late afternoon, but wouldn’t take more than 30 minute cat naps. By about 5:30pm, he was yawning and clearly wanting to sleep but we didn’t want to mess up his nighttime sleep by letting him nap so late, so I strapped him into the Ergo360 and we took a quick 20 minute stroll through our neighbourhood with the big dog. I had him front-facing so that he could watch the comings and goings of cars, look at the houses, observe Juno (the dog) sniff and pee on things, and ultimately so that he wouldn’t fall asleep but was still having a good time. DW was really tired and had a nap while we were gone. Her pregnancy symptoms have gotten really uncomfortable lately. She’s 35.5 weeks pregnant now, and everything is super swollen, and her pre-existing shoulder impingement has gotten much worse. It causes severe numbness and now pain in her arms, and keeps her up. She’s also got that lovely pregnancy insomnia that I experienced towards the end too. It’s funny- we’re often both up at 3am enjoying another meal and having good conversation- me because breastfeeding while weight training has made me a hungry beast, and her because she’s in her third trimester. 

Anyways, another good night for Dumplin’:

Sleep Training Day 5: 

6:38pm start

Sleep wave in minutes: 11

Fussed at 7:25pm, 9:30pm, 2:30am

Total time until sleep: 11 minutes

Feedings: 9:30pm, 2:30am, 6am

Wake-up: sometime around 7:15ish?

He gave me a 5-hour stretch between feedings at the beginning of the night! Too bad I was up with DW watching Insurgent and not sleeping. He fussed at reasonable times, to which I responded by going in and nursing him. Our nighttime nursings have been so sweet and special to me because I miss him so much at night. Many times I’ve daydreamed about pulling him back into bed with us, but I know that that’s just for me, and he’s actually fine and better off in his crib. I think he’s getting more restorative sleep in his crib, and he was sorta waking up every time we rolled over or moved, got up to pee, etc. At nap time yesterday afternoon, I was tired and took him into the spare bedroom with the intention of nursing him to sleep for a nap. I knew it was kind of a bad idea in some ways, but I really missed the closeness with my boy, and I also wanted to see if we could have some flexibility in this regard, without messing up his sleep training. Interestingly, he nursed side-lying, but unlatched himself when he was done. He then just laid beside me playing with the top sheet, kicking his feet, as he does. It made me sad that my old strategy of boobing him to sleep didn’t work, but I was proud of him for having broken that association in 4 days!

This morning, Dumplin’ woke up at around 7-something, and when DW went to his room for his morning routine, he was swatting at the aquarium, trying to turn it on! Funny guy. He just melts my heart. 

 
Our boy with his little dog. 

Advertisements

Dumplin’: Sleep Training Day 4 

  
Lots of good learning happening in the Mama et Maman household! Dumplin’ fussed (no screaming or real crying) intermittently for only 12 minutes last night. I took the dogs out for an evening walk as DW put the little man to bed, and when I came home, all was calm and quiet. Apparently, right at around the 11-12 minute mark, DW watched Dumplin’ turn off his aquarium on the baby monitor! At around 2:45am, I heard him fuss, and went in to nurse him. After we were done, I went back to our bedroom and watched him on the baby monitor as he was waving his left arm in the direction of the aquarium repeatedly until he turned it on again! He then watched the aquarium as the music played, the lights flickered, the water bubbled, and the fishes danced. He soon fell back asleep and didn’t wake until 8am. That’s almost 5 hours! I’m so proud of our sweet boy for staying positive as we encourage him to self-soothe and look within for comfort.

Here are our stats from last night:

Sleep Training Day 4:

7:30 pm start

Only intermittent fussing, hit the aquarium to turn it off right before falling asleep

Sleep wave in minutes: 12 

Total time until sleep: 12 minutes

Feedings: 10pm, 1:20am, 2:45am (fussed before, and afterwards- turned on his aquarium on his own)

Wake-up: 8am

Now, I’ve had a couple of questions about what a “Sleep Wave” is, and I’m sorry that I haven’t explained it until now. It’s a term used to describe the check-ins that form the basis of the sleep training method described in The Happy Sleeper book. After putting babies down for the night, if they cry, you start timing and check in on them once every 5 minutes of continuous crying. Each cycle of (cry for 5 minutes–>check-in) is called a Sleep Wave. Now, we didn’t time our Sleep Waves the same way as the book recommends though, since Dumplin’ seemed to become more upset each time we went in, which made us think that maybe he needed more than 5 minutes to switch from looking to us to soothe him to looking inward for soothing, so we went with gradual check-ins, where the time you wait between check-ins increases. There are a bunch of different sets of times recommended by different sleep training methods. So technically, we weren’t doing the 5-minute Sleep Waves as prescribed by The Happy Sleeper, but I liked using the term because it nicely described how many “rounds” of checking-in we had to do.

Here’s a cute photo of our sweet and happy little boy, wearing his new ear muffs!

  

Dumplin’: Sleep Training Day 3

Last night went much better than the first two nights (which weren’t even that bad). I hope that we’re turning a corner here. He fussed minimally about 3 hours after each nursing session though, which might have been his way of telling us he’s hungry. At 5 months old, I thought he’d be able to last longer than 3 hours, but seeing as how he’s had an all-you-can-eat nighttime nursing buffet since birth, I accommodated his requests. I hope that he naturally starts to nurse more during the day though, and/or goes a little longer between feedings at night so that I can get a good chunk of continuous sleep. Right now, I’m sleeping in 2 hour increments due to these nursing sessions, and I’m soooo tired. I estimate that I only got about 6 hours of sleep altogether last night. This is less sleep than I was getting when we were bedsharing, and I hope that we find a way for me to get more sleep again. Waking up to feed him, then going back to bed and waiting to see how he settles just takes so long. Hopefully, with time, I can do the nursing sessions and fall back asleep quickly. 

Here are my notes from last night:

Sleep Training Day 3:

7:25pm start

Crying started right away

Sleep wave in minutes: 11, 14

Total time until sleep: 25 minutes

Feedings: 10pm, 2am (fussed, and required a sleep wave before), 5am (fussed, and required a sleep wave before)

Wake-up: 8am

Also funny was that at the 5am fussing, Dumplin’ had learned how to turn on his aquarium! I turned on the baby monitor and noticed that the lights were going and watched him repeatedly hit the on/off button at the front of it! 

  
The aquarium:

  

Dumplin’: Sleep Training Day 2

Not a lot of time to post, but last night was different than the first night. Here are my notes:

Sleep Training Day 2:

6:55pm start

Intermittent fussing/crying 

Sleep waves in minutes: 7, 8, 12, 14, 14

Total time until sleep: 1 hour 13 minutes

Feedings: 11pm, 2:15am, 4:45am

Wake-up: 8:30am

Unlike the first night, Dumplin’ didn’t cry continuously this night, but rather kinda fussed and cried on and off. He also fussed a number of times in the night, and DW had to sleep wave him once or twice. Now I’m not sure if it’s because we responded to one of his fusses (the 2:15am one) with a nursing, but from 4:45 until about 5:30am, he continued fussing.

Now, I really have to give props to DW for being the one who does the sleep waves with Dumplin’. We figured that as the milky mama, it would be more difficult on him to have me coming in to do the gradual checks, because we’re trying to break his nursing sleep attachment. So we did the beginning of his bedtime routine together- nurse, bath, coconut oil massage, and PJ’s, and then I took the dogs out for a walk while she put him to bed and did the sleep waves.

  
We are more tired today because last night was  a bit more challenging for us with all of the fussing, but we all went to the gym today (Dumplin’ went into their childminding for an hour to see some friendly faces and socialize with his friends), and then took him for his first swim in the pool! He was really good- didn’t cry, and was just taking it all in. We held him in different positions and DW showed me the proper way to bring a baby into and out of the pool (she used to lifeguard and also taught parent and tot swimming lessons as a teen). We start swimming “lessons” with the city in a week and a bit, so we thought it would be good to get him acquainted with being in a pool. He was super cute in his swim diaper, but sadly, I didn’t manage to get a photo. Maybe next time!

Anyways, here’s to hoping that swimming relaxed him a lot, and that sleep training tonight goes better. 

Dumplin: 5 Months Old and Sleep Training Day 1

Time flies! I can’t believe our sweet boy is already 5 months old. We’ve really seen a lot of new skills this past month, which I guess explains the “stormy” 4 month leap as per the Wonderweeks. This past month has been really challenging though- with him being fussier than normal, and his diaper patterns changing as well. He went from a pretty predictable every-other-day to now 3-4 times a day pooping schedule. We were using cloth diapers part time, and have taken a break from it due to the unpredictability of poopsplosions, but will start putting them back into rotation again. I love using the Applecheeks brand with my homemade bamboo fleece inserts. We will definitely be cloth diapering more frequently once the weather is warmer because we only have one pair of pants that will fit over Dumplin’s fluffy bum! 

We noticed significantly less spitting up about 2 weeks ago, and so I started reintroducing dairy again this week. So far, we’ve seen no reaction- no spitting up, no change in diapers!! I won’t be gorging on gluten-free cheese pizza anytime soon (or will I? Hmmm….) but we might be growing out of this acid reflux!! Woohoo!

Teething is still a byatch, and the little bugger has been biting me a lot when he’s at the end of a nursing session. 

He still won’t take a bottle, but we’ve had some success with introducing the sippy cup. He doesn’t know how to suck it though. He just bites at it and waits for the breastmilk to ooze out, which happens extraordinarily slow, so he gets frustrated. The little bugger also started reverse-cycling over a month ago. He only nurses maybe 3 or 4 times a day (because he’s distracted)- and not long ones either- and then sip sip sips his remaining calories all night when bedsharing with us. I didn’t realize this was a thing until recently. I guess that’s why he was even more clingy with nursing at night than previous months.

  
Things Dumplin’ can do now:

– sit unassisted, though not all the time

  
– sits in his high chair

  
– holds objects more steadily now

– grabs objects from you if you pass it to him

– can roll onto his sides, and has rolled from tummy to back ONCE

– has found his thumb, and enjoys sucking on it!

– has started forming an attachment to his lovey, who we’ve named “Forrest”

  
– enjoys his playmat and bouncy chair again, enjoys the exersaucer, but LOVES the Jolly Jumper

  
– has the best giggles, and crescent moon eyes when he smiles and laughs

At 4 months, Dumplin’ was fitting into 9-12 month clothes, but we had these footed Carter’s PJ’s that just seemed to have ridiculously long and skinny legs. He’d fit them in the torso, but his feet would only reach the ankles of the legs so it looked like the jammies had broken ankles. Well, it seems that our boy has had a major growth spurt over the past month, because now he fits the jammies perfectly. I’m kinda sad because he’s less chunky now. His muffin top and pot belly are gone and have been replaced with abs (no joke- the kid is starting to show off some really good muscles), his leg are long and his thigh rolls are less voluptuous, and believe it or not, he actually has a neck now! His cheeks are slowly disappearing too… So sad. Baby boy is growing up.

Here are his stats for 5 months old:

Weight: 20.0 lbs (up 14 oz from last month) 

Height: 72.5 cm or 28.5″ (up 6 cm from last month) 

  
Sleep Training 

So we had planned on starting a week ago, but I got sick, and was worried that he was sick, but he miraculously didn’t get what I still have. Yeah, it’s been almost a week now and my throat is still itchy and sore, I have a nasty postnasal drip, runny nose, and now a productive cough. I feel like shit and have had to skip the gym a couple of days this week. Sleeping sucks because I’m gagging from the coughing. I haven’t been sick in so long and had forgotten how much it sucks! 

Anyways, the week went by and it seemed like Dumplin’ was fine, so last night we started sleep training him for bedtime. Daylight savings time kicked our ass, so it wasn’t until about 8pm that we started his usual bedtime routine: bath, coconut oil massage, pj’s, and then a nursing. We wanted him to be tired, so we let him Jolly Jump before we started his bedtime routine.

Then we turned on some white noise, wound up his mobile, turned on his aquarium, and placed him in his crib with Forrest.

Then we waited in the living room, watching him through the baby monitor linked into both of our devices. 

We both timed his cries, and DW went in to do the sleep waves following a gradual check-in process of increasing wait times.

Here are our the notes that I took from last night: 

Sleep Training Day 1:

9pm start

Sleep waves in minutes: 5, 7, 12, 12, 12, 12, starting to slow down… 6… Quiet

Feedings: 11:45pm, 3:45am, 6:45am

Wake-up: 8:44am

Total minutes of crying: 1 hour 6 minutes

Total time until sleep: 1 hour 20 minutes

Of course we (DW and I) didn’t sleep last night. I have been so used to my 8pm bedtime with him, and we were both glued to the baby monitor that we couldn’t settle easily. We watched Scandal and the Mindy Project so that we weren’t focused on his crying, and sat in the living room together to talk it all out. 

Reciprocal Love and Hound Mamas were awesome supports during the evening, and texted with me to keep me motivated. At 11pm, we got ready for bed, because it had been quiet in his room for a while. Then I snuck into the nursery and dreamed him. I hated waking him up, but we decided that it was better to wake him up than respond to his cries because we’re trying to get him to self-soothe more and break the dependence on the cry-we-come-fix-it association he currently has. So I woke him to feed every 3ish hours to make sure he wasn’t hungry, I changed his diaper, and then put him down awake. I tip toed out of his room, so nervous that I’d start hearing screaming soon, but I didn’t. He didn’t cry at all. I was shocked.  

In bed, I missed my little snuggly boy. I missed his warm little body pressed up against mine, his smell, hearing him breathe. It was weird having space back in our bed. I hugged a pillow tight and curled up around it like I would my baby boy. I also only half-slept, because I wanted to be aware enough to hear him if he cried, which he only did once in the night- at 6:45am, which was probably due to hunger because he quieted down and went right back to sleep after I nursed him. At 8:44am, we heard whimpers, so it was time to start the day. 

Overall, it was a lot less painful than we had both expected. I am so grateful for the support from Reciprocal Love and Hound Mamas, and the Happy Sleeper for explaining how important it was for Dumplin’ to learn to self-soothe. 

Day 1 down. I hope day 2 is even better, though I’ve read that sometimes it’s worse because of the extinction burst effect. Fingers crossed that day 2 goes well….

Stay tuned!

Dumplin’: Sleep Training

So the countdown to Mochi is on! DW is just over 34 weeks now, and things are looking good, but starting to feel uncomfortable all the time now. The 3rd trimester insomnia has started for her, and she’s got terrible numbness down her arms from a previous shoulder impingement issue that has just gotten worse with pregnancy. Mochi is head down and has reached his/her birth length already, and is just fattening up now.

  DW at 33 Weeks.

We are still currently bedsharing with Dumplin’ sleeping between us, and we have good nights and bad nights. Some mornings I get up and think “Thank goodness for bedsharing, because I just have to roll over and give him the boob when he fusses”. Other mornings I’m cursing and super sleep-deprived because he thought it was fun to play and chew on my nipple. Little turd. 

Nursing him to sleep has allowed us to survive this long, but it’s now starting to lose its effectiveness as a way to get him to sleep. I can see him frustrated at night because he too, expects the sleep elixir to work. Fact of the matter is that my child doesn’t know how to fall asleep on his own, sans motion (car rides, swing), or nursing. By continuing to nurse him to sleep, I feel like I’m taking away opportunities to let him hone his self-soothing skills. Also- Mochi’s coming, and our little queen-sized bed can barely comfortable contain the three of us, let alone another baby that is even more fragile. We plan on having Mochi in the bassinet, but that’s what we planned for Dumplin’ too, and well, yeah, here we are talking about sleep training.

We dabbled in the modified cry-it-out method mentioned in the Happy Sleeper a couple of weeks ago for naps, but it failed pretty miserably for us, mostly because we weren’t consistent with it for more than the two naps, and also because naps are harder to sleep train than bedtimes apparently. His cries just escalated every time we came in the room and he cried for over an hour straight before we called it both times. So we think we will have to go the extinction route and just let him cry it out without doing the sleep waves.

We were going to start sleep training bedtimes last night but him and I have a nasty cold right now, which we seem to have caught from a friend’s kids. So we thought we’d wait until him and I are both well, to avoid second guessing ourselves like “Wait- is he quiet because he’s sleeping or quiet because he’s stopped breathing because mucous is clogging his lungs?!”. 

So we will wait, but in the meantime, I thought I’d see if any of you have tips for sleep training using a cry-it-out (CIO) or modified CIO method. I’m not looking for arguments against sleep training, since we’ve decided that this is best for us as a family, and it wasn’t an easy decision to make.

Thanks in advance!