Friday, October 05, 2007

Sleep Associations - HELP!

I an official victim of letting my baby nurse to sleep. I guess I should take more responsibility rather than call myself a victim, but I really feel like it just snuck up on me! And now Eli is 4 months+ and having a really tough time getting on a better sleep/wake schedule... his pediatrician (Dr. Andy) says Eli should just eat when he wakes up, then play for two hours, then sleep for one hour, and start the cycle all over again (this is for daytime).

However, I tried this yesterday afternoon, and Eli screamed for two hours (I went in many times trying to calm him down without nursing, and that didn't help anything). Eventually, I ruined those two hours of working with him to fall asleep and finally fed him (by then he genuinely seemed hungry...?) and he slept for an hour and a half. Yes, I cheated!! And then was mad at myself for doing that. He was so tired still that he went to sleep at 6 p.m. and slept until 5 a.m. today...

Which brings me to today's morning nap struggle. Usually if Eli wakes up between 5-5:30 a.m., he will eat and go right back to sleep. It's like his one remaining feeding in the night. And then he'll sleep until 7 or 7:30 a.m. and the day will begin. However, today he woke at 5 a.m. and was very hungry. I expected him to fall back asleep, so I put him back in his crib, but he made noises for about 30 minutes, and those noises escalated into fussiness and I eventually picked him up.

At 7 a.m., I decided it was time for his first nap since he had now been awake for two hours. I changed his diaper, read some books, sang a song, and put him in his crib. He cried after about 2 seconds of being in there. I let him cry for five minutes, but it was quickly escalating into what it sounded like yesterday afternoon when he was beyond reason and not falling asleep. I went in, turned on his mobile, patted him on the tummy and talked to him, then went out of the room again. Still no luck. I waited 10 minutes this time, and he was crying so hard. An hour went by, with me going in periodically, trying to calm him down, etc. His poor eyes were so red and his face was wet from all of his tears. Not fun.

By 8 a.m., I picked him up (because now it had been 3 hours since he ate last), fed him (while talking to him the entire time to keep him awake, but he was fading fast), and kept talking to him while I put him in his crib so he would at least be awake for a minute. He went right to sleep. Day 2 of failing to implement the correct sleep/wake cycle.

So here are my questions... was he just screaming because he was starving (after not eating all night long and just eating at 5 a.m.?)? Was I a pushover for eventually feeding him? Should I feel guilty for letting him cry SO hard? And how do you change a baby's eating patterns so they only eat when they wake up? I'm calling Dr. Andy in a little while for some doctorly advice but there are lots of you out there who have already trained your kids to sleep the right way... any tips??


Will & Natalie Giddens said...

You should get yours hands on the book, "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child". I used it with Everett and it worked WONDERS! I'll be using it with Juliana as well in the next couple of weeks, once her schedule evens out a bit.

Basically, the nursing-to-sleep thing will take some time to break, but remember that simply because Eli is crying about the change, doesn't mean it's bad or that you're a bad mom. Just as you would let him cry if he wanted to run into traffic and you wouldn't let him, he might cry in resisting what you're trying to do with him, but it's still in his best interest for you to get him on a good schedule. Did that make any sense?

Good luck!

Aaron and Emily said...

don't feel guilty for letting him cry. remember adele at your house? No guilt. just happy that after 2 weeks (yes 2) she finally went to bed without crying for an hour an a half.