The Sleep Schedule

Yesterday was the first full day of trying to get EH on some sort of sleep schedule.  After finishing Babywise and having such a horrible time hearing him cry on Tuesday, I started reading a book called "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Baby."  This book is much longer and I haven't gotten very far in it, but so far I like it a lot.  It seems to be a little more flexible than Babywise and acknowledges that not all babies will automatically fall into a schedule.  It's also really educational in that it cites a lot of studies about infants and sleep and I'm enjoying it so far.

In any case, I decided to do a modified version of the Babywise schedule.  I refuse to let EH cry for that long again.  Nobody benefited from it.  But I also acknowledge that rocking or holding your baby until he falls asleep can be habit forming and especially considering that he'll be going to daycare soon, I can't let him get into that sort of habit.

Hmm.. I don't know what I think about this "schedule" to get me to sleep....

So here was our planned schedule yesterday.

8 a.m. - First feeding of the day and diaper change
8:45 - Wakey time
Sometime between 9:15 and 10 a.m. - Nap time
11 a.m. - Wake up from nap for the next feeding and diaper change

And repeat for the rest of the day.

At the first sign that EH was getting tired, I took him to his room.  I held him and sang to him until his eyes started to get droopy. Then I put him in his bassinet (a compromise for right now, since he really seems to hate sleeping in his crib.) Of course as soon as I laid him down he was wide awake again but I sang to him a little and rocked the bassinet until he started getting drowsy again, and then I walked away.  He cried for maybe 3 to 5 minutes (who knows how long it really was? when your baby is crying every minute feels like forever) and lo and behold, he fell asleep!!!

Now granted, he only stayed asleep for 30 minutes during that first morning nap, but that's 30 minutes more than he has been napping so I call it a success!!

I repeated that same routine the rest of the day, following the schedule as closely as I could, adjusting only when he seemed hungry a little early, in which case I just fed him and adjusted the schedule.  He's still so small and probably still underweight that I don't want to make him wait for a feeding if he's hungry.  The modified routine - with some singing and rocking, and sleeping in the bassinet - worked great for the rest of the day.  His second nap was 40 minutes long and his third nap was a whopping one hour and 40 minutes!!!!  I was thrilled!  And DH came home during that time as well and couldn't believe that the baby was sleeping.  It was heavenly.

Last night when bedtime rolled around he a little resistant and it took about half an hour and a couple of visits to his room but eventually he also fell asleep.  And trust me, a half hours worth of work to get him to sleep after what we've been dealing with the past couple of weeks seems like almost nothing. 

I didn't write about it yesterday because I was afraid of jinxing our success.  Had I written about it, I probably would have believed in the jinx when last night after his 1 a.m. feeding he decided to be wide awake until 3 a.m.  He apparently didn't get the memo that nighttime sleep is does not involve "wakey time."  Oh well, I'll give him a couple more days to learn. 

Because of the elongated middle of the night wakey time, he slept longer than usual and so our morning routine was a little thrown off, so instead of a 11 a.m. feeding he got one at 10:30 and I've just adjusted our schedule for the day accordingly.  We're both still learning and we both need that flexibility right now until we get into a groove.  But so far today is going just as well as yesterday - he went down for a nap around 12:15, cried for maybe 3 minutes and then fell asleep.  So far, so good.

And speaking of crying, he's crying right now (after a one hour nap!!! woo hoo!!!) so time to get my baby!


Suzi said...

Ok, so, each situation is different, as is each parent, but let me share this with you. With both of our experiences in the NICU -- for SERIOUSLY underweight children -- we've been advised to feed no earlier than every 3 hrs. The theory, I guess, is that if you feed sooner than ever 3 hrs, they don't ever get hungry enough eat enough, to last thru an entire "wakey time" period again, and thus don't get hungry enough, to eat enough, etc..... I've met other moms who've had 5-7 lb-ers, who've had their peds tell them to feed every 2 hrs. And there certainly is a difference for breastfed babes, since you're not sure how much they're getting. Just thought I'd share this with you, though. There'd be times when M was a babe, where she'd only eat like 5 CC's (1/6 of an ounce) in a 45 min period, and we HAD to wait for 3 hrs to feed her again. That went against every mother's instinct I had. (And all the grandmother instincts of 2 very different grandmothers.) But, it was well worth it, and worked out well -- for both of my preemies! :) ...for what it's worth. :)

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