Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Currently Enrolled in Sleep 101

From the pictures I'm always posting here, it may seem as if Will is constantly sleeping.

And while it's true he's been a very good sleeper--I knew I was baiting the baby gods when I bragged that he was sleeping an average of six to eight hours a night since he was two and a half weeks old--William was not always very skilled at sleeping alone...day or night.

He slept, but haltingly: Will woke up when you put him down unless he was in a VERY deep slumber; he woke himself up with a nose sniffle or an arm flail (even while swaddled tightly). In order to make a decision about whether to keep him with us in bed because he slept so much better there, we started to read the blogs and the books (OK, parts of the books), which all give differing opinions such as:
  • -co-sleeping at night is great, and optimally you should carry your baby around with you all day for the first three months (say Harvey Karp and Penelope Leach)
  • -co-sleeping is OK, but you should train your baby to sleep on his/her own starting at three months (say What to Expect and Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Baby)

  • -co-sleeping is a slippery slope, but we'll be careful, but we love snuggling with him, but sometimes it is annoying, but he doesn't sleep half as long when he's not in our bed, but we will be ready to suffer those consequences soon... (every mommy blog out there)

And those are just thoughts about night-sleeping!

Last week, I started to put Will down in his crib during the day, and lo and behold, he slept for two to four hours at a time! I couldn't believe how great it was to have two whole hands to myself for three uninterrupted hours! Now I can make a pot of coffee, unload the dishwasher or even run a load of laundry during the day, I crowed to myself. And the best part would be that since all the experts say "sleep begets sleep," Will would continue to snooze for the usual seven hours at night, right?

Hm, not quite. At the exact moment Will learned how to be a good crib napper, his supernatural ability to sleep for a full night, whether in bed with us or not, was zapped. He is now...well, a regular baby: he wakes up once or even twice per night. My pediatrician says that the next step (since we're dealing with a 13-pound eight-week-old here) is to cajole him into eating 6 ounces before bedtime so his stomach stays satiated until morning.

Still, I can't help but think that the more I try this strategy or that one, the more William makes it apparent that I have no control over his schedule, not really. He'll eat as much as he wants and sleep for as long as he needs, and I'll try to roll cheerfully with this ever-undulating itinerary...at least for now!

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