Thursday, March 19, 2009

Why I'm Writing Less

Lots of potentially dull discussion of sleep training methods ahead. Avoid if easily bored.

We're sleep-training Will. Some people start Ferberizing or Cry It Out-ing or just general switching the routine at six months, or later, a year...never. Some find that their babies are ready earlier, at three or even two months.

Will has slept for long chunks since he was born, and in the last month his baby group classmates have caught up to him. I would say that all the babies in the five-months-and-up age group are sleeping through the night, waking maybe twice at most in those eleven or twelve hours. (Obviously there are exception nights where teething or simple bad moods can set these babies back.)

Seeing that the curve has caught up to us, and feeling frustrated that Will was still stirring two or three times between 8:30 and 11:30 at night, taking a nip from the bottle for comfort before sleeping again until the 5 o'clock wake-up, we decided he was ready. So we needed to be ready, too.

After a couple of 6:45 bedtimes that failed first a little bit and the next night MISERABLY, my mom friend Mo wrote this to me in an email: "It always sounds to me like your gut says he just doesn't want to go to bed until like 9pm, although your heart is dreaming of a 7pm bedtime." She was exactly right.

So back to 9 p.m. we went, and we are all the happier for it. We also nixed feeding before the morning wakeup, which means we (mostly Dave, though) go in and rock him if necessary at a ten o'clock stirring, but no bottle. The first night, that ticked him off royally. From then on, he hardly stirs at all until 4:30 or 5 or 6 in the morning, when he chugs down a bottle and goes back to sleep until 8.

Wonderful! But just like every other parenting decision-trial-error-success cycle, this one has led us straight into the next: what to do about 35 or 40-minute naps, three times a day, when it's clear Will's capable of more?

Today I picked him up from my parents' house after going to the dentist (not fun, but at least it was a solo trip) and after our gleeful reunion, Will fell asleep in his carseat. And there he slept, through the drive, the time parked in our garage, my phone conversations as I waited for him to wake up, slammed doors as I moved things upstairs...snoring faintly all the while. He slept for 2 hours and 50 minutes. Methinks somebody was starved for a halfway decent nap.

So Now we pile nap training on top of our tentative success with the sleep training? I don't know. Will might be getting more and better sleep, but I am straight-up tired; I'm tired of thinking and re-thinking and acting, only to start thinking about something new.

And I have a funny feeling that it's not going to stop anytime soon.

At least he's a handsome sleeper:

(No, the seahorse is never far from his side. We've named him Buddy.)

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