15 May 2012

Improvements

Last week on a whim I decided to see how Theo would sleep in his own room, something we've never done before. He's spent every night since he was born in the same room as us, and for the most part next to us in our bed. People have asked when we were going to move him into his own room, but it never felt like the right time, until that night when it did. I'm glad I waited until it was my decision, and not because of pressure from other people (as well because I'm really stubborn and it HAS to be my idea) I decided to try him in his own room because it was taking an age to get him to sleep and he just wasn't settling as much. Plus when we would go to bed later he would almost always wake up as we would disturb him. So it just wasn't working for any of us. He didn't really even seem to notice the difference and settled well when putting him down so we kept on with it, and he's been there ever since. When rob had the day off last week, we spent it rearranging the bedrooms, to make Theo's bedroom more of his own and to finally make our bedroom our room again. It seems like such a long time ago that we had a 'proper' bedroom to ourselves. It used to feel just like a room where we (sort of) slept and not a room that we could really spend any time in. Also it's so nice to be able to get ready for bed properly (with the light on!) and actually have a good talk with Rob before we go to sleep. I think it really helps us feel like we have some space and time away from Theo, which after nearly 16 months, is important for our relationship.

 Anyway so that happened, and I was still going in to nurse Theo back to sleep when he woke up, but would end up going to sleep with him on his bed (currently our big sofa bed) and still he was waking every 1.30-2 hours. It was getting to the point where I just couldn't handle it anymore, and something had to change. I've been speaking to a few friends and got some great advice on sleep training that doesn't involve using CIO techniques and makes sure your baby still feels secure and comforted when going to sleep, but without nursing in the night.

 So again on Friday night I made a last minute decision to start something different that night. I nursed him to sleep as normal, but when he woke up again looking to be nursed back I didn't offer it to him. Cue hours of on/off crying and whingeing (which I was expecting) but stayed with him the whole time, lying next to him, letting him lie on my chest, rubbing his back, singing twinkle twinkle little star, and telling him softly it was 'time to sleep' over and over. I eventually woke up and realised that we had both at some point fallen asleep, I had no idea how long we'd both been asleep for. I tried to get up and go to the toilet but Theo woke too, so I again tried the same techniques and offered him water from his beaker and he did go back to sleep with not much crying at all. I decided to stay with him all night to comfort him and I think that helped. The next night I again nursed him to sleep (as I want to take it a step at a time and ease him into it, and eventually stop feeding him to sleep) and he slept for a good stretch before waking up again, and again I tried all the same things, offering him water and rubbing his back, and without too much crying and fussing, I'd say 10-15 minutes he was back asleep. He then woke again at 3 then 6, and went back to sleep fairly easily again. So he is sleeping for slightly longer stretches of time, and the time it takes to get him back to sleep got less and less. On Sunday night he even managed a stretch of 5 hours sleep, which is unheard of! Shame that I went to bed late and only had 3 hours sleep before he woke up!

 Last night I thought I would try to see how it went if I nursed Theo until he was nearly asleep, then take him off and try and settle him to sleep, something which he wasn't most pleased about to begin with, but again eventually did go to sleep. He didn't sleep as well in the night, but I think hopefully if I preserve with this new part, it too will get better and easier. It's always the hardest the first time to try something, and hopefully it can only get better. But if it doesn't perhaps we'll hold off not feeding him to sleep. This evening I still nursed him in bed with the intention of doing it until he was asleep, but he didn't feed himself to sleep. He nursed for a little while, then came of himself, crawled around on the bed and climbing on me for a while, before flopping down drowsily. All this time I wasn't withholding feeding him, he just didn't want it, nor when he lay down did he try and get to my boobs. So I just rubbed his back and sung to him and he fell asleep! Success!

I'm so glad we eventually tried this, as I think it's making a difference already. I feel a lot less stressed about bedtime and the night time, and hopefully it will only get better and easier. Theo has taken to it really well, and doesn't seem upset or extra clingy in the day, which confirms that it was the right time. I'm glad I've listened to my instincts and decided when the right time for all of us was.

Hopefully the next steps we will take will be for me to not have to lie down with him to settle him back to sleep, and eventually for other people to be able to settle him back. Then it's just the day time nap to tackle, as I leaving that alone for now as I need the time in the day!

 I'm sure you're all tired of hearing me babble on about Theo's sleep, but it's been a hard subject and journey for us, but hopefully one that is now getting a little better and easier!

1 comment :

  1. Sounds like you are getting there slowly abbi well done. I think it's really interesting how everyone manages their own way with babies and sleep. thanks for sharing your process x

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