January 6, 2013

4 Months: Sleep Regression and Training

Santi sleep? Santi, why did you stop sleeping for more than 2 hour stretches? Why, oh why, did this all of the sudden fall upon us? We asked ourselves many times. You see, our babe was the one who, like many of his same-age or close-to-the-same-age friends, was sleeping for 7-9 hour stretches in his first months of life. We were very blessed to rest easy, to have a happy, not-sleepy baby boy throughout the day. He even found himself a comfortable naptime schedule during the day, naturally and with ease. Then this happened, out of no where, and his papa and I were confused. Then I found myself on Google, on mommy-to-mommy forums, and realized four month old sleep regression happens to a huge percentage of parents and their babies. Who knew! Why didn't anyone tell me this? Probably because I don't read - almost ever - about what to expect with babes, it's all too overwhelming and contradicting to each other. I prefer to experience mommyhood without any expectations, I s'pose.

Anyhow, our routine has always been: papa puts baby Santi to sleep around 8:30pm. There used to be a lot of crying (up to 10 minutes) then a sleep-and-wake-up-hours and hours-later munchkin. No more, my friends, no more. When we went to Mexico, we switched things up to "nurse to sleep" so I was with the little peanut each night as he dozed to sleep while breastfeeding. Once we returned home, we decided to instantly wean him from nurse-to-sleep-ing since it was only going to be a harder habit to break for him if he kept it up long term. What resulted? Every couple nights or so his papa would put him to sleep, and within the hour Santi would wake up crying or screaming, and the only activity that would put him back to sleep was, you guessed it, nursing. So we went with it. 

Then this happened:

7:30 tired
8:00 bath
8:45 rocked to sleep, crying
8:50 asleep
9:10 wake, crying
9:13 hushed
9:15 rocked to sleep
9:23 breastfed, to sleep
9:42 asleep, stopped eating
9:45 left to sleep in crib, pray.
Asleep for the night
3:00-3:35 wake, eat, hushed to sleep in crib, fuss, picked up, rocked to sleep
5:35-6:05 wake, eat, diaper, left in crib to sleep, fussed, rocked to sleep
8:05 wake crying, fed, diaper. Awake for the day.

That's a lot going on from 7:30pm tired time (I know, we should have put him to sleep at that time, but we're not that good at this, yet) to 9:45pm asleep for the night time.

7:30 sleepy
8:30 bedtime, screaming
8:35 nursed to sleep, burp, held in arms until reached deep sleep
9:00 crib
9:03 woke crying, hushed, cried louder
9:10 papa rocked him to sleep
9:15 woke crying, papa rocked to sleep
9:20 woke crying, papa rocked to sleep
9:25 asleep for the night?
9:55 woke crying, hushed to sleep, bouncing mattress, didn't pick him up
10:00 asleep for the.... night...
10:10 fussed in crib, fell asleep on his own.
12:35am - woke, cried, ate, unswaddled, sleep sack, crib, fussed, rocked to sleep, mattress bounce,
1:00am asleep
1-10-1:15 woke, cry, mattress bounce to sleep
2:40-3:20 woke, cry, scream, picked up to soothe, cried more, fed, fell asleep in my arms, let him sleep there for 10 mins, placed in crib.
4:20-4:30 woke, cry, scream, picked up to soothe, diaper change, rocked to soothe, crying looking for milk, fed, rocked to sleep.
7:15 woke - cry to scream, soothed with rocking, wanted to eat, fed, fell asleep eating.

Ha! We thought Saturday was bad, huh? It was as if a little light bulb went off the next evening, my brain was working overtime I guess, on sleep deprivation and desperation. I was reading about CIO (cry-it-out), we were planning on giving it a try. The alternative to CIO is the No-Tears Method, but we figured we had sort of adapted that method naturally as new parents, baby crying - soothe him in your arms until no more tears, then lie down to sleep. So CIO seemed like our only option at this point. I gave Edu a run down on the "rules" and we thought of attempting it, as not-fun as it sounded, we all needed more sleep. Again, though, I will repeat it: it was as if a LIGHT BULB went off in my head! I went to put our monkey to sleep and... screaming. Papa was carrying him first and bouncing him away in a cradle hold, and we decided to switch off and have me put him to sleep. I have a different method where I hold him up right (in a burp position) and bounce upward, and Edu told me to try the cradle hold. Here it is: the light bulb.

WHY are we bouncing this kid like madness, swaying and shaking and soothing with so much movement, then lying him in his crib and bouncing his mattress, shushing and hushing and breaking a sweat and hurting our lower backs, and expecting him to stay asleep in a motionless, non-automatically bouncing crib with no swaying or swinging or vibrating or.... get what I'm saying? Just like a baby who is accustomed to falling asleep while nursing, our Santiago was 100% trained in falling asleep with a lot of movement. In that very moment I paused, with my screaming child in my arms, gently placed my hand on his upper back/neck, and walked ever so gently and slowly throughout his room. Once he calmed down, I stopped in front of his crib, continued to "shh shh shh" and didn't move an inch. I put him to sleep with little to no movement, so that he would stay asleep in his non-moving, non-bouncing crib. Then the following took place:

8:30pm - bath, song, bible, swaddle, hush and walk to sleep
9:00pm – asleep
9:20pm - wake screaming, hush and walk to sleep
9:25pm – asleep
9:27pm - awake screaming, hush and walk to sleep
9:35pm – sleep
5 and a half hours of delightful sleep!
3:00am - wake, fussy but quiet, fed, diaper, de-swaddle, sleep sack, hushed to sleep
3:40am – sleep
8:40am - woke to eat so we could leave the house! He slept allllll night and alllll morning, praise God!

8:53pm - fed, hushed, walked to sleep.
over 6 hours of delightful sleep!
3:20am - woke, ate, diaper
8:45am - woke for the day

8:50pm - swaddle, hush to sleep, cried, screamed, fed, fell asleep
9:11pm - sleeping in crib.
over 6 hours of delightful sleep!
3:3Oam-woke, fed, diaper, pajama change (peed all ovah!), swaddled body only to keep warm, arms free. Lied in crib for a mommy bathroom break, attempted to hush to sleep in crib, fussed, placed my hand on his chest, continued, "shh shh shh" for 5+ minutes, cried a little, picked up, hushed to sleep in less than 3 minutes (no bouncing, rocking, patting or moving on my part).
7:45am - awake to feed, stayed awake for the day!

Oh me oh my. So we're thankful, we praise God for these past nights of good rest, and we don't have to tackle the cry it out method (just yet)! Woohoo! I know this might not work forever, but even a week of this business is superb. Happy almost four month birthday, sleeping boy.

1 comment:

  1. you're so lucky to figure it out so fast!!!!!!
    I think we're both lucky to have pretty good sleepers and we take it for granted until something like this happens!
    I'm so glad you figure it out and got Santi back to norm without even training!!!
    Is he still doing well? I hope it so! :)