04 February 2010

Baby Sleep 4

Have I mentioned how much I enjoy sleeping next to my baby?  When Jason was tiny, Dave and I were paranoid something would go wrong.  We'd wake up at every little grunt or movement.  By the time Jackson was born, I was much more confident, and I had read a lot more about sharing sleep (lots of great information is available from Mothering Magazine).  It no longer took brain power to account for him when I moved around at night- it became very natural.  I also loved having that extra time with my second born- sleep time was quality time.  I don't have all day to just stare at Jackson as I often did with his older brother.  However, he is now 5 months old, very grabby, and getting more mobile every day.  Not such fun at night.

Those first few nights without Jackson in the bed with us, I had a very difficult time getting to sleep, even when Dave was dealing with the constant wakings.  I ended up sleeping with a teddy bear, and it helped a lot.  Dave offered to cuddle, but he isn't so short and squishy as our baby. 

The past four days of Jackson sleep have been incredibly tiring, but it got better every night.  I came down with a cold on Monday, and if it weren't for the support of my amazing, loving husband, I would have given up on getting Jackson to sleep in the crib.  It was well worth working through, though.  Each night, there were progressively longer periods of sleep:  0:45, 1:15, and 1:45 hours from Sunday through Wednesday.  However, there was still a lot of waking up after 5 or 10 minutes until last night, when there were multiple, hour-long stretches of sleep.

The main thing we are doing differently, nearly a week into the process, is trying to calm him in the crib without picking him up.  It doesn't work every time, and we don't try for more than a minute, but I think it helps Jackson learn how to calm down without being bounced.  Now he is calming and settling in the crib much more easily.

We are now ready to move forward in the process: The steps won't change, but where we followed Steps 1 and 2 until Jackson was completely asleep and limp-limbed, we will now try putting him down just after he's fallen asleep.  This means it will take a little longer for Step 3, and there will be times where he will completely wake up, and we'll have to start over at Step 1. 

Going through this process, especially the second time around, doesn't seem like such a big deal until I sit down to write about it.  The biggest problem is our lack of sleep, but Jason sleeps so well, it is easy to keep going because we know where we are headed:  2 to 3 hours between the boys going to sleep and our bedtime.  I am willing to trade a month (or more) of sleep to get to that point without having to leave my baby crying all alone.

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