So that you can fully feel my pain, I decided to keep track of how often Amelia wakes up in the night. This was her schedule on Thursday night (the past couple of nights Dan had taken to sleeping down in the living room and letting Amelia and I have the bed to ourselves. She'd been waking up every time we lay her in her bed. I just got tired of it and let her sleep in the bed with us, but she spent half the night kicking Dan.)
- 9:10pm- I nursed Amelia to sleep
- 10:30pm- Amelia was awakened by Lily crying about brushing her teeth and putting on lotion. Encouraged by my talk with the doctor, I decided to just let Amelia cry. It was very short-lived as Dan asked me what my plan was and I conceded that I didn't really have one. I realized that while I was sick (yes, I got the girls' cooties) wasn't the best time for the battle. Dan walked her to sleep.
- 12:45am- Amelia woke up and I nursed her back to sleep.
- 1:33am- Amelia woke up and I walked her back to sleep.
- 4:05am- Amelia woke up and I looked at the clock, relieved to have gotten over 2 hours of sleep in a row. I nursed her back to sleep.
- 6:45am- Amelia woke up and I nursed her back to sleep. I stayed up to do a reprint order.
- 8:23am- Amelia woke up for the day.
So from the time she went to bed until she woke up for good the next morning, Amelia was up 5 times. No wonder I'm cranky!
My doctor recommended that we try the Ferber Method to get Amelia to sleep at night. This method involves putting the baby to sleep while they are awake so they can learn to fall asleep on their own. (For a baby like Amelia who has always been nursed to sleep, this seemed very daunting.) Inevitably, the baby cries and rather than pick them up, you wait a period of time, go in and pat them, but don't pick them up, then go back out and let them cry for another period of time and so on until they fall asleep.
Now, this may seem obvious to many of you seasoned parents, but we never had to confront this issue with Lily. She was the golden child when it came to going to sleep on her own. We could just put her in her crib and she would go to sleep. She still woke up a couple times a night to nurse, but was always easy to put back to sleep. I think her sleep habits developed better because she slept in a different room than Dan and I from the time she was born. But with Amelia we kept her in our room, at first in a bassinet, then in a port-a-crib right next to my side of the bed. I got in the habit early on of nursing her until she fell asleep and then putting her in her bed. I was always right there when she woke up in the night, so she never learned to sooth herself.
Well, after Dan spent the day at the bookstore on Saturday, reading everything he could about getting your child to sleep through the night, we decided to go for it. I had an engagement shoot on Saturday evening, so Dan was home with the girls. Amelia had not taken her late afternoon nap, so she kept falling asleep in Dan's arms. He decided to just try putting her down. Our plan was to do a 3 minute interval, 5 minute interval, 10 minute interval, followed by 10 minute intervals until she fell asleep or 1.5 hours passed, whichever came first. She ended up taking two very short catnaps before she finally went to sleep for good. It took her about 15-20 minutes to fall asleep each time. Here's how the night went:
- 8:40pm- Asleep for the night
- 12:01- Awake. I decided to go ahead and nurse her then since she hadn't eaten since 6:00pm.
- 12:10am- Put her down awake. She cried for about 1 1/2 minutes and then fell asleep.
- 5:04am- Holy crap! I have not had almost 5 hours of consecutive sleep in months! We had decided her wake up time would be 7:30 and if she woke up within an hour of that we would let her stay up. So I put her back down and this time it took her about 25 minutes to fall asleep.
- 7:43am- Awake for the day.
Why, oh why, did we wait so long to do this? For her first nap today she went right to sleep after I nursed her, without a peep. For her second nap I put her down awake and she cried for about 10 minutes and went to sleep. I had to wake her up after an hour and 45 minutes so she wouldn't sleep too long. These photos were taken right when I woke her up.
Groggy, coming to.There's my Mama!
God Bless You, Dr. Ferber!