Sunday, July 22, 2007

A Night in the Life...

The doctor visit went well. He increased my Prozac dosage a bit, told me it was really OK to take the anxiety mediation if I needed it, but more than anything he encouraged me to get Amelia sleeping through the night. He said if I could just do that, it would relieve a great deal of my anxiety and stress.

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!
Quit taking pictures and get me out of this baby jail!

God Bless You, Dr. Ferber!


Kris said...

enough sleep is not to be underestimated... I'm so excited for you. Dr. Ferber gets a bad rap sometimes, but I don't think he deserves it. Everyone needs their sleep and hopefully you'll all be getting more from now on.. that is great.

Anonymous said...

Oh man, I feel your pain, Avy was such a great sleeper until we had to take the bottle away at night... We put it off for so long, and when we finaly did take it away.. it took a few nights of crying and then she just went to bed, wih out crying...we were shocked that all we had to do is put up with the tears for a few nights and that was all it took.

You are Awesome, Blog on!

Anonymous said...

We used the ferber method. I loved it! I didn't realize it was the ferber method until you wrote it. I let Grace cry for a little bit and it worked. I"m glad you got some sleep.

I'll talk to you soon!

Dianna said...

You should have called...I think I have that book around here somewhere! We did that with the twins. They didn't sleep through the night until they were 10 months and we finally separated them (why did we wait so long you ask? Dr Ferber hadn't yet shown us the light!!). I remember those sleepless nights...God bless all parents of infants!!!

Keep up the great work - you and Daniel are doing a super job........