Monday, April 6, 2009

No swaddle, no pacifier. no worries

Well, we entered it with a lot of anxiety, but I'm happy to report that the sleep training went great. We had a read a number of books on how to get your baby on a good sleep schedule, but none had really resonated with us. Then our friend Jodi recommended The Sleepeasy Solution book and we took to it immediately. It was clearly and concisely written with step by step directions, which really helped a lot.

The basic idea is to set up a soothing and consistent bedtime ritual and then put the baby down in the crib without swaddling, a pacifier or rocking to sleep - and we were doing all three. Then say goodnight and leave the room. When the baby cries, you go in in 5 minutes and speak comfortingly to her, but no picking up or touching. Then come in in ten minutes, and then fifteen minute intervals until she stops crying and falls asleep. You also follow this same procedure for naps - she is still taking 3 one-hour naps a day.

It sounds a bit harsh, but the long term benefits are so worth it. Not only does she learn to "self-sooth" and fall to sleep on her own, but she ends up being much more well-rested. And she is now weaned from her pacifier. The first night (Friday, 3/27) was really rough. She cried for an hour and a half before falling asleep. I sent Heather out on some errands so she wouldn't have to hear the crying, which made her really upset. It upset me too, but being a German I can really do anything as long as I am following orders:)

The next night was a lot better, just a half hour of crying. Then the next few days it got shorter and shorter until it was taking on the average of 5 - 10 minutes of whimpering and maybe a little crying before she slept. And boy, does she sleep. Heather gets up around 1:30 to give her a "dream feed", but other than that she sleeps through the night and straight through till morning - usually eleven and sometimes twelve hours. We have finally been getting good sleep again. This past weekend I slept nine hours one night and eight another. It used to be nine hours over two days, so you can imagine how happy we are.

Speaking of happy - Sabine was always a happy baby, but now she is even more so. Just smiling and laughing all day long. They said in the book that the better sleep wold make a happier baby, and they weren't lying. She is just so much fun right now.

One of the first steps to being a good American - figuring out the TV remote...