Friday, October 4, 2013

Sleep {yaaaawwwn}

Everyone knows we've had problems with Grayson's sleep. "Problems" doesn't really describe the lack of sleep we've had for the last 14 months of our lives. Lots of people have asked how it has gone and what we have tried. I thought I'd document it here. Mostly because I know if I wrote down all of our secrets for future use, I would probably lose the paper.

The good news is he's sleeping again. During the last ten days he has slept past 7 am all but one night. We don't know what the secret is, but we've tried a few things. First, I quit nursing. I was upset about it. I quit nursing Claire at about 15 months because she was biting (but she quit the last few days and that made me regret quitting). I felt a lot of pressure to quit nursing Kyle when he was 12 months old because he was a boy and could walk. I didn't want to quit and neither did he, but I did. And he got an ear infection the next week. I regreted that. I was determined to nurse Gray until we were both comfortable moving on. But we did notice that he had a trend of waking at 5, nursing, then snuggling up to me in bed and going back to sleep. And it was obvious that he loved nursing. So we slowed down and he quit on the 23rd. He took it well. And I, despite sudafed and benadryl and peppermint oil, cannot quit producing milk. But that's TMI and irrelevant. Anyway, we quit nursing and he started sleeping two days later.

But that wasn't all. Concurrently we started giving him a peanut butter sandwich before bed every night. We put him in fleece pajamas and covered him with two blankets and left the ceiling fan on all night.

We also quit giving him dairy in any form. The sleep problems began two weeks before we gave him milk in a bottle, but as soon as we gave him a bottle of milk his nose was gross and solid and he had 2 blowout diapers every day. Within a week of quitting milk everything kind of got better, and then when we took the yogurt and cheese and butter out of his diet he was almost instantly better. This is also why I quit nursing. It stressed me out to watch MY diet and his for milk. I need chocolate and cheese. Since he's technically old enough to go without nursing, I just couldn't limit myself (I already go without Diet Coke. This was just too much.)

Anyway, we saw a sleep specialist in West Jordan (here:  She was super helpful, and even though he, ironically, was sleeping well 3-4 nights before the appointment, we thought it was worth our time and money. She said for our problem (which was 2 whole months of daily repeat awakening throughout the night where he would usually stay up for three or more hours after waking; or he would just wake up at 4 or 5 and be up for the day), that the Ferber progressive waiting technique would be best. She said each time we check on him that we should repeat the same loving message each time, and take less than 60 seconds to do it. She said it would be bad the first night, awful the second night, then progressively better. She expected it to be better after 4 nights. So far he's slept, so we'll see what happens if (heaven forbid) he gets in a bad funk again. She also felt that weaning probably did the most good for him. Apparently just by spending a little bit of time with him, she felt like Gray was an emotionally intelligent baby and had learned to emotionally manipulate me to nurse him. (Not MY sweet boy! Gasp!) She also gave some general good advice:

  • Nightlights, if absolutely necessary, should be behind the head and below eye level.
  • Babies should never sleep after 4pm
  • Keep his room completely dark (like with light-blocking curtain panels) during naps and night. If using the Ferber method, then make sure that light doesn't enter from the hallway when you check on the baby. 
  • Upon awakening, the room should be almost instantly flooded with light. This light/dark cycle will set circadian rhythms. 
  • She stressed the importance of naps being scheduled. I realized that I just had him nap 4-5 hours after waking up. If he got up at 6, he napped at 10. If he got up at 8, he napped at noon. She said that he needs to learn to have a nap at a set time of day. This teaches him that there is a time to be awake and a time to be asleep, and you don't get to choose. He also has a strict bedtime.
So that's it. I can't say how glad I am that he's sleeping again. Strangely, I feel more tired than ever. It's like my body is saying, "I love this sleep thing. Let's do more of it." I expect to adjust soon, but I find myself just waking at night for no reason. I'm one of those people now! 

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