26 April 2009

Sleep Week

WARNING: The following post is long, all about Asher's sleep habits and contains few pictures of funny stories. If you don't care about Asher's sleep then feel free to just check out this picture and check back later for more funny Asher stories and cute Asher pictures.

You want me to take a nap?!?!

Asher is having a few problems sleeping and I have finally decided this is the week that we are going to try and fix the problem.

Here's what's going on...
Before Asher was born Roger and I read a book called On Becoming Baby Wise, we had heard great things about it and learned a lot about how much sleep a baby needs and how often a baby needs to eat. After Asher was born we followed the basic sleep-eat-waketime routine described in the book. We decided to not do everything the book said for various reasons. When Asher was around 4 weeks old we stopped waking him up in the middle of the night. I would feed him at 7 pm, swaddle him and put him to bed. When I went to bed around 10 pm I would feed him (he didn't really wake up) and then he would go back to bed and sleep until about 5 am. Over the next few weeks this stretched out to almost 7 am. There was never any crying in the middle of the night or fighting with him to go to sleep. During the day Asher followed about a 2.5 to 3 hour routine of eating, playing and sleeping and was generally a good napper.

I'm not sure what happened, but suddenly Asher stopped taking good naps. He would still go to sleep easily, but after 45 minutes he would be wide awake and not interested in sleeping anymore. If you have read Baby Wise I'm sure you would recognize the "45 minute intruder." So, yeah, I know that 45 minutes is not long enough for him to take a good nap, but I don't know what to do about it. We let him cry, we try to rock him back to sleep, but nothing work. I'm frustrated, but everybody always tells us we shouldn't complain because he sleeps so good at night.

As Asher got older he continued with his 45 minute naps, we had no solution for our problem. He consistently fell asleep by himself and slept through the night (now from 8:30 pm to 7 am without waking up to eat), but he would never sleep for more than 45 minutes. By the way, when I say 45 minutes I mean exactly 45 minutes. I could look at the clock and know exactly when he would wake up.

I guess I learned to live with the short naps, after all he slept so good at night, but a few weeks ago his sleep pattern changed again. He started taking 30 minute naps. So, we tried letting him cry when he would wake up, we tried rocking him back to sleep, we tired holding him through the whole nap. It didn't matter he would only sleep 30 minutes. This left him tired all day long and wanting to take little naps every hour or two. I tried keeping him up longer and putting him down sooner, nothing changed. This started messing with his night time sleep. For the first time since he was a tiny newborn he started crying at night and waking up at 5 am and he has stopped falling asleep on his own.

So, Roger and I have decided it's time to buckle down and do something about Asher's sleep problems. We have been researching and reading and praying about what to do. Sunday night Sleep Week begins. For one week we are going to train Asher to sleep good, to fall asleep on his own (without a swaddle blanket) and to hopefully take good naps.

If you have any suggestions, ideas, or encouragement please let me know. My baby won't sleep and I need help!


Anthony and Sharon said...

Hey...hope its going well with sleep week. I don't really think I have any advice because Isaac was just the opposite of Asher...but I'll tell you what I know and you can do with it what you want.

I won't give you the whole history, but Isaac was a colicky baby and finally slept from 9 to 1 at around 3 months. Around 9 months he slept from 9 to 5 at night with maybe a nap or two during the day...though our nap schedule wasn't set (a ignorant mistake on our part...for #2 it'll be different). But just now, the last month or so we have finally "fixed" his nap schedule...and like yall we gave it a week or so and within about 4 days he got it.

My info comes from "Sleep Sense." Basically that babies need at least 2 naps a day and can sleep for up to 12 hours at night (I gawked at that when I first read it in unbelief). So. Isaac wakes up about 7:30 or 8. According to Sleep Sense a baby Isaac's age can go for 2.5 to 3 hours before needing a nap...that means 10 or so. For Asher's age I think it's sooner. Basically we give him a small snack (so his belly is full) and say, "Ok Isaac we're gonna eat a snack and then go sleep-sleep." And we repeat it several times during his snack. When he's done we clean him off and say, "Ok, all done with snack, now it's time for sleep-sleep." And we hold him for about a minute and then put him in his crib. We repeat it (esp if he starts crying), "It's sleep-sleep time." And then leave the room/close the door. The first couple days he cried for over 10 minutes but day 3 and 4 it got to about 3 minutes and day 5 he just got it. Every once in a while he'll still cry for a few seconds. I do the same in the afternoon except I nurse him first (which used to be the only way to get him to sleep) except I say, "Ok, susu first then sleep-sleep." It's made it to where we can actually put him down. Now he takes at minimum 1 hour naps and average is about 1 hr 20 min. This is the kid who wouldn't even take naps before!

I'll email you the little "Sleep Sense" pdf file (just a few pages of, what we think anyway, is good common sense). Although I think just sticking to whatever you do makes the difference...and it's great yall are doing it now....still jealous of all the sleep you got in the beginning though!!! :)

Ray and Morgan Stuart said...

It will be hard and I will be praying for you this week. Just stay strong. There have been days with both kids that I have had to sit in the garage for 15 minutes and wait it out so I didn't have to hear the screaming. It will get easier.

TulipGirl said...

For me, the shorter naps were related to my previous efficient nurser going through a growth spurt and needing to eat more frequently to keep up! So, shorter naps were a sign of waking up hungry, which didn't fit easily into the eat-wake-sleep cycle.

For us an eat-wake-eat-sleep cycle worked better than eat-wake-sleep.

(Eventually, we modified that, too. . . but wanted to share what helped us with the 45-minute thing.)