Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Thoughts on Sleep
Violet slept for twelve hours straight on Monday night. That's 8 p.m. until 8 a.m. baby! Last night she slept for eleven hours straight. Sleeping for twelve hours at night is not very common for a two month old. I suppose I need to give it a few more days before I get too excited. We have really lucked out with Violet! I do think the personality of your child has a lot to do with how they sleep. Every baby is an individual. But the way you approach sleep as the parent, does affect them. I thought I'd share how we approach sleeping here at the Long house. On the off chance that it is rock star parenting that has given us a good night's sleep, maybe our philosophies could help you out. Or at least give you some ideas. Or give you a good laugh if you think we're crazy.
At our house, Violet has been sleeping in her own room, in her own crib since she was one week old. And I don't use a monitor. This way, I don't hear every little noise she makes and wonder if she needs to eat. When she needs me, I hear her. Her room is right across the hall.
They tell you a newborn baby shouldn't go more than four hours without eating, including night time. I obeyed that rule in the hospital. When we came home, I threw that out the window. After her feeding between nine and eleven, she went to bed and slept as long as she wanted. Luckily for me, she spent the first couple nights with my mom who sleeps VERY soundly. So mom only woke me when it was FOR SURE that Violet needed to eat. Before you call Child Services, let me tell you that since I felt that way about night time, I frequently nursed Violet every two hours during the day to make sure she was getting enough milk in a 24 hour period. And in the daytime I did wake her from naps to nurse her. (Still do, actually. Right now I am letting her have one nap a day that is three hours long, if she wants, even if that means four hours with out nursing. Other wise, she eats every three hours.)
Also, (this is where you might think I'm crazy, and my elimination communication friends will be ashamed of me), I never changed Violet's diaper at night. Unless her diaper had leaked, or I actually heard her poop. I just nursed her and then put her right back to bed.
After a couple of weeks of the nine or eleven-ish bedtime, we started putting Violet to bed at 8, when Nola goes to bed. Nola's bedtime routine was already established so Violet just joined in and got one herself. And, yes, we made Violet cry herself to sleep. For a couple days, maybe a week, Violet would wake to eat again around midnight, and every three to four hours after that. Then for quite a while she didn't wake for the first time until two or three. Then it creept up to five, and now we're crossing our fingers it continues with the twelve hour stretch.
Some nights in the early days I wanted to feed her before I went to bed, to see if she would give me a six hour stretch of sleep. I know this works really well for a lot of moms. But I always ended up changing my mind. I decided I didn't want to train her to need a midnight feeding. If she wanted it, I would give it to her. This meant that some nights I would go to bed at eleven and get up an hour later to feed her. Annoying. But eventually, she slept through that midnight feeding. I think it may have helped her naturally learn that night time is for sleeping.
My sister, Felicity, gave me great advice with Nola. She told me that a great pattern for babies is for them to eat, be awake, and then sleep. Wake up. Eat. Play. Nap. Repeat. So I don't nurse Violet to sleep. Even when she seems to really be zonked out after nursing, I burp her and change her diaper so she will wake up. Even if she is only awake a few minutes, she then has to fall asleep on her own. This helps when she wakes in the middle of the night, she knows how to go back to sleep with out eating.
The last thing I can think of is swaddling. Violet LOVES it. We use these. Every time we lay her down she is all swaddled up. Super tight. We have never given her a pacifier, but this seems to be the equivalent for her. She falls asleep quicker and sleeps longer when she is wrapped up. (Yes, I've tried letting her sleep free style a couple of times and decided it wasn't worth it. I think she'll let us know when she's done with the swaddle.)
So there's my thoughts on sleeping, in random order.