Thursday, March 11, 2010

Day 50: Why does every damn book say something different?

I'm not very far into Solve Your Child's Sleep Problems (Dr. Richard Ferber) yet, but already I've noticed how much different books differ in what they say even on basic facts about sleep.

Let's take the amount of sleep a six-month-old should get.

According to the No-Cry Sleep Solution: 2 naps a day, 3-4 naptime hours, 10-11 nighttime sleep hours, 14-15 hours total. (According to the No-Cry Nap Solution, by the same author just a few years later, six-month olds should get 2-3 naps, not necessarily just two.)

According to Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child, from 4-11 months, a baby needs an average of 14.25 hours of total sleep, including about 3.5 hours of nap sleep and 11 hours of nighttime sleep. The vast majority of six-month-olds take only two naps.

According to Solve Your Child's Sleep Problems, a six-month-old only needs an average of 12.5 hours of total sleep, including 9.25 hours of night sleep and 3.25 hours of nap sleep broken into two or three chunks.

That's a pretty big difference in the recommendations, especially with the last one. Also, HSHHC says a baby about this age should be starting the morning nap around 9 AM and the early-afternoon nap around 1 PM. But SYCSP recommends the first nap start between 9:30 and and 10:30 AM, and the afternoon one between 2 and 3 PM.

What am I supposed to do with all these conflicting recommendations?

Today: Mari had tremendous difficulty going down for her naps, especially the morning one. I started extra early trying to get her down in the morning, since I thought maybe she's been overtired the last several mornings, which was why she fussed so much before going down for her nap. So I tried from 8 AM to 10 AM to get her down. She did nothing but fuss. Finally Jon was able to get her down at about 10:40 and she only slept for 35 minutes. In the afternoon, I tried to get her back on track by putting her down at 1 PM. She didn't go down until about 2:15, though this time she slept an hour and 50 minutes. She skipped her evening nap and was down for the night by about 7:15. So maybe there's something to Dr. Ferber's recommended naptimes, though I hesitate to draw conclusions from just one day.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Day 49: Abort mission (at least for now)

I started off today with great intentions to continue with the crying it out. I started getting Mari ready for her first nap around 8 AM, when she had been up about an hour, but she was obviously already tired and cranky -- I really should have started earlier, since she yawned almost as soon as I went to get her in the morning. I assumed she was yawning because she had just woken up, but maybe she had actually woken up earlier and played quietly until she got sick of it.

Anyway, I rocked her and sang her lullabies and at a few points I was sure it was going to work. Mari was closing her eyes and was almost asleep. Then I'd put her down and she'd start to cry. I'd pick her back up and soothe her again, put her down again and she'd cry. A couple of times she also started to fall asleep in my arms, and before I could even set her down, she'd jerk herself awake and start crying again.

By 8:35, it was time to put her down, so I did. Soon she started crying. I left her for awhile. But then Jon asked me if he could "go in." I assumed he meant he was leaving to go to the university. I didn't realize he meant into Mari's room until he was already in there. So I abandoned the CIO effort, since I figured she'd be confused.

Also, Mari was more resistant than usual to going down for the night last night. I don't know if that was just coincidence or because she remembered how long she'd had to cry in the morning and was afraid of the crib or something.

I thought about trying again tomorrow, but Beth, who sometimes comments on here, convinced me I should look into Dr. Richard Ferber's methods too. So I got Solve Your Child's Sleep Problems from the library today. I'll read that too before deciding how to go about this. I may well end up going the full-on extinction cry-it-out route anyway, but I need some more time to think about it and do research. I don't feel 100% convinced or committed to any one method at this point, so I'll wait until I am.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Day 48: Crying it out AKA the hardest hour of my life (excluding labour)

This may seem abrupt, since just yesterday I was saying I wouldn't do it, but I have decided to try crying it out, though I still feel somewhat conflicted about the decision.

I made the decision after a bit of an epiphany yesterday: Mari keeps herself up even when she's tired so she can interact with me, as long as I'm in the room. I was trying to get her down for a third nap and she kept yawning and closing her eyes but as soon as her eyelids met, she'd yank them open again and start trying to grope my face, stare at me, make noise and do everything she could think of to try to keep me playing with her. I spent nearly an hour trying to put her to sleep and despite her obvious fatigue she ended up skipping that nap entirely. She barely napped yesterday and was a mess overall. She woke up quite a lot in the middle of the night too.

Another realization is that when Mari wants to cry, she can cry for ages even in our arms. She cried for the best part of an hour yesterday morning in my arms, and for another half hour or so at night, in Jon's arms, until she actually threw up. So not only is she upset anyway, she's not learning to self-soothe, and her crying is particularly stressful to us, seeing as she's screaming in our ears. That's not helpful to anybody.

So I decided to start with her morning nap today. She woke up at 6:30, and I started her naptime routine around 7:45 (I'd meant to start 15 minutes sooner but Jon took the morning shift because I was so tired from the multiple night wakings). I fed her, pottied her and read her one of her shortest books, since she was starting to rub her eyes. Then I sang her usual lullaby and rocked her. But this time I set a 20-minute time limit for rocking/soothing. This is considerably longer than the "several minutes" recommended in Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child, but Mari is a baby who has always had difficulty with transitions. I really hoped she'd fall asleep within those 20 minutes so I wouldn't have to employ CIO after all. But she kept waking herself up to fuss and try to get me to interact with her. She seemed unhappy in my arms, unhappy when I set her down and unhappy when I picked her back up.

The 20 minutes passed, it was 8:20, and time was up. I set her down and closed the door. I'd decided I'd leave her for up to an hour, as the book recommends. It was the hardest hour of my life excluding labour.

At first, she just talked to herself for a bit, and I hoped she'd manage to put herself to sleep quickly, since she was so obviously tired. But the talking quickly turned into fussing, which turned into crying. It was incredibly hard not to go pick her up.

Mari proved her persistence again. She was still crying at about 9:18 and I decided I'd just go to the bathroom before I went to pick her up. Then, while I was there, she was quiet for a few minutes. I hoped she'd finally fallen asleep, but then the sobbing started up again. So I went into her room. I found her on her belly, head down. She didn't even seem to notice me come in, she was so exhausted. She sobbed a little more, so I went over and gently stroked her hair and said "shh." I'm still not sure if she noticed my presence. Within two minutes, she was out cold. She slept for an hour and 45 minutes without my having to go in and put her back to sleep.

She didn't seem mad at me when she woke up or anything. For her afternoon nap, she went down with very little fussing, maybe because she finally wasn't overtired anymore. So maybe there's merit to this after all. But I don't know if I can take an hour like this again. I think for at least the next week I will employ this strategy only in the morning, and only if she doesn't fall asleep within 20 minutes of soothing. Maybe after a week I'll also use the same strategy for the afternoon nap and cut rocking/soothing time to 15 minutes. And a week after that I'll also use it for the late afternoon nap (if a third nap is necessary) and cut rocking/soothing time to 10 minutes, where it will stay. Hopefully she'll learn to put herself to sleep more quickly and with less crying.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Day 47: Nap hell

I don't know what's happened to my decent morning napper. Mornings used to be the one time I could reasonably count on a decent nap, especially if I napped with her. Now nothing is working. Mari is strongly resisting going to sleep and getting crankier and crankier. Hardly has she gone down when she's back up again. I am at a loss.

Today has been pretty much worst-case scenario so far. Mari was up at 6:50, and I started at a very reasonable 8 AM, I thought, to get her down for a nap. But she was not having it. She went from energetic to overtired very quickly and screamed and screamed for 40 minutes straight before I had to ask Jon to take over. She didn't fall asleep until some time after 10 AM and only slept an hour or so.

For the afternoon nap, again I thought I was giving her plenty of time to fall asleep, starting at about 12:30. But it was evident she was cranky as hell and yet wouldn't fall asleep until 1:25. Half an hour later she woke up screaming and it took me 15 minutes to get her back down. Then she woke up again within 10 minutes. I wish I knew what the problem was -- if you have any idea, let me know. And no, she's not teething yet. I keep checking, but nada.