Lou Bug is officially 8 months old! =( I know it is a good thing but it is sad too. She has learned several new things since 7 months; she is now: waving, clapping, bouncing to get where she wants to go, sliding around to get places (but not necessarily to meet a specific destination yet) and is cutting TWO top teeth. Poor baby, no wonder she hasn’t felt good lately. She is also trying to bounce from her bottom onto her knees, ans she CAN but once she gets there they slip out from under her. She plays better on her belly than she used to though, so that is good. She is still trying to pull up on EVERYTHING! It is really funny, because most things are still too tall and she gets very frustrated.
A week and a half ago, we started sleep training. I knew i needed to begin, but was so afraid. After talking to a few friends, I decided it would be okay. Lexie has always been a great sleeper, although not a good napper. At night she would take her bottle, talk a bit, snuggle, and then I would give her the paci and I would hold her while she fought sleep for about 5 minutes. At this point she always spit the paci out and I would take it away, put her in her crib and she would sleep all night. I knew paci would be a challenge,but didn’t know how much of a challenge…
Sleep training is NOT a new concept, it has been around since like the 1890s or something like that. It is basically getting your baby to sleep on their own so they can learn to self soothe. This allows them to go BACK to sleep each time they wake at the end of a sleep cycle, which is about 45 minutes-1.5hours, depending on the baby. Lexie’s is exactly 45 minutes. She has never had a problem putting her self back to sleep at night, she just did it. But getting herself to sleep was another issue. Some parents decide to use tools similar to a sleep training app to better track how their baby is adjusting but everyone has their own approach.
So, back to my reasoning behind this: I DO NOT want a baby who has to sleep in the bed with me when she is 18 months old because she doesn’t know how to go to sleep on her own because I was not willing to let her TRY to get to sleep on her own. Maybe Lexie will become this type of baby anyways, but at least I can say we tried and at some point succeeded. My second reason for doing this is because there is absolutely NO WAY in this world I could sleep train her when she is able to stand in the crib, arms outstretched over the sides, crying “mamamama, dadadada.” There is just no way. So I decided to begin now, before she can literally talk me into picking her up and holding her to sleep.
It was the hardest thing I have done, second to leaving her at daycare and going to work for free (aka internship). But it went surprisingly well. From day one I have kept a log of each nap and bed time-what time I put her in the crib, what time she stopped fussing/crying, and what time she woke. It started with about 15 minutes of fussing at night; this was something she always did, even when I held her, only it was about 5-7 minutes when I held her. At naps… well naps are a different story. They were harder. I would allow her to cry 6 minutes, then I went in her room, picked her up, loved her, calmed her, and placed her back down. I would usually have to do this one more time and then she would be asleep. The first time she slept for over an hour at a nap-this is a record nap for Lexie! So, in this process I took away Paci. =/
Evil, I know right? But the thing is, if I allowed her to have it in the crib it fell out and she was too tired when she woke at the end of a sleep cycle to realize it was right there, grab it, and put it back in. So rather than me going in non stop to replace it until she was weaned from it, we just stopped all together. At first she would look for it, root around as if to nurse but wanting anything she could use to sooth herself-that lasted about 5 days. Then she was done. She no longer looks for paci or roots to nurse for comfort.
The last 2 or 3 days there has been no crying when I put her in the crib to sleep. She just rustles around some and finally gets comfy and is asleep in no time! It is truly amazing. She also seems just as happy as when I held her to sleep with a paci. I believe this is because I created a new routine for her sleep as well. After bath time, we now go to her room and rock while she takes her bottle and I read a story (or 3). Then I hold her for a few minutes, burp her (which isn’t really necessary anymore) and we say our prayers. Then I squeeze her tight and place her in the crib. She realizes now this is the new routine, and she has adapted to it.
At her nap this afternoon, I put her down and she literally did not make one noise. So, while it was terribly hard for me to let her fuss and cry sometimes (because she didn’t really cry every time, just mainly at naps) it is amazing that she can now put herself to sleep peacefully. Many people begin sleep training when babies are like 8 weeks old-I just couldn’t. Before she was so dependent on nursing and mommy for comfort I could not deny her the holding she needed and craved. But as she has gotten a little bigger she is not that dependent on me for everything.. I just thought it was a good time to start, and it turns out it was.
Now, my next challenges are: extending her schedule from a 3 to 4 hour routine and making her baby food.
I use schedule in the place of routine-Lexie does not do the exact same thing every day. But she is very predictable. She sleeps after being awake about 2 hours, eats about every 3, and naps about an hour 3xs a day. I am hoping to extend the times between each of these things by about an hour-we will see how it goes. She is old enough to drop the afternoon nap, but I don’t know if she is quite ready. I think she will let me know when she is.
For a Mommy update- I AM DONE WITH SCHOOL FOREEEEEVVVVEEEERRRR!!!! Really, I cannot imagine ever torturing myself again with school, although I know eventually I will get my Masters and would LOVE to get my doctorate and teach at a University one day. But that is too far ahead to think about. Right now I am basking in the glow of achievement and loving every minute of it! Now, if I can get a job for the fall and get my Praxis III over with, then I will really be done and completely certified! I graduate next Friday, the 13th (<--- GO FIGURE!) and I have to go get my cap and gown sometime this week before graduation. Tonight, my poor husband is getting his first complete, home cooked meal in like 2 weeks. I have been so swamped with finishing up school stuff I have not been cooking. We have had a lot of snacks and sandwiches for dinners.
Tomorrow is my Women Can Run Arkansas 5K. We will see how this goes. I expect it will be a slow 5K for me, but Lexie will be running with me, so that is exciting-her first 5K! =) Wish us luck.