Monday, March 1, 2010

Sleeping Matters

Some new sleeping developments have come about recently, which are always good to share. Getting kids to sleep is a fairly universal issue, so it is interesting to follow each others' journey in this regard!

A couple of developments have been good. Three times now, Riley has specifically requested to go to sleep in his own toddler bed! Not three times in a row, mind you. But three times is nothing to sneeze at. You know how he has been back and forth; our bed, cradle, our bed, crib, our bed, toddler bed, our bed...
For awhile bum patting in the crib was working. Then it stopped working and we moved to sitting beside the crib until he settled down. Then we slowly somehow migrated back to breastfeeding to sleep in our bed again--I think mainly because he started sleeping through the transfer back to his bed again. When we pulled out the toddler bed he liked to play on and around it, but would only sleep in it if he wasn't aware he was sleeping in it. But this past week he has requested to sleep in it. I would say, "Okay Riley, time to lie down and go night-night!" and he usually runs to our bed and climbs in, all excited. But a few times he has run to HIS bed and climbed in, all excited. This is a cool development! He really loves feeling special and like a 'big boy,' sleeping in the same room as his brothers.

At about the same time, he started to change the mechanics of his middle of the night wake up from waking up and WAILING for me to stumble over in the semi darkness and pick him up, to climbing out of bed and coming towards ME! I LOOOOOVE it when they hit this stage! It makes night waking THAT MUCH easier. So far I have been meeting him in the hallway, but soon enough he will be able to make it all the way to my side of the bed and climb in on his own, and it will be *heavenly.* Woot, woot.

Tonight's development was a mixed bag. I've noticed lately that since we (almost entirely--sometimes I come home from a night shift to find it lurking under the covers in my bed...can you really blame daddy for that one? I mean, it's the middle of the night and there's NO BOOB!) turfed the soother, he tosses and turns a bit more before falling asleep. I think maybe it's coincidental, because tonight he was tired but WIRED. He requested his own bed, but was turning like a rotisserie chicken, and on the boob, off the boob, on the boob, off the boob: smack, suck, smack, suck, smack, suck and DRIVING ME NUTS! Eventually I got fed up and passed the torch to Brent. Which is always interesting. If Riley knows I'm in the house and Brent tries to put him to bed, he screams and screams and screams and screams...we've never met the end of his stamina. Tonight was the longest I've ever held out and it was in the realm of about 45 minutes. When I'm not home Brent has to walk him around the house to show him that each room is empty of me, and then he relaxes and falls asleep cuddled up next to Brent. So tonight he got so he was choking on his own spit and throwing himself at the door of the bedroom, and eventually I caved. What good is holding out indefinitely? Seriously. So I tried something new. Instead of going in and lying down and putting up with the smack, suck, smack, suck, smack, suck (which feels almost as bad as nails on a chalkboard after awhile), I sat beside his bed. Every time he got out of bed, I put him back. I didn't make eye contact or talk, I just put him back. I wasn't rough or mad or cold, I just put him back. 6 times, a few wimpers, and he fell asleep. Jeepers. How easy was that?

So my conclusion is this:
He is outgrowing the infant nurse-to-sleep routine. As am I. He is needing some boundaries put in place to help him sort out what to do when put into his wide-open toddler bed. And I remember this trick working just as easily when Ayden was younger. [Matthew is a morning person. Putting him to bed at night has rarely EVER been an issue beyond the first few weeks. His head hits the pillow and he's a goner]. They have to be ready for it--too young and they will put up more of a resistance because their trust isn't consolidated. But once it is, and they are tossing around looking for boundaries, it is a wonderful tool that has worked well for my kids [note: not all tools work for all kids! Sleep is challenging]. Let's hope for continued success with this remarkably focused, persistent little turd of mine...


Rachel Clear said...

Great post!

I have a question. Reading posts like this, and then talking with my friends who do not co-bed (maybe co-sleep) I find the whole thing really interesting.

All of my friends who co-slept seem to have this nightmare of a time getting their kids to adjust to their own beds (and the kids seem to have a nightmare of a time too). However, that was predated by a year or two of blissful co-bedding.

My friends that did not co-bed have never had any trouble getting their kids to sleep (other than the ocassional restless night, of course) and they never had to go through months or a year of "sleep training" because their babies have always been very comfortable and confident going to sleep.

Given out difficult the transition is from mom's bed to child's bed (at an age the child can remember, vs. when they're infants and can't remember?) are there things you would do differently? Or is it kind of just a given assumption among co-bedders that the benefit of co-bedding is worth this sort of sleep training drama?

I am so genuinely curious about this. I definitely want to co-bed, but it's hard to know what's best when my co-bed friends have to go through these heartbreaking nightly situations after the co-bedding comes to an end.

Did you read particular books about this, or are there blogs you recommend that really explain the benefits and downsides to each?

You're my best and favorite resource for this because you talk about it so openly!

Asheya said...

Yay! I love it when they get to the stage where you can just sit there and they fall asleep.

And I know it's bad of me, but I laughed when you said that you have never met the end of Riley's stamina, because that is Elias (now 4 yrs old) to the T. I like to remind myself that persistence and endurance will be great qualities when he's least I know he won't be a quitter!

Maman A Droit said...

I love the rotisserie chicken comparison- made me laugh out loud. My 7 month old son definitely does that. It's amazing how much a baby can squirm and move while mostly asleep!