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How SleepPhones® Co-Founder Conquered Baby Sleep Training

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How SleepPhones® Co-Founder Conquered Baby Sleep Training

Sleep Training Diary Contents

Introduction and Background

As the CEO of AcousticSheep LLC and co-inventor of SleepPhones®, the original and most comfortable headphones for sleeping, I confess that sleep is a struggle in our family.

Our older child still sleeps with us, we have stress-related insomnia, our schedules are not as regular as recommended, and we are all night owls. But our newest addition seems to be the textbook baby. She is around 50% for all measurements, healthy, happy, hit all of her milestones right on time, and seemingly regular in spite of the relative chaos around her.

She was breast-fed every two hours for the first few weeks. As she started to sleep longer, I was able to sleep longer. I bed-shared with her in her room, while my son slept with my husband. We figured that there's no point in disturbing everyone's sleep if who she really needed was just me. By six weeks, she was able to sleep about five to six hours straight. She would fall asleep at 2 a.m. and wake up around 8 a.m. every day. As much as I tried to get her on an earlier schedule, she would continue to wake up and need to be fed back to sleep until about 2 a.m. every night. At least it was predictable.

Baby Sleeping In Crib Sleep Training

When she was 3 months old, she started to wake up 1-2 times a night to feed. By 4-5 months, she was waking up 2-3 times a night to feed. I quickly realized that I was not going to be okay with this long term.* We rented a fancy, expensive crib that automatically swung her side to side when she fusses at night, but it didn't work at all. She didn't like the motion, and the whooshing sound it made seemed to wake her up more. So I resolved that when school started again for our older kid, I would sleep train her the textbook way. After all, she follows everything else in the books.

According to the literature, you have to dedicate yourself to sleep training for two full weeks. Summer camp for our older child is different every week, starting at different times and with variable driving distances. And without the regularity of last-minute wake up time in the morning, his bedtime ranges from 9 p.m. to midnight. So her bedtime routine varied a lot, too. I was able to eventually rewind her bedtime back to midnight by the time we started. I tracked her sleep/wake patterns for a few weeks. This was roughly her schedule if I didn't have to go anywhere for the day (which was pretty rare).

Baby Sleep Training and Older Sibling

*Our older child was on the skinny side, and I went back to work part-time as a doctor when he was two months old. I felt like I needed to make sure he was well-fed, so we developed some bad habits early on with breast-feeding on demand all night long. I didn't realize it then, but I was his pacifier, not just his source of food. I also bought into the whole bed-sharing idea from the Dr. Sears book. But when he was waking me up every 1-2 hours all night long to feed (even though we were in bed together so I could just get back to sleep), I just couldn't take it anymore. I didn't think it was healthy for him either.

He was 10 months old by the time we decided to sleep train. It was so tough because he could pull himself up in his pack and play and then would fall back down when he got tired screaming and crying. I was worried about him getting hurt. Sleep training seemed to start working, but then life got crazy again, and we couldn't keep up with the training. The next time we tried, he was walking and could reach the door knob. So again, we were sitting outside his room, holding the door knob closed so he couldn't get out while watching the baby monitor to make sure he wasn't getting hurt in his room. It was heartbreaking and painful. We couldn't keep it up long enough to see any improvement after a week, so we gave up.

He is now 8 years old and still sleeping with us. Since he's a product of Dr. Sears advice, we're not sure when he'll leave our bed. In a year, he will be going with his classmates for an overnight camp for a week. It's a tradition for his school. That will be interesting! I'm actually more worried about his hair – I'll have to sneak into camp in the middle of the week to brush it.

Typical day prior to sleep training

  1. Wake up around 8 a.m.
  2. Awake for 2 hours
  3. Sleep for 1-2 hours
  4. Awake for 2 hours
  5. Sleep for 1-2 hours
  6. Awake for 2 hours
  7. Be tired but would push herself and stay awake grumpily for an hour
  8. Sleep for 30 minutes to 1 hour
  9. Awake for 4-6 hours but with a changing mood, laughing one minute, crying the next.
  10. Feed to sleep/wake up/feed back to sleep/wake up/feed to sleep/finally sleep at midnight.
  11. Wake up 2-3 times a night to cry until I fed her. Then would fall asleep after about 5 minutes.

Things I did to prepare for sleep training

  • We set up a baby monitor. This time, I'm using the Alexa Echo Spot, which has a video camera. The benefit is that it's more secure than the typical baby monitor that uses the 900mHz cordless landline phone bandwidth that could lead to neighbors hearing you talk to your baby. Plus, I can continue to monitor the crib from my older child’s bus stop on my phone. The drawback is that there's no infra-red setting so you can't see the baby unless there is enough light in the room. I’ve got another Spot next to my computer, so I can work and still monitor her. 
  • Watching Baby Through Baby MonitorWe bought a crib. When she slept in the crib at 5 months old, her foot or arm would end up outside of the slats and occasionally get wedged in an awkward angle. I didn't like that. So I got the mesh crib bumpers. They worked great, and I felt like she would be safe if she wedged her face between the mattress and the bumper. She could breathe through the mesh. Six weeks later, when she was a pro at rolling around and wedging her head into the corners while knocking it back and forth against the slats, I changed to the padded crib bumpers. She didn't need the bumpers to be mesh anymore because she could roll out of any position, and I didn't want her to keep hitting her head on the slats. Babies shaking their head side to side (like emphatically saying “no”) is a normal part of how they self-soothe. But sometimes she hit her head so hard that she'd cry, so the padded bumpers were important.

 

Crib Set Up For Baby Sleep Training Including Hatch Baby, Echo Spot, Zip Up Blanket, Crib Bumpers

 

  • I put away the Dr. Sears book and read books that supported gentle sleep training. I read Secrets of the Baby Whisperer on my phone to help with my resolve when she was crying. I checked out some library books too, and I highly recommend The Baby Care Book’s sleep section. I think they give some practical, detailed advice. For general baby care as a doctor, I highly recommend the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Caring for Your Baby and Young Child.
  • I got her used to her crib by putting her into it as much as I could when she was asleep. (At 16 pounds, picking her up and putting her in is not easy on your back.) I got her used to a zip-up blanket (SleepSack).
  • I put a pacifier (Natursutten) in her crib in case she wanted it or for something to play with when she woke up. It's completely soft with no small pieces. She got used to it because I attached it to her car seat so she can soothe herself and have something to play with/swat during car rides. Baby in Car Seat with Natursutten Pacifier
  • A Bluetooth white noise/light maker (Hatch) that I received as a present has actually been really great. It's something that I would balk at buying normally, but it's actually been fantastic. I can control the lighting and noise level while in bed, noiselessly (and without movement) from my phone as I read the news or respond to email. I can also control it from just outside her room if necessary. It's the little things that can make or break a baby's sleep sometimes.
  • I started the Thursday night before Labor Day and didn't have any major plans. That would give me a long weekend in case I needed to nap. Once Labor Day was done, school would start, so we'd have to abide by a regular schedule. Bussing would start too, so I wouldn't have to leave the house in the morning to drive our older child to camp.
  • She was about 6 months old when we started sleep training. She no longer needs night-time feedings, and she's capable of a variety of cries to signify what she needs. I'm able to differentiate between her cries most of the time – hungry, tired, bored, frustrated – which helps with meeting her needs while not compromising on the training part.

Beyond the basics

As a second-time mom, I still learned a few things about babies this time around that I either didn't know or forgot from the first time around.

  • Many sources will tell you that babies have a natural rhythm of sleep cycles throughout the night, but I learned that it's 50-60 minutes long. So that’s why even prior to sleep training, she would have a light period of sleep once an hour, which is when I can choose to wake or not wake her.
  • It's normal for babies to take about 20 minutes to fall asleep. I think it’s a shorter time frame most of the time, but this sets more realistic expectations.
  • Some self-soothing techniques babies use would be sucking on their own tongue, shaking their heads back and forth, or fiddling with something.
  • Watch for signs of the baby being sleepy: rubbing their eyes, whimpering cries, shaking their head, arching their back, or yawning. One book says to put them into their crib within 5 minutes of 1-2 yawns. By the 3rd yawn, it's almost too late, and you've only got a minute left. Ours rarely yawns. She mostly just rubs her eyes and stares at things blankly, interrupted by whimpers. This took some careful observation to figure that out.
  • Don't let the baby sleep for more than 3 hours during the day because that would interfere with night-time sleeping.​

 

Goals View of Baby Through Sleep Monitor While Sleep Training

  • Help her learn self-soothing techniques so she can settle herself during daytime naps. When she naps well, she is a happier baby.
  • Decrease night time feedings.
  • Sleep in crib by herself, not next to a parent.
  • Decrease reliance on being fed to sleep and me trying to put her somewhere safe then sneaking away - that if she wakes up in that process, she can settle by herself. She’s too big and heavy to easily slip into a crib. As babies gain mobility and strength, the crib mattress needs to be lowered, so that means you have to bend over to place them into the crib. As they get bigger, it becomes impossible to keep them horizontal, so the transfer process is more and more jarring, which could awaken them.
  • Arrive at a sustainable schedule for work.
  • If I have to feed her to sleep at bedtime, it’s hard to know what her natural bedtime should be. Many babies go to sleep at 8 pm. While I don’t think that’s necessary, I wonder if she’s more difficult in the evening because she is tired and I haven’t helped her to sleep enough (because I’m taking care of her brother until 9-10 pm). I want her to be able to let me know if she’s tired enough to just go to sleep earlier if she needed to.

One Month Diary

Thursday 8/29

11:20pm-3:30am sleep training. Cried, picked up or sat up to stop the crying, but would start crying again when laid down. Would hit heat on side of bed when turning back and forth. Finally took her downstairs for a feeding* around 2:40am, then put her to sleep again, gradual decline in crying until asleep, within 30 mins.

Friday 8/30

11:30-12:45am sleep training with crying and sitting up to stop crying, repeatedly. Finally took her downstairs for a feeding, then put her to sleep again, gradual decline in crying until asleep, within 30 mins. 5 minutes crying at 1:20, stirring at 2:20am.

Saturday 8/31

(Entry made on 9/8) Slept in, stopped taking notes this day because she slept all night without waking. I remember being happy because it seemed to be working. She fell asleep without fussing much throughout the day. This was a Saturday so I could just stay home and not commit to much. I think I took a nap with her. I was pretty tired myself from staying up with her.

Sunday 9/1

She looked pretty tired all day but managed to stay awake at an outdoor birthday party all afternoon. Fell asleep at 10 p.m. Woke briefly at 11, cried for 3 minutes. Woke up again at 11:40. Cried, intensely, picked up twice for graduated extinction which just seemed to make it worse, until 12:25. She stopped crying but was still awake. I took her downstairs for a feeding. She was tired, but I brought her back upstairs before she fell asleep completely. Placed in crib 12:37 am. Cried/fussed on/off less intensely, stopped crying and in light sleep from 12:50-1:10am. Stirring at 4:20, fell back to sleep on own. Again at 4:45 am.

Monday 9/2 (Labor Day holiday)

Woke her up at 9:30 am. She fell asleep on her own with minimal fussing after she started to arch her back while not eating at 11:20 am. She woke up at 1:15 pm. Played and swam until 3:30 pm, fed to sleep, laid down with no fussing. One short cry at 4:30, settled and slept again. Woke her up at 5:35. Went to grocery store, she was subdued. 7:30-7:45 slept ate on feeding couch. Was fussy, fed at 9:15pm. Took a bath. Fed again at 9:55. She’s tired and fussing. Alternate with being awake and exploring with some nursing until 12:30 am. Fed until relaxed, put to sleep.

9/2 Trying to achieve this ideal schedule for school:

  • 7:20 am wake up, make breakfast, lunch, get brother dressed
  • 7:40 am get to bus
  • 8 am eat breakfast myself / work
  • 9:30 baby wakes up feed / do stuff around the house / make phone calls
  • 11:30 -1:30 baby sleep, me work
  • 1:30 pm-2 feed / lunch
  • 2:00-3 pm meeting or shopping, appointments, or work
  • 3:00-3:30 pm return home, drive to school
  • 3:30pm-4:30 baby short sleep. Pick up brother from bus (walk the stroller) or cross country 
  • 4:30 feed brother snack, homework, prep dinner, laundry, etc.
  • 7pm baby short nap
  • 9pm  bedtime routine
  • 10-11:30 p.m. baby bedtime routine

Tuesday 9/3

Woke up by self at 8 a.m. Still seemed tired. Ate, played, hung out. Slept 9:30-11:30. Ate, played, went outside, ate, rolled around. Put to sleep 11:33 a.m, a little late, fussed for about a minute, then whimpering and sleep by 1:41. Stirred at 3:35 pm, and since we had to leave, I woke her up via the baby monitor. Went outside briefly, then drove to pick up brother. Went to Taco Bell, ate at restaurant, came home, swam. Fell asleep at breast 6:15, put in crib, slept until 7:03. Was still irritable. Held her during dinner. Went walking with dad but it was too dark. Took bath. Irritable all night. Fed on couch and places other than the bed repeatedly. Fell asleep at 11:25pm. Woke up and made noises, tossing and turning 5:37am. I had to go to the bathroom at 5:56. As soon as I made noises, she cried loudly. No interaction and tried to be really quiet. She made some noises from 5:59-6:10. Made a point of not feeding or interacting, trying to wean off night time needs. Fell asleep finally at 6:45am.

Wednesday 9/4

Slept in until 10:45 when she stirred and I woke her up to try to set her on my schedule. Fell asleep at 1:30 pm with mild fussing. Co-worker called 3 times, waking her up, despite me trying to silence the calls immediately, 2:11pm. Unhappily awake until 3:50 when she fell asleep again. Brother comes home charging up the stairs, waking her at 4:40. Awake until after meeting new babysitter. Fell asleep during ride home at 8:20 pm. Woke up at 8:50. Put to bed at 10:45. Fell asleep at 11:35. Woke up at 5:47am, would not settle for 5 minutes. I worried that she’s cold and that this is her natural wake up time. She was feeling cold in hands and body. I added another layer and then she ate. Fell asleep within about 7 mins. So now I know she was cold but not too hungry.

9/4 Trying to achieve this ideal schedule:

  • 6:45am-8:45am baby feed, play. Breakfast/coffee, get brother out the door, start laundry.
  • 8:45am-10:45am baby nap. Work from home.
  • 10:45-12:45 baby feed, play. Cleaning, lunch, more laundry.
  • 12:45-2:45 baby nap. Work from home.
  • 2:45-6 baby up! Outside activities, shopping, pick up brother.
  • 6-6:30 or 7 baby short nap. Prepare dinner.
  • 7-10 baby play. Dinner, cleaning, family activity, brother’s bedtime routine.
  • 10-11 baby bedtime routine.
  • 11-6:45 baby sleep.

Thursday 9/5

Woke her up from sound sleep at 8:50 to get to 6 month check up and shots. GOT 4 SHOTS. Fell asleep during ride from doctor to work at 10:10. Slept until 10:45. Woke up crying. Activities. Fed to sleep when very tired at home in crib at 12:40. Slept until I woke her up to pick up brother at 3:15. Awake until 6:20, fell asleep in car. Had dinner at restaurant, she woke up during dinner at 6:50. Bath at 10:15 after trying to feed her cereal (didn’t work, doesn’t like it with breast milk). 10:45 put her in crib and handed her her pacifier because she was staring blankly and rubbing her eyes. She babbled “nanahnanah” over and over until 10:50 when she fell asleep. No crawling around or head banging. Woke up and cried 1 minute at 2am, 2 mins at 4, and 3 mins at 5. I put a blanket on her at 5, which she wrapped around herself and likely kept her warm.

Friday 9/6

She was stirring at 7:10am, which was time for me to get up. I woke her up and put her downstairs while I got brother ready for school. She was grumpy. Once brother was on the bus at 7:50, I fed her. She fell asleep again at 8:05. Woke her up at 9:40 to get to work for filming. She fell asleep on co-worker at 11:20 being rocked. I got her back at 11:45. She woke up at noon. Came home at 1pm, fed. She fell asleep at 1:30. Woke up at 2:10. Went to pick up brother. She fell asleep in car at 3:10. Had to wake up again at 3:30. Came home. Nap 5pm-5:35. Fell asleep 9:30-9:45pm. We tried to put her in her crib at 9:45 but she woke up crying. Changed out crib bumpers. Fed until she got tired at 11:15, put to sleep in her crib. Yawned at 11:23. Whimpering, occasional crying. Stopped moving around at 11:26. Woke up at 4:50am. Not cold. She tried to fall back to sleep but couldn’t after 30 mins. 5:20, I decided that maybe 5am is a natural wake up time for her, based on pattern/circadian rhythm? It’s about 6 hours after her normal bed time. But she normally just falls back to sleep after feeding. It’s an inconvenient time though. Ate 5:23-5:39. Both sides. Fell asleep and placed in crib 5:40.

Saturday 9/7

Gave up trying to impose a schedule. Going to just see what her natural rhythms are first. Woke up at 8:55. We were out and about all day, and she did not sleep more than 30 mins all day. Slept during some car rides, but didn’t stay asleep long after. Difficult evening. 10:45pm fed to sleep and placed in crib. Woke up crying at 11:25. I picked her up but she was shaking her head like when she’s tired, so I put her back down to sleep. Cried until 11:29. Then she was awake for a while, tossing and turning, cried more. Picked her up, but she appeared really tired still. Put back down at 11:37pm, cried on/off, fell asleep at 11:50. Stirred at 1:50, fell back to sleep by 2:00am.

Sunday 9/8

Woke up at 8:10am. Ate lots, took a bath with dad, ate more to relax, seemed tired, put in blanket and back to sleep. No fuss sleep at 9:48. Slept until 12:35pm. I fed her and then we went to Presque Isle. She slept while we drove 2:30-2:40. After playing on the beach, she fell asleep in the car at 4:30. We got home and left her in her car seat. She slept until 5:50 when she woke herself up passing gas. Fed her while I was really tired and about to take a nap. Unfortunately she was not tired. So I made dinner. While we were eating, she was playing in the standing activity table and eating her meat popsicle when she leaned over with her eyes closed. She was falling asleep in her seat! Took her out immediately, put her zip-up blanket on, and put her in the crib at 6:54. It’s a bit late, and I’m afraid I’ll regret helping her sleep at this hour... but maybe it’ll just be a short nap. Discovered that she was awake after all in her crib, just playing quietly at 7:13. So maybe she didn’t fall back to sleep when I left the room. Sleep/eating at 8:50. She slept on me 9-9:15 on couch. Bathed brother, then her. 10:10, fed her some more until 10:30. Put her down to sleep and she did appear tired, crying, whimpering, and head shaking. Asleep by 10:46. 4:48 woke up crying and not settling well. Picked up at 4:51 to let her eat. Fed until she turned away to sleep at 5:12am.

Monday 9/9

Woke up at 9:20. Fed then did some housework. Showed signs of being sleepy at 10:53. Put in crib with pacifier, not asleep. Watching on monitor, she managed to unlatch a crib bumper tie and played with it. Then she used the loosened bumper to pull herself up. She no longer seems tired since she’s playing with stuff and vocalizing with intention. Picked her up at 10:59 to let her play. Acting tired again, put in crib at 11:21. Complain cry for 3 mins, then laid still, whimpered and shook head for 3 mins, then out. Woke her up at 1:45 for an appt. fell asleep in car at 3:45 but woke up at 4:05 when she got home. Slept 7:11-8:20 by my side while feeding. After brother went to bed at 10, she was playing well, didn’t seem tired, wanted to eat frequently. At 11:30, I began turning off the various lights and started final feedings. She was tired but awake when I put her in her crib at 11:53pm. She fell asleep without complaining (whimpering) at all. Woke up at 4:18. She tried a few times to get back to sleep but woke up each time. I went to the bathroom at 4:23 and came back to feed her at 4:25. She fell asleep by 4:43 during feeding.

Tuesday 9/10

Woke up at 7:10am. She woke up because I was too loud as I was leaving the room. Stayed awake and subdued while I got brother ready for the bus. Put to bed at 8:20 after a feeding. Woke up at 11:15, happy, not crying. Slept in crib 2:31-3:16, woke up unhappy. Slept while being carried on a walk 6:38-6:55. Both really tired, fell asleep while feeding at 11pm. Woke up at 1am and 2am. I was too tired and fell asleep with her next to me.

Wednesday 9/11

Must have set my alarm too quiet... woke up myself at 7:30. Woke her up with my movement. She was not happy. Fell asleep in car 8:50, woke up at 9:45. Fell asleep briefly while driving home at 10:55. Tried unsuccessfully to transfer to crib from car seat. Fed to sleep 11:15. Woke up 11:45 when handyman showed up. 1:50 fell asleep feeding. Handyman was in her room so she slept on carpet in my office until 2:05. Fell asleep while feeding during dinner out at 5:40, woke up 6:05pm. Went to sleep for the night at 10:15 while being fed. Woke up at a noise at 10:37. She was not settling by herself, so I tried to see if she was tired by feeding her. She seemed tired. Put her back in crib. Her cries increased for 4 mins so I picked her up and did some housework. Back to bed at 11:15. Woke at 2:53 crying. Did not settle for 10 mins. At 3:05, I started patting her and gave her her pacifier, which she didn’t immediately use. She calmed down. I kept my hand in her crib so she know I was around. She could see out if her crib and if my eyes were open, she cried harder, so I closed my eyes. She didn’t cry as much with my hand there. She found her pacifier herself at 3:15, used it for about 4 mins, getting sleepy. Asleep by 3:24.

Thursday 9/12

Woke up peacefully 9:20. Fell asleep 11:20 during a feeding, woke up 12:42 content, playing with pacifier. Slept through a lot of noise from furniture assembly. Didn’t sleep all afternoon. Milestone: got into a sitting up position by herself. Changed orientation of the crib to by the window. Nap 5:35-5:45 during car ride. Fell asleep during feeding at 11pm. Woke up crying at 11:33. I tried giving her the pacifier but she continued crying for a while. Cried until 11:45 when she sat up to look for me and fell back and hit her head on the padded crib slat. I laid her down, gave her the pacifier, and she calmed down with my hand on her chest. She didn’t cry and settled herself, falling fully asleep by 11:55. Phone made noise at 11:58, which woke her up and she cried briefly. When I told her to go back to sleep and gave her a pat, she settled immediately and went to sleep at 12:03. 2:30, woke up briefly crying, helped to sleep with patting very quickly. Woke up at 5:22 crying. Was harder to settle, but she didn’t cry much. She just wasn’t sleepy enough. 5:55, she was still awake looking at me. Decided to pick her up to feed her. Fed both sides until 6:20. She was not fully asleep but was calm when I put her in her crib. She had trouble falling asleep, calmed down sleep when I hung hand in her crib at 6:25. She fell asleep soon after.

Friday 9/13

Woke up at 10:45am. 1:15-1:30 nap (Fell asleep in car, woke up at restaurant) 4:40-5:40 nap fell asleep eating, napped in crib. Lowered her crib mattress and adjusted one side of the bumper. 2 brief (<5 mins) naps through night. Fell asleep 11:40pm. Woke up crying 2:30, fell back to sleep within 5 mins when I put my hand on her.

Saturday 9/14

Woke up at 9:35 when we started making more noises to get brother to class. Nap 12:30-2:15, mostly in car drive to Cleveland. Nap 9:15-9:45 in car. 10:15-12:15 cried and slept during trip home. Woke up 12:15 while I got stuff put away, got ready for bed, and fed her to sleep. 12:55.

Sunday 9/15

Woke up at 8:30. Fell asleep during feed at 10:30 - 12:45. Slept in car 4:40-4:50. Slept while feeding 7:20-7:45. Asleep for night after long feed 11:40. Increased coughing, especially during sleep. She and I have a cold. She is snoring... didn’t used to. Woke up and didn’t settle for 5 mins. Fed 5:30-5:55. Woke up unhappy at 8:30, settled again with my hand on her.

Monday 9/16

Woke up for the day 10:30. Tried putting her in crib for nap while drowsy at 12:20. She sat up and cried, decided to help her sleep rather than let her cry. She’s already sick and coughing. Nap 12:30-1:45, woke up content, playing in crib for 15 mins. Slept but coughed a lot 6:40-7:40. Went to bed at 11:30. Coughing when laying down. Possible mild fever. She was sweating when she was definitely not overdressed. 1:30am, 4:30am woke up, not easily consolable, so I fed her back to sleep. Seemed like she was in discomfort.

Tuesday 9/17

Woke up 10:15. Fell asleep 12:20-1pm. Woke up due to door bell. Fed to sleep 3:15-4:10. Slept 6:45-8:15. Finally tired, asleep with feeding at 12:45. Coughing, noisy breathing, sweating at times, felt warm at times. Babysitter came today, cried most of time with her, except when outside in stroller. 4am, 7:20am wake ups with feeding back to sleep.

Wednesday 9/18

Woke her up to drive brother to school at 8:50. Napped briefly while shopping at Walmart 11:00-11:15. Napped 2:05-2:35 in car. Nap 7:30-8:00. Fed on/off since 10:15pm. Put in crib to get used to the new patterned sheet 10:45. Lights off 11pm, fed more, and she was nearly asleep. Tried to transfer but didn’t work. Watched her play. She started rubbing her eyes at 11:30. I tried putting my hand in crib to help her sleep. But she kept sitting up and crawling around. Started crying around that time. I kept trying to prevent her from falling and hitting her head, but eventually I figured it was just keeping her awake. Seriously bawling 12:00-12:25, sitting, reaching, falling, repeat. Calmed down with my hand in crib 12:25, yawned once, and fell asleep 12:35. She had a coughing fit at 12:45, woke up screaming from that. I changed her clothes because I thought she was warm. Then placed her back into her crib, tired. She started bawling again, falling and hitting her head. 12:55 I finally held her down so she would stop hurting herself. That calmed her down. I removed my hand as soon as she calmed down. Had to repeat 5 times. Was able to calm back down after coughing at 1:02. 5:30am, crying, calmed with hand on her. 7:05, fed back to sleep.

Thursday 9/19

Woke up at 11 am. Nap 1:30-3:30. No extended naps until bedtime at 10. Woke up a few times due to coughing (me and her) but fed back to sleep so I could work. Slept well after midnight. 2:30 wake up, slept with my hand on her. 5:30 wake up, couldn’t sleep after 15 mins, mostly calm. I fed her so both of us can continue sleeping.

Friday 9/20

Woke up at 11 am, calm, happy. Napped 1:45-3:00. Fed to sleep at 10:30. Woke up at 11, fed back to sleep. Woke up at 2:15. Tries to let her settle with hand on her to keep her from sitting up and falling 15 mins, didn’t work. 10 mins of me putting her back down and continuing to restrain for her to sleep, continues crying. By this point, she wasn’t tired anymore. Took her with me to the bathroom for change of scenery. Tried again 10 mins restraining in crib. Took her to separate room, sat her on floor, lights on 5 mins, kept crying. Lights off, 15 mins, kept crying. Took her to basement for feeding 20 mins. Brought up baby books. Read book and let her play while I typed this. 20 mins. She doesn’t seem tired, talking, sitting, smiling, playing with book on bed with me. Then she started growling and staring, signs of being tired. I put her in crib. She was calm and moved around, growling, staring, shaking head, playing with blanket, etc. I laid her down when she sat up. Light sleep by 4:10 am, eyes closed. Woke up 4:20, started to get upset, tried to sit up, fell, I put my hand on her, she calmed, asleep by 4:25.

Saturday 9/21

Woke up around 9:45. I started the baby monitor and she was awake already. Fed to sleep at Asbury Woods, napped in Jason’s arms 1:50-2:10. Napped with me 4:20-6. Fed for 1 hour until very sleepy, then placed in crib slightly awake. Asleep at midnight. Hungry and fed 5:30-6:10.

Sunday 9/22

Woke up at 8:30, with noises because we had to leave by 9am. Drove to location, and she fell asleep in car 10:20. Woke up 11:40. Fell asleep in car 2:20 pm, woke up 3:05 when we got home. Went swimming, played, etc. really grumpy and upset 8:30-9:30 when she finally fell asleep. Woke up, prepped better for bed and fed to sleep by 10:15. Woke up 10:35, fed some more until 10:55pm. 5:30 feed. Woke up at 7 due to alarm, fed.

Monday 9/23

Had to leave for the day so we woke her up at 9:40 am. According to babysitter, she took a couple of naps equaling about 1 hour. She fell asleep again in car 3:15-3:45. Again 6:45-7:15. Fell asleep for night at 11:45 pm during feeding. Woke up for food 4:50-5:15 am, turned away when done, went back to sleep in crib well. Woke up unhappy at 8:25. I fed her and she fell back to sleep 8:45.

Tuesday 9/24

Toss and turned in light sleep for 30 mins before waking up for real at 10 am. Adjusted crib mattress down a level (now at middle tier) because when she stands and climbs, she could launch out of crib. Babysitter said she slept 12:00-12:45, woke up unhappy. Then I came home fed her to sleep 2:30-4:30, woke up happy. Slept in car for 2 minutes at 8pm. Fell asleep during feeding a few times until finally sleeping at 11:45pm. Slept/fed 5:50-6:40am.

Wednesday 9/25

Woke her up 8:40 for event. She slept 9:55-10:15. Note that she seems to have caught another cold with lots of clear nasal drainage. Occasionally has trouble catching breath while eating. Slept/ate 12:45 pm-2:35, on/off. 4:50-5:00. 7:40-8:00 in car. 10:30-10:40. Finally fell asleep 12:45am. Up at 1, 2, 3, 5, 7.

Thursday 9/26

Woke up at 7:30, not happy but awake. Nap 9:30-10:30 (nursed to sleep), 1:00-2:30 (nursed to sleep), 4:50-5:20 (car ride). Slept/ate 10:30-11:30pm. Transferred to crib successfully at 11:30-11:40. Then she woke up and could not be settled by holding her still in crib. Cries escalated 5 mins. Decided that since the crib mattress level adjustment 2 days ago, she’s been much harder to transfer successfully to the crib because it’s more awkward. Took her to another room to play while I organized laundry. Fed to sleep at 12:40-12:50. Woke up at 12:50 upset and would not settle. Let to cry for probably 20-30 mins. I fell asleep. Woke up around 3 and 5 but settled without intervention. Nursed 8:20-8:45. Back to sleep and transferred to crib successfully.

Friday 9/27

Woke up 11:40. Nap 1:35-3:15. Tried to sleep at 6:40 but brother had playdate and was too loud. She was tired at 8:30 but would not fall asleep in her crib. Cried for 25 mins. I let Jason get her. After a while, I fed her some more and she got tired again at 10pm. Became very fussy, so I did a quick diaper change. Let Jason put her to sleep 10:05. She was asleep in her crib by 10:20pm, after brother laid next to her to help her sleep. Woke up 10:42, crying. Fed for a while. 11:35 back to crib. Cried for 10 mins then was fully awake. Sucked on crib, sucked on my hand (dangled in crib), sat around doing random things. I had a long series of microsleeps. 12:20 she got upset again. Cried for 3 mins until I put hand on her chest. Could not keep it there because I was very tired. Repeated at 12:35 but with hand dangling in the crib. She fell asleep quickly with that. Fed at around 5:30, put back in crib with brief fussing.

Saturday 9/28

Woke her up at 9:20. Fell asleep in car 11:23-12:00. Fell asleep nursing 2:05. Tried to transfer to crib but she woke up. She stood up with arms over the edge of the crib for 5 full minutes, supporting a lot of weight with her legs. Evidently she was fully awake, so I picked her up. Fell asleep nursing 4:20-5:00. Able to move about a room to entertain herself now. 10:28 pm turned off light with dad and brother. Cried until 10:34. Then she “talked” until she fell asleep at 10:38. Transferred to crib at 10:45. Woke up at 11:08, crying like from a bad dream. Fed back to sleep and transferred to crib 11:38. Woke up at 3:45, fed back to sleep by 4:05. Cried briefly in crib but was able to settle.

Sunday 9/29

She woke up at 9:40. At 11:40, tried to get her to sleep in her crib but she cried for 25 mins. I gave her to Jason to try. She cried for about 10 mins and fell asleep on the basement bed at about 12:20. Stirred twice briefly crying, but went back to sleep. Woke up 1:40. Cat napped while nursing twice. Nearly crawled today, so close! Jason tried to get her to sleep at 10pm but she cried for 20 mins. I nursed her to sleep at about 10:50. Transferred her to crib at 11:15. She opened then closed her eyes, no fussing. She woke up at 2:30am to feed, then back to sleep.

Monday 9/30

She woke up at 9:40. She crawled one step this morning! Her cold seems to be improving, slightly less nasal drainage. At 11:40 I tried to feed her to see if she was tired, but she wasn’t tired enough. So we did some more housework. At 12:20, I tried feeding her again, and she looked tired but wasn’t hungry. I put her in the crib 12:26. She started to fuss 12:29, was uncoordinated, didn’t try to stand up, and kept looking at me. So I left the room 12:30. She fussed but put her head down on the mattress alternating with sitting up. Whimpering but stopped trying to sit up at 12:37. She stopped making noises and fell asleep by 12:38. Napped until 1:50pm.

 

*Note that any mentions of feeding, eating, or drinking basically means nursing. She refuses the bottle, and she hasn’t figured out how to swallow purées yet. She only takes “solids” from a little silicone chewer, so I put apples, bananas, and ground beef in there. 

Assessment

  • While she rarely soothes herself to sleep during the day, she is easier to transfer once mostly asleep. She sleeps well during a nap, which under the right conditions can last 1-3 hours. First nap after waking up is predictably 2 hours after waking and is usually the longest nap of the day. We’ll see if she starts to sleep for the babysitter.

  • Night time feedings now down to 1, between 2-5am. Sleep can be 11 hours long with that feed, so it’s great!

  • Sleeping in crib very well. Actually sleeps worse when next to me (which happens when I’m too tired and fall asleep next to her).

  • Able to transfer her to crib 80% of time without waking her up. She may open her eyes briefly to see what’s going on, but she is able to settle back.

  • I am able to get 1-2 hours of high-concentration work done when she takes her morning nap. I moved my meetings to the afternoon when I don’t have a nice block of uninterrupted time. Also, I schedule stuff on T and Th afternoons when I have a babysitter.

  • Natural bedtimes and wake times are now more regular. She is generally asleep by midnight and can sleep in to almost 11am if she has a good 5am feed and isn’t disturbed in the morning. I can read her needs better now, and I can guess how sleepy she is at night based on how much and when she slept during the day. She is happier with a long morning nap, afternoon nap, and short evening nap (15 mins around 7pm).

  • After several nights of waking at around 5am or 6 hours after she falls asleep, it's evident that there is something special about that time. It's very hard for her to settle herself. So I decided that I'll continue that night time feed. It seems to last her through the morning.

  • If your baby is healthy and growing well, I would recommend starting earlier with the sleep training. Less mobility = fewer chances of them hurting themselves when they are crying and moving around trying to get to you. 4 months would probably be ideal.    

  • Part of what I’m learning is that this process trains the parents as much as it trains the baby. I’ve learned the signs of when she’s tired a lot better. I’ve gained more insight into her various cries. Her sleepy cries include whimpering and growling, which is close to what it sounds like. I’m having to respect her schedule more, so I’m rescheduling my meetings around her schedule. I’ve also gained a higher tolerance to her crying, especially when I know that the particular cry is just part of her process of falling asleep.

  • Here’s her new goal sleep schedule.

    • 9:30am-12:30 wake
    • 12:30-2:00 sleep
    • 2:00-6:00 wake
    • 6:00-6:30 sleep
    • 6:30-10:30 wake
    • 10:30pm sleep

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