Friday, August 14, 2009

The 6-month-old sleep challenge

(this post was started Friday, but completed Saturday)
What?! Oh! Sorry! I sat down for two seconds and fell fast asleep.
Why? Because my baby boy WILL NOT LET ME SLEEP AT NIGHT!
I was looking through Logan's baby book the other day, checking out the milestones he reached around 6 months old so I would have an idea what's up-and-coming with Jordan, and I saw this little note I wrote in the margin that said "Logan needs to re-learn how to sleep in his own bed every time he gets a new tooth!"
Yep, it was about this time with Logan that we messed everything up and allowed him to come into our bed to sleep. Three years later, we got him out. Not making that mistake again.
But what to do? For the past week, it's been extremely difficult to get Jordan to bed. This is a child who WAS sleeping pretty much through the night before teething came into the picture a couple months ago. I would put him into his crib, sleepy but not asleep, and he'd fall asleep. Easy peasy. He'd wake up a predictable one to two times each night, nurse, and go right back to sleep. No longer.
Lately, bedtime is a struggle, and once Jordan finally falls asleep, he might sleep for an hour or so but then he's up about every hour, screaming. He isn't hungry or wet or hot or anything but WIDE AWAKE. It's so frustrating and I am a zombie.
So, what to do? Well, like most moms would, I Googled it. I typed in "My 6-month old baby won't sleep" and came up with quite a few hits. I read through some of the information and found that it's pretty common for kids Jordan's age to go through a period of not wanting to sleep well. It could be teething, or a growth spurt, or the fact that he has recently become more mobile, able to flip over and scoot about whenever he wants. Perhaps it's a sort of separation anxiety that surfaces at this age.
Well, whatever the reason, it stinks!
The options to "treat" the problem vary widely. Some parents answer every cry the baby utters, responding by picking up the child or taking him into their bed. Been there and done that. Having Logan in our bed was nice for a while, until he grew and began kicking and grunting and so on. Then he was the only one who slept.
Another tip was setting an earlier bedtime, with a routine, and sticking to it. I'm using that idea, as best I can in these lax summer evenings which often find us having dinner outside or out for a walk at the park when bedtime rolls around. I know the routine part of it will get better once school starts.
(The following was written Saturday)
So, last night, we went for a walk and got Jordan to bed a little after his target bedtime. I had decided to try letting him "cry it out" in hopes of teaching him that bed is for sleeping and when we put him there, it's time to go to sleep.
Well, of course he cried. Hard. For about 45 minutes!
Actually, he would scream his fool head off, then kind of whimper for a few minutes, then scream, then quiet down, then scream some more. When he screamed, I would go in his room and kiss him and touch him and tell him it was OK (and re-start the stuffed seahorse that glows and plays music. I don't know why they don't make those things play longer, or give them a remote control for parents to use from outside of the room!)but I wouldn't pick him up.
Eventually, he drifted off, and woke only at 2:30 and 6:30. I nursed him and put him back to bed both times. I tried to skip the nursing at 2:30 but he was screaming so hard he was about to wake the whole house.
Tonight, he only cried for a couple minutes. We'll see what the night brings as far as wake-ups. I'm really hoping the "cry it out" option will work for us. We all need our sleep!


FitCrazedMomma said...

Good work!
FYI..there is a remote controlled musical mobile!
I don't have it, but I remember being very jealous of a girlfriend that did!! I think it attached around the doorknob somehow so it would stay put--and with a push of a button viola! The music would start back up!!
Google it... ;)