Thursday, April 22, 2010

Sleep update

A few weeks ago I posted about Dio's nightcrawling that was keeping all of us from sleeping well. A few days later, I wrote a quick update called Thanks. So what has happened between then and now?

The night after that update, I got 2 hours of sleep. Some of it directly because of Dio's wakings, and the rest indirectly because I was so stressed/exhausted/desperate that I literally could not sleep after 1:30 am. I decided that I could not go on like this. Something had to change.

So here's what we did the following night:
  • Moved Zari into her own room so she wouldn't wake him up, and vice-versa
  • Moved Dio's crib into his room and removed the twin mattress. We'd recently started keeping Dio in his room all night, and we resolved to keep that up.
  • Closed both doors connecting our bedrooms, rather than just one, so I wouldn't wake up every time Dio made noise. 
  • Ran a fan for white noise in our own bedroom, as well as Dio's, again to help mask all but the loudest crying.
  • I decided that I was not getting out of bed until 3 am or later (with the exception of going to the bathroom). And I was only nursing Dio once. If Eric wanted to tend to Dio at other times, fine. But I was not going to.

I still wasn't sure what the plan was if Dio woke up and would not settle down for hours on end--something he'd been doing a lot lately. Would I actually be able to let him cry and cry if it came to that? Would he survive this sudden change in nursing schedules (from twice to once)? Things were at such a crisis point for me that I asked Eric to give Dio a blessing before bedtime.

So we put Dio to bed in his crib, in his own room, and waited to see what would happen. (Remember, the only change for Dio was that he was in a crib, rather than on his twin mattress. Otherwise same environment and routine.)

He slept until 4:30 am. I nursed him, put him back down, and he slept the rest of the night.

The next night he woke up once at 3 am to nurse, then slept the rest of the night.

I felt like a human being again. It was amazing. 

For the next two weeks, Dio would alternate between waking once between 3-5 am, or waking an additional time around midnight. Still not bad. More and more often at that earlier waking, we'd let Dio fuss for a few minutes to see what would happen. And, amazingly, he'd stop crying, lay himself back down, and go back to sleep. And we're not talking hours of crying here--usually just a few minutes.

At this point, Dio usually wakes up just once to nurse, around 3-4 am. And if he does wake up at other times, he gets himself back to sleep fairly quickly. And I've found that I no longer need the white noise in my room.

So what accounts for this radical shift in sleeping behavior? I think it's a combination of:
  • Being in a crib where he can't fall off or wander around
  • Being in a room so dark that there's nothing to see. Our room, where his crib used to be, is a lot lighter at night. He always wanted to be standing and partying when his crib was in our room (or screaming because he could see me, and it simply would not do to be 3 feet away from me). 
  • Not being woken up by Zari, who thrashes around a lot at night
  • Switching from 2 to 1 night nursings, which helped reset his nocturnal clock
I am so thankful.


  1. Yay for sleep! There's nothing like it :)

  2. Hurrah! I'm so glad you found a solution. You are a great momma!!! I'm glad you are getting more sleep now, too--2 hours in a night is crazymaking!!

  3. so happy for you! This mirrors my own experience with my older daughter. She was in need of her own space before all the AP books/advice told me. My proof that flexibility is so *very* important in raising kids. I am so happy that you found a solution that worked for your family AND got you some sleep!!!!

  4. oh how wonderful!!! it's amazing what some good sleep does for a person. I'm so glad things have been better.

  5. That's great that things are going better. Although I had to giggle about the "sudden" fewer else could you go from two to one? LOL.
    I do find that if I can't hear my kids, we all sleep better, LOL. I use ear plugs.

  6. YAY! so thankful for another mama being able to sleep well!

  7. Those changes can be so hard to make, not knowing how upset the kids will be. I'm glad he and you all are getting so much better sleep!

  8. This is awesome news.

    Horray for sleep, soundless nights and sanity. :)

  9. I'm so jealous :/ I am still not sure how to solve our sleeping problems with Robin. So exhausted I can't see straight.

  10. My UC baby Rome is seven months now. When he learned to flip over, we didn't sleep right for two weeks until the newness wore off of the flip trick. He has a twin mattress on the floor and would army crawl off and wake himself up more - so I feel your pain. Man, I'm hoping he doesn't do what Dio did again when he really masters the crawl! We don't have a crib, just the floor bed. Nursing once a night sounds great. We've just gotten back to once at 10 and once at 3 or 4, so hopefully that sticks. Anyways - good job navigating this one. I always feel that Rome and I both know when we've reached out limit and its time to make a change and cry it out a tiny bit to get there. - Ali P.

  11. I'm so very glad that you are all doing so well!! I'm sure you feel like a new woman. :)

  12. Very happy for you! Your resolve obviously paid off. Sometimes I think the hardest part about parenting is coming up with a plan and sticking to it. I'm sure Dio is a happier person too now that he is getting better quality of sleep as well. Posting your story will no doubt help others too. win win!

  13. That's so awesome, congrats! Way to work a plan, Stan. ;) Enjoy those well-earned Zzzzz's.

  14. Thanks for the birth stories! They're so encouraging as I get ready for my own baby in August.

    And YAY for sleep!! I'm so glad that your family got that worked out.

  15. I'm so glad you found a solution. Sounds so heavenly! You've inspired me to see what I can do to get more sleep myself!


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