Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Why I Let My Baby Cry It Out and How It Improved His Sleep

For the first four months of my son's life, night wakings went like this: he'd waking up crying, I'd change his diaper, fix a bottle and feed him while rocking him in the chair. After his bottle, he'd be milk-drunk and couldn't even keep his head up. I'd carefully place him back in his crib and it was nighty-nighty til next feeding or morning.

Then around the 6 month mark, something changed. He'd wake, I'd do my usual but this time instead of the milk-drunk sleepiness, he was now wide awake. Jumping, hopping, hitting, grabbing, laughing, babbling, you name it. 2am, 3am, 4am, he did not care. He was wide awake and ready to party. For no less that an HOUR. EVERY NIGHT! Sometimes up to 2 HOURS!!! Worse was he did not want to be put down or be put in the crib or he'd scream and cry. So for 1 - 2 hours a night, my hubby and I held him while he partied his butt off and decided he was then ready for sleep.

This went on for nearly 3 months. Then I got fed up. Because jobs aren't really that understanding when you can barely keep your eyes open at work.

So I began reading up on the Ferber Method, also known as the "Cry It Out" method.I was ready. This baby was not going to break me. Basically what it entails is after you have established a strong bedtime routine and have taken care of your usual for the baby, you put him down in the cry, while sleepy but still awake and the baby has to learn to soothe himself to sleep instead of relying on you to soothe them.

So after an hour of sitting up with him at 2am one night and finally getting him to sleep in my arms, I gently put him in his crib and like he often did, he popped right back up like a piece of toast and went from snoring hard to sitting up and crying in a nanosecond, I said enough! And goodnight!! I patted his back, told him goodnight and I left the room.

And he cried. For 25 mins. Then he got quiet. He then fell asleep. I did this the next night and again, he cried for 25 mins, then passed out. Then next few nights he slept better but as I read more about the method, I realized I wasn't doing it fully. I was still rocking him to sleep while putting him to bed. What I read is that babies get used to certain patterns in going to sleep and get so accustomed that they can't get back to sleep without them. Just like how I rocked my son to sleep every night. He would not go to sleep unless rocked.

So I decided to stop rocking him to sleep him while putting him to bed. It was a Thursday in March when I told my husband we would try not rocking. I did my usual and fed him his bottle and when he turned to be held and burped, I burped him, held him for a few, kissed him and held him tight and while he was sleepy but still awake, put him right in the crib.

He began to fuss and I left the room. I grabbed the baby monitor fully expecting a 25 min crying spell and was prepared to go in at the 10-min mark to rub his back.

But something happened I didn't expect. At 3 mins, his crying died down. And at 4 mins, he was asleep. And that night, he slept through the night.

The next night, same thing. Slept through the night. By Night 3 of this, when he woke in the middle of the night, when put down he cried for only 2 mins before falling asleep. In the first 8 days, he slept through the night 6 of those nights and the other 2, he was back asleep in under 15 mins of being put in his crib. He was learning to self-soothe and put himself to sleep without me. 

One month later, my son goes to sleep immediately after being put in the crib 90% of the time, without any rocking and he is sleeping through the night about 70% of the week. The other days, when he wakes, he usually is sleepy right after a bottle and sleeps shortly after being put back down. 

Teething and colds have caused some setbacks. I forgo this method while he has been teething or if he's not feeling well and go back to rocking him to sleep. But he falls back to sleep much quicker and easier than before. I also think his crawling has helped tired him out more during the day. But overall, he has much better sleep habits, which I hope continue.

Every parent needs to asses what may be better for them and their baby so there isn't one method that will work for everyone. You may also find that you may need to tweak some things for your particular situation.

Sweet dreams!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Why This Blog?

Why another blog for me (this being my 4th)?

After having my son in July 2013 after what seemed like a long and physically demanding pregnancy, I fell into a lull creatively and quickly began to miss writing or doing anything remotely creative.

Upon reflection. I also found there were dozens of areas in my life that needed a sort of makeover or some improvement and care. So I set out to begin working on nearly every area of my life in what I called

Project: Beautiful Life: my personal goal to enhance the overall quality of my life, one goal, one step, one area at a time.

And there was my new blog.

And I'm not going to lie, I may get busy, bored, preoccupied, distracted, what have you as I journey through life and may have to step away from blogging again as I have before but for right now, this is a personal mission.

And I'd to share my experiences along the way.

I hope it inspires your own life projects.

Hope you enjoy!!