Sleep Problems Solved

As some of our last posts suggested, we’ve been having sleep issues with Miss Lily Bean here. Since she was 5 weeks old, she started sleeping through the night, but as luck would have it, that didn’t always last. Until she became mobile, she was doing awesome, sleeping on her own, falling asleep on her own, and sleeping through the night. So, we had to rethink our strategy completely, and I think we now found what has worked for us.

Dave and I differed quite a bit regarding how we “sleep train” her. Being the loving, protective father that he is, he didn’t want to try any method that would mean she would cry. Me, being a little more firm, didn’t mind it so much, as I didn’t mind seeing her a little frustrated. I think it would teach her to be a little more secure and independent. So, after many, many, maaannyyy hours of long discussions with Dave, he finally agreed to a plan that included some crying, just to break her out of that “cuddle to sleep” mode that she was in with us. Sometimes, it would take me as much as two hours to get her to sleep, and other times, she’d wake up in the middle of the night and wouldn’t go back to sleep for about another two hours… all of which I would have to cuddle her and keep her company and convince her that indeed, it is not play time, it is sleep time. I was getting tired of this cycle.

First night we tried the plan where we would keep her in the crib “no matter what,” periodically coming in to comfort her and let her know we’re still around and not abandoning her. She did not do so well. She immediately started whining when we left the room, and when we didn’t come back right away (as we often did before), she upped the ante and started screaming blue murder. We came in after waiting it out a bit, comforted her, and then walked out again. She freaked out again, wondering why we weren’t picking her up immediately and rocking her to sleep. 45 minutes later of this, she was crying so hard and so intensely that she actually made herself throw up.

Dave was really angry with me. He didn’t want to do this plan anymore. I insisted that this is part of her learning, and that she’s just seeing how far she needs to go in order to get us to come to her rescue. I told him this wouldn’t happen again, and I made that promise. He said he wouldn’t do the plan with me, but that if I wanted to do it again, I would have to do it alone without his support.

So I mustered my courage up, and did it again two nights later. I did her whole bedtime routine — bath, reading, feeding, lights out — and then I cuddled her for a little bit in her rocking chair in her room, in the dark. I told her:

“My Lily, I love you… you’re going to go to bed now. Mommy’s going to lay you down in your bed so you can go to sleep. I will see you in the morning. You can do it. It’s bed time…”

I said this over and over again, about 3 or 4 times. By that time, she was relaxed and tired, but still awake. Then I got up, gave her the bunny/lovey, and popped a binky in her mouth, and laid her down, said goodnight, and walked out. She didn’t cry at first. Waited about 5 minutes, and then started crying. I waited about a minute, and then walked in to comfort her verbally, still leaving her in her crib. I put the binky back in her mouth, laid her down, said the same things I said to her while we were cuddling, and then walked out. She cried and cried and cried. However, she only did it for 20 minutes this second night. I stood outside her door, my heart completely ripped out of my chest and I was near tears. But just as I was ready to come back in again, suddenly the crying stopped. Completely. I went in to our bedroom to check out the video monitor, to see what she was doing. She had laid herself back down, and playing with her binky (not in her mouth). She started waving her leg back and forth, and within a minute or two, she was sound asleep.

She had put herself to sleep!! All on her own!!

There was no throwing up, no hysterical crying (didn’t get to that stage, fortunately). And it only took 20 minutes.

Next day, Dave put her down for both naps since I had to work. He said he put her down awake yet drowsy, and she didn’t cry for him. She was used to him doing that though. The bedtime routines were the issue, not the naps. So that night, I did the same thing again, and she cried for 10 minutes. Though out of those 10 minutes, only maybe 2 minutes were really hard crying. The rest were sort of whimper cries. I came in about 3 times, comforted her verbally and then walked out. I stood outside her door. The crying suddenly stopped, and she put herself to sleep.

Third night, there was no crying. She put herself to sleep within 10 minutes.

This was a week ago, exactly. Throughout the whole week, all her naps and her bedtimes looked like this. They went so smoothly. Sometimes, it’d take her a little over 10 minutes to fall asleep, but she never cries anymore. Sometimes she loses her binky and cries out for us to get it for her, but once we do, she’d lay back down and wouldn’t fuss when we walked out again.

She has been waking up less in the middle of the night. She is still regularly waking up at least once, but very sleepily so — never that wide-awake event anymore. And I would just put the binky back in her mouth, give her a kiss, lay her back down, without a word, and walk out the door. Within seconds, she’s back asleep. Sometimes even before I reach the door.

Over the week, I noticed that even when she does wake up in the middle of the night, very rarely does she even open her eyes. I would hear some whimpering and near-cries, and when I go check on her, her eyes are still closed, she’s still lying down, but she looks like she’s going to wake up. I would just pop the binky back in her mouth and walk out. She hardly even noticed I was even in the room.

The first few nights, since she was getting so much sleep at night, and sleeping through the night again, she was waking up earlier. She’d go down by 7:45p, and wake up at 6a or 6:30a. This was not cool. So when she did this, I would come in, and see her wide awake and laughing and giggling and having a ball, as if saying, “GOOD MORNING, MAMA!!!” I’d lay her down, tell her, “It’s not time to wake up yet, honey… go back to sleep.” And then I’d walk out. At first, she was very confused, but she did not cry out. She’d try to put herself back to sleep, and when she couldn’t, she’d just play in her crib, wait around until 7a for me to come get her. What a trooper!

Now, she’s sleeping until 7a again, sometimes even to 7:30a. So she’s getting near 12 hours of sleep per night, which is perfect. She has her two naps per day back, both adding up to about 3 hours altogether. She’s happy, well-rested, and cheery all day long, and she eats so well too.

It’s also cute that I see a change in the relationship between her and her bed. In the mornings, she’d crawl happily around her bed, and wouldn’t let me pick her up. It was like she was showing off how happy she is to be able to fall asleep on her own, and telling me, “Look, Mama, this is my bed! I have so much fun in here! I love it!” It’s a great feeling to see how proud she is of herself.

Throughout all this, I’ve been getting a LOT of encouragement and consultation and words of wisdom and kindness from Kendra, my new friend (and our photographer), as well as my sister-in-law, who does the same method with her kids. Now that we’re all getting enough sleep again, and we’re all happy again, and Dave isn’t mad and he’s proud of both of us again, and we’re all doing the same things again, it’s such a relief. I’m glad I stuck it through, and I knew our Lily Bean could do it. She wakes up to gives me hugs and kisses, and sometimes wouldn’t let me go. I know there is absolutely no resentment from her towards me, and I know she appreciates that I am teaching her confidence. Plus, this gives me and Dave some extra couple time with each other, after I put her down for bedtime. We’re so much more relaxed. I love it.

So, if you have any doubts that this works, just take my word for it. After confusing the heck out of our little girl with different methods and plans month after month, it only took less than 3 days for her to learn this. If she can do it, your baby can, too. And as an appreciation, she gives me MORE cuddles during her waking times than she used to before!

That first morning after she learned how to fall asleep on her own. Look how happy she is!

I love our baby girl. :)

Big 8.5-Month Milestones

Wow, the milestones are coming in strong and fast! Yesterday was a big one for “firsts.”

First time pulling herself up using something (the crib!). We were all in her room so we can move around some furniture and organize some of her stuff. So we put her in the crib to have her out of the way yet still near us. We turned around, and what do we see? She was trying to pull herself up from the side of the crib! I ran to get my camera, and we caught the whole thing on tape. This part was when she was actually successful for the very first time.

She was so proud of herself. She kept doing it over and over again. She hasn’t figured out that she can roll from her back to her front, and then try to get up, so we’re still safe (at least for the next couple of days!) from her waking up and then pulling herself up. She can pull herself up only from a sitting position and a crawling position. She keeps trying to do sit-ups when she’s on her back. She forgot she can roll over and start the whole thing that way! We’re going to lower her bed today. Heh.

First time yesterday trying chunkier solids on her own. It was an unsuccessful attempt. I think we’ve kept her so clean during meals that now she doesn’t want to get her hands dirty. She was confused as to why there were sticky things on her tray, and when she tried grabbing at them, she was a little disgusted that they stuck to her fingers. She would much rather eat her spoon. I think I sort of set her up for failure though, as I gave her something she’s never tried before (butternut squash), AND she had just woken up from a nap so she was all groggy, AND this was her first chunky finger foods experiment. When we gave her the spoon, though, she was all over it. She would much rather eat the spoon. Heh.

She was shuttering, going, “Eeww… this stuff is STICKY!! Eeww!!” Heh. What a princess.

BUT, she gave me a darling smile when I asked her to smile for the camera. Hehee. (Seen below.)

Then later on that day (still yesterday), we set up her play pen, thinking that we were probably going to need it now since she’s crawling and army crawling so fast. She won’t keep still! We put her in it, and took some pictures.

And then we promptly folded it up and put it back in its box. That puppy dog, caged look was too much for us. We didn’t have the heart to leave her in there. She looked up at us so sadly, wondering, “Why am I in a cage now that I can move?” So yeah, we’re not using it for at least another month. At least until she can fully pull herself up to standing so she doesn’t feel so “stuck” in there lying and sitting all by herself. Poor baby.

Yesterday was also her first time wearing jeans. I don’t know why I never put her in jeans before, but yesterday was the first! She looked so cute in it!

She’s been having more binky emergencies throughout the night. The last two nights, she had about 3 throughout. Granted, she just needed her binky back and then she put herself to sleep, but still. I wonder what’s going on. We do the same things every night for her routine before bed, so I have no idea what’s up. She’s such a sensitive little girl (physically, I mean), that if one little thing is “off,” she can’t sleep through the night. Poor baby.

But yes, yesterday was a big day for many happenings!

New Doctor

Yesterday, we checked ourselves into the hospital nearby and met the maternity ward team. We were assigned a delivery doctor (who happens to be male, but is also the Director of Medicine at the hospital!), and met him for the first time. He seemed very nice, accommodating, and knew what he was talking about. I believe we’re in good hands with our little bundle of joy with him. I would have preferred a female, but I think I prefer the Director of Medicine over just some random female doctor anyway. Heh. Everything checked out normal. I go back in two weeks.

29th Week Ultrasound

So today we went for our 29th week ultrasound. Bean is normally developing, albeit just a little small. She is healthy, proportionate, active, and OH SO CUTE!! She’s small because her Mama’s small. Heh. It runs in the genes. She weighs approximately 2.5 pounds. Due date is still the same. Here are some of the ultrasound photos we took home with us. The last two are actually in 3D. Ain’t it bizarre?! Look at her chubby cheeks!

(3D photo of her face)

(3D photo of her face: look at her all squishy!)

Bloodwork & Hiccups

Yesterday I went in for my regular prenatal visit with Dr. Hall. Everything was normal, but Doc wanted me to go in for another ultrasound because my uterus is measuring a little smaller for 28 weeks. She said it’s most likely because I’m so small, and therefore will have a smaller baby anyway. Plus, Bean’s a girl, so she’ll probably take after her mother with the smaller bone structure. To be safe, though, I have an ultrasound appointment on Monday. Will give me a chance to see Bean again! I just love going to ultrasounds. It’s like taking a peak into her world. She must not have a lot of space in there anymore. Heh.

I also did a bunch of blood work. I really hate getting needle poked, but I was a big girl and took it like a champ. Or so they said. Heh. I was tested for gestational diabetes and my hormone level and my thyroiditis issue. The thyroids seem to have gone back to normal, and everything else was fine as well. I don’t have gestational diabetes. As expected. Heh.

Last night, I had the roughest time sleeping. I didn’t actually get to physical sleep until 3am. I tried going into the living room to read and hope that it would make me sleepier. I drifted on and off and eventually climbed back into bed at 3am. I cancelled my morning appointment because I was too damn tired to move. So now I’m just staying home and resting for a bit. I had a couple of dizzy spells last night when I got home from work. Doc said it was probably due to the hormone changes during the 3rd trimester. I just gotta lay around a whole lot.

28 weeks seem kinda hard. O.o Heh. I feel better today but I still feel very exhausted.

The one wonderful thing, though, about not being able to sleep last night was around 2am, I felt these rhythmic little twitches inside my uterus. My tummy started hiccuping. Heh. Bean was having hiccups! It was the cutest thing ever! I felt it for a good few minutes. It seemed to be annoying her too, as she tried shifting back and forth to get comfortable. After about 5 minutes, the hiccups stopped and she went to sleep. My poor baby. I can’t wait to hold her!