Wednesday, August 24, 2011
I've never been much for having a set schedule. I just sort of liked to do things as they occurred to me-- fly by the seat of my pants, as it were. That is, until I had a baby.
Babies love schedules. Once they figure out the whole cause-and-effect thing, it makes them feel secure. Until I got this new job, I felt kind of like a crap mom since I was not able to provide a very good schedule for Lex. We didn't get home most nights until 7 and then I had to cook and (hopefully) eat and then get Lex to bed. It didn't help that he was sleeping with us and would wake up frequently throughout the night.
I loved Lex sleeping with us. I loved snuggling him throughout the night and not having to get up to nurse. But when you put two large adults and a baby in a full sized bed, it gets a bit crowded. Besides, as my mom emphasized when she came to visit, he's old enough to sleep in his own crib.
So, I broke down and finally decided to try the graduated extinction or "cry it out" method. I had already established a bed time routine-- reading aloud and a couple of songs while nursing in our bed-- but every time I would try to put Lex in his crib, he would immediately start crying. I had to sneak away once he was asleep to avoid any protests, but that could take an hour of me laying there before he drifted off completely.
The first night, we did the bedtime routine as usual and when he was nice a drowsy, I put him down in the crib. As soon as I did, he starting crying. It was really hard to take him from that happy drowsy state and put him in a situation that he did not like. I waited 5 minutes and then went in and patted his back (with him continuing to wail and blubber) then left the room. Then I waited 10 minutes and did the same thing. It took about 50 minutes for him to stop crying and fall asleep. When he quieted down and I went to check on him, he had fallen asleep with his head against the rail, holding onto one of the bars. It was the saddest little thing! He woke up once, and I fed him (just in case he was hungry) and then had to start the process again. It only took about 30 minutes for him to fall asleep that time.
The second night was much better, only taking 10 minutes for him to fall asleep and he slept through the night. The third night it took about 30 minutes. Every night after that has been less than 5 minutes, with the last two nights taking less than a minute. I'm not sure if he will every go into his crib with no protest. He cries every time we put him in his carseat, too. He's very opinionated. :)
All in all, I think it was very successful. Of course I hate that he cries a little every night, but I think it's better for him to sleep by himself. It's also good for me and the mister. It's nice to know that I will have two hours before bed time to get things done without interruption, but at the same time, I find myself feeling anxious. Maybe I just haven't gotten used to it yet.