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I am part of a group on Baby Center called Babywise Babies. One of the moms on there had a question about her newborn and how to get her to sleep better. Made me go through a couple of posts that I have written and revisit the newborn stage so I thought I would share some of my experience and thoughts on how to help your newborn sleep better.

1. You need to find the right sleep window for your baby. This it a short window of time that allows your baby to fall asleep faster and easier. If you put your baby down to early he or she might be not tired enough. If you put your baby down too late, your baby might have hit a second wind and have some nervous energy and not be able to relax enough to sleep well.

2. The length of wake time is very important. Most newborns can only handle 30-45 minutes of wake time. Wake time includes the time it takes to feed them as well. So if you wake your baby and nurse for 30 minutes, then you only have about 15 minutes left of wake time at the most.

  • My personal experience: My twin girls had a waketime length of about 40 minutes when they were newborns. It consisted of the following: Nurse, Diaper Change, Immediately Swaddle, Put in Swing or Bouncers, Watch for their eyes to get heavy, Pick up and put them in their crib, AHHH Napping! To a list of schedules I kept with my twins click here.

3. Remember that Newborns can become very overstimulate quickly. It does not take much. They just spent the last 9 months in a quiet, dark environment. All the new lights and sounds can be a bit much for newborns. Try to keep the environment quieter, calmer, not as bright.

  • My personal experience: When my twins where born, my son was only 18 months old. He was full of energy and loud. He was a very good boy, but 18 month old toddlers have a hard time understanding what peaceful and quiet are. In order to keep the babies from getting too over stimulated I kept their bouncers and swings in my master bedroom (which was on the first floor). I kept my blinds shut, but there was still natural light in the room, just not overly bright. I sometimes had quiet classical music playing if Cooper was making a little too much noise and other times I just kept no music on. The babies would hang out in their bouncers or swings swaddled up tight in there. That kept Cooper from messing with them and it also allowed me to sneak in and “peek-in” on them. Once I noticed their eyes getting really heavy, I would carefully pick them up and place them in their cribs. The girls were sleeping in my walk-in closet at the time because I did not want to go up and down the stairs for middle of the night feedings. So I did not have long to walk between their swings and bouncers to my walk-in closet where they slept. I also allowed my girls a pacifier, which I think helped them sleep too.

3. Swaddling is so important for newborns. I cannot stress this enough! The startle reflex that newborns make causes them to jolt themselves awake. They just spent 9 months all balled up tight in your womb and now they are no boundaries and it scares them. Learn how to swaddle good and tight and I promise you that your baby will sleep well.

  • My personal experience: I found the best method for swaddling was to use a modified miracle blanket wrap. See my utube video of how to do this here (I need to upload the video still, I will do this later, so check back soon). I also found that if I finished diaper changing and put the twins in their swings or bouncers without a swaddle, when it came time to place them in their crib for their nap, they would get very fussy and wake up totally as I was trying to swaddle them. Then I had to start the whole nap routine all over again. In order to avoid that this was our waketime routine:
    1. Nurse
    2. Diaper Change
    3. Swaddle Tight
    4. Place in swing or bouncer
    5. Watch for heavy eyes or eyes shutting
    6. Pick up once heavy eyed and place in crib for nap
    I could not reverse #3 and 4 or they would fully wake up.

4. White Noise works. I know that a lot of people don’t want their baby or infant to get use to white noise to sleep because they will become dependent on it. But let me say, white noise does help. It gives the baby some background noise to hear. They just spent 9 months hearing fluid, heart beating, and other things going on inside of you. It was not quiet in there. The white noise is actually calming to babies. The other benefit of white noise is that you don’t have to tip toe and whisper around your house. If you have older children, white noise is essential if you ask me. I did not want to keep telling my toddler to be quiet, he is just being a toddler. With the while noise, I did not worry so much about my toddler’s noise level.

  • My Personal Experience: All 3 of my children sleep with white noise. We have a portable white noise machine in their rooms. It is easy to travel with too. I wrote a review on the two white noise machines I have used here. You can also use a stand up fan or a humidifier to give off white noise. Music can also be used to help drown out the sound by placing some soft quiet music.

5. Room Dimming helps too. You don’t have to go out and by dark out blinds, but make sure the room that you baby sleeps in is dim and not overly bright. I have found with all of my kids that they sleep better in dimmer rooms. Babies go though sleep cycles every 45-50 minutes. At the 45-50 mark, if the baby is semi-aroused and sees light in his or her room, she might wake up and not want to continue sleeping. More on sleep cycles read this post.

  • My Personal Experience: My son Cooper is a very sensitive sleeper. The smallest sound or crack of light could wake him. As a new mom, I did not realize the power of making the room dimmer until one day I tough I would give it a try. He took such better naps from that point on. Cooper was the chronic 45 minute napper and the room dimming really helped. My twins defendant benefited from room dimming too. But now Cooper is 2.5 and my twins are 1 and I find they don’t need it quiet as dark anymore to sleep so I have started to make their rooms a little brighter.

6. Sometimes Babies will fuss in their sleep around 45-50 minutes into their nap. This does not necessarily mean they are hungry and are ready to wake up. Like I mentioned before, babies go through a sleep cycles every 45-50 minutes. At the end of the sleep cycle they are in light sleep and might wake up. Most newborns do not know how to self-sooth at this point and they start to fuss, fidget, and cry. My advice is to leave them alone for a few minutes to see if they can work it out on their own and return to sleep. If you see their fussing, crying, fidgeting getting worse, then you might want to go in your child’s room and help. I offered some advice on my post about the 45 Minute Intruder that you might find helpful.

  • My Personal Experience: With my son I wrote a lot about it on the 45 minute intruder post. With my twins, I learned to go in and put their pacifiers back in their mouths. That seemed to do the trick most of the time. If that did not work, I often would then pat their bellies and rub their heads and that helped to calm them back to sleep. I would do a very slow rhythmic pat. If after several pacifier attempts and patting and they were still not going back to sleep, I would get them up and feed them because I assumed it was a growth spurt.
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I just became the parent of two beautiful twin girls. They were born on April 9th and they are 2.5 weeks old. I also have a 19 month old son. I am a firm believer in teaching a baby how to fall asleep without having to have them fall asleep in your arms. When Cooper was an infant, I would rock him until he was drowsy, that would take sometimes up to 15 minutes of rocking to get him to the drowsy stage. If I did not rock him and just lay him in his crib, he would never go to sleep on his own. He needed my help. In hindsight, I wish I would never have rocked him before he went to sleep. I should have just held him until he started to calm down. Eventually, I could just lay my son down without any rocking, but that did not come until he was a much older baby, probably over 9 months old.

With the twins, I only have one pair of arms to rock a baby. I am also limited on the amount of time I can spend helping the twins go to sleep because I have to worry about my 19 month old. What I have been doing is swaddling the twins real good, putting them in their bouncers and swings, and waiting for their sleepy cues that it is time to go to sleep. Their sleepy cues is less activity and their eyes start to get heavy and dart back and forth under their eye lids. At that point, I pick them up, carry them to their cribs, and lay them down. I sometimes give them a pacifier if are having trouble. Since I started doing this, they go to sleep well on their own.

On occasion, one of the twins just has trouble going to sleep. When that happens, I do the following things:
1. Put a pacifier in their mouths.
if that does not work…
2. Rub their heads or tummies to calm them
if that does not work…
3. Just let them fuss
if that does not work…
Pick them back up and return them to bouncer/ swing until drowsy and then lay them down again

Just let them fuss: I have actually perfered to do this method. As long as the girls are not truly crying, then I will let them fuss and get themselves to calm down. This is teaching them to self-sooth so they will not need much assistance to drift off to sleep. If their fussing turns into true crying, then I usually pick them up and try the bouncer or swing until drowsy.

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At some point you are going to need to wean your baby of being swaddled. For me, I started to the weaning process once my son started to roll over. I felt it was dangerous for him to have both of his arms wrapped in his swaddle if he rolled onto his tummy. Something magical also happened once I started to wean him of his swaddle, he discovered how to suck on his fingers and I did not have to worry about putting his binky back in his mouth if it fell out.

Here is how I weaned my son of swaddling

1. I left one arm out of his swaddle until he was sleeping well and not waking himself up.

2. He slept in a sleep sac at night but swaddled with one arm out during the day for naps. I tired to make the switch to the sleep sac for both naps and nighttime sleep, but that proved to be a bad mistake. My son was just not ready to give up the swaddle quite yet. My son slept more sound at night so we tired not swaddling at night and that worked well. He has some adjustment problems, but he eventually got the hang of it. There were a few night he would wake up in the middle of the night and have some trouble, but we just let him cry-it-out a little and then he would go back to sleep. He would only cry for 5 minutes or so and it only lasted for a few nights.

3. He slept in a sleep sac for both naps and nighttime sleep. This was a hard transition for him during his naps. He had a hard time falling asleep with both arms out. He also had a hard time during his sleep transition during his naps (45 minute sleep cycle/ 45 minute intruder). There were days that I caved in and just decided to go in and just swaddle him for his naps, but those days of needing to swaddle become less and less. I only re-swaddled him during a nap if he really had a hard time falling asleep or he would wake in the middle of a nap and have difficult returning to sleep (if he woke early in the nap). It took about 2 weeks for him to get the napping without a swaddle down.

For more information about weaning from swaddling please read this article I found:
http://www.thesleepstore.co.nz/Swaddling/Weaning+your+baby+off+wrapping.html

The Swaddle I used was the kidapotomus brand called swaddleme: http://www.kiddopotamus.com/p_swad.php
The Sleep Sac I used was the Halo brand: https://www.halosleep.com/products/results/?product_category_id=10
You Can also sew your own sleep sac: http://cbfoley.com/2009/05/08/a-weeks-worth-of-posts/

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If you are reading this post, then you most likely are tired and thinking to yourself, “will I ever sleep again?” The answer is yes, but it will take some time. I know that I had some very unrealistic expectations of how my son would sleep through the night. I wanted him to achieve nice long stretches at night long before he was physically ready to do this. It was not until I picked up Kim West’s book Good Night, Sleep Tight, that I realized that I might need to change my expectations for how long I should expect my son to sleep at night.

What is sleeping through the night?

That answer is different depending on how old your baby is. Here is a run down of how long your baby can sleep at night without a feeding:

0-4 weeks old (1 month) will probably wake 2-3 times during the night. Most infants can sleep 3-4 hour stretches at this age. Consult your pediatrician before allowing your baby to sleep longer than 4 hours at a time at this age. Most infants need more frequent feedings at night to help with proper weight grain.

4-8 weeks old ( second month) will wake once, some still wake 2 times during the night. At 6 weeks old, my son was still waking twice a night for a feeding (1am/ 4-5am). I did sleep training starting at 6 weeks to eliminate the first middle of the night feeding. By the time my son was 8 weeks old, he was only waking for one feeding (4-5am).

8-12 weeks old (third month) most can sleep 6-8 hours stretches at night. By the end of the 12th week, most are sleep 8 hour without a feeding. This was true of my son, he would sleep from 10pm-to-4/6am and then require a short feeding.

4 months old can sleep 8 hours uninterrupted. This was also true of my son. He was typically sleeping form 9/9:30pm until 5:30/6:30am without a feeding. I would feed him when he woke up, but not a full feeding or he would not eat well at his 7am feeding (that was the start of our day)

5 months old can sleep 10-11 hours uninterrupted. At that age my son would sleep from 9pm- 7am without waking.

6-12 months old can sleep 11 hours uninterrupted. My son started to sleep from 7pm-7am (12 hours) without a feeding at 6 months.At 7 months, he started to requires less sleep at night an only sleep 11-11.5 hours a night. So we adjusted his bedtime by shifting it 30 minute to a hour later so he sleeps from 7:30/8pm-7am.

How can you encourage your child to sleep through the night?

See my post about eliminating nighttime waking/feedings: https://blogginaboutbabies.wordpress.com/2009/05/04/how-to-eliminate-nighttime-waking/ You might also benefit from reading my post about dreamfeeding and cluster feeding. https://blogginaboutbabies.wordpress.com/2010/11/04/dreamfeed-cluster-feeding/ Both of these methods have been helped to achieve longer stretches of sleep at night. Also remember that not all babies are the same. Some babies need less sleep than other babies, while other babies require more sleep. If your child is waking up cranky even after being feed, it could be possible that he/ she is not getting sufficient sleep.

Note: Information was taken from Kim West’s book Good Night, Sleep Tight

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My son is now 7 months old. His daily schedule is a lot more flexible than it use to be. Prior to 5 months old, if I did not get Cooper down for his nap at exactly the right time, then he would not nap well. Timing was everything. Now that Cooper is a little older, he has become more flexible with his napping schedule. This is very nice for me because I don’t have to stress out if I am out running an errand and will make it back a few minutes late for his nap because he will still take a decent nap.

I was looking over his schedules and noticed a pattern to his napping schedule. I started to goggle some information about older babies napping schedules when they are down to only 2 naps a day. I found that a lot of babies fall into a 2-3-4 napping schedule. What is a 2-3-4 napping schedule? This type of schedule is when a baby is awake for 2 hours in the morning before the morning nap, awake 3 hours in between the morning nap and afternoon nap, and awake 4 hours in between the afternoon nap and bedtime (nighttime sleep). It seems that babies cannot stay awake as long in the morning. I am not really sure why this is, but it has always been true with my son. Even when he was on a good 4 hour schedule (up for 2 hours down for 2 hours) he could only stay awake 1.5 hours before his first nap. As he has gotten older, 6 and 7 months, my son has naturally fallen into a napping schedule very similar to the 2-3-4 schedule. He is on a 2-3-3.5 napping schedule. Here is his current napping schedule at 6 & 7 months:
7:00 wake-up
9:00-11:00 nap
2:00-4:00 nap
7:00/7:30 bed

*his naps are anywhere from 1.5-2 hours in length usually. His nap lengths do cause some variation to the schedule. I just start watching the clock from the time he wakes up. So if he wakes early from his morning nap at 10:30 that means he would go down for his next nap 3 hours later at 1:30. To see all of my son’s daily schedules type out by age click on this link: https://blogginaboutbabies.wordpress.com/2009/05/13/infant-schedules-by-month/

More information on the 2-3-4 nap schedule:
http://www.easybabylife.com/baby-sleep-schedule.html
http://moxie.blogs.com/askmoxie/2005/12/quick_and_dirty.html

For more information on creating a daily schedule for infants read my post:
https://blogginaboutbabies.wordpress.com/2009/04/16/infant-schedules/

For more information about sleep requirements for babies read my post:
https://blogginaboutbabies.wordpress.com/2009/04/08/sleep-requirements-for-infants/

If your child is having trouble with napping read the following posts:
https://blogginaboutbabies.wordpress.com/2009/05/08/nap-trouble-the-45-minute-intruder/
https://blogginaboutbabies.wordpress.com/2009/04/23/sleep-windows-get-them-to-bed-before-its-too-late/
https://blogginaboutbabies.wordpress.com/2009/04/27/create-a-good-sleep-environment/

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Note: The following post was written by a friend of mine. I asked her to write a post about PU/PD since I myself have never used the method. She has found great success with it and I hope that information and her personal experience she shares in this post will help you if you decide to use this sleep training method.

Pick up/put down is a sleep training method described in the book, “The Baby Whisperer” by Tracey Hogg. It offers your baby the reassurance that you are there but also the independence to help him learn to sleep on his own. It is important to note that this method should not be used before your baby is 4 months old.

There are several case studies described in the book where Hogg was called in as a consultant to help tired families teach their little ones to sleep (These can be found in all three of her books by looking at the index section for PU/PD or sleep training.).

My husband and I were advised by the pediatrician to let our son cry it out at 4 weeks old. He said, “bath at 6, bottle at 7, bed at 8. Put the baby in his bed awake and let him cry if he needs to.” After 5 nights of the crying for over 45 minutes at a time, and it got longer each night, I gave up and went back to feeding him to sleep. At 5 weeks old my mother-in-law brought me the Baby Whisperer book and my life changed forever! We started swaddling and put my son (and us) on E.A.S.Y.

By 4 months old my son was sleeping from 6:30 PM until 8 AM. He got his bath at 6, had a bottle and was swaddled and put in bed no later than 6:30 PM. As he’s gotten older, he goes to sleep a little later because he plays longer in the bath and now we read books. But the most important thing to remember with any sleep training method is consistency. It is the key to getting your little one through the night.

With PU/PD you offer your baby reassurance by being with him but you don’t become his sleep aid or “prop” because you remove the extra reassurance the second your baby does not need you.

So, when your baby cries for help***,

1.You go into his room. You go right to his bed and do NOT make eye contact, do NOT speak, just go to him, pick him up, a pat on the back or a rub of the head is fine, and then as soon as his body is calm you put him back in his bed.
2.You do this until he is completely settled and going back to sleep.
3. If he wakes early from a nap, you do the PU/PD method until he either goes back to sleep or it is time for his next feeding.
4. In the night, you do it until he goes to sleep (this can take 2-5 hours or more depending on what reinforced habits you have, you can read about my detailed experience in a bit).
5.You should keep a journal of every attempt because then you can see the progress you have made.

***(there are different types of cries, a mantra cry is very rhythmic. A mantra cry is your baby trying to put herself back to sleep. You should not go into your baby’s room for a mantra cry. Always stop outside the baby’s door and wait. Listen to the cry and determine if it is a cry for assistance or a mantra cry)

My Experience with PU/PD

Sleep Journal One:

At 5 months old we went on a trip. I went on a 3-hour flight with my son and we stayed at my parent’s house. We made the room he was sleeping in just as dark as his at home room (he is a spirited baby and so all distractions must be eliminated to achieve sleep.

That night my son woke up unfamiliar with the smells and the crib, so I did PU/PD:

Night 1: 6:00 PM – Bath, Bottle, and Bed by 6:30.

10:30 PM – Dream Feed.

1:00 AM – First waking. I picked him up, did one-two gentle (like burping)

pats on his back and put him back in his bed. He cried out once, rolled over and went to sleep. I did this 3 separate times in the night.

3:00 AM – Second waking. Repeat 1st waking method.

5: 30 AM – Third waking. Repeat 1st waking method.

7:30 AM – Up for the day.

Night 2: 6:00 PM – Bath, Bottle, and Bed by 6:30.

10:30 PM – Dream Feed.

7:45 AM – Up for the day.

Now you can see from that sleep journal that there was a LOT of improvement that second night. We left that next day so there was no more nights on that visit and upon returning home, the baby went back to sleeping from 6:30 PM until 8:00 AM.

Sleep Journal Two:

At 8 months old, I got into some “accidental parenting”.

At this point, my son’s routine was well established. He was napping during the day, sleeping at night, crawling all around the house and eating solids. Plus, he was still sleeping from 6:30 PM until 8:00 AM.

Well, one night he woke in the night and was crying.

(This, after 4 months of not having him wake at all in the night besides for 1st the visit to my parents (we went up another time at 7 months and everything went smoothly. He even had other people put him to bed at night)

I went to him, and did PU/PD. After about an hour I thought, he might be hungry, 8 months is a pretty big physical development age and maybe he didn’t get enough to eat or is going through a growth spurt. So I made a bottle and he drank 10 oz down so fast you would’ve thought he hadn’t eaten in days. I then put him in bed and he slept fine.

About a week or two later he woke in the night again. This time, I was tired and wanted to go back to sleep quickly, I just made a bottle and went to him and fed him. Here was my mistake. Considering anything could’ve woken him, the best thing to do would have been PU/PD. And I look back at this moment and think, why did I give him that bottle? And thus my problems began.

At first the night-wakings for bottles was inconsistent, sometimes it would happen and sometimes it wouldn’t. There would be 2-4 days in a row that he would sleep straight through and then there was 2-4 days where he would wake up and I would give him a bottle. I was still trying to convince myself it was hunger and continued the bottles.

By 11 months, he was waking 2-3 times in the night, drinking 2 oz and going back to sleep. Now, I new that he wasn’t hungry and didn’t need the bottles and it was just a “prop.”

We were moving at the end of his 11th month, so I decided to use the move as a time to re-sleep train him, since I would need to be doing that anyway.

By 11 months old, babies are set in their ways. Habits are MUCH, MUCH, HARDER to break, but NOT impossible. And that is the key. It took nearly 3 weeks to get my son back on track with his night-time sleep. However, I am happy to report that after those 3 weeks of PU/PD he has been sleeping from 6:40ish PM until 8:00 AM again, it’s been 2 months!

Here is my sleep journal from then:

Night 1: Dad got him down in about 45 minutes with P.D. by 10:00 PM (late night because the movers were still at the house and son threw up from a grape allergy, only allergy he has…weird though)  Wake time was 6:30 AM

Night 2: Regular night routine, in bed by 6:45ish PM.  Woke around 1:00 AM, got him to sleep with P.D. and light back rub in about 10 minutes.

Night 3: Regular night routine, in bed by 6:45ish PM.  Woke up once, got him to sleep with P.D. and light back rub in about 2 minutes.

Night 4: Got the crib set up, had been sleeping in the pack n play.  Played in the crib and was SUPER excited about it during the day.  Regular night routine, would not go to sleep, kept standing up and crying. Tried to do P.D. but he started falling to the mattress and laughing whenever I went to P.D.  I got annoyed that he was making it a game and left the room.  He cried, I came back, he eventually did the same thing.  This went on for 30 minutes and my husband took over.  Same thing.  We thought maybe he got too excited from our brisk visit with the new neighbors before bed and so we got him up for 20 minutes and then redid the bedtime routine.  Woke at 11:35 PM, got him to sleep with P.D. and light back rub in about 1 minute. Woke again at 1:30, got him to sleep within 1 minute.  Woke at 2:35 AM, got him to sleep within 1 minute.  Cried off and on until 3:20 AM.  Full blown crying and I could not settle him.  At 4:20 I traded with my husband.  At 4:40 he thought maybe son was hungry and said I should give him a bottle (probably a bad idea, I know).  Gave him 4 oz of water first because I didn’t want to reinforce the previous bad habit.  He drank it all and then I gave him 8 oz of milk and he drank it all.  Then he went right to sleep until 8:00 AM.

Night 5: Regular night routine, in bed by 6:45ish PM.  Woke around 11:35 PM, got him to sleep with P.D. and light back rub in about 10 minutes.  Woke around 2:35…did P.D. until 4:20, husband got annoyed and we were so tired from previous night and the move that we caved and gave bottle to save our sanity (truly a bad idea in hindsight).

Night 6: (after the previous night, I spent the day resting and decided that I needed to dig in my heals and stick with P.D. and be CONSISTENT).  Regular night routine, in bed by 6:45ish PM.  Woke around 11:35 PM, got him to sleep with 43 P.D.’s and light back rub, and WI/WO towards the end and he went to sleep around 1:35 for the night.  Wake time was 7:30 AM.

Night 7: Regular night routine, in bed by 6:45ish PM.  Woke around 12:00 AM, got him to sleep with 27 P.D.’s and light back rub, and WI/WO towards the end and was asleep by 1:30 AM for the night.  Wake time was 6:00 AM.

Night 8: Regular night routine, in bed by 6:45ish PM.  Woke around 11:35 PM, got him to sleep with minimal P.D. and light back rub, and WI/WO in about 40 minutes. Yay! 7:00 Am wake up.

Night 9: Regular night routine, in bed by 6:45ish PM.  Woke around 1:00 AM, got him to sleep with P.D. and light back rub in about 20 minutes.

Night 10: Regular night routine, in bed by 6:45ish PM.  Slept through! WooHoo! 6:00 AM wake up (uggh)

Night 11: Regular night routine, in bed by 6:45ish PM.  Woke around 2 AM, P.D. and light back rub in about 1.5 hours. 5 AM wake up, did P.D. and light back rub about 20 minutes.  Wake time 8:00 AM.

Night 12:  Regular night routine, in bed by 6:45ish PM.  Woke around 1:30 AM, got him to sleep with P.D. and light back rub in about 40 minutes.  EW of 5:30 AM, P.D. until 7:00 then started our day.

Night 13: Regular night routine, in bed by 6:45ish PM.  Woke once, got him to sleep with P.D. and light back rub in about 15 minutes.

Night 14: Regular night routine, but he started doing the playing with P.D. again.  Husband and I took turns.  Eventually he Mantra cried himself without us in the room to sleep in about 10 minutes.  Was asleep by 7:15 PM.  Wake time 5:00 AM, did P.D. and light back rub with WI/WO, took about 30 minutes to get him back to sleep until 8:00 AM.

Night 15: Regular night routine, in bed by 6:45ish PM.  Woke around 2:00 AM, took 3 P.D.’s then he played with his lovey sheep and chatted, so I left the room and he put himself down.  Repeat at 5:00 AM.  Woke up around 7:30 AM.

Night 16: Regular night routine, in bed by 6:45ish PM.  Woke at 5:35 AM, took 7 P.D.’s then he played with his lovey sheep and chatted, I left and he put himself down until 7:30.

Night 17: UGHH!  What the heck!?!?!  Great Nap today! Wonderful day, he was chatty and so much fun.  Bedtime he went to bed like normal and then 5 minutes later just screamed and screamed.  Went in to do P.D. and he kept running across the crib and playing and throwing himself around.  I left.  He started screaming.  I came back, rinse and repeat for 10 minutes.  He started screaming while I was in the room (bratty screams), didn’t want to be touched, didn’t want to be held.  Would NOT calm down.  Gave himself the crying hiccups.  After husband got angry at the ear piercing screams he asked me to leave the room.  Took son about 3 minutes to soothe himself to sleep.  He cried out off and on for 10 minutes and has not been up since (it’s 11:13 now).

Night 18: Regular night routine, in bed by 6:45ish PM.  Woke at 5:35 AM, put himself back 7:45 AM.

Night 19: Regular night routine, in bed by 6:45ish PM.  Woke at 6:00 AM, he cried out nce, went back to sleep until 8:00 AM.

Now, not every night is perfectly smooth, but I don’t go in anymore. He will cry out after a sleep cycle (45 minutes) some nights and put himself back to sleep within 5 minutes and that’s that. After 1 year, if you use PU/PD, you should implement the WI/WO method instead. You can find this on, the Baby Whisperer Forums at this link: http://www.babywhispererforums.com/index.php?topic=80750.0

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What is the 45 minute intruder?

The 45 minute intruder is a term that was coined in the book Baby Wise, but this is not a Baby Wise phenomenon. The 45 minute intruder refers to when your baby wakes up from a nap or nighttime sleep after only being asleep for 45-50 minutes. Why are some babies waking up at this point? Well, if they are in a growth spurt, it might be because they are hungry. However, if they are not in a growth spurt and are well feed it could be related to their sleep cycles. Babies cycle from light, deep, and back to light sleep in about 45-50 minutes. When your baby returns to light sleep, they may partialy arouse. If they hear a noise, smell something funny, realize they are too hot or cold, or are conditioned to need a sleep prop such as rocking or nursing to sleep, they will have difficulty returning to sleep to complete another sleep cycle. For more information on sleep cycles, read my post entitled “infant sleep cycles”https://blogginaboutbabies.wordpress.com/2009/04/13/infant-sleep-cycles/

Other possible causes for waking 45-50 minutes into a nap could be due to being overtired, overstimulate, or not enough wake/ play time. If you keep your baby up too longer, they may be too tired and wake up early from a nap. Or perhaps you had company over and everyone was playing with your baby, that may have overstimulated your child. Both overstimulation and overtiredness can cause a baby to wake early out of a nap. Make sure you are following your son/ daughter’s naps cues and you get them down for a nap before this occurs. For more on this read my post entitled “Sleep Windows: Get them to bed before it’s too late”  https://blogginaboutbabies.wordpress.com/2009/04/23/sleep-windows-get-them-to-bed-before-its-too-late/ It may be possible that you did not keep your child up long enough. That happen to my son a couple of times. I put him down for his nap and he fall asleep relatively easy, but would wake up 45 minutes into his nap. It occurred to me that he was getting older and may need to stay awake longer. I adjusted his awake time and that solved the waking up at 45 minutes. I believe he just was not tired enough to take a long nap. For more about appropriate awake time lengths see my post entitled, “Baby & Infant Daily Schedules” https://blogginaboutbabies.wordpress.com/2009/04/16/infant-schedules/

My son had chronic 45 minute napping problems

My son has chronic problems with the 45 minute intruder from the time he was 2 months up until he was 4.5 months old (maybe even almost 5 months old). You could set a stop watch and he would wake exactly 45-50 minutes into each of his naps. It use to make me nuts. At first, I thought he was a short napper, but he would wake up fussy. According to Baby Wise and The Baby Whisperer, your baby should not fussy if they just woke up from a nap and you’ve feed them upon waking. The Baby Wise book says that it can last a few day or even two weeks–ha! This lasted for 2.5-3 months. I never thought I would see the day when he would sleep straight through a nap.  By the time he hit 4.5 months old, he was sleeping through most of his naps without waking. We still had the occasional 45 minute intruder, but that was about 20% of the time. Now he is 7 months old and my son rarely ever wakes up early from a nap unless he is in a growth spurt, has a dirty diaper, or a sound from our condo building has stirred him.

What I did to get through the 45 minute intruder

Lay a firm hand on his chest: a little before the 45 minute mark, I would creep into his room and place my hand on his chest. I would press firmly on his chest and apply a little pressure. This kept him from startling himself awake when he was transitioning from one sleep cycle to the next. I did this when my son was very young around 4-8 weeks old.

Swaddle/ Sound Machine: I started to swaddle my son really tight so he would not startle himself awake. This helped a lot. I bought a swaddle me (http://www.kiddopotamus.com/p_swad.php), but then I added an extra step to the swaddle me. I took a piece of cloth from a receiving blanket and would lay it behind his back and weave the fabric over his arms and tuck it behind his back again. This kept his arms good and snug so there was no way he could break free while napping. This kept his body from jerking himself awake. I got this idea from the miracle blanket. Watch their instructional video clip to see how I modified the swaddle me to keep his arms snug. http://www.miracleblanket.com/video.htm I also used a fan and later a sound machine to block out the noise he may have heard from living in a condo building. Both of these things helped greatly, but we still had our issues. The most important thing is to make sure you create a good sleep environment that eliminates as much stimulus as possible. For more on creating a good sleep environment read my post called “Creating a Good Sleep Environment” https://blogginaboutbabies.wordpress.com/2009/04/27/create-a-good-sleep-environment/

Cry-It-Out (CIO): Around 10 weeks old, I believe that I start to just let Cooper cry-it-out at the 45 minute mark. The first week I started this, he would cry for almost 45 minutes until it was time to get up for his next feeding. But it only took a week, and after that if he woke up at the 45 minute mark, he would only cry for 5-15 minutes and then fall back to sleep for another sleep cycle of 45-50 minutes. This pattern of waking up at the 45 minute mark and crying lasted for about a month (the entire time he was 3 months old). The nice thing was, when I finally got him up to feed him he was always happy and well rested! Then around 4 months old, he would still wake up at the 45 minute mark, but just fuss or cry a tiny bit and drift back to sleep right away!

Other Nap Intervention Suggestions

I have not tired these various methods, but I have a friend who used the PU/PD method with great success. I have used the wake-to-sleep at night, but never during the day. It worked great for me at night. Both of these strategies come from the book The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems. (p.251)

Wake-to-Sleep: “Instead of waiting for her to wake, go into her room at 30 minutes, because that’s when she starts to come out of a deep sleep…pat her gently until you see her body relax again. It could take 15-20 minutes of gentle patting. If she starts to cry, though, you’ll have to send her back to sleep with PU/PD.”

PU/PD (Pick Up/ Put Down): This method is intended for a baby 4 month or older. You pick your child up while he is crying and the minute he stops crying you put him back in his crib. If he starts crying, pick him up again. Then if he stops crying, place him in the crib again. You will repeat the pick up/ put down until he stops crying and will fall asleep in his crib on his own. “Granted the first time you try this remedy either situation, you might spend the entire nap period doing PU/PD. and then it’s time for the next feeding. Now both of you are tired! Because sticking to the routine is as important as lengthening her nap, you need to feed her and then try to keep her up at least half and hour before putting her down for her next nap- at which point you’ll probably have to do PU/PD again because she is overtired.” Just keep repeating the PU/ PD until he quietly lays in his crib without crying. (The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems p.221-224) I have a friend who used this method with her son with great success. For more on this method read: https://blogginaboutbabies.wordpress.com/2009/05/11/pupd-pick-up-put-down-baby-whisperers-sleep-training-method/

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