"They" say interrupted sleep is extremely unhealthy. I can attest to this. It is unhealthy to pick up the hot-out-of-the-oven roasting pan with bare hands. Unhealthy is finding that entire swaths of time in which you are awake and conversing have disappeared from memory. Especially when said periods of time were earlier that very same day. It's crying while nursing the baby who has woken up for the third time in two hours. It's dreading going to bed at all. It's living every day in a fog and not being the creative engaged mama you want to be.
What's an exhausted mama to do?At this point basically everyone says, you've got to let that baby cry it out. It's great if that is what works for your family. That just was not something I was personally comfortable with. Though even I was asking myself, Is all this night waking the price you pay for co-sleeping and breastfeeding on request? You see, BabyE wasn't crying it out, but Mama was!
Enter the No Cry Sleep SolutionI discussed all this with Baby's ND at his 9 month check up. She was once a co-sleeping mama herself, and had some great tips and sympathy for me. She let me borrow the The No-Cry Sleep Solution: Gentle Ways to Help Your Baby Sleep Through the Night. It was written by a co-sleeping, breastfeeding mom of four who was desperate to get her youngest little to sleep. She did a lot of research and created a plan to systematically but gently help baby to sleep. I love the premise of this book because you can still co-sleep and nurse, and you are never asked to let baby cry. Not even for a second.
It sounds absolutely perfect for our values and lifestyle, but does it work? The author writes that it may take 20-30 days to see results, but she does promise improvement. I've just started following her plan, so I'll post here and let you know how it goes. The first step is logging one day of your baby's existing sleep patterns. This helps you think about what the causes of sleep problems may be. It will also allow you see where improvements have been made and whether more or different strategies are needed after subsequent logs.
Our Sleep Log: Age 9 months
|Number of Naps||2||4|
|Total Length of Naps||2 1/2-4 hours||2 3/4 hours|
|Bedtime (Asleep time)||6:30-7 pm||7:55 pm|
|Total Length Nighttime Sleep||11-12 hours||10 hours|
|Awake Time||5:30-7 am||6:06 am|
|Number of Awakenings||-||6+|
|Longest Sleep Span||-||2 hours|
|Total Hours of Sleep||14||12 3/4 hours|
This table is based on the original from page 177 The No-Cry Sleep Solution: Gentle Ways to Help Your Baby Sleep Through the Night. The "should" column is also based on the average sleep times provided in the book for a 9 month old.
What I Learned about Baby's Sleep
One of our biggest problems was that BabyE's naps were extremely inconsistent. They drastically varied in time of day and length. While the book says good naps should be at least an hour long, his naps were almost always much shorter. This was reflected in him seeming over-tired by the end of everyday.
The problem at night was that he woke often. I was surprised that he woke even more than I had realized, sometimes as little as 1/4 hour after he had fallen asleep! I suspect that we were contributing to this pattern by waking him up when we came to bed. He's a very light sleeper so any movement or noise is very disruptive to him.
Overall, Baby was short on sleep by a couple of hours everyday.
Don't miss Part 2 of our baby sleeping experiment. Hopefully it will be much more coherent than Part 1!
This post is linked up with SortaCrunchy.