Wednesday, September 25, 2013

My very simple sleep advice

Liam is taking a nap. He's been down for almost 3 hours now. Such is his naps lately. He's transitioning into one nap a day and instead of two 1 hour naps now. He's a great sleeper, my friends said. Some gasped when they hear how he goes to bed at 7pm and wakes up at 7.30 or 8am. Some days, like yesterday, he woke at 7.30am, and after I gave him a bottle, he went back and slept in til 9.30am. Sometimes I have to go in his room to wake him up so he wouldn't sleep in too much (what is wrong with me?!). It was glorious. People said I am blessed with a good sleeper. I, myself, am amazed. But I don't think Liam was born a good sleeper. I think he is too curious to be one. Haha!

The night after he was born, the nurse wheeled him into our room so I could breastfeed him. He was wide awake. I still remember being a little mad at the nurse at the beginning for waking me up from my slumber (how dare anyone wake a woman who has, 7 hours ago, just given birth to a newborn?), and I thought Liam must still be asleep that because it's in the middle of the night (wow! I obviously was new at this babies-get-their-day-and-night-mixed-up thing). But he was wide awake. He was wondering where he was being wheeled to, or where he was. I remember marveling at how curious he looked even when he was not even a day old. He looked like he was so eager to understand everything. Anyways, my point is, he wasn't the kind of babies that sleep through the night since week 2 or something like that.

He slept a lot and ok during the first three months, we only had to wake up maybe 4 times a night to feed/change/rock him. Then he digressed. Or should I say, I digressed. I relied on rocking him to sleep so much that my arms were literally shaking from holding him for so long (he sleep maybe 4 or 5 times a day and every 90 minutes to a tee). So after being sick of rocking him to sleep, I started giving him binky (big mistake on my part). Soon, he relied on his binky to fall asleep. And we started waking up 8 to 10 times a night putting the binky back in his mouth. After a week of doing that, I decided to be cruel and take the binky away cold turkey and let him cry it out. I know that people have different opinions about letting your baby cry, but for us it was the best decision ever. Of course there's a lot of tears on his part (he cried for 1 hour straight the first night, and half hour the second, and 20 minutes for about a week). I remember not being able to take it and went in the room to pick him up many times (which made him cry more, my bad). Then one day, (day 10 I believe), no more crying. Just 5 minutes of protesting/fake cry at night and no tears during naps. Yay!

Of course there are relapses, like after being sick, during travels, and growth spurt. But his sleep was improving daily and Mr.L and I started sleeping through the night again. Then, when he learned to sit up, pull himself up, and crawl, he started waking up once or twice a night again. To be honest, I panicked. I am not going to deal with not sleeping through the night again!!! Then we moved to a new apartment. This is where we found our happily ever after. Liam got his own room (I strongly suggest, in fact, it's the only reason he's now sleeping so well!). He can no longer see us when he woke up in the middle of the night (we used to share the same room) so he went back to sleep, or he stays up playing in his crib by himself for a few minutes and then go back down.

"Oh, how lovely was the morning!" This is what I sing in my heart most mornings. Sleep deprived was making me gain weight and I was living like a zombie (weird thing is, I never even thought about getting those energy drinks! Not sure why that never crossed my mind!), and I was fighting with Mr.L a lot. So, don't underestimate a good night sleep.

I guess ultimately I am just very grateful for all the inspirations I got ever since becoming a mommy. I don't want to use the word, "inspire" too loosely, because, let's face it, not everything you think of is inspired! But I do think that the strong impression that we should sleep train Liam (so important and so easy if you start out young) and to let him sleep in his own room are inspired. I was very adamant about those two things and they paid off. I am not a sleep expert by any extend, I just think that if you are considering trying the CIO method, do it. At least give it 10 days! Also, if you can, put your baby in his own room where he cannot see you, turn on the white noise, soft night light, and watch your baby monitor like a hawk for a few nights. It worked like a charm, and still does.

Good luck, mommies and daddies!

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