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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Sleep

Since my blog entry about Alexis only having one day sleep she has reverted back to two sleeps. Her going back to two sleeps works well for me as I think she was not quite ready to drop to one sleep, as she was quite irritable by the end of the day after a few days. When she started only having one sleep she was not waking up til after 8am, which was fine at the time because my husband was away on business, but she is waking up earlier now he is back home to make sure she gets to spend time with him. She is not going to bed for the night any earlier so she needs the extra sleep. It also breaks my day up nicely and we are back to eating lunch together which saves time.

The only down side is that it means an extra feed because we are still feeding to sleep. This undermines my feeble weaning attempts (as also discussed in the link above). No doubt she realises this and is probably quite proud of herself for fooling mummy.  It's only one extra feed though so its not a huge deal, and its only one side and not for very long.

I do need to break the feed/sleep habit but I'm still not sure how. I will not leave her to cry to sleep as I personally am too distressed by even the idea of it. For me hearing my baby cry breaks my heart and knowing I can stop her tears but doing nothing is not an option for me. I am hoping that if we can get her sleeping at the same time everyday (or at least mimic a series of events) she will learn to anticipate the sleep and I can pat her off to sleep easily.   We are getting there, slowly, as she is already coming up to me asking me to help her go to sleep. She is just used to doing it at the breast.

Naps are getting predictable, to a certain extent. Usually she has a short morning nap commencing between 9 and 10:30 lasting only half hour to an hour max and then an afternoon sleep sometime between 2 and 4. She can sleep for two hours but needs help resettling in the middle most of the time. It is not really set in stone though, as sleep time and length depends on so many different factors, such as how she slept the night before, when she woke, what activities we have done, where we have been, how much sun she has had, what (and how much) she has eaten,  the air temperature, ambient light, outside noises,  how messy her room is, when she last did a poo, whether I'm trying to have a nap myself (this usually reduces sleep length) and whether she actually wants to sleep or not. There also seems to be some sort of correlation between how long I hold her and cuddle her before I put her down.  If I hold her too long after she falls asleep she doesn't think she needs  a sleep on her own and wakes but if I put her down too quick she feels dibbed and wakes up crying for more cuddles.  If she can learn to fall asleep in the cot even with my help I will then experiment with how long to stick around for. 

All in all things are going well.  Sleep is not really an issue anymore. She is still waking once a night at times, and sometimes we think she wakes too early but that's usually because we stayed up too late, not because she isn't sleeping enough. I remember days when she would not sleep at all (for weeks at a time) and that was incredibly draining. The most important tricks I learnt is to let Alexis play outside in the early morning or late arvo so she gets fresh air and sunlight without getting burnt, and to bath, shower, or hose her off if she is covered in food or sweat, as at least in our case, she sleeps better when she is clean. I am scared of jinxing myself here by saying that she is sleeping well, but it's important to note the good stuff. If your baby isn't sleeping well take heart, things can and do get better. You just have to find what works for you.

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