21 March 2011

Sleep Update

Sleep is a really charged issue for new moms. It is the topic of conversation 90% of the time when I'm with others: how to get your baby to sleep more, and how to get more sleep yourself. While I think there are other important subjects to address, I do my fair share of worrying on this subject too.

As I have mentioned, I've been very nervous about Lyla's transition to sleeping in her crib. She has taken naps in her swing and spends nights in a bassinet next to our bed. Our first step was to move the swing from the living room to her room. This change was accepted easily and she continued to take naps peacefully in her room.

Bedtime continued to be rocky with much crying and soothing. These evening meltdowns occupied much of my mind as I tried to figure out why she was so upset and how to alleviate the stress for both of us. I decided it was time to begin the regular bedtime routine that we will continue from now on. The process starts about the same time every night: jammies, a book, swaddling from the waist down (for warmth as opposed to soothing), songs, and rocking. The goal is to put her down very drowsy but awake so she can learn to put herself to sleep. Lyla still cried but maybe for not as long- the rocking could even make her more agitated some nights. So I added one more component to the routine- nursing.

I had some reservations about nursing to sleep, mostly because it could mean I would be the only one who could put her to bed. A peaceful bedtime is more important to me than that freedom, so after swaddling I sat down in the yellow chair (which is finally getting used a lot!) and nursed her. After a few minutes her sucking would become light and faint and eventually she'd spit out my nipple. I would sit with her for a few more minutes, until I thought she was more firmly asleep. Getting up with her like this is the trickiest part; it must be smooth and gentle so as to not disturb her so much that she wakes. I'd place her in the swing and she might cry out once or twice before settling down again for good. We are continuing to do this and it is going very well as far as making bedtime predictable and less stressful.


Meanwhile, Lyla has outgrown the newborn napper attachment to her bassinet- her feet were starting to stick out on the end! So two weeks ago I removed the cushion from the newborn napper and placed it on the floor of the pack n play in our room- one more step towards the actual crib.

Then, we had our first overnight- Lyla and I stayed at my parents' house for two days while Ray had an event at our house. That meant no swing, no crib, no bassinet. I was nervous but didn't need to be because she slept just fine! I brought the napper cushion and she slept in it on the floor next to my bed. I learned a lesson in diving into your own fears, because the results can really surprise you.

But the best is yet to come.
Since we went two days without the swing, I put Lyla to sleep in the crib when we got home, attempting to continue the streak. After our routine, I carefully placed Lyla in her crib. I intended to move her to the bassinet in our room when she woke up for a feeding that night.
Except. . . she didn't wake up! I could hardly believe it, Lyla slept from 7:30pm until just before 6:00am. Without eating. Without crying out. She no longer needs to eat in the middle of the night physically, and it's possible we were disrupting her sleep with snoring, rolling over, etc.
She has now slept through the night 3 nights in a row (in her crib!), from around 7:30pm until 6:00am. I'm pretty engorged and leaky when I wake up in the morning, but I know my milk supply will sort itself out soon.

So we've made the transition to sleeping in the crib in her room! Mission accomplished!
We will leave the swing and bassinet where they are for a little while longer but soon they will get packed up and stored. I know that I am VERY lucky to have a baby that sleeps so well. What a difference from waking 4 times a night just a few short months ago!


*Amendment- I should add that while the bedtime process has really improved, it's still very imperfect and some nights are easier than others and there are a number of factors that impact it. I don't believe it will ever be perfect and easy, but it can get better as it already has. Lyla goes to bed on the early side but this is dictated more by her than by me. She is also a pretty good sleeper in general, we are lucky. Each baby has their own trials and getting Lyla to actually sleep is not one of hers.


  1. whooooop! So excited for you! I'm sure you are feeling 100% better getting some real sleep as well!! I will definitely be leaning on you for tips and tricks

  2. Oh my gosh, she is sleeping through the night?!?! That is AMAZING...she's less than 4 months old, right??? Wow! Congrats!!!

  3. SOOOO excited & happy for you guys - that is awesome!!!! what a great milestone - i hope it continues :) i cant wait until emily starts sleeping thru the night, although the transition does scare me a bit (she will be 12 weeks in 2 weeks so maybe we will start then i am not sure yet!!!) but after seeing your good results, maybe we will have the same luck!

    if u dont mind me asking, what does lyla's nap schedule during the day look like? emily all of a sudden is not sleeping that much during the day and just curious if that is normal as she gets older!