I’m sitting here on the couch listening to Claire move back and forth between babbling and fussing in her crib when she should be sleeping. We’re trying to get her to go to bed a little earlier since she isn’t napping as much as she was as a newborn, so I expect there to be some difficulty as she adjusts to a variation in her schedule. Right now I start getting her ready for bed around 8:30 or so with the hope that I will be leaving her room and closing the door around 9pm. It is now 10pm.
Another change is that I’m trying to teach her – or get her to learn since I don’t know how much active teaching I’m doing in this regard – how to fall asleep on her own. When she was a newborn, I certainly didn’t expect her to know how to fall asleep on her own except when she did so by accident, so I would rock her and rock her and rock her some more until I felt relatively certain that she was asleep. More often than not, during those first few weeks, her eyes would spring open and a wail would come flying forth from her mouth the second I eased her onto the mattress. I carried that habit of rocking her to sleep forward; most of the time it wasn’t a big deal because she would be half-asleep by the time she finished her bottle so it would only take a few extra minutes of rocking her in her room before I could sneak out.
But I kept reading about how I wasn’t doing either one of us any favours by doing that, and that makes sense. As much as I love cuddling with my daughter, I don’t want to have to rock her to sleep when she’s five or fifteen. So now I give her the bottle, burp her, sing a couple of songs, cradle and rock her for a couple of minutes so that we can have our snuggle time, and then I lay her down in her crib. Right now, she usually needs a soother to help her get to sleep, but I hope to wean her off of that in the future – baby steps, right?
I started this whole letting-her-fall-asleep-on-her-own thing last Thursday – it wasn’t my intention to start it that night (I usually like to try new things on weekends so that I have the extra help of my hubby), but she just wouldn’t go to sleep. Finally I just gave up, plopped the soother in her mouth and hoped for the best. And it worked! It was maybe ten minutes later that I realized I hadn’t heard anything on the monitor for the past five minutes. And really, it was relatively easy each night after that. Oh sure, Neal and I had to go in a couple of times when I first laid her down to retrieve the soother from where she had lost it and put it back in her mouth, pat her belly and stroke the top of her head, but really, it was quite easy.
Tonight though? Oy. She seemed to have a bit of gas so she wouldn’t take the bottle very well – I basically had to give her the bottle, then burp her, then more bottle and more burping, lather-rinse-repeat. And although she was very obviously tired, she fought sleep, as babies are wont to do. Neal and I have gone in a few times but…
… oooh. I think it’s been pretty quiet over the monitor for the past few minutes! Shall I dare hope? I guess I’ll go brush my teeth and get into bed and hope that she keeps sleeping!