Monday, May 3, 2010

Sleep Training, Seriously

I gave Raphaela two weeks after our return from the extended stay in the United States to sort out her sleeping patterns, because she is at an age where habits start purposely and intentionally. She was falling asleep in her own room and in her crib, but after several hours would wake up, and would refuse to fall back asleep unless she were in my bedroom and my bed, right beside me.

Both my pediatrician and my care taker warned me that this phenomenon would be much harder to break once she got older, and actively encouraged me to gird myself for several nights of crying, after which Raphaela would "get it" and start sleeping through the night.

Last night, determined to not become one of the case studies on one of the Super Nanny shows I watch on the BBC, we went through the normal bedtime routine. She fell asleep on her own - as she normally does - and around 10:30 pm woke up. Without interacting per se, I gave her a quick nursing snack and put her straight back into bed, and waited nervously outside her door for the cry-fest to begin.

It didn't, really. There was minimal crying and then she slept straight through until about 5:30 am, a wake-up which falls within her normal parameters, though I would have preferred it be an hour later. I am feeling pretty good about phase one of this social experiment, and am ready to try again tonight, this time without feeding her, because she is clearly well fed and healthy and the eating has become a comfort mechanism. Upon the advice of several other friends who are mothers, a la the Furber method, I will substitute emotional comfort for the breast, and see how that works.

I want Raphaela to grow into an independent and secure child, and her learning to pacify herself at night is a skill way overdue.

The other problem I now must work through is Harry, who meowed loudly every hour on the hour after three am, and prevented me from getting proper sleep, something I should have been able to achieve last night. He has his own version of jet lag, testing me since we returned from our trip, pushing the limits and then checking if I have abandoned him again and locked him in the house. If he continues this behaviour, I will consider locking him out of the house instead.

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