February 10, 2012

Problem: Sleep.

Up until now, Quinn and I have been co-sleeping and it has never been an issue. It is just her and I so there is plenty of room, I don't mind the company of a snugly baby, and she used to sleep fairly well. But lately she has been waking up 3,4, several times during the night. We have jumped into the bad habit of me nursing her back to sleep. It is easy and it allows us both to fall back asleep very quickly. I mean how nice is it to just roll over and stick your boob in your baby's mouth to soothe them!
But the problem isn't that she is waking up to eat, the problem is that she is doing it for comfort. When she wakes up she usually only nurses for a few minutes and falls back asleep. So, I've decided it's time to break the habit.

While reading online I found a great article on Dr. Jay Gordon's website that fit my issue to a tee.
"This arrangement is not just adequate and tolerable, but actually feels easier to moms who can just roll over, nurse a while and fall back to sleep with their babies rather having to get out of bed to nurse or, alternatively, refuse to nurse and get their babies back to sleep some other way."
Bingo. That's me. I've figured there was no problem with what we've been doing because I was meeting my baby's needs, quickly soothing her, and allowing her the get sleep. But she needs to learn to put herself to sleep because the longer we continue this way, the harder it will be in the long run.

"...And they don’t sleep through the night any better than most of us would if we napped and cuddled within inches of the best restaurant in town and knew it was open 24 hours a day."
Makes sense, doesn't it? That is why I've decided to (somewhat) follow Dr. Jay Gordon's steps to help Quinn sleep on her own and eliminate night feedings.
You can read his steps on his website, but this is it in a nutshell:

We are going to choose 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. as "no no" time and between those hours I will not feed her.
For the first 3 nights,
-Any time before 10 p.m. nurse her back to sleep.
-Any time after 10 p.m. and before 5 a.m. ("no no" time), "hug her, nurse her for a short time but make sure she does not fall asleep on the breast and put her down awake. Rub and pat and cuddle a little until she falls asleep but don’t put her back on the breast".

The second 3 nights,
-Again, any time before 10 p.m. nurse back to sleep.
-During "no no" time, "when she wakes up, hug her and cuddle her for a few minutes, but do not feed her, put her down awake."

The next 4 nights,
Between "no no" time, "Don’t pick her up, don’t hug her. ...Talk to her, touch her, talk some more, but don’t pick her up. Rub and pat only. No feeding either, obviously. She will fall back to sleep. Repeat the rubbing and talking when she reawakens. By the end of the ninth night she will be falling back to sleep with only a rub and a soothing voice."

After this, she will eventually stop waking up and be able to sooth herself back to sleep. Dr. Jay Gordon recommends doing this change while continuing to sleep her in bed with me. I agree that it might be easier to change one thing at a time and only after she can soothe herself back to sleep (and hopefully sleep through the night) I will put her in her crib for the night. She does, however, take naps in her crib a few times a day so making the transition into the crib should be a whole lot easier!

So, we will be starting this tonight with open minds and hopes for success!
We will update our progress and will hopefully eliminate night feeding!

Words of wisdom from Dr. Jay Gordon:
"Don’t get me wrong. I love the family bed, child-led weaning and cuddling all through the first, second, third year or more if it’s working well and if the family is doing well. Don’t let anyone convince you that this is a harmful choice or that there will be “no way” to get him out of your bed if you don’t do it now. Don’t believe anyone who says that babies who cuddle and nurse all night long “never” learn to self soothe or become independent. This is simply not true but it sells books and the myths stay in our culture."

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