Sunday, April 27, 2014

Sleep Training a 22 Month Old

Disclaimer: I use all "terminology" loosely.  I can't say I really know what sleep training is...

With that said!  The 4/5am nightly waking that was not a big deal to us?  It became a big deal when Cora had a few nights of twice-nightly wakings in a row...where she screamed for more than an hour...until I nursed her. We then saw pretty clearly that the only way she was willing to go back to sleep was if I nursed her, which was what she was used to at 4/5am.

These wakings coincided with her increasingly determined and strong-willed new nature.  She was NOT going back to sleep without her mama milk and her daddy could just please leave her room now, thank you.  A month or so back we'd endured a similar night and had chalked it up to her stubbornness, only to find out she had an ear infection, so I took her to the doctor JUST TO BE SURE.  She was completely healthy.

I know, she looks pretty harmless
Well, then. Game On Baby Girl.

We were both off work for a long Easter weekend, so we decided it was as good a time as any.  (Well, I was a little worried that in a few short days Jacob would be going OUT OF TOWN, but we really didn't feel like we could put this off any longer.)

Our Initial Plan: Don't Nurse Her

Because I saw textbook weaning resistance written all over the way Cora has been acting lately, I decided to pick back up the before bed nursing session while we were "sleep training" her in the hopes that this would lessen the blow.  I want to move at her pace for weaning, but the night time problem seems separate to me (she isn't self-soothing).
  • Night 1: She woke to a wet diaper (darn it!) but was settled easily by Jacob at 1am.  At 4am, she was awake and crying for well over an hour with each of us making a few trips into her room to try to soothe her in non-nursing ways. 
  • Nights 2 & 3: She woke around 2am and cried for 1 hr 15 minutes, with each of us making a trip or two in to try to calm her.  She would calm down when we'd rock her, but scream when we put her back in her crib.  Jacob eventually got her to sleep
  • Night 4: She had refused to nap and had a big day, so that probably worked against us, but this turned out to be just a horrible night.  She cried from 10pm-12:45am.  We let her fuss until almost 11:00 when Jacob went and rocked her.  He got up again a while later.  Then I got up.  We gave her Tylenol.  Finally at 12:45, I put her in our bed (which is not usually effective) and she passed out for one hour.  Then at 1:37, she woke up and spent the next two hours tossing and turning and moaning as we all dozed.  Then she full-on cried for another 45 minutes.  I changed her diaper, I put her in cooler clothes, I rocked her.  AND THEN I NURSED HER!  And she passed out immediately and slept until 8:45. Since our plan consisted of "don't nurse her," I had now ruined the plan.  And now Jacob was leaving to go out of town.
I consulted with both grandmas (one of whom was fortunately staying at our house with us) and created a new plan.

The New Plan: Go in to soothe if she gets very upset, but once she is back in the crib, walk out of the room no matter whether she gets upset again or not.  Try a night light.  Try offering water.  Still don't nurse her.
  • Night 5: She woke at 1 and 4:45.  Each time, I went in and rocked her.  The first time I put her back in the crib, she flipped out.  So I told her "Do you need one more hug?"  She nodded, so I picked her up and hugged her and decided to try rationalization.  I said "Jack-Jack night-night, Mama night-night, Cora night-night."  She then said "Mama bed" and pointed.  To which I said, "No, Jack-Jack night night in Jack bed, Mama night night in Mama bed, Cora night night in Cora bed."  I then laid her down and SHE LET ME!  I walked out and she didn't cry.  When she awoke the second time, I repeated this and she seemed okay with it.
  • Night 6: She went to sleep at 8pm and slept until 7:30 am!!
So this is where I'm supposed to say: "And she forever slept through the night thereafter."  
  • Night 7: She woke at 5:20am and Jacob (home just mere hours before) got her back down; she woke again at 6:20 and I was able to get her to read books quietly in her crib for another hour.  This is a cool benefit of the new night light in her small room.
  • Night 8: Up from 5:30-6.  Jacob tried rocking.  10 minutes later I was in and rationalized her back into her crib.  She slept until 8. 
  • Night 9: Up at 5:45.  Rationalization backfired as she repeatedly said "No mama night night, NO night night."  She cried for over an hour and then we eventually got her up.  This early start to her day seemed to throw her off and she WOULDN'T nap.
Lucky, she's so cute :)
I know many babies routinely wake this early.  But Cora routinely has to be woken up at 7:30.  So getting her up at 5:45 would mean she'd lose two hours of sleep.  (She already goes to bed at 6:30/7:00 and takes a nap).  Sigh.

I'll post an update in a few weeks.

1 comment:

Annie said...

She is so cute! Yes, early wakings are SO hard. I read every book there was on sleep training and I would say that Jude is not "text book" either. He has thrown us for a loop in the sleep area too. You guys are doing such a good job at continually trying out new approaches and reevaluating. Keep us posted. ;)