How do you get your little one to sleep at night? Anyone swaddle or use such methods as Ferber or Cry-it-Out (CIO)? How long does your 3-month-old sleep at night? I've worked hard the past month to get the little one on a bedtime schedule/routine. I am not sure if I am doing it right. And I don't know that there is a right way.
Our bedtime routine goes a little something like this:
Once Baby Q hits his evening fussiness because he's sleepy, I start up the routine immediately. And if he hasn't gotten to that point of getting fussy by 7:30pm, then I start up the routine anyways. I kick off the nighttime routine with a bath. The Mini-Stink seems to really enjoy the bath (until I get to his neck cheese, then he protests fervently against it). He gets a complete scrub down every 3rd night, and on the other nights I hit the cheesy spots with the wash cloth but no soap. I then bundle him up in a towel, and we head to his bedroom where I have his nighttime music playing. I lotion him up to keep his skin silky smooth and put him in his pajamas. Throughout bathtime and the lotioning, I talk to him letting him know that we are getting ready for "night-nights." If he's alert and happy once he's been lubed up and dressed for the night, then we have playtime and storytime...all in his room. If he is crying, then I nurse him and rock him to sleep. Once he's asleep, I swaddle him up and place him in the crib. And...Viola...sleeping baby!
The thing that I can't seem to pin down is that his sleeping patterns are so erratic. When he goes down for the night, he is down. He doesn't wake up at 2am to play. He's never had his days and nights confused. But the erratic part is that he will sometimes sleep 6 to 8 hours before waking up to be nursed and put back to bed, and other times he'll only go 2 to 3 hours and continues that pattern the whole of the night.
When he wakes in the night, I wait until he belts out a real cry before I go into his room to get him...just on the off chance that he might fall back asleep. When I pick him up at night, I keep it all business. Lights remain off, and I keep the chatter to none at all or just enough to soothe him. I always nurse him, swaddle him back up, and put him back in the bed.
I've read a lot on sleeping patterns and infants. Some techniques have worked for me and others I have chosen to ignore or just have not worked fo us. For instance, I am a nurser/rocker. I've read that the baby should be placed in his crib when he is drowsy so that he can learn to soothe himself the rest of the way to sleep. I don't do that. I've tried, but when I do, his little eyes pop wide open, and he thinks it's playtime again. I wind up leaning over the crib for about 20 minutes trying to soothe him back to sleep until he starts crying and I pick up the little booger. You're supposed to keep doing this over and over (putting him down in the drowsy state) until he learns to soothe himself completely to sleep. I guess I am not patient enough. Or, perhaps, I am just too lazy. And maybe I am so sleep-deprived myself that it's just easier to to rock/nurse him to sleep and put him in his crib because I know that works. And maybe it is just as comforting to me to be able to get him to fall asleep in my arms, especially on the days when we've been apart..it's a little more time I get to spend with my baby...even if he is asleep.
Also, I am just not a CIO supporter. I tried to let him cry for 5 minutes the other night when he woke up in his crib (I knew he wasn't hungry or wet because those issues had been addressed), and it was the worst 5 minutes...for both of us. And the 5 minutes after I picked him up were even more worse than when I was letting him CIO. He was royally pissed at me. And he screamed and screamed and screamed to let me know it. It was like he was totally confused and questioning why I had not promptly responded to his calls. I felt horrible. I had recently read that since he has hit the 3-month mark, I can let him cry up to 15 minutes. Really? Can I? It doesn't feel right to me to lay in bed and listen to him scream when I know I can comfort him. And it surely was hell for the 5 minutes I let him do it the other night. I just feel that I need to respond to his cries in the middle of the night. Babies cry when they need something, right? Even if it's just a little cuddle from their mom or dad that they need.
I know that as long as I am nursing, I will most likely be getting up at least once during the night for a feeding. I am okay with that. What I don't know is if I am setting myself up for bedtime battles later on by rocking him to sleep and tending to his cries rather promptly in the middle of the night. I want my baby to grow into a good sleeper. And I, too, would like to return to getting a full night's rest. I am doing the best that I can. So I've decided that I just have to do what feels right for me and for the baby and what works for us as a family. I've taken some of the advice from books and articles on developing healthy sleeping habits and adapted it to meet our needs (honestly, some being my own selfish need for that contact and closeness with my baby). I am going to continue to rock and nurse him to sleep. And I am going to continue to respond to his cries in the middle of the night...even if it is every 2 hours on some nights.
So I am curious...are there any other moms that have struggled/questioned their own methods at getting their little one to sleep and stay asleep?