Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Wake, Nap, Nap, Nap, Sleep

People like to talk about babies' sleeping habits. I noticed it with Louisa and now with Cora. In a close second to the question, Is she sleeping through the night? comes the question, Is she on a good napping schedule? I know the answer to the first question for Cora, but until now, I didn't have a good grasp on her daytime naps. So I decided to collect some data. Here it is:

Wake: 7:30
Nap: 9:30-11:30
Nap: 1:50-3:20
Sleep: 7:45
Wake: 7:45
Nap: 10:15-11:30
Nap: 2-2:45
Nap: 4:30-5:30
Sleep: 8:00
Wake: 7:30
Nap: 10:00-10:30
Nap: 12:00-12:30
Nap: 2:00-3:30
Sleep: 7:30
Wake: 6:30
Nap: 7:00-10:00
Nap: 11:30-12:15
Nap: 2:30-4:00
Sleep: 8:30
Wake: 7:00
Nap: 9:40-10:20
Nap: 1:00-1:20
Nap: 3:30-5:15
Sleep: 8:30
Wake: 7:00
Nap: 8:30-9:15
Nap: 10:20-10:50
Nap: 1:30-2:00
Nap: 6:00-6:30
Sleep: 8:30
Wake: 6:30
Nap: 7:15-7:55
Nap: 9:30-10:20
Nap: 12:45-2
Nap: 5:15-5:45
Sleep: 8:30

Hopefully you didn't feel compelled to read the data. It's not very interesting. BUT it was a great exercise for me. It confirmed that Cora's daytime sleeping is not awesome. The only sleep book on my shelf is Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Marc Weissbluth. He says that short naps (less than one hour, for a 5 month old, at least) are NOT restorative. Oh boy. Cora's data above shows that 13 out of 22 naps last week were less than 60 minutes. Ugh.

Another thing the author says is that if your baby wakes up once at night to eat or get a new diaper, you can still count it as continuous sleep (i.e., don't consider it a nap if they wake up but then go back to sleep from 4:30 to 6:30 am, for example). So you'll notice that I don't list a break in night-time sleep even though she did wake around 3:30 am three or four times last week.

After asking Nate how to mathematically average time, I did some calculations to arrive at Cora's averages. Here they are:

Average wake time: 7:20 am
Average total nap time: 3 hours, 7 minutes
Average going-to-sleep time: 8:07 pm

So what do I do with this data? Well, it definitely helps me to do my best to put her to bed at 8 pm. She falls asleep amazingly if I put her down when she's tired, but not overtired. So knowing her average helps me to anticipate what she needs. The next step is to figure out how to help her have two 1.5 hour naps each day. I'm afraid that might require letting her cry it out. Hmmph. It's so hard! Here's how I would prefer to let her sleep -- on the go -- but I think that's why her naps aren't restorative. I'll be thinking about how to slow down and make naps more of a priority...

Nice nap during a run in August (I found some free peppers along the way)
**Update on September 18:

I'm sitting in the kitchen thinking of things to do to distract myself. Cora is in her crib screaming and has been for the last 27 minutes. I'm supposed to let her do this for an hour?!? My sense of humor is being challenged because right when I resolved to let her cry, Lou learned how to climb out of her pack n' play. This handy pop-up crib has been our back up for times when she wouldn't stay in bed. Oh boy. What did I sign up for? I'll be okay. I'll be okay. I'll survive. Cora is safe. I love her so much that I'm helping her get the sleep she needs. 31 minutes. She stopped! Started again. I love you Cora babe. Cora Bean. You'll be okay. I'll be okay. In the long run, this is better. Can I just start crying too?

At least Louisa is still in bed. After she climbed out, I folded up the pack n' play and put her in bed. The book I referenced earlier recommends the "silent return to bed" method. Nate and I laughed when we read the case study about a 2 1/2 year old who had to be put back to bed, sans emotion, 69 times the first night, 145 times the second night, but stayed in bed the third night and every night after. We laughed out of nervousness, I think. Would we even have the patience to do it 35 times? I was excited to try it, but after something like 6 times the first night, Cora needed to eat and Nate wasn't home, so I put Lou in the crib. Now that that's no longer an option, I'm not sure what I'll do. Hire a put-the-kids-to-bed nanny when Nate isn't home at bed time?

Yes, Cora is still crying. 37 minutes. I changed her and fed her before I started this, I promise. I've checked in on her to make sure her arm or leg isn't awkwardly stuck in the rungs of the crib. I'll be fine. She'll be fine. Better than fine, right? Well rested, loved, stronger, better at self soothing...

So more about the "silent return to sleep" method for Louisa. Let's call it SRTS. The thinking is that if you show emotion, whether positive (hey babe, it's really time to go to sleep...) or negative (if you get out of your bed one more time, I'll take away your doll...), they learn that coming out of bed earns attention, which is precisely why they come out of bed. The times I have done SRTS with Lou, I've felt calmer and free. Yes, I had to assume I'd be doing it for the next little while, but before adopting the practice, I would get so worked up and angry. (Cora? Yes, still crying. 45 minutes. Going to check those arms and legs again...still okay, still safe). I had forgotten that she's two and not necessarily doing it to be "naughty" but more because she is curious about what's going on outside her room. The author also recommends a SLEEPING RULES sign, designed by the child, framed and hung triumphantly. By the age of 3, they should be able to recite the rules and be proud when they follow them. Here are the rules:

At bedtime we...
1) Stay in bed
2) Close our eyes
3) Stay very quiet
4) Go to sleep

We'll be making our poster soon. WOAH. She's quiet! Cora is quiet. Six minutes shy of one very difficult hour. I love you Cora babe. I love you so much, I let you cry yourself to sleep today.

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