Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Sleep training Clara, Day 7, and overall progress after one week

Here's the recap thus far. . .

So today is our final day of sleep training. Well. . . not our final day but the last day I will be blogging about the experience. I will continue to keep a record, such as what Ive been posting here, to continue to spot trends, areas to improve and overall successes. Who knows what will happen from here on out. We are praying she will continue to make progress each day and that eventually she will figure it all out. But obviously if time continues and we see things are not working, or we grow uncomfortable with how things are working, then we will reassess. 

Sometime in the next few weeks I plan to write a reflection post on this whole experience. Things I liked, didn't like, things that worked for us or didn't work for us. Things I did that I wouldn't do again. Not because I think I am some expert on the topic b/c obviously this is FAR from the case (um hello. . this is my first child and we've only been at this one week!! And our nights are still very bumpy. Plus, many of YOU are the ones providing me with suggestions and ideas), but so that I will have a record of details should we need to revisit any version of sleep training in the future, either with Clara or another child. Basically for my own memory purposes! Because we all know I forget things after 2.5 seconds.

Day #7: 9/10/12
  • 6am - wake time (she's been awake since 5:30am but not going back to bed, so I go get her)
  • 6:15am - feeding/playtime
  • 7:15am - she's getting sleepy so I give her a tad more to eat (what is leftover from earlier bottle) and then begin to wind down for nap #1. As much as I want to try and stretch her I know she is already tired and since she has technically been up since 5:30am, I don't want to push it and have her become overtired and thus super fussy and not nap well). 
  • 7:30am - in bed for nap #1 - she plays in bed for about 10 minutes and then fusses for 20 minutes (but not fully crying, just normal fussing) and then falls asleep by 8am. 
  • 8-10:30am - nap #1 - She wakes about 45 minutes into this nap but put herself to sleep after talking to herself and rolling over. So proud!
  • 10:30am - feeding then off to run a few errands
  • 12:15pm - take a stab at another feeding and to my surprise (since she typically won't) she takes another 4 oz. 
  • 12:30pm - 3pm - nap #2 - she falls asleep almost instantly once she's in her crib. NO CRYING.
  • 3:15pm - feeding then off to play outside/take a walk
  • 5pm - 6:15pm - nap #3. She started getting sleepy about 5pm so I decided it was time for nap #3. She went down and fussed for 5 minutes and then rolled over and went to sleep. NO CRYING. Woke her up at 6pm so we could aim for a relatively early bedtime. 
  • 7:15pm - start bedtime routine
  • 7:40pm - feeding
  • 8pm - bedtime - NO CRYING. Goes down like a champ.
  • 9:20-9:230pm - she starts crying and is able to calm and soothe herself to sleep in 10 minutes!!
  • 11:10pm - 12:45am - wakes and starts crying. Go in for diaper change/feeding - she takes 5 oz. Then its back in crib by 11:30pm. She plays in her bed for a good while (quietly and contently) and then starts fussing/crying about 12:15am. The crying stops at 12:45am. Only 30 minutes of crying. 30 minutes! This is a 45 minute improvement from last night and an even BIGGER improvement from the night before last. I am shocked actually (and so so thankful). 
  • She wakes up every hour on or near the half hour (1:30am, 2:30am, 3:30am, 4:30am) and fusses for 10 or so min and then puts herself back to sleep each time, before I need to go in and check on her.
  • 7am - she still asleep! Go in to wake her for another day. 
Progress from the last 24 hours:
Minimal fussing at nap #1
Able to soothe herself back to sleep after waking briefly during nap #1
No crying at nap #2
No crying at nap #3
No crying at bedtime
Only 30 minutes of real crying after she's down for bed
Able to soothe herself to sleep after waking briefly, multiple times, during the night  

Progress overall, after one week of sleep training:
These are goals that were important to our family and therefore in no way do we look down on anyone who does not find the below important to their family. I think you all know that, but just had to say it!
  1. We now have a consistent nap and bedtime wind down routine: Call us crazy or naive but we were not doing this, at all, prior to sleep training. I think having this routine is really helping signal to Clara "ok, it's time to sleep now." (You're probably thinking "duh") For example - Now, when I begin soothing Clara down for naps she snuggles up under my chin and gets really still and calm. Before, she would squirm and fight sleep (most likely because she was way overtired from lack of consistent naps). Which leads me to my next point. . . 
  2. We now have a set nap schedule, which guarantees she will have at least two, maybe three, naps per day. Basically, we have some predictability and routine to our days! Prior to sleep training Clara would nap an hour here, 30 minutes there, 20 minutes here, another hour there, etc. An hour and a half was probably the most consolidated nap time she was getting, and it was at random, not even on a daily basis. 
  3. Clara has learned how to fall asleep unassisted and how to self soothe, especially at nap time. Prior to sleep training we were having to pace the halls or bounce her in our arms for every "nap" or at bed. This is not a bad thing, but not something we wanted to continue long term. It is amazing to lay her down awake and then watch her babble to herself for awhile, roll over and then go to sleep. Liberating actually!
  4. Clara is sleeping longer stretches at night on her own. Meaning - she has successfully slept six - seven or so hours on her own, in her crib. Prior to sleep training in order for Clara to sleep this long we would have to go get her, take her to our bed, take her to the couch, walk the halls with her once she started to stir, etc. 
  5. Clara is learning to love her crib. Before Clara was born I always said "I'm going to put her in her crib from day one. She's not coming in our room." Blah blah blah. You know, all those things you are SO certain of before you actually become a parent? Let's just say I am guilty of eating my words once or twice. Or maybe three times. The colic sent us into pure survival mode and therefore Clara slept anywhere and everywhere. To name a few - the couch with us, her swing, her little lamb chair (well, her friend Jake's little lamb chair), our bed, her nap nanny (well, her friend Aedan's nap nanny). . . you get the idea. Then once the colic subsided we naively continued all the survival mode techniques because we knew it worked and we didn't want to go backwards. All that to say, Clara has successfully transitioned to sleeping in her crib and I think she is now used to & familiar with her bed. 
  6. Clara is MUCH happier during the day compared to when we had no set nap schedule. Actually, since we started this training on 9/4/12, she has not cried, even once, other than when she is crying it out in her crib. Previously, it was not uncommon for her to be crying at some point throughout the day, for an extended period, whether that be morning or afternoon. This is really amazing to me. Goes to show that all her fussiness was most likely due to being extremely overtired. 
So. . . there you have it. One week down. Like I said, who knows what the future holds, and we will always reevaluate as needed, but I remain optimistic that she will continue to make progress. Thanks for sticking with me. And thanks for refraining from any negative or hateful comments. Outside of recovering from an eating disorder, this is, by far, the hardest thing I have ever done. 

A few pics from our walk to TJ Max and Kroger this afternoon. Say what? You don't walk to your local TJ Max and to get groceries? Clara and I are cool like that.  

Oh and I will leave you with this image. (Some of you might have seen this on Instagram). After dinner, I was doing dishes and Brandon was getting Clara undressed and ready for her bath. All of a sudden I hear Brandon hollering from the bathroom and I go running in thinking Clara just peed or pooed on him. She didn't pee/poo on him. It is actually much more hysterical than that. 

That would be spit up. See it on his chin? Yes well. . . what you don't see is the crazy amount that landed in his mouth. His MOUTH. So what does a loving wife do? I run to go grab my camera instead of grabbing a towel. Because obviously moments like this need to be documented. 

Have a great week! 


  1. She's doing awesome. She is RIGHT there. I bet in another day or two she will be sleeping through with no fuss. Great job momma!

    1. Thank you! YOU were a HUGE support to me so THANKS!!

  2. Ha ha, he's a real dad now! Great work on the sleep schedule mamma, I am all about setting your child up for good sleep habits, you'll be so glad you did.

  3. LOL! I love the dad pic! What a great week. I bet a long week but soon you will be settled down and you can look back and laugh or cry.

    1. Ha! I'll probably be laughing and crying all in one!

  4. I am so proud of you for sticking it out this long! I think you are smart to go a little longer and then reassess. It's possible she's not ready to tackle night sleep yet... each one of these little guys is so different and it's so hard not to compare one to the other. But, not all babies will respond to each method the same way. So take some time to think and reflect, and then if you need a break from it all... grant yourself permission to take a break. And celebrate your successes! You did awesome!

    1. Thank you! And thanks for all your feedback and encouragement!!

  5. You guys did amazing!! It is a LOT to learn and for the life of me, I cannot understand how anyone lets us go home from the hospital without knowing one iota of all of this! You figured it all out MUCH sooner than we ever did with Elijah.

    A few thoughts for your future:

    1) If they're fussy, they need more sleep. In time, you are going to start wondering things. Does she need 2 naps instead of 3 now? Does she need longer waketimes? Why is she waking more at night again? Why did her naps get short so suddenly? Why is she fussing more again before this nap?

    While I would definitely encourage you to look on that Chronicles blog as much as possible for answers, I will say that my overarching rule with Kirsa has been: if she's fussy during awake times, she's not bored. She's not sick. She's not hungry. (Okay, assuming I'd mostly ruled those things out in a general way). And even if she was bored or sick... mostly, it meant that I wasn't putting her down soon enough for naps and bedtimes, that I'd started stretching things too long.

    2) Don't change things too much. Like the bedtime routine. Aside from maybe the bottle, keep a succinct, no-nonsense bedtime routine that you envision working for years, and don't start adding to it. We have made this mistake with Elijah and still struggle with bedtimes because of it. With Kirsa, I have done the EXACT same thing (bottle, brush teeth, 2 stories, sleepsack, 1 verse lullaby, plop in bed) since she was 16 weeks old. Every Night. And if she was fussy, I might have truncated it a little, but I didn't wonder if we needed to change it.

    3) Don't go in, except for safety issues. Once they're down, they're down. Naptime is naptime, bedtime is bedtime. Obviously, at this age, you still have to feed sometimes at night, but in general, and especially for naps, I really advocate NOT going in to (a) check for poops - thickly cream them before naps if you think they might poop, then let them sleep in it, 1 nap isn't going to kill them, and besides, 98% of the time that I checked for poops, it totally disrupted the nap and they hadn't pooped anyway; (b) re-soothe; (c) tell them to lie down and go to sleep - when she's older and takes a while to fall asleep for a nap, you'll be tempted to do this. Do Not. It'll work a few times and then become a game faster than you can blink.

    Don't start questioning, on the bad nap days, if she needs more stuffed animals, or some books, or whatever, in her crib. Keep it seriously minimal. Like, a blankie. Period.

    Use sleep sacks. As long as she's in a crib. Every time she goes down. Because that way, they're far less likely to get the idea that they can climb out. You do NOT want them to realize this is a possibility.

    Okay. My point really is that you guys have done amazing, and I just wanted to give you that advice because those are mistakes we made with Elijah that we have not made with Kirsa, and you can guess who is a FAR FAR FAR better sleeper, even now!

    1. Thanks! I love hearing from other experienced moms about what worked, what didn't work, etc. Thanks for taking the time to write all of this out on my behalf!!

  6. With regard to "aside from the bottle" in #2, I just mean that obviously, years from now, she won't still be doing a bottle. Keep doing that now. :)


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