Thursday, April 1, 2010

Sleep Training

Over the past week or so I’ve started to feel a little anxious about our sleep schedule. Or lack thereof, to be exact. I’ve been reading up on sleep in a few of our baby books, and it would seem that four months or so is the magic number for when your baby should have his sleep routine down. As of now, Tate falls asleep whenever, wherever. He’s frequently up until 10 PM, and often awake for several hours beyond that. Before last night, he had never spent a full night in his crib.

Given that our big boy hits the three-month mark this week, I thought perhaps it was time to start working toward a bedtime routine of some kind. I polled some friends, and their responses were reassuring. It seems that babies are 1) adaptable; and 2) ever-changing. So while I plan to spend the next few weeks getting Tate into a more set bedtime ritual, I’m also aware that his ever-changing growth patterns and nursing needs and so on may shake up whatever schedule we work out for ourselves.

That said, last night I decided it was time to begin. This was a tough decision for me, because Tate has been co-sleeping with us pretty much since he was a few weeks old. He started out in a bassinet, but he really didn’t care for the bassinet and eventually I found it was much easier to respond to his needs and get a bit of sleep at the same time if he was snuggled into the crook of my arm next to me in bed. I could nurse him more easily and we could both fall asleep afterwards peacefully and immediately. Bruce has been traveling so much for the past few months that more often than not, it’s just Tate and me in the bed. Selfishly, I love feeling his little warm body beside me. But realistically, I know that I need to reclaim our sleeping space for my husband and me, and that Tatum will be better off learning to soothe himself to sleep in his crib.

Last night I ran a nice, warm bath for him around 8 PM. Afterwards I bundled him into some cozy, clean PJs and we read his favorite book: One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish. He’ll sit through a reading of the entire book more often than not, and he even giggles and smiles at some of the illustrations. Then we nursed, and I tucked him into his crib around 8:30 or so. He went down quietly, and drifted off until 9:15 or so. He woke up fussing, I comforted him for a bit and then put him back down around 9:45. He fell asleep quickly and lasted until around 11:30 PM. Then he fussed (again), I comforted (again), and we repeated the routine at 1 AM, 2 AM, and 4:30 AM with some nursing thrown in here and there. At that point he fell asleep and stayed asleep until 6:30 this morning. Not too shabby for our first night!

And well worth it when you wake up to this face:

As for naps throughout the day, I’ll try to be disciplined about putting him in his crib. But it’s hard to prevent this from happening:

(or falling asleep in his stroller, or in the Baby Bjorn!) We’re getting there, though. Baby steps (or maybe I should say “baby snoozes”?).


  1. Ahhhhhh.......the quest for sleep! We are continuing on that quest with Clara. She has her awesome nights, and her not-so-awesome nights.

    Gotta love the swing baby...Lilah was one of those, and she is now my tried and true sleeper! She slept in her swing for naps until she was about 6 months old...she would sleep for hours.....and hours! Amazing.

    My advice - if it ain't broken....don't fix it!

    He'll sleep in his crib soon enough!

    Good luck with the sleep training....I'm always a sucker with that! :)

  2. He is SO stinkin' cute! I love his sweetcheeks as they are getting chubbier! :)
    Sleep -- oh, sleep. Molly left our bed at 5 months and I got this book:

    I really love the ideas presented. Horribly written book, though, so you sort of have to trudge through to get the philosphies behind it. I struggled with truly adhering to it with Molly as she was a difficult baby but it worked great for her after a year. I still turn to it with probs with her!

    Don't stress terribly. He will sleep in that crib eventually. I don't blame him for wanting momma's touch! Hope to see you at church Sun. I am working the Beginner's Room! AUGH!!!

  3. I just love his sweet face. Good luck with the sleep training!