April 7, 2013

Naptime Sleep Training Success!

I didn’t think this day would come. Nicki rebelled against nap time in the crib from the start, so I gave up and put her back in the rock and play. Then we decided to try sleep training in the crib. We had marginal improvements that first week at home where I could be consistent, but her day care teachers are only allowed to let babies cry for 5 minutes. Naps at daycare were non-existent. She’d go the whole day without sleeping and pass out in the car on our way home. Without true consistency, it was looking bleak.

On Tuesday Nicki had her first fever. I broke out the rock and play for the first time in over two weeks just so she could get some sleep and start to heal. She embraced the rock n’ play like a long lost friend, as though we had never tried this dastardly sleep training thing. I put her down awake and she happily drifted off to sleep on her own, napping longer than she ever did in the crib. I was sure I was resetting the clock on all our hard sleep training work.

I was bracing myself for epic melt down for her Wednesday morning nap. I put her down. No wails. Wait, what? She was looking up at me, dry eyed, sucking away on her Binky. I hesitated a moment in shock, then quickly left the room and shut the door. I listened. Still quiet. I tip toed down stairs to check the monitor. She was curled up on her side ready to go to sleep, but fidgeting. A minute later, she was out. She slept for 28 minutes. The only difference I could think of was I let her keep the Binky when I put her down. Usually I don’t give it to her at all. So when the afternoon nap I made sure to give it to her again. She lay peacefully on her back for a few minutes before rolling over and going to sleep for 21 minutes (an average length nap these days).

We had suddenly turned a corner. Thursday she had her first nap in the crib at daycare in weeks. It was 30 minutes even! She was home with me again Friday. After our morning success of 38 minutes (!!!) I decided to try sans binky. She fussed for about 90 seconds before sleeping for 24 minutes. Since then we’ve had 3 more 30-40 minutes naps and no tears.

My goal is to get back up to two 60-90 minute naps a day. In the mean time we’re doing three ~30 minute naps so she gets adequate rest. I’m mixing it up with regards to the binky. I plan to not let her go more then 3 naps in a row with it. It appears to be helping, but I know it’s a sleep crutch and I don’t want her to become dependent on it. She stopped using the binky at night time around 5 months, and she is able to nap without it during the day.

Do you realize what this means?! Our sleep struggles might be OVER. That is until her next bought of teething. And when she next gets sick. And when she starts voicing an opinion about when bed time should be. And night terrors. But, beside that, OVER.

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