Stories of life in the suburbs with Husband and our daughter Squishy and son Button!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Baby Guide: Sleeping Through the Night

For the first two weeks, Squishy was on her own time. She slept for most of the day and was most awake at night. My husband and I took shifts to make sure we got at least 5 hours of sleep straight in a 24 hour period. We both took naps when we could, but having that block of time really helped. I was pumping every few hours, so I got less sleep. You don't know what it's like to be woken up by your boobs until it's happened to you. 

We did a lot of reading and research on babies before Squishy arrived, and we had a few ideas we wanted to try after we were ready.

This plan was to be implemented at the beginning of week three. It's called "Night Time Mode" 

Why week three? Squishy needed the first two weeks to adjust to being out in the world, getting used to being on dry land, sleeping, eating, and being in all stages of alertness. Week three is when we decided to start a schedule. 

What is Night Time Mode for? The big goal of NTM is to get Squishy sleeping through the night. Smaller goals are getting Squishy comfortable with her crib, being alone, self soothing, having a bedtime schedule. 

How to do NTM: We chose 11:00 PM as Squishy's bed time. NTM starts 30 mins prior to bed time. We turn off all the lights, turn down the TV, and make sure everything is very relaxed and quiet. We changed Squishy's diaper, fed her, and put her in PJs. We spent the 30 minutes of NTM with no stimulation. This means no baby interaction. This behavior is supposed to train the brain to get tired and think about going to sleep. 

After 30 minutes of NTM, it's bed time. Regardless of Squishy's alertness, she was tucked into her crib. We turned on the night light and closed the door. Here's where the consistency comes in. 

We let her fuss for 5 minutes before going into her room and comforting her. We didn't talk to her or pick her up, but we replaced her nuk and adjusted her blanket. Then left.

We let her fuss for 10 minutes, and comfort again. Add 5 minutes every time. 

*Always meet your baby's needs. Diapers, food, etc. 

We never had to do the process a third time. Squishy knew we were there for her, but we kept the stimulation to a bare minimum. Whenever she would wake up in the night for anything, one of us would complete the task in the dark without talking to Squishy. Maintaining NTM helps train her brain that dark and quiet is for alone time and sleeping. 

We followed this protocol for 5 weeks. She would wake up three times for feedings and diapers, and always go right back to sleep. The length between feedings got longer and longer until at 8 weeks and two days old, Squishy was sleeping through the night 11:00 PM to 8:00 AM

We still do NTM every night, and rarely have an incident of crying once put to bed. 

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