Monday, November 27, 2006


Since my son was born I spend more time thinking about sleep than anything else. I was already sleep deprived when he was born, having been woken up at 3am by mild contractions the morning before he was born and, except for one two-hour nap, not sleeping until he was born 29 hours later. He slept almost his entire first day while people visited and took pictures, then finally woke up about 10pm and, after nursing for two hours straight, cried until we let one of the nurses take him for a couple hours so we could get some sleep. She managed to get him to sleep with a pacifier, but that has not worked since. The first few weeks he liked to stay up until two in the morning. Then he would go to sleep around midnight -- an improvement, but still challenging for me, being a morning person.

He started sleeping through the night when he was ten weeks old, but getting him to sleep was still a big production involving lots of crying and bouncing/walking around with him, and still he would not go to sleep until midnight. Hubby asked when we would be able to just put him in his bed, say goodnight and turn out the light and have him fall asleep. I said, probably not until he is two or three.

We implemented a routine of putting him in his pajamas around 9pm and then going into the bedroom for his last feeding and then staying in the bedroom until morning, whether he was sleeping or not. That way the bedroom would hopefully be a cue that it was nighttime and time to settle down. This routine has helped a little, but the biggest change came this last week.

He is four months old now and has been practicing rolling over onto his tummy for about a month. Sometimes he would do it when we put him down in his crib. Usually he would grunt a while on his tummy and then start to get worked up and we would pick him up and try again to get him to sleep. But one night last week after I thought I had got him to sleep I put him down and his crib and he immediately rolled onto his tummy. I groaned (silently) and prepared myself for him to start fussing, but he didn't. He fell asleep! Since then we have been putting him down, sometimes even when his eyes are wide open (but we know he is tired) and he will roll over and fall asleep. Sometimes he sucks on his hand for a while before falling asleep, and I think this is one of the big benefits of laying on his tummy -- his hands don't fall away from his mouth when he is trying to suck them to sleep.

So, we are really enjoying his new ability to fall asleep on his own. Unfortunately, he has also recently started to wake up again during the night, sometimes more than once. I'm sure he's not teething, despite the fact that he there is a continuous stream of drool coming out of his month, because both hubby and I were late teethers -- my first tooth came in when I was 12 months old. Maybe it's a growth spurt. Whatever the reason, sleep is probably still going to be the thing I think about most, for at least the next few years.

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