baby steps

Emma’s become very used to sleeping in our bed at night since we’ve
been doing it for a month now. As a consequence, when she naps during
the day, it’s either falling asleep while nursing, then I put her in
the swing to ensure she stays asleep (sometimes rewinding it during her
nap to have her sleep longer!), putting her directly in the swing when
she’s tired and cranky, nursing her to sleep with me in bed so I can
nap, or going for a car ride (not for the purpose of putting her to to
sleep but on errands of my own.) Well, as a result, her naps are
erratic, she can’t fall asleep without fussing and having us put her to
sleep, and it’s been a bit hectic during the days. Of course, having
her in our bed at night is fine, and she does sleep well, waking up
only 2 or 3 times usually.

Yesterday I really decided to implement the S of Tracy’s EASY plan, as I said in my previous post. Well, she ended up sleeping for about the 1/2 hour I wrote about. Her next nap was very similar, although a little less soothing was necessary (but by no means was it easy). Baby steps…

Then, instead of doing a bedtime routine bedtime, John’s work had a bowling night down the road. So we packed up and went (reluctantly – a bowling alley is loud and smelly, no place for a newborn, especially a cranky, overstimulated, overtired one.) Have you ever tried to sleep in a bowling alley? Well she fussed in the car all the way there (all of 8 minutes), and when we got into the alley, there were so many new people, sounds, smells, sights, that she went into overtired-overload, and had the 7-mile-stare (sitting totally still, one fist clenched, eyes propped open with toothpicks, unblinking, no facial expression). Clearly the face of someone who is ready to drop off. And so she did. Like I said, have you ever tried to sleep in a bowling alley? She was so tired that it didn’t bother her.

She only ended up resting for about 20 minutes or so, and as I left, she woke up, and was awake the whole way home. So I fed her, gave her a bath, tried to feed her a little bottle (she took to it a little better, though by no means willingly – she sucked a bit back and it came to fast so she choked and then wouldn’t take it again) and then started the same kind of sleep routine – gently soothing, laying her down when she got drowsy, picked her up if she fussed etc. However, John and Ed were downstairs playing Burnout on PS2 and cheering at their game, so she woke up a few times. I kept trying. Eventually, I decided that we would try to change her daytime naps first, and once that was established, then move her out of our bed at night. Baby steps…

I took her into bed, but I didn’t want to nurse her to sleep, and she had just eaten, so I tried to have her suck my finger to drop off. It was a long process, and after 10 minutes, John got frustrated at her fussing and crying on and off, so I ended up whipping out the boob. We had a bit of an argument and I got quite upset. After not speaking for awile (the converstaion was over) John dropped off to sleep. While Emma nursed, I apologized to her, told her we really loved her and of course wanted the best for her, and told her that we would try not to argue with her listening again. She did fall asleep of course. When she started rooting around in her sleep at 3am (which is the same time she always does) I would normally nurse her again. But this time (she’s not really awake) I gave her my finger. She sucked, tried to spit it out, then sucked, spit, sucked, spit, for about 10 minutes or so. She would get upset in her sleep with my finger, and chomp down hard (she has a jaw like a steel trap. I’m surpised my finger isn’t bruised). But she eventually fell back asleep. She wasn’t really hungry, just used to nursing and sucking at that time in her sleep. She didn’t wake again until 5:30, when I tried the finger, but she got mad faster, meaning she was really hungry. So I nursed her and the day continued. Baby steps…

Actually, her morning nap was pretty good – I put her down with a bit less of a a fuss, but after 20 or 30 minutes (I think) she awoke, so John went up. He managed to get her calm, then lay her down. She fussed a bit and he tried calming her. After a little bit, her tried a soother. She didn’t like it at first, but then she started to suck it, starting at John. Then she dropped off. Baby steps…

She didn’t stay asleep long, but I went out with her to run some errands, and she ended up sleep in her carseat for 3 hours. So she caught up a little bit and wasn’t quite as cranky or tired this afternoon. We did the same routine for her late afternoon nap. It only lasted a little bit again, but she went down with even less of a fuss. Baby steps…

At dinner, she was awake and sitting in her seat on the table while we ate. When John read the Bible after eating, I watched Emma. It was a good thing. I observed how she got sleepy. She yawns every few minutes for quite awhile (she was doing that already all day). Then she got the 7-mile-stare, and her eyes started to droop, the pop open, just like someone nodding off on a train. I think that if she was already settled in her cradle by that time, she would have dropped off on her own. Instead, we kind of ignored it, and John gave her a bath and I fed her her after (tanking her up to sleep longer hopefully). However, by the time I got her (only 1/2 hour after I watched her nodding off) she was so overtired again. So we’ve learned alot. John managed to get her down without too much fuss and without the soother. And she’s been down for more than 1/2 hour. Baby steps…

So each time we repeat, she learns a little more. And so do we. Of course, now that we’ve spent 2 days, I’d like to have another 2 days at least. But it’s Sunday tomorrow, which tends to disrupt nap and feeding routines. But we’ll do our best. The most important thing is consistency. And love. It’s all in love.

Dear God, we pray that as we teach our precious Emma about her new world and about You that she will grow more in love with you each day, in her baby way. We pray for wisdom and patience for all three of us, as we each moment learn from each other. We know that as we teach Emma, she is also teaching us so much. Thank you for this wonderful gift and for trusting us with this child of Yours.

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