Sunday, November 12, 2006

Changing sleep habits

Well since Elizabeth Pantley hasn't replied so far (I know, wishful thinking), we've decided to try to hit this sleep problem on the head by throwing everything we used to do out the window. I'm not sure if this is a good idea or if we are just creating more work for ourselves down the track, but Elijah is now co-sleeping with us again.

The pros:
  • He's waking up less throughout the night.
  • When he does wake, it doesn't take much effort to settle him and can mostly be done without feeding him back to sleep. So no more two-hour-long resettling marathons!
  • We are all getting more sleep, which is making life much easier with which to cope!
The cons:
  • It's still taking FOREVER for him to go to sleep to start with. The first night it only took 25 minutes of lying down with him, but we are back up to the 45 minutes to an hour that it was taking to settle him in the cot, so there is no real advantage here.
  • It's not a very safe arrangement as the bed is not a mattress on the floor and doesn't have guard rails for when he's asleep in there by himself (which is why we have to stay with him until he falls asleep).
  • We are going to have to get him back into the cot at some point, mostly because of the safety factors, and I have no idea how we will do this considering there is not enough room in our room for the cot to do a transfer whereby you have the cot next to the bed then gradually move it further away until it's in the nursery. Last time he was co-sleeping, he was still in the bassinette, so it was really easy to transfer.
As I think his sleep issues are due to an aversion to the cot itself, we are also having him play in the cot for short periods during the day with one of us sitting next to the cot to create positive memories of that space, and have also set up the portacot in the loungeroom so that I have somewhere safe to put him when I have to leave him for a few minutes to attend to calls of nature or hang out the washing. Previously I was putting him in the cot and by the time I got back to him, he'd be crying.

And if you're wondering why I don't just sit him in a basket outside with me while I hang out the washing, I tried that, but the yard is so uneven that a slight shift in his weight tipped the basket over and he hit his head on the ground. So until he is more stable when sitting, I won't be trying this again.


Brooke208 said...

I'm sorry you are having a lot of sleep issues! Gavyn's had a weird week, and has been sleeping in bed with me. We put a bed rail up on one side of the bed and Ross has been banished to the living room couch. He's fine falling asleep, but wakes up between 3-5 am to PLAY.

I have a few suggestions, not that they'll work, but I'm sure anything is worth a try at this point!

When you put Elijah to bed at night, is his room dark? We figured out the hard way that Gavyn likes a bit of light in there. He feels more comfortable that way. Have you tried giving him something to cuddle? Gavyn will cry and cry and cry until we give him a receiving blanket or cuddle bear to cuddle with. We take them from him once he's asleep. Another thing that helps him fall asleep on his own is the mobile we have. It plays really relaxing music and has ocean wave settings, and it also puts a lightshow on the ceiling. He won't go to sleep without it.

I hope things get better for you either way, and good luck!

The Mumma said...

I think it's the opposite problem for us: we've just got daylight saving so the sun is starting to set when it's bed time so it isn't dark enough!

He has an Eeyore that he sleeps with. He likes to touch it when he wakes during the night.

His sleeping was fine until around 5.5 months, when he became more mobile.

I pity Ross. Isn't your bed big enough for three?

Brooke208 said...

Not exactly. We have a queen sized bed, but Ross is such a sound sleeper that neither of us feel safe putting Gavyn in bed next to him. Seriously, I could be yelling in his ear and he won't wake up. He rolls all over the place and kicks and everything. I'm the opposite, I take up a tiny bit of space and stay in one spot, and I wake up to ANYTHING.

anastasia_wolf said...

Hey Helen, I got your message yesterday but life is conspiring against me to call you back LOL. Will try tonight but monkey is sick so she may wake up heaps.

I'm sure you've read of our sleep issues, but I know we're at the extreme end of the scale. Most of my fellow co-sleepers didn't have the sorts of issues we had... and it is HEAPS better now. Also, I think during that first year there is so much going on with them that just as it seems their sleep is sorted out they start teething again, or hit a milestone like crawling, or separation anxiety, etc etc ad nauseum. I spent SO much energy on trying to figure out why Kira woke up so much until I realised it was just her, and she would grow out of it (and she has, with a bit of help). The NCSS is a great place to start, I found with K though that she didn't need an hour long bedtime routine (it frustrates her) and now she takes roughly 5-10 minutes to get to sleep (whereas once I thought she would always take close to an hour). So just pick what works and you know Elijah best to see what works and what doesn't. *hugs* You are doing an awesome job!

Anonymous said...

Hey chick - hope you are getting some much needed sleep! I am sure little Elijah will settle down in a short while and just think when he is 17 you will be unable to get him OUT of bed :) chin up you're doing well!!