Saturday, March 31, 2007

Time for bed

Over the past couple of months, we've been working at gently getting Elijah to the point where he wants to go to bed at night. Our basic routine hasn't changed, but we have been gradually weaning him off his need for us to put him to sleep. The basic ideas came from The No-Cry Sleep Solution, even though we weren't logging sleep patterns anymore or following the system.

Elijah had needed to be fed, cuddled or rocked to sleep. While this didn't affect his ability to self-settle during cycles of wakefulness throughout the night, it drew bedtime out to a long (and sometimes stressful) process. Often, he'd be asleep and upon being put down, would immediately wake. We started putting him down and stroking his back until he fell asleep. Then we would stroke his back for a while and then just sit next to him. Then we gradually moved towards the door. Then we'd leave the room and have to shush him from the door if he whinged. Now we put him down, stroke his back a little, tell him goodnight and leave the room. And he doesn't complain, he just goes straight to sleep!

In fact, if he doesn't get put down in the cot quickly enough, he complains and if we hover or don't leave the room fast enough, then he starts crawling around.

The best thing about the whole process is that there has been barely any crying and Elijah now actually wants to go to bed. He's even starting to tell me during the day when he's tired that it's nap time: he'll crawl off to his room and look at his books (we almost always have stories before bed, regardless of time of day) and if I don't get the message, then he'll pull himself up on the outside of the cot as if to tell me that he wants to get in!

He still doesn't always sleep through, in fact many nights, he needs resettling at least once - mostly because he's gotten himself stuck in the corner, but it's made such a difference to our evenings and to our sanity.


Quilldancer said...

Healthy sleep patterns, happy family.
Un healthy sleep patterns, cranky family. I'm glad you're opting for healthy!

The Mumma said...

Healthy all the way. Anything I can do to make our lives less stressful is worth it in the long run, even if it takes longer than so-called quick fixes.