inventing our way through sleep training, part 2

Recap of Part 1: Gabriel wasn't sleeping enough. I was stressed and bogged down and miserable. I had to find a way to wake up and get out of bed early in the morning without waking him.

So what did I do? Well, first I threw a few tantrums. Silent ones, of course, because I didn't want to wake the baby (and goodness knows I only have time for my own tantrums when the little man is asleep).

Then I took to the Innernets. And because I am a Five, I read too much and got overwhelmed.

So I did that thing that Dr. Sears and everybody else keeps telling me to do: I listened to my gut and trusted my instinct. I am completely and entirely making up my own way to "sleep train" Gabriel. It hasn't yet shortened the amount of time it takes to get him to sleep, but there have been some changes. I've chosen to see these changes as positive.

First things first: I started charting his sleep. I keep track, down to 15-minute increments, how much he is sleeping, when he gets drowsy but doesn't sleep, and when he wakes up but goes right back down. It sounds cumbersome, but it's not. I kinda love this information-gathering business, anyway. Because I'm a Five.

Next, I instituted something I have loosely defined as a "bedtime routine." It is VERY bare-bones right now, a la FlyLady's way of introducing people to routines. I wait for the first signs of sleepiness (which usually appear between 7 and 7:30) and then it's go-time. Gabriel's bedtime routine currently is as follows: bath, then sleep. I run the water, start up the bedtime music in the bedroom, lay out his PJs and overnight diaper, and then plunk him in a warm bath and let him splash until he loses interest and/or until he yawns. (This is all very fast because the bathroom is attached to the bedroom and it all takes place in like a 10 foot radius.) Sometimes he is Not Interested in the water and sometimes I think he'd stay in there all night if I let him. Then I towel him off, dress him, and then we lie down while he nurses and (on a good night) goes to sleep.

Things I hope to add to the bedtime routine:
- Brushing teeth and hair (we already do this in the morning) (at least on the mornings I manage to remember to brush my own hair)
- Reading a story
- Baby massage
- Come up with two bedtime routines - maybe grouping story and massage on one night and bath on alternating nights? I figure this might be good on those evenings when I am not the one putting him to bed or just really not feeling the idea of another infant bath.

On a good night, all goes according to plan and I am free to be a non-parenting adult at 8pm. And let me tell you, as a single mom it is Very Important to have some grown up time in the evening before bed. If I don't get it, I find myself staying up way too late watching TV just to be Not-Mommy for a few minutes. Not helpful.

It doesn't all go according to plan, however. More on that soon.

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