Sunday, April 19

Learning How to Sleep

I've been spending some early morning time with this sweet girl.  She's been waking up around 6 am, more or less, since we've started transitioning her to sleeping in her crib all night.  It's been a mostly peaceful process, but that's easier for me to say since it's actually Ryan who is doing most of the hard work.
That's a cute girl, and the early morning sun rising through the windows behind her.  I know exactly the time of the sunrise these days.
A few weeks ago we discussed/discerned/decided that it was time for Caeli to night wean, with the hopes that she'd start sleeping longer stretches.  Waking every two or three hours to latch and nurse back to sleep wasn't horrible, but not entirely restful for any of us anymore.  The three of us just weren't getting good sleep like we used to, and I think we just all needed our space.  So at night when she woke to nurse, I told her "No nursies right now" and patted her as she laid next to me.  The first few nights she yelled and protested, but by the third night I was able to pat her back down pretty easily.

We continued on that way for a week or two and then moved her to her crib.  (She's been going down in her crib for months now, but at night we'd bring her to bed with us when she woke up.  The best of both worlds for me- I get to have my bedroom at night and still got to cuddle with my baby all night!)  It wasn't any different for us to put her down at night, but she was used to coming to bed with us around 11 or 12 and she didn't like that we were staying in her room, trying to walk or rock her back to sleep.  This took a week or so until she realized that we weren't bringing her back down.  This became mostly Ryan's job, as anytime she was with me at night she wouldn't fall back asleep.  Well, we switched off throughout the night, taking turns going to her, but I feel like he really did the bulk of the night shifts.

On the morning I took this photo, she woke up at 5 am and promptly went back to sleep after nursing.  Luckily she's waking up closer to 6:00 these days. 
A week or so later she didn't protest not going downstairs anymore, and became rather easy for us to get back down for the most part.  And this is where we are right now, after a month.  She wakes around 12, and then 2, 4, and finally 6- but she's usually very easy to pat back down to sleep in her crib.   Most nights Ryan heads upstairs when she wakes up and sleeps on a mattress in her room for the rest of the night, just for the sake of convenience.  Which makes me sad but he sad he's totally fine with it for now because it means he's able to get her back down quickly and easily so he just passes out!  When she wakes up at 6, he brings her to me and then goes back to bed for another hour or so while she and I go cuddle on the couch, nurse, and read books and make coffee.

She's out of our bed and in her crib, but we can't figure out how to get her to actually sleep all night, for longer stretches, and I can't really remember how we helped the other kids.  Leaving in her room all night to cry is obviously not an option, and we're not picking her up so she's not cuddling back to sleep.  I just noticed today FOUR (4!) new teeth- possible five- so I'm sincerely hoping that this huge breakthrough will bring her some peace and comfort and allow her to sleep longer stretches!

We had to bring her back to bed with us for a couple of nights when we had some family members over for Easter, and it didn't go very well for any of us.  She woke up screaming and would kick and get mad if I tried to calm her- eventually she'd roll over away from me and go back to sleep on her own.  It wasn't the same peace-filled bed-sharing moments we'd shared earlier, and it made me sad to realize those days were over.  I loved bed-sharing with Caeli more than I did with any other the other kids.  It just worked really well for the three of us and her sleep was just SO much better from day one than with the other three.  She stayed in our bed longer than the other ones and I'm actually very thankful for that because I feel that it was a good thing for our relationship, good that it worked out and that once it stopped working, we were able to recognize it and make a change.  We'd love to get her to sleep all night of course, but those days will come.  That I know for sure.

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