We've helped develop a bad habit over time and now I feel it's time to address it. This has been the routine at my house for a couple of months now:
- I get home with Ryan around 6:15pm-6:20pm
- We will then usually give him a snack at the dinner table while we're eating dinner or doing some other chore around the house like running the dishwasher, unpacking his day care bag, hand scrubbing stains out of his clothes, etc.
- We let him play in the living room for the bulk of the evening, we read books to him, etc all while the TV is on in the background set to the Sprout channel.
- At some point anywhere between 6pm (when hubbs picks him up early from day care) to past 8pm we will give him a bath. Sometimes my husband will do this in the kitchen sink and sometimes I bathe him in his inflatable tub in the bathroom which allows him to play more and for longer. Hubbs' knees are bad so he has trouble kneeling in the bathroom for bathtime.
- Ryan will get a bottle usually around 8pm-8:30pm. Sometimes he will fall asleep in our arms while we give him the bottle and then we pop the pacifier in his mouth and carry him off to his crib. Sometimes we give him the bottle so he can drink it on his own in this little baby couch thing that we bought him. If we do that, then he will get back up afterwards and keep playing.
- Usually around 8-8:30pm we will shut the light off in the living room and leave the TV on Sprout and let Ryan play and watch TV until he gets cranky. Then hubbs will put Ryan on his lap on the couch, pop the paci in and hold him until he falls asleep. Then one of us carries him to his crib.
- For the past , oh, I'd say...2 months maybe, Ryan will wake up crying in his crib anytime between 1am and 5am. He always ends up standing up facing his door and crying out for "mamamamamamama".
- One of us will then go get him and bring him into our bed for the rest of the night and he passes right out.
We (mostly me) are planning on starting sleep training in a couple of weeks after we move to a new apartment (long story). So last night I tried a little pre-sleep training experiment. This is how it went...
- Got home at the usual time
- Snacks at the dinner table
- Play in the living room
- At 8pm, I gave him a bath
- Right after his bath (around 8:20pm) I lotioned him up, fresh diaper, and PJs. During the bath I asked hubbs to set a lullaby CD to play in his room.
- I closed the door to his room and sat on the floor with him to read books. His TV was set on the Sprout channel with the volume turned low so that we could hear the music. I read several books to him since he loves books and some he wanted me to read over and over.
- Around 8:35-8:40pm, I had hubbs bring in his bottle which I showed to him to see if he'd want it. He took the initiative and drank from him which sitting on the floor on and off. A couple of times I had to remind him of the bottle and he'd drink a little more. During this time he quietly played with his books turning pages and pointing to characters and animals in the book.
- Then unfortunately, he wanted to open a drawer and dump out all of the contents which I let him do once since it was only sheets and blankets and everything stayed folded as he pulled them out (don't know if that's bad or not).
- After I put everything back in, I put him in his crib and turned off the light but the TV stayed on very low. He whined immediately and wanted to get out but I stayed close tot he crib and soothed him. Hubbs came in as well to reassure him and he quieted down a bit. I gave him the bottle again and he sat in his crib to drink the rest.
- I found a lovey that he never ever used or even played with because we had it displayed on his dresser and I gave that to him. He hugged the lovey a few times so I left it in his crib. I also turned on his ceiling projector which plays soft music.
- After a couple minutes of soothing words and patting/rubbing his back while he sat there and whined a little, I walked out and closed his door.
- We have a video monitor so I watched him start to cry and stand up, call out to us, etc. He mostly whined and babbled but he did cry a little. I waited for a solid cry which is when I was planning to go in to soothe him but he never really cried for more than 10-15 seconds straight so I didn't go in at all. After about I'd say 10 minutes or so, Ryan was out like a light.
- I went in and turned the TV off and that was it.
- At 4am he woke up whining and crying but when I checked the moitor, he wasn't standing up in his crib, which was his norm. He was still lying down. I could tell he didn't have his pacifier in his mouth and I figured it must be tangled in his blanket.
- I waited a couple of minutes while he cried and then went in to find his pacifer for him and soothe him. As soon as I walked in he stood up so I hugged him while still leaving him in his crib standing and spoke to him softly "Ryan, you're ok baby. You can go back to sleep now. Mommy's here. I love you.", Etc. I rubbed his back a little as he calmed down a bit. I showed him his new lovey and kissed him.
- I walked out while he was still standing in his crib and he started to whine and cry out again.
- I checked the monitor as he whined for about a minute more but he had sat and then layed back down so i saw that as a good sign.
- He did fall back to sleep but woke up to whine and cry out again 2 more times before 5am but not enough for me to go in and soothe him and by 5am he was asleep and didn't wake up again until past 8:30am! I even left him there and told my husband to take him to day care this morning (I usually take him in).
Eventually, I want to get to a place where we won't turn on the TV in his room at night at all and I really hope that we can take his paci away completely very soon. He's really good without it during the day, but at nap time he seems to need it.
This was just a test but I got some sleep last night!! Then hubbs calls me this morning to tell me that Ryan's 2 top teeth have broken through and that must be the reason he slept through the night well because they finally broke through and he must have been more comfy. This can't be the reason!!
Oh well...I think the new routine went really well for it being the first time so I think we will keep it going. Hopefully it will all work out!