i was constantly asking other moms what they did for different sleep issues etc so i thought i'd add my 2 cents to my blog about the subject for mine and other's future interest/reference.
like i've mentioned, maxson's sleep habits were like a stock chart, huge peaks with lots of dips but a general upward trend. we're plateauing out (thank heaven's) at a beautiful spot on the chart and i'm sooooo happy. "how a mother's day went" is often measured on the child's sleeping (or lack there of) that day.
those first few months (up to nearly 5) I was at Maxson's beckoning call (which i'm ok with, i had/have only 1 baby, that's what i'm to do right now: take care of that ONE baby). He'd always been swaddled, and in my mind since he didn't have his hands nor could he roll, he would likely have a hard time soothing himself. Probably not so, but that's how i saw it. I was constanlty questioning myself "should i hurry and go in to put the binki in in hopes he'll sleep longer if i catch it at the perfect moment, should i let him cry a little and see if he'll put himself back to sleep, if he's in the car seat should i rock it, should i pick him up from the crib, should i this or that" the list and questions to myself were endless.
we kinda always had the same general routine though: swaddle, lights out, turn noise machine on, binki in, read good night moon (started that at 5 months), 3 primary songs (teach me to walk in the light, i am a child of god, love is spoken here. those 3 kinda just happened). now days at 7 months, lights go off, fan on (upstairs is hot hot hot!), binki in (his cue to cuddle my shoulder, love) read book sometimes, 1-3 songs, put him in crib awake to cuddle monkey and i'm gone. he never cries and goes straight to sleep, it's vundervul!
for more details month by month, keep reading
for more details month by month, keep reading
MONTHS 1 & 2
just survive. i tried keeping with the babywise routine of sleep eat play sleep eat play and really liked that. i woke him every 3 hours during the day to eat (casey and i love waking sleeping babies because they're SOOO cuddly!!!!). but sometimes babies just want to keep sleeping the day away, so to wake him up when i wanted him to eat, i changed his diaper. that would wake him enough to eat. if he fell asleep at the end of nursing i tried to put him down, on the couch or ground or bouncer (after i got my cuddle needs taken care of) to see if he really wanted to keep sleeping or it was "artificial sleep" because he was just so cozy in my arms. this seemed to work well for us and he slept really well at night for me. he always slept swaddled in his crib for pretty much everything unless we were out and about and then i'd put him in the carseat.
MONTHS 3 & 4
i feel like months 3 & 4 i would get lucky and the first nap of the day ended up being long (1 1/2 hours - this is when i worked out) but other than that, it seemed like he was taking 4 short naps during the day, i'd put him in the carseat for the first 2 in hopes they were long (he went through a phase where he'd only take long naps in his carseat) and then the 2nd two in his crib to practice/remind him that's where he's actually supposed to be sleeping. after our routine i'd put him down and often have to go back in to put the binki back in, but eventually he'd fall asleep. for most of month 3 and 4 i'd put him in the crib when he was seemed real dozy and could easily fall asleep quickly in his crib. but near the end of month 4 we (we meaning casey, max, and myself) had formed a bad habit of picking him up to calm him and he'd practically only fall asleep in our arms. so near the end of month 4 we decided max did need to cry in his crib for a little bit to remind himself he could fall asleep by himself. it lasted nearly an hour of casey and i going in every 5 min to put the binki in and remind him he's ok and we don't have to be holding him or nursing him to fall asleep. after that one stint he went back to falling alseep by himself in the crib. that time was AWFUL though but luckily we only had to do that once. at night he always slept in his crib in his room. he was swaddled during these months and just wasn't stellar at sleeping but we all survived. he slept decent at night which is really what mattered (decent = wake up 1-2 times at night to eat. went to bed between 9 and 10, woke up between 7 and 9). i was constantly telling myself if he's tired he'll sleep, it's ok if he's not sleeping for as long as you'd hope or wish, if he's tired he'll sleep. these 2 months were a tad bit frustrating but they too passed.
ooy, 5 months was awful. that was when we were traveling tons and it was just awful. he practically never took long naps. we had to stop swaddling him because of the arizona hear - we would let him fall asleep in our arms and transfer him to his tummy to sleep somewhere, when we'd transfer him i'd try to smoothly switch my arm or chest he was cuddling with to the BYU sock monkey, that was KEY to him staying asleep, having that long little animal there made him feel like he wasn't alone when i'd put him down. when he did start sleeping on his tummy it was the first time in 3 months that he ever took a long nap not in his carseat so that was AWESOME. when we stopped swaddling we also stopped putting him in his carseat for naps. nights were hit and miss during this month, we didn't really do anything different. we started a few solids at the beginning of this month in hopes that would help him sleep longer at night but i don't know if it really did that much.
MONTHs 6 & 76 & 7 have been hallelujah months at the maxson command center. with him crawling everywhere and standing up on everything and then walking along it all, it totally wears out his energy and he takes nice long naps in his crib.
we broke the falling-asleep-in-our-arms habit as soon as he got better at the beginning of month 6 by him crying for a little bit in his crib. i think i was going in too much the months previous when he'd cry in hopes that i was helping him but it really didn't. i FORCED myself to ONLY go in after 1 min, 2 min, 5 min, then 10 , then 15 etc (I only reached that 10 min once with him thankfully). i was ok with him crying because at that time he was crying unconsolable in our arms for 30 min trying to get to sleep or he would be crying in his crib for a max of 15 min to get to sleep. we decided the latter was better for our home. the first time i did it by myself and stuck to the game plan i came downstairs, turned the timer on on my phone, and listened to some music loud enough where i couldn't really hear crying. after a total of 12 minutes he was asleep. for a week i tried really hard to be home and consistent for naps, and he really didn't cry that much. maybe 1 nap a day he'd have a hard time with and would cry 5-10 min (i got more lenient with myself going in sooner now that he and i both knew he'd go to sleep just fine once he had the binki in). after about a week he was great for going down for all his naps by himself in his crib. we also came to get to know him better that maybe he just wasn't tired and that's why he was crying, so sometimes we'd just let that nap go and keep him awake 30-50 min longer, it would all be ok. he also got better at keeping in the binki or re-finding it to put back in himself (those 2 things were huge i think). at this point he still wasn't great at falling back to sleep by himself if he woke up in the middle of it. i came to be ok with/expecting him only taking 45 min naps so when he did only take short nap i was not frustrated with it and if he took a long one, i was overly ecstatic about it! nights were getting a little more consistent with about a 6-7 hour stretch and then 3 after that, sometimes they weren't that good though and i think to myself (this is the last night i'm doing this, next time he's just gonna have to learn to go back to sleep, i never did that though). not awesome but we we got through it. a few times that monght he would decide it was time to play at 2 am. and after nearly 45 min of trying to get him to go back to sleep we'd give up, come downstairs with him and let him play with a few toys. i'd try to keep it dark to help him know this wasn't that fun and he should be sleeping.
but like i said the big turning point came when he started crawling, walking along things, and eating more food. those things wear him out tons so he now he's at either 2 long naps a day at 1 1/2-3 hours each or two 1 1/2 hour naps with a 45 min tailer at the end. we kinda just go with the flow of the day and somehow it works out now and i don't have to be so worried about it (i used to be more uptight about it because even 4 short naps wouldn't make a good space of time between wake up and go to sleep timing during the day). one day when we were both lazy at going in to get him up after his short nap he miraculously went back to sleep by himself after 10 min. we were both so happy and proud of him! so now we kinda test the waters to wait and see if he's really awake or just "transitioning." i never thought he'd ever get to the point of being ok to be in his crib for 20 min before actually going to sleep but he did just that the other day, he kinda just babbled, spit, and moaned for 20 min, nothing that was "hey mom and dad come get/help me!" sounds, just sounds, so we let him be and he fell asleep. we were both so surprised and happy! for night time, he suddenly just started going longer (7- 10 hour stretches) which was great. and then one night when he woke up after 4 hours and wouldn't go back to sleep and i knew he had no need to eat (because he had quite the amount of baby food and milk before bed) i tried to give him the binki, closed the door, went back in my room, fell asleep, and i didn't hear him until 8 am (i had planned on going back in after 10 min or so and then feeding him back to sleep)! although the fan was on in our room which made it more difficult to hear him crying since his door was shut, i'm pretty sure he wasn't crying that long because i've still been able to hear his crying (very very faintly) through the fan and his door (our rooms are right next to each other). but who knows, maybe i was super tired that night and didn't wake up to him (doubtful i wake up to him tons) but a possibility. but it didn't really matter, he was happy and alive in the morning ready to eat, neither casey or i suffered through listening to him cry any amount of time during the night, and now he sleeps from 8:30-8ish no problem! the week following that night he's been doing the same thing, not waking up, and if he does, putting the binki back in usually calms him enough to go back to sleep, YAY MAXSON!
*i should note that months 0-6 i relied heavily on nursing to get him to go back to sleep in the middle of the night, it is what it is and that's what i did. but we're all fine and he doesn't need it anymore
*i love the wubanub for so many different reasons. like love love love it. that's pretty much the only one we used whenever we swaddled him and still always/only use that one if we're out and about/in the carseat. i don't use it for his regular crib sleeping now that he's unswaddled on his tummy bc a) i think it would be hard for him to keep it in while moving his head to the other side b) i don't want him becoming attached to the animal part of it
*if you want more details on sleeping stuff of his first few months, go look at his monthly photos, often times i'd write about what was going on then too
pretty much i'm writing this just to say THIS WAS MY EXPERIENCE not the right way or wrong. here's what i did if you want a few more ideas. all babies and parents are different and some things work and some don't. i think i was just always frustrated with his sleeping because it wasn't what other moms talked about with their kids. i swear it seemed like everyone else's babies were sleeping longer during the day and "through the night" much sooner at night (everyone has different interpretations of sleeping through the night i've learned. for me it means momma sleeping through the night and not having to get up once during my slumber. for others when babies sleep 7 hours they think it's sleeping through the night). try not to compare your baby to others, they're all different. i really don't think maxson was ready to sleep 10 hours straight at night at 4 months and i'm glad i didn't force him. i'm SO happy with where we're at now though, and maybe we'll have a few setbacks in the near future but that's fine because now i know he can do x, we just need to help him remember that he can.
good luck to you mommas out there! don't hesitate to ask questions to me or your own friends and family. really I WAS ALWAYS ASKING OTHERS QUESTIONS for ideas and help and experiences.
wishing you hours of sleep!!!!