Thursday, January 3, 2013

Ophelia Is Learning...

This week Ophelia has been learning how to nap in bed instead of the carrier.

I decided to begin teaching her on New Year's Day so that we could capitalize on the fact that Darren would be around for a few more days to hang out with Sebby while I spent hours in a dark, quiet room with Ophelia. Since I had noticed her sucking her thumb, I suspected that I wouldn't use the Baby Whispers strategy of shh pat or pick up/put down, although, I would help her find her thumb at naptime and loosely follow the Baby Whisperer approach and advice. (My take on her approach is that is all about having a consistent daily order or routine and to follow the child's cues, putting them to bed when they are sleepy).

Ophelia with her hand in her mouth when she was only a few days old. 
(Sorry for the poor quality picture taken on my phone).

I have really enjoyed getting to know Ophelia so well by carrying her all day every day, I knew that it would be better for her at this point to learn to sleep in bed so that she could have quality, restful sleep. Also, I knew that it would be great for me to have some solo time with Sebby and having a rest for my body would be a bonus too (since I've been carrying her almost all day every day since she was born).

 Ophelia & I in Glasgow (1 month).

I know that it won't be realistic for our family to have Ophelia have every nap in bed at home. At this point she still needs to be sleeping most of the day and night, she can only be awake about an hour before she is ready to go back to sleep again. If we had to stay in a day every day, Sebby and I would both become way too restless. Once Ophelia gets the hang of this, we will need to find a compromise to try to suit everyone in the family, it will certainly involve staying in for some of Ophelia's naps and having her sleep in the carrier at other times.

A day out in Edinburgh when Ophelia was a month old. 
She slept most of the day.

I could tell from day one that she was going to catch on quickly although she cried a lot of frustrated tears. I spent most of the day in her room, holding her while she tried to find her thumb, lying her down when she was calm and then watching her sleep.

By day two, she was taking about fifteen minutes at each naptime to find her thumb and settle down to sleep. Yesterday was the first day since Ophelia was born that I didn't use a baby carrier at all!! 

Today is day three and we are hoping to begin to see some patterns emerging. As is common according to the Baby Whisperer book, it seems that today has been a bit more challenging than yesterday so far, as if she forgot all of what she learned yesterday. For her first nap she took 15 minutes to settle but for her second there was 25 minutes of crying only to settle for 5 then cry for another 5  before finally settling down to sleep for real). We had to go out in the afternoon so she had the rest of her naps in the carrier.

I am hoping that by day four, she will have really caught on. It's hard work for both Ophelia and I but I know it will pay off in the long run.

Ophelia wide awake in the carrier in Belfast. 
 She probably finds it hard to sleep in there sometimes because she really likes seeing what's going on.


Michelle said...

I decided to help Kiyomi learn to self-soothe when she was around 3 months, too, using a semi-Baby Whisperer strategy. Now, she can go down in a few minutes...or sometimes she still fusses for up to half an hour. Am I reading the tired signs wrong? I've been wondering if there's something I can do differently so she can go down consistently in a few minutes. Let me know how it goes with O, and if you have any advice!

Vanessa Strickland said...

Oh I'm so glad for you that you've got an easier sleeper after all that you've been through with Sebby.
I, however, have a child who is my hardest/fussiest yet. Oh Blaise. He is giving us a run for our money, that's for sure. And essentially shutting the door on any other biological siblings for him. :p
Can't wait to meet Ophelia and hang out with you guys in 3 weeks!

Tarren said...

I have found it far easier the second time around because I can identify the cries and tired signs a lot easier. I now don't feel so bad when Opelia cries when going to sleep if I hear it is a frustrated or tired cry (of course she is frustrated because she is learning a new skill and it's hard work!). I also know when she starts escalating, it will begin to taper off and she will drop off to sleep. I think I am a better observer now and have a better perspective on it all. Anyways, all that to say I think it just takes practice and getting to know your babies. One key I would say for these younger babes especially is making sure that one y see the first tired signs, you put them in to bed ASAP cause they get overtired so so fast. That can make the difference between gong down quickly or fussing for a long while. I think Opphelia is more straightforward than Sebby so that makes it easier. With him, he ha eczema so I was worried that he was itchy or if he cried too much he would begin to get itchy. His eczema would flare due to food So I would wonder if he was upset because his stomach also hurt. Things were more complicated with him. Self soothing was a skill he had to work really hard at mastering and he took months to get it. Sometimes it just takes time but it is hard to watch them struggle so much.

Tarren said...

The other thing I forgot to mention is that they change often in their need for sleep. We found we would just get used to Sebby napping at a certain time then he would be ale to stay awake longer. It is still like this with him....Lowe had a realisation last week that he can no longer nap at all otherwise he will be up half the night, the change just happened so fast (he went from sleeping 2 hours to not being able to nap at all!).

You will get this! You are a great mom.

Tarren said...

Vanessa, you are smart and experienced and Blaise is lucky to have you.

Tarren said...

Cannot believe Spain is only three weeks away! Excited!!!

Michelle said...

Thanks for the advice! I think putting Kiyomi down earlier is helping...but would you believe she has started to stifle her yawns?! Haha, it's like she knows that triggers the naptime routine, and she doesn't want to nap!

I can't believe O slept TWELVE HOURS! That's amazing! :) What a blessing to have a good sleeper. You're doing a great job! :)