(“Sleep Caroline” is what Audrey thinks we are singing when we sing “Sweet Caroline” to our baby Bear, and in some cases, her interpretation of the lyrics is right on.)
In our seemingly never-ending quest to get Caroline to develop good sleep habits, my friend suggested a book called The Sleep Lady’s Good Night, Sleep Tight. This book is all about gentle ways to get your child to learn good sleep habits. With Audrey, we’d read Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child & I did like that book too, but it’s currently “hiding” in a box somewhere so I decided to do a quick download of this one to my Nook so there was no delay in starting. Once I started reading it, I could see so many aspects of Caroline in it right away. It is a fascinating book about infant/baby/toddler sleep & sleep crutches/habits, but it doesn’t read like a textbook and I’ve actually enjoyed it. We started the “Sleep Lady Shuffle” last night which is basically a slow process of getting Caroline to self-soothe and not need us in the room with her in order to fall asleep. Days 1-3 involve putting her down drowsy but awake (not rocking her to sleep), but sitting next to her crib and patting her if necessary. If she gets really wound up, we are able to pick her up over the crib but need to put her back down once she is calm. We stay next to her crib until she falls asleep for the first three days, but every three days we move further away from the crib until eventually we are out of her room completely. In addition to trying this, we also said that we weren’t going to automatically go in & feed her when she cried (and usually with her first wakeup of the night, we would) because at this age, healthy babies can go 10 hours without a feeding.
Honestly, I was skeptical about how she would handle this but just like her move to the crib, she was surprisingly resilient. I definitely expected to be sitting in her room with her for HOURS while she fell asleep but it took less than 15 minutes. I kept patting her & saying, “shh, shh,” replacing her pacifier when she dropped it and letting her fuss a little bit. I sang to her, too, because she LOVES people singing to her. I never picked her up, I just let her know that I was there. Once she was asleep, she stayed asleep for almost 2 hours before waking again. It didn’t really surprise me because she loves sleeping on her tummy and she was on her back when she went to sleep this time around. Anyway, when she woke up (around 8:30), I went into her room & laid her on her belly and repeated what I’d done before. She snuggled into her little lovey and fell asleep within 5 minutes. She slept until 2:30am or so and then Brian went into her room for night-time soothing. She was a little harder to get back down this time & he had to go back in an additional time, but then she settled down without being rocked and without eating (and all before 3am!). She slept until almost 7am and woke up playing, so I’m deeming night 1 a success! Hopefully this will last & continue to get easier and easier.
Sometimes I think she is SO ready for things and we’re the ones holding her back. Like, maybe she’s been ready to self-soothe for a while, but we weren’t giving her the tools to do it and she was just waiting for us stupid adults to catch up to her. This book has already been a good reminder that she isn’t going to develop great sleeping habits on her own & that it’s up to us to help teach her. Audrey is a GREAT sleeper but it also came from tons of hard work on my end and Caroline is going to be the same!