We are now a week and a day into our new sleep routines with Lewis! I am amazed at how great it is going, and definitely will not be going back to our previous “bad habits.” Yesterday I finally put his bouncy seat away in the closet, something I should have done months ago since he has been too big for it for a while.
He is doing really great with both bedtime and naps in his crib. Sometimes he clings to me a bit or fusses as I put him in, but just as often he has been going into the crib without a complaint. Sometimes he will cry for a minute or two, but it is not distressed crying. Since crying is one of his only ways of “talking” and communicating still, I equate this complaining cry to what will later be him saying “Mommmy! I’m hungry! Can I have a glass of water? I need to go pee!” and whatever other stalling tactics kids use when it is time for a nap/bed. He is tired and knows it, but of course wants to delay and get just a few extra minutes with mommy if he can. He has been falling asleep within ten minutes pretty much every time he is put down, and with minimal fussing. The one time that he actually cried for an extended period and sounded distressed I went to him after ten minutes and found that his diaper had leaked and his clothes were wet, so obviously that time he was really trying to communicate a problem to me and I could hear it in his “voice.”
He has been doing well with night times, although he does still wake frequently. Most nights he has been waking 4-6 times, which does seem like a lot. Chris’ sleep has been a little more interrupted with the frequent wakings, but for me it still feels like a great improvement. Yes, he is up frequently, but each time is only for 5-10 minutes to nurse and he goes easily back into the crib, and I am able to sleep in my own bed in between. Huge improvement to being out of bed for an hour or more with each waking and finally falling asleep exhausted on the couch with a baby in my arms.
For now I plan to continue getting up with him each time he wakes and nursing if he wants or just snuggling enough to relax again and go back into the crib. I figure I should give him a few weeks to really get used to putting himself to sleep, and then maybe move on to learning to settle back to sleep in the night if the night wakings are still very frequent. Maybe as he continues to adjust to this he will naturally adjust to sleeping a bit longer and only wake a few times in the night. (I would expect that 2-3 times to wake up and nurse should be plenty for him, but I guess for now he wakes for extra comfort as well since he had been used to spending most of the night in my arms.)
I am so happy with how well this is going, and still feeling super proud of my big boy.