Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The future of sleep

I'm about to invite the karma gods to rain down on my head but I have a not-so-secret confession to make: Cameron is an excellent sleeper. How exactly did we arrive at a 14 month old who sleeps 12+ hours a night? Let me share my secrets:
  • I tracked her sleep/wake/fussy patterns starting at 8 weeks old for about a month. This allowed me to visually understand her patterns and be able to adjust her feeding/nap schedule appropriately.
  • Swaddling. We swaddled for about 6 months until we started CIO. The super swaddle was the only thing that allowed us to keep her in a burrito shape.
  • Consistent bedtime. Need I say more? Cameron is in bed between 6:30-7 PM depending on how well she naps at school. We also have a consistent routine with bathing every other night, music, book and bed.
  • We did CIO when Cameron was 6 months old. I know that some people don't like CIO for various reasons but I am convinced it was a key step in teaching her how to fall back asleep on her own.
  • Medicate early and often. I can count on one hand the number of times we've had to console Cameron during the night and they all point to illness or teething. Motrin is my friend and if there are signs of teething I will give her some before bed. I don't want to be in pain so I assume she doesn't either!
  • Good naps. It's totally true. A good napper is a good night time sleeper. We have irregularly gone down to one nap a day (always at daycare but sometimes on the weekend). She spends that nap in her crib with the shades and curtains drawn and the fan and humidifier on. I'm a light sleeper so I always assume everyone else is too. The white noise helps ensure a 2+ hour nap.
  • Read, read, read. I searched other people's blogs, I read "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child" and I posed questions via my own blog for advice. I didn't have to experiment with many techniques, fortunately. CIO worked for us in about 4 days. I also felt no major guilt over CIO. I know my mom did it with us (how could you not with triplets?!?) and I love to sleep.
  • Genetics. See above. I love to sleep. I can nap and still go to bed at the same time. This must play a roll in my child's capacity for sleep.

I am curious about how long our luck will hold out. I plan on keeping Cameron in a sleep sack until she can't fit in it any more to avoid attempts to climb out of her crib. Thanks to Goddess In Progress for that suggestion. I'm sure once we transition her into a "big girl" bed that sleep interruptions will be more frequent.

As your kids have gotten older did you find that their sleeping patterns changed drastically? Any particular stages for us to be aware of? In July Cameron will be sharing a room with her almost two year old cousins. They are twins and hence used to noise from each other during the night. I am a bit worried that Cameron will wake up more frequently and not be able to fall back to sleep. But I guess we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.


A. said...

Watching her patterns, doing CIO, etc - they all make you FEEL like you are doing something, but the bottom line is probably that Cameron was just born a good sleeper. You got lucky!

Nicole S. said...

at 18 months my kids sleep is still very consistent and easy. My bet is that, since Cameron is a good sleeper and has a good routine already, this will continue to be the case for her until at least three. I base this comment on other people's almost three year olds who have always been good sleepers. I'm hoping my kids follow suit as well. :)

LauraC said...

I have to agree with A! I think genetics is the biggest factor.

Nate is a champ sleeper. Sleeps 12+ hours, always has. Did not wake for 3+ years except for fevers or vomiting.

Alex is a light sleeper. He is up at least once a week for something. He went through every sleep regression exactly on schedule. Every milestone affected his sleep.

We did everything on your list "by the book" and they have completely different sleep needs and habits.

Rebecca M. said...

I think genetics plays a large part - but not just sleep habbits, but more or personality traits.

My little guy, Dominick, is just like Cameron - he's a GREAT sleeper, 12+ hours a night, 1 to 2 long naps a day. In bed by 6:30/7 with a set routine. I don't get when parents put their babies down for the night at 9 or 10...

I'd like to think that my conditioning and sleep training helped - maybe it did.

If there's going to be another baby, I'll do the same things all over again HOPING for the same result.

Doesn't hurt to try!

Mommy, Esq. said...

We've found getting them to bed a little harder as they get older. Just wait until you go to one nap - that can be challenging. We should do white noise for their shared room - do you have something you can bring? I hope it is genetics so I get another great sleeper!

smile steady said...

I'm so jealous! I'd LOVE to sleep 12 hours a night (or even 8), and I don't even have any kids yet! Maybe I should have my husband swaddle me?


Danielle said...

I have to agree with others and say that her personality and genetics are probably the biggest factors. B is an ok sleeper now, but he just doesn't need as much sleep as other kids. He is perfect on 10 hours at night and 1.5-2 during nap.
It's annoying for me, but it's just the way it is. He takes after his dad. E can sleep 6.5 hours a night and be a-ok. Always been like that. He routinely gets up at 5:15 to go to the gym. I, on the other hand, need to sleep until at least 7:00 to be moderately functional. Both E and I have had problems with insomnia throughout our lives.
Whenever I find myself getting frustrated with B's sleeping. I remind myself that I have the same problem and how can I expect him to just sleep all night every night. I've had 31 years of practice and still can't do it. Plus I have someone else in bed with me to comfort me and he's all alone.
Be happy you got one of those magical sleeping babies. I'm praying that I might get one of those if we find the courage to do this again;)