The Battle's Won!

I am so happy to announce that the sleep war seems to have ended (I’m oh-so-scared to even type that for fear of “jinxing” ourselves)!  Riley has been back to her good, night-sleeping self for a little while now!  Then, to make matters even better, she has been taking great naps on her own since Saturday. 

We were so happy that Riley was a good sleeper from day one.  Right when we were starting to feel confident that she’d be sleeping through the night for the rest of her life, three months happened.  With that came a huge growth spurt, the ability to roll over, the necessity to stop swaddling, and an urge to fight sleep with all of her three month old might.

Now, I’m obviously no sleep expert (or else the battle would have never started), but there are several things that we did that really seemed to help Riley get her sleep habits back on track.  The nighttime routine has been in place since week 2.  The naptime routine was started three weeks ago tomorrow. 

At night, we always do the same exact thing.  I give Riley a bath around 7:45, dry her off with the hair dryer (she LOVES this), put on lotion, put on her jammies, nurse her, and put her to bed awake (ALWAYS awake).  She’s in bed by 8 p.m. every night except Thursdays. 

For naps, we change her diaper, read 2 books and rock, turn on white noise, and lay her down in her crib awake.  Here’s where the tricky part started.  To put herself to sleep, Riley would fuss for a few minutes before each nap.  She still does this at times.  I would go in if it turned into full on cries, but let her learn to put herself to sleep while she fussed a little bit. 

Once she was finally asleep, she would generally wake up around 20 minutes into a nap.  So, I used Dr. Google to diagnose the problem.  I got wonderful information from babywhispererforums.com.  Babies sleep cycles are weird.  Around 25 to 30 minutes into a nap, Riley would startle and wake herself up every nap.  So, per suggestion of the ladies on the website, I sat by her crib and when she started to stir, I would firmly put my hands on her arms and legs.  This is called holding through the jolts (HTTJ).  If I caught it in time, she would stay asleep.  If I missed my window, she would wake up still tired and fighting sleep even harder than before.  So… I faithfully sat by her crib waiting for the first little stir. 

For two and a half weeks, I sat by her crib for EVERY nap and held her as she stirred.  I was scared that I would be doing this until she started kindergarten, but I stuck with it.  Then, I gradually had to hold her less and less.  After two and a half weeks of HTTJ, I’m thrilled to tell you she’s able to get herself through to the next sleep cycle!  She has consistently napped at least one and a half hours since Saturday.  I cannot begin to tell you how much happier Riley is!  I also have to admit that I’m much happier, too!  I need a little bit of time to get things done around the house, and I’m much happier doing it while Riley’s napping.  I hate wasting quality “awake time” on stuff I can do while she’s sleeping. 

So… I know no one else cares about all this, but I want to remember all the little details about Riley’s infancy.  Plus, who knows, maybe it’ll help somebody else one day.  

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