Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Axe Files

It’s been a bit since I’ve written an "all Axe" post. As you might imagine, things are changing rapidly… in fact, he borrowed the car this weekend for his first date!

Okay, that’s an exaggeration, but not by much.

We’ve had a number of firsts in the past month (fortunately driving and dating aren’t among them), including sitting up and man-handling the bottle by himself.

But by my estimation the most important first his was the move to his own room.

Yes, at six months he was still sleeping in our room.

And not sleeping through the night.

When your baby is not sleeping through the night AND in your bedroom, you tend to do whatever it takes to get them back to sleep. In Axe’s case, we would bring him to bed, feed him, and let him sleep with us.

As you might imagine, this quickly became a habit. A bad habit.

From the get-go, Axe would wake up once or twice a night. The first time, we’d feed him and put him back in the co-sleeper. He’d wake up a second time, we’d bring him to bed and sometimes he’d sleep, usually with me. Sometimes on my chest, other times curled up against me.

If he didn’t sleep – which was as often as not – Axe had a one man party. And I was the chaperone.

I’d love to say that we kept him in our room because we wanted to. But that’s not the truth. The truth is I was lazy about setting up his room. We realized spoiling the boy was not doing him any favors.

So last month I finished his room and he moved in. In the movies, this is the point where we all lived happily ever after, sleeping comfortably through the night. But such was not the case.

He continued to complain and we continued to answer to his beck and call. So we decided on a plan.

The plan was to stop being at his beckon. He was fed, warm, clean, and safe. Axe was complaining just to get attention.

So here we are at week two of “The Plan” and already we’ve noticed a big improvement. When Axe gets up, we feed him in his room, in the dark. And he usually falls right back asleep. If he doesn’t, he cries it out.

So here’s the plan – we put him down for the evening at a specific time. If he cries, he cries for 10 minutes the first time. At the end of 10 minutes, one of us goes into his room, comforts him (no more than five minutes) and puts him back in his crib. If he cries again, we wait 15 minutes and repeat the process.

So far we haven’t had to go beyond the second 15 minutes. And he’s getting used to his crib/room. I’m sure we’ll have him on the same schedule as his sister in no time – in bed by 7pm, awake no later than 6:30am.

At least that's the movie ending.


Anonymous Beth said...

Grizzy and I loved "Mad About You," and they did an episode in real time, with NO commercials, where they were doing just this, to get their baby to go to sleep on her own. It was funny and wrenching all at the same time.

When our daughter was born we were already so old that we knew not to start any habits that would be hard to break, so we never did the family bed thing. She slept in a cradle in our room until she was nine months old, because she was really too tiny for a big crib, and then moved her to her room and the big crib. We never rocked her to sleep at night, but made sure she got lots of hugs and snuggles and such throughout the day; we put her to bed when it was bedtime and from the beginning she learned to put herself to sleep. When she needed night feeding, as you said, we fed in the dark and did not speak to her--held her close and loved her plenty but didn't encourage further wakening.

Oh! and one other thing....when lifting her up from the crib we dropped a heating pad in it and covered it with her quilt. When she went back into it, the pad came out and she went down into the warm spot, covered with the warm blanket and she was OUT.

Axe is beautiful, so big, so healthy and strong. You and P. Pie are wonderful parents.

1/12/2009 6:48 PM  

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