Thursday, September 1, 2011

Studying His Sleep

Declan has been asleep for 2 1/2 hours for his 2nd "morning" nap (which has now spilled over to afternoon) now.  Considering 98% of his naps are 30-40 minutes long (I think with only one other exception) - this is weird!  A part of me wonders if he's okay (I have checked on him twice in the last 30 minutes) but he's fine - still breathing!  He's going to be one happy - and hungry - kid when he wakes up, which I'm looking forward to... I miss him!

I've been keeping a sleep log for him since August 10th when I started enforcing naps every 2 hours, and I have used part of the time he's been asleep today to put it in a spreadsheet.  Looking at it all together has helped me to see patterns emerge, and also to help me see how we've improved - little by little - over the past 20 days.

There hasn't been a drastic change, but the biggest thing I am able to see is his natural sleep rhythm.

Wake Up:  7:00 - 8:00am
Morning Nap #1: 9:00am (average duration 75 minutes, most often 1 hour though)
Morning Nap #2:  12:00pm (average duration 50 minutes, most often 30 minutes).  On day 16 he slept for 2 1/2 hours and today (Day 22) he is going on 3 hours for this nap.  Weird.
Afternoon Nap #1: 3:00pm (average duration 50 minutes, but most often 30 minutes).
Afternoon Nap #2: 5:20pm (average duration 35 minutes, most often 30). 
Evening Nap: 7:30pm (average duration 50 minutes, most often 45).
Bedtime: 10:30pm
Night Wake Ups: If his bedtime is between 9 and 10, he will usually wake up twice (around 1am and again at around 5:30am).  If his bedtime is between 10 and 11, he'll just wake up once (around 4 or 5am).  If his bedtime is after 11, he'll wake up around 3:30am and have a rough morning - probably waking again before morning wake up and maybe sleeping fitfully.

There have been a couple of wonderful nights that stand out.  On Day 15 he went to bed at 10:30 and slept until 7:30am (!!!), and on Day 20, he went to bed at 9:30 and slept until 5:00am.  Day 15 though had only one morning nap, and I think we swaddled him and gave him formula that night.  He was probably fussy a lot and hard to deal with that day.  Day 20 was much more ideal - he took 4 of the naps and was much happier in his waking time.

I can't believe he is still asleep for his nap.  When I go in to check on him, he has had his eyes open a couple of times, looking around quietly, but will shut them back again and fall back to sleep.  Maybe he's having a growth spurt???  He will have been asleep for 4 hours pretty soon.  I often worry when he does have abnormally long sleep, thinking I have bundled him too warm or that he will have trouble sleeping tonight.  But I remind myself that sleep is important and sometimes difficult to get, so I let him be and it has always made for a happy waker... I can't wait to play with him when he gets up!

A few quick things we've learned to help him sleep:
• Start the soothing routine 1 to 2 hours after previous wake up
• Have a pacifier handy
• Swaddling
• Rocking
• Singing (the same song or two every time)
• Letting him cry for up to 30 minutes and checking on him every 10.  If he's still awake and crying after 30, I assess if he's hungry again and if not I rock him some more
• Soothe until he's drowsy - not asleep - and put him in bed.  This used to work with no crying, but he has started to figure out our plan and fights it... hence the addition of the "let cry" method into our routine
• Giving him a few ounces of warm formula (helps him to sleep longer... sometimes)
• Daddy magic - Ryan sings to him and holds him tight while rocking and swaddling.
• Taking him for walks or swimming in the evening to wear him out.  Also making him use his muscles like with tummy time or moving his arms and legs and other exercises to physically wear him out.

He was even smaller once - proof that he won't be little forever!
Putting him to bed is not my favorite thing - it's usually a struggle and I just want one thing to work every time so I don't have to think about it so much!  But when I'm rocking him and waiting for those little eyes to go from wide-awake to half-shut, I try to just imagine him getting bigger and not being able to hold him.  Thanks to moms who have gone before me and advised not to take this time for granted, I snuggle him closer and enjoy where we're at right now.