Thursday, July 9, 2015

Little Steps Program by City of Monash

I thought I should make a blog about our sleeping journey, although I must say it is pretty common, the troubles we are having.

Newborn, high maintenance baby, needing to be rocked or nursed to sleep, would not be put down in the cot, asleep or awake or drowsy, sleeps on parents' chest or lap, wakes up when you stop rocking, finally falls asleep and wakes up when she hears a noise and starts looking around being very distracted. On top of that, a toddler that barges in every time the baby sleeps, waking the baby up.

The deadline, going back to work at 5months post baby, so would need a routine and to be able to put baby down asleep, so 1 adult could care for 2 kids- a toddler and a 5month old, and cook.

So, at 3months, a musical mobile went up in the cot, baby C was enjoying time awake in the cot. We put her as often as possible on the floor and in the rocking chair, so she enjoys time apart.

Our eat-play-sleep routine became eat-play-eat to sleep routine. And then sleeping on the lap. And if I so much as sneezed, the baby woke up! Gosh, that's not refreshing sleep at all.

After reading a tweddle book (borrowed from the library), I had some quiet time before a nap, put her down, set my timer when I started my 'comforting' to her crying, but never seemed to get her any quieter in 15 mins anyway, so picked her up. I couldn't bear another 15 mins of heart wrenching crying, so toughed it out to 5mins the next few times with no avail. Maybe she's not developmentally ready, I thought, so gave up.

Picked up Elizabeth Pantley's book and thought I would at least use some techniques here. Repeatedly detach the nursing baby! Don't wait till the nipple falls out of their mouth. Try to create more than 1 sleep association. Put baby down!

Read divinity domestic blog about her Masada experience, and realised a dark room and a snug tucked in blanket was essential, so started to implement that too.

So the baby sleeps in her under-used cot for a grand total of 4 times x 15-20 mins after all this.

Come our 4month maternal child health nurse wellness visit, and our dear nurse broaches on the topic of sleep. At this point I was thinking or dreaming about Masada and whether I should give it a try. Our dear nurse makes a referral to Little Steps program and that afternoon I get a phone call from Natasha to say that they had a late cancellation, and they could have us in that Wednesday. Godsend!

There are 3 rooms, with 3 families and 2 nurses. They take turns getting to know the babies and families and showing us how to settle the babies down to sleep.

The things I learnt were:
-that the tired cues happen so early on and subtly and I had always missed them. My baby C was tugging her clothes and gazing away, mixed in with being engaged and smiling. No wonder the term 'tired cues' not 'tired signs'. By the time the cues are there all the time, they become tired signs and she is already too tired. The more tired she is, the harder it is for her to settle, the longer she was going to have to cry it out.
-settling was not about 1patting technique for 5mins. It is a variety of techniques used to see which one calmed her down. I don't have to pat her to sleep, I'm only patting her to calm down, and then I let her find her own way into sleep.
-being very firm about sleep. Sending the message that 'it's time for sleep' and persisting at it for a while.

It was very helpful to see a skilled nurse do the steps and see that baby C (and all the other babies) managed to settle and sleep in the cot. It gave me confidence that baby C was ready to learn this self soothing steps. I was now equipped with the knowledge and short experience of being able to help baby C in this learning.

Day 1 at home yielded all the day sleeps in the cot, we managed a second sleep cycle with minimal patting, then we managed a sleep with no patting (she did it all on her own), and a long sleep of 4hours (she has never slept independently for 4hours before, ever).

Today is day 2, and I'm hoping things would go a similar way. :)

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