Breaking The Habit

Mila never really wanted to be in our bedroom and for that, I’m thankful. At about 2 weeks-old, Mila fussed until I moved her from the little cradle next to my side of the bed into her crib. Once in her crib, she gave me no problems. I think it goes back to her not liking to be strapped or confined into anything. Either way, I’m happy that wasn’t a problem. Getting her to sleep, on the other hand…

It’s been one week since I started an attempt at breaking Mila of her sleeping habits. She’s used to getting a bath, a bottle and then being rocked to sleep before she goes into her crib. Her naps are sporadic and are usually on the couch or on us. Now that Mila rolls over very easily, we can’t just lay her on the couch and walk away.

I’ve written about it briefly before: Mila doesn’t like to nap, especially in her crib. Since last Saturday, (March 25), I’ve been trying to get her to nap in her crib or in the pack n play downstairs.

Licking the pack n play. Guess it's better than screaming!

I’ve also been trying to get her to sleep at night without rocking her. I don’t want a 7-year-old that I still have to rock to sleep!

So, I read an article about breaking sleeping habits and decided to put it to the test. First, and foremost, I had a lot of convincing to do to get my husband on the same page. His biggest offense: holding Mila while she napped. He would spend an hour or more sitting on the couch holding her while she slept. BIG no-no.

Next, I tried the crib for naps. I already have heavy curtains on the window to block the sunlight and I put on her radio, since we usually have this on at nighttime, too. I rocked her just enough to calm her down, then laid her in her crib. She, of course, cried and fussed because it wasn’t bedtime, darn-it! I soothed her for a bit, then left the room.

The hardest part with this tactic is letting her cry. She got hysterical and attempted to climb out of the crib, using her bumpers to lift herself. As a new mother and never having experienced this before, I was a little freaked out.

After 5 minutes, I came back in, soothed her and tried again. This went on so often that I finally gave up and brought her back downstairs.

Mila 1, Mom 0.

That night, I gave Mila her bottle then rocked her for just a bit while I burped her. Once she was good, I put her in her crib. She screamed, I soothed, then after 5 minutes, I left. I let her cry for 5 minutes, then came back in and soothed her. I did this, on the first night, 3 times until she finally fell asleep.

The next night, I did this routine and re-entered her room twice until she fell asleep. On the third night, I didn’t even have to go back in! I didn’t want to jinx this, so I kept the results quiet. As the days went on, I have not had to go back in to calm Mila and in fact, she’s getting to sleep faster and calmed down within 3 or 4 minutes instead of 5. I was shocked. I think she’s just so tired come 8pm that she doesn’t have the energy to fight sleep. She may cry a little after I first leave the room, but she’s asleep after only a minute or two.

Mila 1, Mom 1

On the nap front, however, we’re still working on that. Dan has gotten Mila to nap most often in her pack n play. I’m ok with that. He’s also getting her used to it by letting her play in there. She even fell asleep on her own one day!

I’m excited this is going so well and I really hope I don’t jinx it now!

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