How to take advantage of a parent's absence to reset sleep habits?
June 14, 2012 7:50 AM Subscribe
My partner, who usually nurses our son to sleep, is leaving town for a week. How can I use this opportunity to work on my son's sleep habits?
posted by hought20 to human relations (27 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
My 11 and a half month old son, though he is perfect in every other way, isn't the best sleeper. Here is our usual routine: He takes a bath right after dinner, then we get him into his pajamas and read a few books to him (if he's in the mood for it and not cranky). Then my partner nurses him until he falls asleep, and she eventually co-sleeps with him and nurses him two or three times during the night. Sometimes, he doesn't fall asleep so well, but we seem to be mostly past that particular problem, as long as he only has one nap during the day.
He also goes into his bath cranky, almost every night. He seems to be getting tired right around the time we have dinner at 6:30ish, and he doesn't eat very well. He nurses right when he gets home from day care at 5-5:30ish.
We would like to get to a point where he can get to sleep on his own, and we would like it if he didn't nurse two or three times (or more, sometimes) during the night, because my partner is chronically sleep deprived. At this point, he doesn't physically need those feedings at all (though we worry he doesn't drink enough at day care). We would also like our evenings not to be so cranky.
Since my partner will be gone, this seems like a good opportunity to start working on these (related, probably) issues. I know it's not going to be easy, but my week probably isn't going to be easy, anyway, since I do not have the +1 Boobs of Sleep, and he's going to be out of sorts just because she's gone and I'll be the one sleeping in his room at night.
How do I do this? Should I have a strict schedule every night? Should I feed him dinner earlier? Should I read the same books to him each night, or do you think that matters? Should I chase him around the yard for an hour after we get home to wear him out? I'm sort of kidding, but I imagine there will be some park-going this week to make sure he's been outside a lot and is truly tired.
I guess I am looking for sleep training advice plus some general advice about how to get through our evenings in the best way possible and start dealing with the sleep issues plus crankiness (which I believe is from sleepiness). I imagine some of this will be resolved if I feed him earlier, but I am a little nervous about trying to get him to bed earlier, given that he's sometimes hard to get to sleep anyway. If he's inconsolable, I may just put him in his crib and sit next to it (I'm not sure I could leave the room).
Any help and advice is appreciated, particularly that targeted towards taking advantage of this week to reset some of his sleep habits. Thanks!