The blog reader with sleep questions that launched the longest blog post ever (see yesterday's entry) immediately had more questions about these tricky naps, and I don't blame her! I spent hours upon hours trying to finagle (love that word) every nuance having to do with sleep, just praying that at some point I would figure out the magic combination that would release the "sleeping like a baby" quality that I knew was somewhere inside that cute boy! So let's do it:
1. "Once you really started [sleep training] in earnest, how long did it take to get Jonah to really stick to a schedule with some consistency?"
Looking back, I'm pretty sure that it took about 3 weeks of hard-core training (probably from 6 or 7 weeks old until 10 weeks) before I was really comfortable with our schedule. That said, those three weeks were HARD. I would have to put Jonah down and then go outside on the porch to escape the crying. I would always take the video monitor out there with me, but I ALWAYS turned the volume all the way down and then I would just check on the screen every 5 minutes or so until he fell asleep. And then once he fell asleep, I would go back inside and make myself turn the monitor off until it got to be around the time I expected him to wake up. If you have a video monitor, you know that it is the best baby device ever, but you can also become obsessed with it (ahem... MOM) and want to look at it 24/7, and that's when it becomes a torture device.
2. "If Jonah is still asleep at feeding time, do you wake him up?"
NO! Do not wake up a sleeping baby. I'm sure others disagree, but unless you have to wake him up to go somewhere, I would leave him alone up to an hour past his usual wake up time. He might need some extra sleep that day! (The only exception for us was Jonah's last nap of the day... I would wake him up so that he would have some play time before he went down for good, or else he wouldn't be tired enough at bed time.)
3. "Did you ever have issues with Jonah refusing to nap/waking up early from a nap (where letting him cry it out or crying himself back to sleep didn't work)?"
This definitely happened about once a week for about a month for us. I hated those days. I would leave him for about 30 minutes to cry, and then I would go in and rock him for a few minutes, patting his back. Jonah really struggled with needing to burp badly but not being able to get it out. Once I realized that, I would always pat his back while I rocked him/walked around/etc. hoping that he would burp. I did not rock him long enough to rock him to sleep. I always make a habit of putting him down in his crib awake. He would almost always settle down after he burped. Every so often when he would have a particularly difficult time, I would wait 30 minutes, go in to check on him (make sure there's no dirty diaper!), wait another 30 minutes, and if he was still crying, I would usually call it quits and go get him, hoping for a better result at the next nap time. This might sound weird, but a few times that this happened, I picked him up and laid on the couch with him and he would fall asleep on top of me. I never wanted to make a habit of that, but it was precious hours were so sweet. I have a friend who has nerves of steel and is an AMAZING mother (you know who you are!), who refused to go into her children's room during nap time unless she knew something was really wrong (dirty diaper, sick, etc.). Anyway, I used to call her when Jonah would have a rough nap time and she would encourage me to tough it out! Now I have her voice in my head telling myself to be strong when I need it. :)
I'm sorry if any of this seems harsh. I love and adore this baby with every cell of my being, and I believe that this is all out of love. I feel like sleep training is one of the first ways we can guide and direct our children. Jonah now knows without a doubt how to fall asleep on his own, that the crib is for sleeping, and that Mommy will come and get him when nap time is over. That being said, these are all just my opinions. Bottom line is that BABIES NEED SLEEP AND LOTS OF IT!!!