Wednesday, December 27, 2006

55 Minutes of Hell

[Updated 9:30pm] Though I'm biased and have little to compare her to, I think that all things considered, Emelia is a pretty easy baby. That being said, like all babies, she has sleep issues. I'm not talking about sleeping through the night (though that would be nice). The biggest problem sleepwise that she has is that other than occasionally falling asleep in her swing or during a long car ride, Emelia doesn't fall sleep unless she's being held or fed (in which case she's also sort of being held). We believe this is a problem, but we've been reluctant to do anything about it because we don't like her crying when she doesn't have to.

On Saturday night, I got Emelia to sleep about 2 hours after the getting her to sleep process had started (though I succeeded, it was Kathy who had been put in most of the time trying), but when I put her down, she awoke and started crying. Frustrated as I was, I decided that right then and there, we would let her "cry herself out," and fall to sleep on her own. After several minutes of this, with no sign that Emelia would be letting up anytime soon, Kathy interceded, because Friday night had been a late night and her folks needed sleep. So I rocked her to sleep again, she woke up again shortly after I put her down, and Kathy got her to sleep about an hour after that.

Yesterday, during the daytime, we decided to try putting Emelia down when she clearly was in need of a nap but wasn't asleep. When we put her down, she cried almost immediately, and continued for about 25 minutes. Then she quieted down, and stayed quiet for about five minutes before she resumed crying. Kathy and I were clueless about how long we should let her be on her own, and got increasingly concerned. But Kathy's Dad seemed comfortable with leaving her alone, and neither of us wanted to be the one to give in. After another 25 minutes, however, I caved, and got her down. She had kicked all her covers off, and she seemed quite shaken. She also seemed somewhat hoarse, though that might have been my imagination. It took a few hours before she seemed her usual self, but by nighttime she seemed in good spirits again, ready to stay up as usual.

So we're not sure where to go from here. Do we try again, for as long or longer? Do we try today or let a few days go by? Did we wait too long to begin "weaning" her from being held to sleep, and now will have to wait months before we can try again? Honestly we have no idea. In the meantime, however, here's a picture from Christmas Day, while she was in the kitchen as the turkey dinner was being prepared.

Kathy went up this afternoon and put an overtired Emelia down. Kathy stayed in the room to shake the crib, to let Emelia know she was there (consistent with Rebecca's suggestion in the comments). Emelia never cried, and after 15 minutes or so, went to sleep. Seems like there's hope, which is something good to keep in mind given that Emelia's wide awake right now and shows little sign of wanting to go to bed in the next couple of hours.