Yesterday was supposed to be a log day. I totally forgot to do it and it's probably just as well. Last night was awful. Quinn has had a tummy bug of some sort and his teeth keep bothering him off and on. I wouldn't believe that they're STILL bothering him, but the fact that he'll suddenly start drooling like a fountain and start grabbing at his teeth (the last two that are coming in) and then settle down when we give him teething gel is enough to convince me. I can't believe that we still aren't past this! It's been 4 months...this is crazy.
But I know teething will be over very, very soon, so it's time to step up our game again. We've been in a holding pattern and it's time to start adding or changing what we've been doing to gently push Quinn to sleep better. We've generally be in good habits, but not completely, so it's time to evaluate what might be keeping us from progress and commit to the new plan.
*Pulling out the book that I haven't looked at for 3 months*
Things that might be keeping us from full success (though we've seen plenty of positive change over these last few months, just not more sleep!):
1. Teething--Yep, we've got this issue.
2. Separation anxiety--Quinn definitely has this issue, but I'm not sure if it's part of his nighttime wakings. Most of the ideas Pantley offers for helping this issue are things we already do.
3. Developmental milestones or growth spurts-- Quinn has gone through several of these and recently seems to be having another developmental spurt. The way he interacts with the world seems to have changed a bit.
4. General illness and discomfort-- Comes and goes, of course. We've figured out several foods that we avoid at dinner time because they give Quinn tummy troubles. Common colds, though, we just can't avoid. Thankfully, the sickness season is almost over.
Most of these will pass with time, but we do work to minimize his discomfort. There are 4 or 5 other items that Pantley suggests as issues, but those don't apply to us.
Some other issues that I believe are impeding good sleep:
1. Putting Quinn back to bed every single time is a lot of work. I want him to sleep longer lengths of time without me, but he's still getting used to not having me next to him. Most nights, it's way easier for me to just lay down with him and sleep. It helps him and it helps me a bit. However, in the long term, it's not helping either of us. I don't sleep deeply when next to him and he wakes more frequently because he wants to nurse. But on nights when he's decided he doesn't want to sleep without me, it's hard to be getting in and out of bed every 15 minutes for hours on end when I just want to sleep. I think part of the solution to this might be having Wil put Quinn back in bed, but usually that ends in wailing and gnashing of teeth. *sigh*
2. Lack of a clear difference between naptime and bedtime. I'm debating how to accomplish a clear differentiation between these two events so that Quinn gets the cue to go back to sleep at night. I'm not sure how much difference is necessary, but I assume it varies from child to child.
3. Lack of understanding of our expectations. Perhaps Quinn doesn't understand that we want him to go back to sleep at night. I've told him, but maybe telling him isn't the right way. Pantley suggests making a sleepy-time story book featuring photos of the child. Maybe a more visual explanation would help Quinn. I have my doubts, but I think I'm willing to try it.
4. Nighttime nursings. Quinn loves the comfort of nursing. I'm doubtful that he still needs the nutrition at night, though he does actively nurse for 3-4 minutes when he wakes at night, but I think he's dependent upon that bit of cuddle time to help himself relax back to sleep. He has a lovey that he loves, he has pacifiers that he loves, but nothing can substitute for mommy's yum-yums. I am slowly trying to reduce the length of nighttime nursings, but this is a long process. I'm hoping that once teething pain is completely gone, he won't be as dependent upon the nursing to go back to sleep.
5. I'm just plain tired. It's hard to change things when you're exhausted, especially when those changes will make things worse before they get better. Part of me is still waiting on the teeth, but it's time to bite the bullet and start working on these things again.
That's all. Just troubleshooting and brainstorming ideas on how to move forward.