My sweet little nugget just learned how to pull herself up to standing. She is incredibly pleased with herself and that two-toothed, mostly gummy little smile upon the accomplishment of standing always makes me feel just as pleased. What I do not feel thrilled about, however, is having to stumble into her room at 4am to help her lay back down because she is standing in her crib and can’t get down. Oh my little dear. This newly acquired skill has been docking our sleep at both nap and night time for a few days now but it does seem we are over the hump of it. And I feel like that was a very short time of dealing with this new skill when it comes to disturbed sleep. I believe a couple things are the cause of us passing through this growing pain rather unscathed.
First, Samara is super chill. I always say she has to be because she is the fourth. So, be it her birth order or her God-given personality or some magical combination of the two, my baby girl is rather relaxed. She is used to having to wait a hot minute to get what she wants and is certainly used to getting her needs met from any one of our family members when I am not able to stop what I’m doing. So for a slight disclaimer, I just wanted to mention that I do know she is a laid back babe!
Second, I don’t get too upset about much with her. Babies can feel when we are relaxed and when we are uptight. They can tell if we are freaking out when we rush into the room to help them in the middle of the night, if we are pretty frustrated, or if we are calm and collected. I was told that so often before I had my first baby as women passed on their advice and two cents to me. And I always remembered it. And tried with all my might to practice it. So, when I go in to help Samara get back down to continue her dreamy sleep, I always stay calm in order to help her relax.
Third, I remember that this is only a short season. In the larger picture of this little girl’s life, these few days (or few months, if that’s how it goes) are only a tiny blip on her timeline. That helps me keep this situation checked in reality. It will not last forever. She will sleep well again. Someday I will be kicking her out of bed so she can mow the lawn on Saturday morning or to get to school on time. This, right here, is a very short season.
Last, I keep to some of the rules I employ while sleep training.
- I do not pick her up out of her crib if I can help it. So, for the standing situation, she was pretty upset when I went in the other night. I leaned over and just hugged on her, rubbing her back and whispering to her until she calmed down and was no longer crying. I then took her hands and showed her she can lean back and sit down. Finally, I helped her lay down and covered her back up. I had to do that twice within thirty minutes or so.
- If I have to pick her up because she cannot calm down on her own or with my minimal touching, I pick her up for as short a period as possible. At one point during this little standing stunt milestone, she was very upset at nap time and couldn’t calm down. I picked her up and just stayed next to her crib gently rocking back and forth. I lean in close so she can smell me and feel my calming in and out breathing. I do this for just a few minutes longer than it takes her to calm down and then put her back down.
- I give her the opportunity to work things out. In the beginning, she would get very upset almost immediately. As she has had more practice outside of her crib, she gets less upset. And the last two times she has been fussing, she has sorted it out herself. I don’t have a video monitor so I can’t tell you exactly what is going on in the privacy of Samara’s crib, so whether she was standing and then got herself down or was just fussing for a few minutes before falling asleep, we will never know. However, giving babies a bit of time to work things out themselves is always beneficial. The less you interfere and the more you set them up to solve their own sleeping problems by being able to calm down by themselves, the easier the sleeping road will be for you both. I will note here that when this whole shenanigan was first going down and she got so upset right away, I went in rather quickly because I could tell she was very agitated by her cry. As I saw what was causing the problem and then helped her calm down as well as knew she was growing in her mastery of this skill, I knew I could start to stretch the time before going to her a little bit.
Well, there ya go! I hope that you’ll gain some useful tips to help you and baby get the sleep you both need even when those transition times of new milestones pop up! It is possible to continue on a great schedule and maintain your routines even while baby learns all his/her new skills. And thank goodness this is true because it seems there are constantly new skills and growth and we don’t want a lack of sleep to take the fun out of these new stages.