Sunday, July 25, 2010

Limp Limb

When Clara was about two months old, we started a bedtime routine:
  • 7:00pm - feeding
  • 8:00pm - bath; followed by diapering, baby oil, pjs, swaddling, lullaby
For the first 2 weeks of this routine, Alan or I would then walk her around the house, sway with her in our arms, etc until her pacifier fell out of her mouth and she fell asleep.  We discovered that, if we put her down too soon, she would wake, and we'd have to start the walking routine again or "babysit her pacifier" (read "Thump") while she was in her crib.

We finally realized that we weren't waiting long enough.  She needed to have "limp limb" before we put her in her crib. 


1st:
  • Sway, walk, rock, nurse her to sleep until pacifier falls out.
2nd:
  • Her eyes are close completely, but her eyelids continue to flutter and her breathing is still irregular. 
  • Her hands and limbs are flexed or will jerk if we try to move them, and she will startle, twitch, and show fleeting smiles, called "sleep grins." 
  • She continues a flutter-like sucking even without the pacifier (so we hope - sometimes it being gone is enough to wake her up). 
3rd: (and this was the new part)
  • Continue this ritual about twenty more minutes!!!! 
  • Grimaces and twitches stop; her breathing becomes more regular and shallow; her muscles completely relax. 
  • Her fisted hands unfold and her arms and limbs dangle weightlessly. This is what Dr. Sears calls - the "limp-limb" sign of deep sleep.
Well, he was right.  Sure enough, we just needed to wait longer and she would go straight into bed.  At this point, we weren't too worried about instilling bad habits as we still consider her in the "un-spoilable" age-range until she hits 4 months.  But we do believe in establishing a routine (bath, etc) which has served us really well so far!

The trouble became the waiting for 20 minutes!  Walking her to get her through the first two phases is back breaking and then to have to stay upright for 20 more minutes became too difficult. We quickly forgot about waiting the 20 minutes and have moved onto new routines knowing that we can't let her get dependent on that in the long run

...PLUS she always wakes between this cycle and the one that will start a short 45 minutes later.  And we just hope a pacifier will knock her back into a state of comfort and security and that she will quickly slip into the next cycle and stay asleep for the night.

Sound cyclical?  I'm sitting her wondering if this is the last cycle right now as I hear her cry while Alan tries to soothe her between cycles.

1 comment:

LSD_Dunigan said...

Ansley also would sleep about 45 minutes and then cry awake. It took some time to train me from getting her up and just letting her go back to sleep. I hate hearing their distressful cries! So sad!
It's amazing how parallel your experiences are with my own with Ansley. I don't want to sound like the annoying mother, "oh my gosh! that's JUST like my Ansley!" We want to believe our babies are different. But just as dr. sears knows when she's out like a light, most mothers do too. (although, i'm not a mother yet. just wish i were;) tee hee)

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