Friday, October 1, 2010

Swing Transition: Day One

Because I have spent so much time Googling for stories from other people who have transitioned their babies from a swing to a crib, I figured I would try to blog about our transition.

We started putting Lillian in the swing for naps and at night time when she was about four weeks old. She had colic and acid reflux and was resisting the crib and pack n' play more and more. But that swing would put her right to sleep, and all the books said to do whatever works in the first few months. The swing saved our sanity! However, now the colic is over and her reflux medications seem to be helping, and she is four months old, so it's time she start sleeping in her crib. Plus, as I learned that this is the time when bad habits really start getting ingrained, and because she will stay asleep with the swing off, will fall asleep without movement if she is nursing, and has occasionally fallen asleep in the swing without it moving, I really think we need to jump on this now!

Her pediatrician really stressed this at our four month appointment. She said she would definitely recommend we chose a cry-it-out (CIO) method if it weren't for Lillian's reflux - she is slightly concerned Lillian may swallow a lot of air while crying and that would make her reflux worse, but she was more concerned about Lillian staying in the swing. I was also concerned that Lillian may still be a little too young for CIO because we tried to put her in the crib the other day and she screamed until she was choking :( I have both the Ferber and Weissbluth books, which both say four months is when you can start trying CIO. But, Ferber does say that it may better to wait until five months if the sleep problems are not severe. And, as Lillian only needs to swing to fall asleep, not to stay asleep, I don't think we fall into the "severe" category at this time.

The pediatrician recommended we try the Baby Wisperer method, which is a kind-of a comprimise between CIO and "No-Cry." And I just happen to have the book, so I decided to give it a try. Basically, the plan is to transition her in steps, taking each step about three days at a time, and to comfort Lillian if she starts hysterically crying.

Here are the steps I am considering:

Currently Lillian falls asleep with the swing on and a blowdryer blasting. Last week we, (Greg and I), tried turning the swing off once she was asleep, and it didn't affect her sleep AT ALL. It may have helped her sleep longer, because she had an eight our stretch for the first time the other night! I also developed a naptime routine that consists of going into the room, singing a lullaby (the same one each time), closing the curtains, turning on the fan, and putting her in the swing. When she wakes up, I open the blinds, turn off the fan, sing a different, upbeat song, and pick her up.

Now we are trying to get her to fall asleep in the swing without it moving. If she fusses we ignore her, but if her crying escalates, we go in the room and manually push the swing or pat her. Once she is calm (but not asleep), we walk out of the room and let the swing slowly stop moving.

Once she can fall asleep without the swing moving, we'll move on to the next step. I don't know if we should jump straight to the pack n' play or try putting her in her car seat first (because the positioning is similar to the swing) and put the car seat in the pack n' play.

So, here's how Day One went:

Her first three naps were kind-of failed attempts: Nap 1 - she cried for 30 minutes, then it was time to eat and she fell asleep nursing. Naps 2 & 3 - she cried and I kept pushing the swing to calm her down and she fell asleep when the swing was still slightly moving.

I was down to business for her 4th nap - I pushed the swing to calm her down, but I stopped it, (not abruptly), before she fell asleep. This meant more crying every time the swing stopped. And screaming. There was lots of screaming. So I sat there and patted her, but she didn't seem to give a rat's ass that I was there and she just kept screaming. So I tried leaving the room and she calmed down, fussed a little, calmed down, fussed a little, and then fell asleep. The whole process took 45 minutes. After 20 minutes of sleeping, she woke up crying, so I turned the blow dryer on and she went back to sleep. The exact same thing happened 15 minutes later. And then she slept another 45 minutes before waking up happy.

At bedtime I was prepared to just nurse her to sleep - the pediatrician said to start with naps and worry about bedtime later. But, she was too tired and fussy to really nurse, so I just put her in the swing without it moving, turned on the blow dryer, and walked out of the room. I watched her on the video monitor as she played with her feet, sucked on her hands, tossed her head around, and went to sleep!!! No fussing, no crying, no screaming. I couldn't believe it! I called Greg and he was ecstatic. After each night time nursing session, she fell back to sleep in her swing without movement. And, at her first nap of the day, she looked at her swing mobile, tossed her head around, and went to sleep. Wow! I am so glad we decided to do this now!


Amy said...

I have been so anxious to hear about your transition from the swing since you said awhile ago that that's the only place she'd sleep. Andrew was only sleeping in his bouncy seat for about 2 months. He's 12 weeks today and we decided to start transitioning to the crib last week. It started off really well but has gone downhill. It takes about an hour and a half- 2 hours to get him to stay asleep but then he'll sleep til 4 or 5. (He was sleeping 9-6/7!) I have the Baby Whisperer so I'll have to get that book back out to help. Thanks for sharing your transition story. Keep it coming!

Alicea said...

Do you have a sound machine? Kyle has slept with one since he was a newborn and he/we love it. Now that he's older (14 months today) he knows when that sound machine goes on it's naptime/bedtime and he puts his head right on my shoulder and he's out within a couple minutes. Might be easier than running the blow dryer. :)

Designed by Lena