Monday, July 11, 2011

Sleep and Feed

Two topics very much on my mind lately!

A bit of background: when baby first arrived home, we had no idea what the eff we were doing in the sleep department and had no real plan re: where he would sleep. For the first few weeks, he either slept in his swing or in his car seat. We tried to put him in a moses basket but he refused to sleep in there. I was terrified of SIDS and suffocation and spent a lot of time checking that his nose was free of obstruction, reminding the world that he needed to be on his back at all times and making sure his blanket wasn't going to jump off the couch and somehow cover his little face.

At about six weeks of age I realized it was much easier to breastfeed while laying down in bed (we have a daybed in the nursery). So we started co-sleeping at that point, so that he would wake up, eat, and immediately fall asleep again. I would often drift off to sleep myself. Win.

I think it was around 12 weeks that he started to thrash and attempt to roll over in bed. He was also waking up many many times, snacking a little, and falling back to sleep. It became a not-so-restful-for-me situation and I started realizing I needed to phase out the co-sleeping if possible. It was also around this time that everyone and their cat was asking: is he sleeping Through The Night?? A.K.A. IHSTTN????? No. No he is not.

His head/neck control was much better at this point, so we started letting him sleep on his stomach. This led to longer stretches of night sleep.

After freaking out a bit when we realized that simply transitioning him to his crib wasn't going to happen overnight, I realized a couple of things:

1. It is completely normal for breast fed babies to wake up multiple times per night. It's even more normal for breastfed, co-sleeping babies to wake up a lot. And it's not like he would wake up and stay awake for any length of time, we both are half-asleep as he eats. I want to continue to breastfeed at night, so I think I'll have to let my 'sleep through the night' dream go for a while, probably at least until we introduce solids.

2. Our goal is for everyone in our house to get as much sleep as possible. Period. In any way that works.

3. We needed a bedtime ritual to show baby that it's time to wind down and go to bed.

4. The transition from co-sleeping to crib didn't have to be all-or-none, something in between is fine.

5. It was time for me to at least attempt to get him back to sleep without eating every time. I've been moderately successful in this department. I'm not ready to let him cry it out, but I do let him whine and cry for a little while, and try to re-introduce the binky, to make sure he is really hungry.

6. Ask Moxie is the best site ever. A couple of posts that pulled me back from the edge:

'time' to stop co-sleeping
quick and dirty on sleep
one year old not sleeping
sleep regressions

I also love amalah and her posts on alphamon

Reading through these posts and the associated comments have been SO comforting to me and have helped my husband and I come up with a plan that works for us.

Baby is 20 weeks old today. Here's where we're at: he sleeps in his swing during the day. He's always been a pretty good daytime napper, and takes two longer (1-3 hour) naps in the morning and a couple of catnaps in the afternoon. Our pattern is to eat (nowadays every 3-4 hours for about 15 minutes), play (with me or on his fantastic playmat that I can't recommend enough) Then sleep. He is generally never awake for longer than 2-3 hours, especially in the morning and early afternoon. As soon as I see him yawn or rub his eyes, into the swing he goes.

5:30 to 6 pm tends to be a cranky time. We make and eat dinner as best we can, and around 7:30, I take him upstairs for a bath and massage. I read him a short book and then feed him one last time laying down in bed. He's usually in the crib at 8 pm. I put him directly on his stomach, he'll just roll over if I try placing him on his back. Every night he fusses for a few minutes, and usually the fuss ramps up to full-fledged tears and real crying. My husband or I generally take him out of the crib at this point for some binkie and soothing. Once he's calm again, he goes back in the crib. He'll fuss a little more, and then finally lay his head down to sleep. He's usually out by 8:30 pm.

I've finally started sleeping for part of the night in my OWN bed again, which is in the adjoining room. On a good night, baby will wake up around 12, at which point I take him with me into the nursery bed again to eat. We'll both fall asleep until around 3, and he'll eat again. I usually change his diaper and put him back into the crib. Lately he wakes again at 6:45 or 7 am.

Of course, there are bad, BAD nights mixed in there. A few times this week he was up 4-5 times, but the last couple of nights he's back to waking two times.

OK, this is getting long! I'll have to save the 'feeding' topic for another time.



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