As he has been growing so fast and eating so much, I’d been reluctant to use any methods to try to “train” or force him to sleep through the night, but after talking it over with DH, we decided he was ready this weekend to give it a try.We got him down at his usual time which is between 8 and 9:30 (depends on how much he fusses). But instead of letting him sleep until he woke up on his own, we woke him at 11pm for a “dream feed” as they call it. Let me say that I was REALLY reluctant to do this. I just can’t see waking a peacefully sleeping baby. On the other hand, I have to go back to work in another week and the Fry has to start behaving like someone in the real world, not someone with a stay at home mommy who can have whatever schedule he wants and who will mature when he gets around to it. He seemed to be sufficient weight and age to start this and has started to show signs of self-soothing, so we gave it a shot.
When I woke him up, he was just like so floppy and tired, wouldn’t even open his eyes and wouldn’t latch. I kept telling DH “this isn’t working! he’s just sleeping!” and finally after 10 minutes, he ate, still without opening his eyes. He ate for a good 10 minutes and promptly went back to sleep. I got him back down into the crib with no problem and he went back to sleep.
Our plan was borrowed from a book my sister referred me to, which suggested the dream feed and then the Dad handling any/all night wake-ups, including and especially those for eating. Baby gets soothed and rocked if necessary, but no food. Dad does not smell like milk either, which helps the cause and makes it less mean. So eventually baby learns that there is no reason to wake up in the night since Mom and her milk are not going to appear, and he sleeps through it instead. The 11pm feeding is to ensure you’re really not starving the baby and that they honestly do have enough nutrients to get through the night.
Since DH was to handle the middle of the night stuff but can’t wake up with just the noise of the monitor, I slept in the bedroom with the monitor and he slept on the couch. At 1:30, I heard the Fry stirring and came out and woke him up (tripped on the metal computer desk chair in the dark! ouch!) and told him the Fry was awakening and he said ok, I’ll handle him, go back to bed. Apparently after that, he observed the Fry, who fussed for about 10 mins but eventually put himself back to sleep (GOOD BOY!). The only person who was up the rest of the night was ME. I woke up at 3, 3:30 and again at 4 and kept checking on the Fry because I didn’t hear him, and he usually gets up to eat around 3:30 so my interal clock was all ready for him to be awake (as were my boobs – owie). But he didn’t wake up until almost 5:30, which is when he normally starts to “wake up” for the day. This is when I will need him to get up when I go to work, so that’s a fine time for him to wake up for me. So when he got up at 5:30, I brought him out on the couch to feed him and sent DH to bed for some more rest.
Most mornings, after the 5:30 meal, he goes back to sleep on the boob pillow, his favorite pillow in the whole world, and I go back to sleep with him, with my arm around his middle and tucked underneath him so he can’t roll off the couch. We sleep that way til about 7:30 which is when we start the big wakies for the day. I know I need to stop this, because after this coming week he will be on his own from the time he’s done eating til the time we leave for daycare and then really on his own the rest of the day, but it’s hard to make myself get up at 5:30 a.m. when I really don’t have to. I did it a couple of days last week but that’s it. I need to start doing it every day next week so he is ready for what’s coming. I have to figure out if he’s going to wake up and stay awake, in which case I will need to put him in the bouncy seat and hope that he won’t scream the whole time I am getting ready, or if he’ll go back to sleep in his crib until it’s time to go. I have found that if he’s in his bouncy seat but brought into whatever room I’m doing something in and placed so he can watch, most of the time he’s content, but I don’t think that will work for showering and putting makeup on and getting dressed for work, there’s just too much activity, especially with DH getting ready in our small apartment at the same time. We can’t be tripping over the bouncy seat along with everything else, so he’ll have to be in another room and content (or screaming) or he’ll go back to sleep. We’ll see.
I was as shocked as anyone that last night worked. We will try it again tonight.