Though a bit delayed in posting, I thought I’d update on sleep progress. Life is pretty good right now in the arena of baby sleep.
During the latter part of this week, I felt like Jordan was outgrowing the 2.5 hour meal interval thing, so we went to a combo 2.5/3 hour routine, which she settled into well. For the previous 2 weeks, it seemed her metabolism had regulated to eat about every 2.5 and she was waking happily on her own, pretty much like clockwork. When she started sleeping through and needing to be woken for meals again, I thought she was probably ready for a change. During this time, her last meal of the day was at 1930, then she was waking pretty consistently at 0100 and 0430-0500 to eat at night, then waking at 0700-0730 to start the morning and eat. She would sometimes wake around 0300 also. What this translates to for me: 2-3 night wakings before I get up for work. Doable, but not ideal. I’m glad I took notes because this already seems so long ago!
My last week at home. Bittersweet. I tried to enjoy every last drop. Got in lots of cuddles with Jordan and made 2 batches of cookies with Eli. Marcus was gone this week so he could be in Columbia for my first week back. Jordan seemed ready to go longer between meals, but I didn’t want to change too much because it was my last week at home. We went to a solid 3 hour routine. I had this feeling that she would do a 4 hour just fine, but I didn’t want to mess with what we had going on, which was predictable (predictability is kind of the whole point, in my opinion). I was also hesitant to change up the day when she wasn’t sleeping through the night yet.
My first week back at work. Jordan’s naps went well and she fell asleep easily for them, with just a couple of exceptions. In general, repositioning, patting, and singing helped her settle in. When the naps required some intervention, it was always 45 minutes after falling asleep. When she did sleep again, she would sleep till the next meal, often needing to be woken, and I felt confident that all was well. Her routine as follows:
0500 eat –> back to sleep
Eat again at 0800, 1100, 1400, 1700, 2000 with wake times progressing from 40-65 minutes throughout the day.
Waking 1-2 times at night before 0500
This week, Jordan was waking up happy at 0700. The rest of the days went well, going down easy for naps and sleeping and eating well.
Things started to go a bit awry this week. She was more often waking up mid-nap and needing a lot of patting and rocking and so forth. She gets more and more “conversational” every day, and I think it’s really a social thing for her. Rather than letting her get up and socialize, if she doesn’t calm easily with patting, I move her to the swing in her room to finish her nap. This seems to work out well. On my day off, I just start her out in the swing during the nap that coincides with Eli so I can nap too. Score! I needed it.
Night wake ups became more frequent, and she was not interested in eating. Sometimes, she would wake and just “squawk”, making noise, but not really fussing. Sometimes it would be more of a fuss, but then she would go back to sleep if I didn’t go in the room. If I didn’t go in, it didn’t progress to crying, and she would go back to sleep. She never acted super hungry when she did nurse or otherwise gave me reason to later think that food was the issue. So she was going from 2000-0500 without eating, but rarely sleeping solid for that whole period.
Feeling confident that food was not an issue, I decide to play hardball at night. Here’s the deal: Jordan got to a point where she would fuss or cry, and nothing would make her happy in the middle of the night (nursing, rocking, holding, singing, swinging, cuddling in my bed) except getting to leave her room, have the lights on, and stare at me or her daddy. She’s kind of always been this way. Well, social hour at 0300 is just not going to work for us long term. Plus, the up at night business was beginning to cause issues with daytime sleep. She was waking early but still tired, and having more trouble settling into sleep.
I finally decided that if she was going to cry even if I was holding her and rocking and trying to nurse her, that there wasn’t much point into going in to hold and rock. She’s old enough and smart enough at this point to know to cry in order to get the result of leaving the room. At least that’s what it seems to me. So, we didn’t leave the room. For 4 nights, she would wake and I would either walk in to make sure she was okay or check the video monitor, but would not pick her up and walk around. I would pat her bottom, tell her it was time for sleep, and leave the room.
Then, she slept.
The wakings became less frequent, the fussing became less and less, and then she stopped altogether. After 4 nights, she began to sleep through the night consistently, and so could I.
The days got better too. She began waking up happy for her meals, settling easily for naps, and sleeping through them well.
The only real change this week was that since she was needing to be woken for meals again, we switched to a combo 3/3.5 hour routine. She was very happy with that, and so was I because I didn’t have to be quite so rushed after work for her 1700 meal because it’s now at 1730, like this:
0800, 1130, 1430, 1730, 2000
Still sleeping at night, with my waking her at 0500 to eat before work.
Started out okay, and became another lesson in wake times. On Monday, the day went well, but started with 90 minute wake time (whereas she had been tiring after 40-45 minutes in the morning). The rest of the day continued to have progressively longer times, but went relatively smoothly, according to Kathy’s notes (which she is AWESOME for keeping, by the way. One of the MANY reasons I love her). Jordan was fussy that evening and slept poorly that night. Tuesday was a little hairy. Kathy said she’d never seen Jordan so tired and fussy and upset (she’s generally very happy). Wednesday was my day off and I tried to get things back on track. Things got progressively better through the rest of the week and by Friday evening, she was settling down easily again and I felt like my baby was back to herself. Hooray!
So that’s that. Since then, things have been pretty smooth sailing and I get to sleep at night. We’ve entered the era of “sweetness and light”, as I like to say. Baby sleeps, things are easy, and there’s just nothing but love there. Life is good.
I probably won’t be doing another detailed series like this because I feel like things have stabilized and there’s not a lot to say. I don’t know if anyone will find it helpful, but I did it as much for my own information in the future as much as anything else. It’s truly amazing how much you forget!
I’ve had a lot of people comment about how happy, mellow, and content both my kiddos were, and I’m often asked what I did. So there it is. The good, the bad, and the ugly. That’s what works for me. I don’t know if it will work for you, but it’s worked for me twice now on two very different babies. If you are struggling with baby sleep, I hope you find what works for you, too. I welcome any questions or comments.