So, we've been having a hard time with Aiden sleeping through nights lately - lately meaning since he was about three months old. He was sleeping wonderfully, waking once or twice during a 12-14 hour period from two-months until three-months. Then he suddenly started waking every two hours again, and we've been going back and forth between every two-three hours ever since. Sometimes he starts to go a little longer, then BAM, back to waking every two hours. He's been in his own room since after all the Christmas travel, but he's not sleeping better in there. It's the same for him, but harder on me, since I'm having to go farther to feed him (and sometimes wait until I know he's settled in his bed before coming back to mine). So, needless to say, I haven't been getting much sleep lately! It doesn't help that Ryan and I often don't get in bed until around midnight, which means I'm not getting to sleep until after 1 or 2am - b/c of my insomnia and the fact that right about the time I'm nodding off, Aiden wakes up. Strange how they know when to do that, huh?
I've posted about his sleep before and stated how we don't do the cry-it-out method. One book I found extremely helpful was The No-Cry Sleep Solution by Elizabeth Pantley. You might be thinking, obviously it wasn't that helpful. Actually, when we got it, it was to help with naps b/c bedtime wasn't an issue. And it worked wonders for naptime!! And since his bedtime sleeping has not been improving much, I revisited the book recently for bedtime help, too.
Now, one thing she says in the book is this... You really need to decide if you, the parent, are really ready to make changes and to have your child learn to sleep through the night. Sounds silly, huh? Well, it's not. One reason I didn't use it for bedtime for so long - b/c I haven't been in a rush! Let me explain...
For one, I have concerns about milk supply. I want to do any and everything to keep it up (esp after it went away when Camden was 6 months - the same age Aiden is now). Yes, I do worry that if Aiden sleeps ALL night without waking to nurse once or twice, it might affect my supply. They say it shouldn't, but I still worry.
Two, I actually love our time together at night. It's kind of nice when the home is quiet, everyone else is asleep, it's dark and calm, and just the two of us are up, rocking in his room and snuggling close. It can be a very sweet time. I know that before long, we won't have that. And I'll miss it.
But lately, I have been TOO exhausted, and it's really starting to affect my daily life. So, back to the book we went. And we changed a few things with how we do nighttime feedings. I still feed him, but we're working on making some of the feedings shorter. We did this a while back, and he was ok with it, but then he decided no more and wouldn't have it. But things are getting a little better once again. My goal is not to have him sleep all through the night, from the time he lies down until the morning. My goal is for him to wake only once or twice to nurse through the night.
Aiden often wakes shortly after lying down, crying out like he's scared, it seems. We've been working on him not nursing then b/c he really doesn't need to, and the last couple nights, we've been successful. Remember, we're doing this with NO CRYING, so if he cries, we pick him up. If he is insistent on nursing, I nurse him. We want nighttime to be relaxing for him, and we want him to know we will respond if he needs us. So, being able to not nurse during those first couple hours of sleep the past couple nights has been great! He's doing so well.
Now why is this post titled "Oh Wow!"?? Because last night we had a different pattern... Aiden always goes down for bed at 8:00pm. We're having him nurse before storytime now, so he falls asleep on his own in his crib - instead of falling asleep nursing. He didn't wake up fussing until 11pm!! And didn't need to nurse. I picked him up, and he actually took the paci (he hardly EVER does this!). I put him back in bed, and he laid there, looking up at me calmly, and just drifted back to sleep. There's the first Wow! Then, he didn't wake again until 2:30!! Nursed for a little while, went to bed still awake and fell asleep on his own. THEN, he woke again at 6:45! He nursed and was up for a while, so I brought him to bed with me while the other boys got ready for the day. Thought we would snooze a bit before getting up, but he fell back asleep! So, we slept for another couple hours.
WOW, WOW, WOW.
This kind of thing HAS happened randomly a couple times lately, but this has been the biggest stretch. Usually after the first waking, Aiden is up every two hours. So, we'll see if it continues. Either way, this is a HUGE deal for us!! Waking every 4-6 hours compared to every 2 or less.....Wow.
I still need a few nights of this to feel like I'm getting caught up on some of my sleep, but this is an awesome start! (And hopefully telling about it won't jinx us...)