Somehow, putting the word schedule in quotes makes me feel less like I’m tempting the gods of baby sleep.
So, along the lines of yesterday’s post about following my kid’s lead (as long as it doesn’t seem detrimental), I thought I’d do an update on what sleep looks like around here lately.
First, some background: in December, we were pretty consistently getting through the night with, at most, a single wake-up around 4 in the morning. If Javi told us he was hungry, we’d feed him, else we’d try to soothe him by giving him back his pacifier or fix whatever seemed to be wrong – room too cold, too hot, etc.
Then he hit the awesome four month sleep regression and everything went to shit. Since it was a mess anyway, I took the opportunity to move him out of the rocking swing and swaddle into his crib. Not unrelated, I started sleeping in the guest room because it was fewer steps to stumble on an hourly basis. Ugh.
Note: I totally would have started cosleeping at this point if my little sweet pea had gone for it, but he would not. He likes his own sleep space, thankyouverymuchMOM.
We traveled for Christmas and he slept better there, then we got home and over time, we went back to one-ish wake-up a night.
Short version: two morning naps, one afternoon nap, bedtime between 6 and 7, wake once (or not at all) until 6 am. *Lovely*
Over the past few weeks, he’s made it clear that he is effingTIREDMOM around 5 when we pick him up from day care. We used to try to keep him awake until 7, but it got harder and harder. Apparently sitting and almost-crawling and whining are tiring for a kid, ya know? Lately we’ve been letting him take one last (late) nap from 4:30ish to 7:00ish, then wake up, hang out for a bit, and start the bedtime routine.
Bonus: this gives him a chance to eat dinner with us.
Around the same time, though, I insisted that my hubby and I split the overnight shifts more equally again, and the side effect of that is that Javi quickly trained Joey to make a bottle in the middle of the night. Before I knew it, Javi went from not eating overnight to eating at 5, then 4, then 3, then 2, then EFFING MIDNIGHT. Over the course of like 7 days, my kid had successfully added an entire feeding (or two!) to the night and was lollygagging around about eating during the day.
Score one for the kiddo.
So, now we’re undoing that, plus retreating from having to rock him to sleep.
WHAT? He was sick! But yes, my fault, and I would do it again. As long as you’re willing to change things when they aren’t working, I don’t see any reason you shouldn’t do things that are working, and rocking him to sleep in my arms worked for both of us while he was sick and recovering from it.
My former self would have wanted details about how to retreat from not one or two but THREE big changes to the sleep strategy, so here is my TMI.
On the late nap: I’m leaving it alone for now. As long as he gets the right total amount of sleep, an hour of wakefulness at 7 or 8 doesn’t seem to be doing any harm, plus he gets his last bottle later in the evening which should help with the next thing.
On the overnight eating: not eating as much during the day tells me the overnight bottle is behavioral, not a necessity. So, we’re addressing that by being more focused on him eating every three hours and getting enough ounces during the day. If he has 24+ ounces, he shouldn’t need to eat overnight. Plus, we were throwing away more formula than he was eating, which drives me nuts. Since “real food” is for fun at this point, I’ve stopped feeding him purees (and asked day care to stop as well) so he can get calories from formula. He gets to eat a fun dinner with us at night to practice chewing in preparation for needing those calories in a few months.
Note, though, that I’m not going to NOT feed him at night if he cries for food. It’s too hard. Experience from before tells me that getting enough formula during the day and ensuring he’s comfortable at night (room is the right temp, pj’s are comfy, etc) should decrease the night wakings. If it doesn’t work, I’ll adjust, but for now, I’m not up for listening to him cry at night.
On the rocking to sleep: This will remain part of our bedtime routine because I like it, but for naps here at home, he gets only standing rocking in my arms and only for the length of three ABC songs, then down in his crib. I leave him for five minutes and sometimes he works it out. Other times, I’ve misjudged whether he’s sleepy so he gets to come back out until he really is sleepy. On the rare occasions he’s obviously tired but can’t wind down, he either gets ten minutes in the jumper or I just leave him to work it out on his own. I don’t know how to explain how I know which he needs, but I know… and if I don’t, it’s clear pretty quickly that I’ve misjudged so I try the other thing.
I just realized my process is not unlike the crazy trial-and-error employed by Dr. House.
Oh, and naps. He gets two or three hour-ish naps here at home before I drop him off at day care (remember, I work west-coast time). We’re pretty close to the 1-2-3 thing someone mentioned here on my blog last summer: he’s awake one hour, goes down for a nap, then two hours, down for a nap, then three hours and down for a nap. The three (or four) hour interval is usually at day care.