Monday, February 3, 2014
Good Mornings AND Good Nights!
Right from the bat our little Liam was his own person and did things just a little bit (and sometimes a lot) differently than his brother and sister! And sleep has been no exception. This one, he likes to sleep flat on his back, in a bed, curled up close to his mama. I NEVER would have thought I would be co-sleeping with one of my babies. But that's exactly where I found myself with Liam. It started off that he would sleep for a bit in the swing (when it wasn't moving) or in the rock n' play but we quickly learned that anytime he would get fussy or have a hard time falling asleep (or going back to sleep) that it would only take a few seconds of laying next to me in bed before he was in lullaby land!:) And before I knew it we gave up on all of the other things all together and he was sleeping all night (and his naps during the day) in our bed. Good thing that Joe had already moved upstairs to the extra twin bed in Eli's room (so that he could get a little more sleep at night)! And once we figured that out Liam really was a pretty good sleeper. He was easy to get to sleep and easy to get back to sleep once he woke up to eat. In this way he was probably the easiest of all our babies. Except that he woke up often, very often, to eat at night. Most nights he continued to wake up every 2-3 hours at night. Every now and then he would do a bit of a longer stretch, but most nights I found myself getting up to feed him 3 or sometimes 4 times a night. And for quite a while I was okay with this. Because it was easy (even if it was tiring). And because it's what he needed. And because I honestly LOVED waking up to his beautiful, smiling face each morning. Every morning he would wake up before me and start to coo and babble to himself until I rolled over. And then as soon as I opened my eyes his little face would just light up and my heart would melt every single time.
And that's how we spent out nights and mornings for months. The mornings were great, but the nights (and the many feedings) were beginning to wear on me. And I began to realize that he probably wasn't really waking up at night to eat because he NEEDED to eat, but because he had grown accustomed to eating often at night and it was his habit and his way of getting back to sleep. And when we went in for a checkup in December that's exactly what my doctor confirmed. She told me that he didn't need to be eating in the middle of the night at all. And she highly encouraged me to wean him off of his night feedings after the holidays. And Joe was very much in agreement.
So, after New Years we went for it. We moved Eli to his sister's room for a while, we put up the crib in Eli's room (eventually the boys will share this room), and we started having him nap in his crib. This actually went fairly smoothly. After a few days of letting him get used to his crib we started the real sleep training. And it was every bit as hard as I expected. We did sleep training with both Lily and Eli with great results. But both of them were just waking up at night to be comforted or to have their pacifier put back in, but not to eat.
So even though I knew Liam didn't need to eat in the middle of the night I still knew it would be a harder transition and that I would feel like I was depriving him. I did and it was awful. It probably didn't help that he's my baby (my last baby). But we did it. The first few days were awful. Joe slept up in his room to check on him and he screamed. A lot. Sometimes for well over an hour (a few times for an hour and a half). And because our bedroom is right below his I heard every cry and sometimes did a little crying myself. Honestly I think the only reason I was able to follow through with it was because Joe was there with me, holding me to it.
As I mentioned, at first Joe stayed up in the room with Liam to check in on him. But we quickly began to realize that this was actually making things worse. Every time he would see or even hear Joe he would scream harder. So after a few days of that we set up the baby monitor and Joe moved back downstairs. And from then on each night he cried a little bit less. After about a week and a half he was sleeping pretty good through the middle of the night and if he did wake up he only fussed for a few minutes and then soothed himself back to sleep! Amazing!
So, we're a few weeks in now and things are going well. Liam goes to sleep around 6:30 or 7 at night and wakes up one or twice to eat before we go to bed (usually around 9 and 11...sometimes skipping the 9:00 feeding). And then he sleeps a good 6-7 hours straight!! He wakes up at 5:00 a.m. (almost on the nose) every morning and Joe goes to get him and bring him to me in bed. I feed him and then he'll sleep in bed with me for another hour or two.
The time will come when we need to wean him from this morning feeding and the late night feeding(s) but for now this is good. We are still tired (6 months of waking up every two hours at night will do that to a person), but we are starting to have good mornings AND good night! And for that I'm very thankful.
After all, who could resist waking up to this face...