My three-year-old has this annoying habit of waking up every single night for some reason or another. Usually its for another sippy cup of milk, or to go to the bathroom (we are in the midst of toilet training). Last night was no exception. After getting him the milk, helping him with his pull up, he insisted I sleep with him. It was 4:30 am and rather than fight, I succumbed and crawled into bed with him.
As I was drifting off to sleep, scratching his back, I suddenly had a great idea for a blog post. I had the title and everything. I briefly considered getting up to write it down but thought, “Nah, I’ll remember.”
I don’t remember what the idea was.
It was so brilliant, I swear it was. It was going to mark my comeback to the blogging world.
I thought if I started writing it would come back to me. It hasn’t.
What’s worse than one kid being sick?
How about three? Each one on the tail of the previous. Just as the eldest turns a corner towards the healthy side of the force, her baby brother spikes a fever and her other brother’s cough takes a turn towards the dark side.
I am curled up in bed waiting for the 1/2 tab of Gravol I just took to kick in. I am beyond exhausted and still feeling the remnants from last nights’ gingerbread festivities (hence the Gravol).
If I prayed to God I would wish for an uninterrupted nights’ blissful sleepy oblivion. That’s not too much to ask for, is it?
Where I live, daylight savings time ended last night. Gone are the days when an extra hour of sleep was something to look forward to. Since having kids, any extra hour of sleep is appreciated but this return to “normal time” sucks.
Because instead of waking up at 6:30am, my kids were all up today an hour early – at 5:30am – and when I say they were awake, they were AWAKE.
Over the weekend we had a first. As husband was putting the older two kids to bed they announced that they wanted to sleep together.
A bit of background. They share a room. Their room has bunk beds. The almost-3 year old is a little rascal and will not stay in bed at nighttime. He gets out of the lower bunk repeatedly to play, turn on the light, go out into the hallway etc, so much so that he often keeps his sister up and everyone is tired in the morning. So, we put the playpen (ie crib) in their room and the toddler sleeps there. How he still fits in it is anyone’s guess but once he’s in there he doesn’t climb out and everyone has a good night sleep.
Now, back to last weekend. The kids insisted they wanted to share the lower bunk. Daddy told them that if anyone got out of bed, made any fuss of any kind, they would be separated. Once he left their room, shenanigans ensued but they stayed in bed. We could hear them squealing and laughing for about 20-30 minutes, then all was quiet. Later that night, around 10:30pm when we went to bed, we peeked
in on them and found this.
So, baby J is now 4 months old. Sleep training has begun and is going reasonably well. Daytime naps are still pretty short but once 5pm hits he is pretty dusted and will sleep 3-4 hour stretches until 6am. He still screams bloody murder at naps but it’s getting shorter and shorter and he’s starting to soothe himself asleep. Great progress all around.
The next hurdle is the formula introduction. I tried to give him a few ounces the other day and he looked up at me with the most disgusted of expressions as if he was thinking, “Woman, WTF is this?!”
Yesterday, I delegated the task to husband and he worked his Jedi magic and the baby drank the formula.
Daddy milk is starting.
I plan to continue nursing for at least another month if I can. I just would like to get some more sleep, so I hope with more formula there will be less nighttime awakenings. Of course this likely means that my supply will start to take a nosedive. Damned if I do and damned if I don’t.
So, I’ve started sleep training baby J. The reason? This:
Both are amazing and needed in the immediate newborn period; the soother because babies need to suck and it’s just not practical to be a human soother all of the time; the swaddle because the moro reflex interrupts sleep and newborns/infants need to feel tight and secure when they sleep.
But there comes a time when both become a) a hassle, and b) a crutch.
Let me explain.
The soother becomes a crutch because once baby falls asleep, if the soother falls out of the mouth, the baby wakes up and starts crying. Mom and dad have to go back into the room, re-position the soother and baby falls asleep. This becomes a hassle when it occurs a bajillion times a night.
The swaddle becomes a hassle when baby starts moving around and pulls the Houdini routine and you walk into the room when baby is screaming only to find the soother still in the mouth but the baby’s arms are out of the swaddle and the kid doesn’t know what to do with them.
Both of what I described above started happening on a regular basis with baby J and one exhausted morning last week, I decided it was time to stop swaddling. The soother remained, but after two return trips to the crib to replace said soother in the span of ten minutes, another decision was made. Bye-bye soother.
What ensued next?
Yes. Blood-curdling screaming. Poor kid didn’t know what to do. Arms were flailing all over the place, legs kicking up a storm and there is me, face to face with screaming and quietly doing this:
At some point though, one just has to leave the room and let the baby cry. And cry he did. But he stopped eventually and fell asleep, for about 20 minutes.
The the screaming started again. I looked over at my cat who was sleeping on the couch next to me and she gave me this look:
Ah … sleep training.
Excuse me while I tend to the infant … in the time it took for me to write this post, about 20 minutes, he slept and is now awake.
Until I had children, I didn’t even really think twice about it. Back in medical school and family medicine residency, I remember hearing about how babies need to learn how to sleep. This was a totally foreign concept to me.
It’s pretty much all I think about these days.
Baby J is 4 months old. He’s been swaddled and using a soother to sleep. For the past week, he’s been getting out of the swaddle and there have been multiple trips back to the crib to replace the soother in the middle of the night.
The time has come to sleep train.
It’s been 24 hours so far. We are both exhausted.
Forgive the short post but I can barely keep my eyes open.
First off, welcome to my new followers. Thank you for embarking on this journey with me! I am honoured and flattered that you are following along.
Baby J is going to be 4 months old on the 16th of this month. I continue to exclusively breastfeed him which is a huge thing for me given how awful an experience it was with my firstborn. I still have the emotional scars. Baby J feels like he is gaining well and he is certainly growing! He is already ahead on the developmental side of things – he is doing everything a 4 month old should be doing and he is only 3.5 months old. He is laughing at us, grabbing at things and is starting to bring his knees up and pivot on his back. He could roll over any day now.
He is napping pretty well throughout the day, it’s just his nighttime sleep which I wish would improve. Selfishly, I admit. I am tired. I want to sleep more than 2-3 hour stretches at nighttime. Last night at 4am, husband got up to replace the soother as I had just fed him 45 minutes earlier. Husband came back and said, “We should be giving him formula at night.” The thought being that he would sleep longer. It certainly was the case for our other kids, why not this one?
My plan all along was to introduce formula about 6 weeks before I returned to work, which would be in mid-late February. But last night and this morning, I am seriously considering introducing it early. Yet, the mommy guilt kicks in. It’s only been 3.5 months. I could do this longer, I should be doing this longer. After all, why did I extend my leave by a month? So I could hand off the baby to be fed by a bottle, by others?
All of my children were given formula. My daughter was 2 weeks old when I started supplementing; my middle son was 3 months old when I first started his transition. By all accounts, I have done pretty well with Baby J as he has been exclusively breast-fed the longest.