Yes, that’s right. Gabriel now STTN! Sleeps Through The Night!!!!!! YAY! (Imagine fireworks, a parade, a keg party, and streamers at this house right now! haha) Well, I’m talking from 8 to 6, but trust me, as long as I can get 7-8 consecutive hours–consecutive being the key there–then I’m a very happy panda. A functioning panda. One who doesn’t bite everyone’s head off, and actually has the energy to clean, cook, do homework, AND workout. Oh. So. Rested…Finally 🙂
Gabriel slept through the night. Ahhhh I’ve been waiting months to say that. Just a few weeks ago, Gabe’s longest stints were 3 hours. His best ever were 5 or 6 straight hours, and the sad part is that that sounded GOOD to me, after some atrocious nights of going 1-2 hours between wake-ups. Was it the teeth? Who knows?! I just know that he was not content and could not sleep–and therefore neither could I. So, how did this not-so-good sleeper go from 6 wake-ups to just 1 glorious, not-early wake-up (at 6:10, when I was already up)??
As I do with most problems, I consulted Google, books, and friends. My new fave parenting book, The Baby Whisperer, said that babies do not need to eat at night when they are past 10-11 lbs. Oops. I wish someone had told me waaaaay back in Jan/Feb when this guy was a newborn that not every cry is a hunger cry. At night, I just fed him EVERY time he woke up, which was anywhere from 3-6 times a night! That’s a lot of nighttime snacking! Which then makes for a daytime snacker, since he’s getting plenty of calories at night… which then turns into a grumpy momma (especially one who’s breast-feeding).
So, I implemented the 4-hour EASY routine from her book (Eat, Activity, Sleep, You time–in that order), and things did in fact get much easier. But still the night time waking. Who could blame him? That’s all he’s known his entire life. And always expecting the boobie at night, even if he wasn’t hungry, he would still suck. Talk about a human pacifier 😦 Sometimes, the author, Tracy said, sleep problems are actually an eating problem. Yes, I thought, we indeed have a eating problem. This lil one is so used to eating every time he cries at night that he doesn’t know anything different.
Tracy said that sporadic wakings mean baby is actually hungry, while habitual waking means he’s just in the habit of waking at that time. So which was it? I wrote down when he woke up for about a week, and it was 50/50. There was usually a wake-up around midnight, 2-3, then 4:30-5. Tracy said if you can “set a clock by him” then it’s habit, and I just wasn’t sure. Gabe would eat/drink a lot sometimes, and other times just suck (on the bottle… I started weaning him after I got bit a few times, plus I thought it would help the night waking if he didn’t expect the boob, plus I just grew so impatient with pumping). J and I began trading off nights because I was so sleep deprived, and one or both of us would forget what time he woke up.
Finally, I consulted http://www.babywhispererforums.com and found another momma with a very similar situation as ours: frequent NW (night wakings) and very often EW (early wakings, like at 5:30 AM!) Her baby was 9 months old, and Gabe was 7.5 when I started the plan I’m about to tell you about, so we had just about the same exact problem. She too had always given her baby the boobie and nursed him back to sleep. [Note to future parents: you have to TEACH your baby to fall asleep on his/her own, otherwise they will always rely on you (or your boob, or your hand holding the binky, etc) and you will become a prop. Trust me, this does not feel good after months and months!!] Anyways, the plan was simple: ‘take back’ some of the nighttime calories by diluting the milk with water. Nights 1-3, 1/3 water, 2/3 milk. Nights 4-6, half-half. Nights 7-9, 1/3 milk, 2/3 water. You get the point. The lady from the forum said her baby stopped waking at night 7. Worth a shot then!
So we tried. After just 1-2 nights, he slept from 8 to 1. Then 8 to 2. PROGRESS! Oh, btw formula does keep baby fuller longer than breastmilk. Harder to digest I guess. Anyways… We made it past night 7 though, and still wake-ups at 3 or 4. Finally, with 2 oz milk and 8 oz water, Gabe slept til 4:30. Then 4:45 the next morning. And 6:10 today! Yessssss! Victory!!!
Thank you God for helping me (us) stay sane through this sleep-deprived journey of nearly 8 months. I tell you all, patient readers, of this because I hope that I can save at least one family from the sleep-deprivation monster. I mean, it really was bad. Not only were we getting up several (numerous!) times a night, but oftentimes, G would drink so much and pee so much, that his diaper (Pampers, which can hold like 2 cups of pee) would overflow, and he’d have wet jammies and wet sheets… not a good situation at all. Then he’s awake and miserable, I’m awake and can’t fall back to sleep (therefore miserable)… yeah not good at all. And Gabe’s always been a happy baby, but now he’s a super happy, more energetic, more predictable baby. Makes life so much easier for this not-tired-anymore momma!
Haven’t got any recent sleep pics (don’t want to wake him up!) but here’s one from June.