The Adventure Starts Here: Sleeping

Monday, January 19, 2015

Sleeping

We are enjoying a three-day weekend right now.  I'll be back tomorrow sharing all about our long weekend.  Instead, today I will be posting about Noah's sleep progress.


Noah has never really been a great sleeper, other than when he was 3-6 months old (when he slept through the night).  I honestly can't be surprised though, I'm not a great sleeper (sleep talking and walking, night terrors through college, and just in general feeling scared sometimes) and we didn't help the cause by creating all those bad habits they tell you not to do (rocking a baby to sleep with a bottle and letting them sleep on you).  Even though I've lost a lot of sleep over the last 2 years, I can't say I regret how I did things.  I loved and still do love rocking Noah to bed each night and for nap.  Chris and I both loved the feeling of a newborn sleeping on our chests... neither of us would want to put him down!  I have no problem with co-sleeping and can totally understand not wanting to sleep alone.  I have my own issues of being scared of the dark and waking up from bad dreams.  So when Noah wakes up upset, I just can't imagine leaving him there to cry and feel abandoned.  So while I don't have any intention of making any huge changes in our sleeping situation, I knew there were a few things that could be helped.

About a month ago, I started tweaking Noah's bed time/middle of the night routine.  Chris was going to be home from work for over 2 weeks at Christmas, so I figured it was the perfect time.  If we had some bad nights, I could always sleep in since Chris plays with Noah on the mornings he's home anyway.  So one of the biggest obstacles was the nighttime bottles.  I'm pretty relaxed in my parenting style.  I let Noah have bottles for much longer than doctors suggest.  Living in an apartment (and having neighbors who liked to complain), I didn't want to take them away from him cold turkey and have nights full of crying.  Instead, we took the advice of my doctor and slowly started watering down the milk bottles we gave to him each night.  This definitely helped, but he was still dependent on the bottles even when they were all water, no milk.  My doctor then advised me to take away bottles, one at a time.  First it was the nap time bottle, then the going to bed bottle, but he was still waking in the middle of the night for them.

We had been doing really well with not having a bottle to fall asleep at nap and bedtime, but we let that slide when we travelled to Toronto.  Then he was sick, so I let him have whatever he wanted if it meant he would drink.  I finally decided we needed to get back on track.  I had some push back the first day, but he's adjusted well.  I would rock Noah to sleep, put him in his crib, but then when he woke in the middle of the night, I would just take him into his big boy bed and sleep with him.  While we had success when falling asleep, Noah would still want/need a bottle (just of water) when he'd wake up in the middle of the night.  In theory I don't mind, but as a result of him drinking so much water in the middle of the night, we'd often wake up to a soaked bed and an even more wet little boy.  I am all for co-sleeping and will continue doing it as long as he likes, but I'd prefer to wake up dry and not have to change the sheets every day!

So on the Thursday night before Christmas, I decided to cut him off completely.  Instead of bringing up multiple bottles filled with water, I instead brought up sippy cups.  Just by switching to sippy cups I knew he would drink less.  The first night he lasted longer than normal in his crib, so we only had to co-sleep for about 2-3 hours.  During that time he did wake up a few times crying and asking for a bottle, but I just told him I didn't have any and that he could hug me and play with my hair (his preferred soothing method) instead.  That seemed to help and it honestly wasn't as bad as I expected.  The second night he woke up twice in pain (from teething) shortly after going to sleep.  After the second wake up I gave him some tylenol for his teeth and he then ended up sleeping through the night! Since then we've had some great nights and a few rough nights.  Noah was never really interested in drinking water from the sippy cup as an alternative.  So we no longer bring those up at night and instead if he's thirsty he just has a sip from my Poland Spring bottle.  At the beginning he would occasionally request a bottle but didn't get upset when I said no.  But now, he doesn't even ask!  When he wakes up in the middle of the night he is happy for me to rock him right back to sleep or just snuggle with me if we are already in bed together.  We've had a few nights where he's almost made it through the night in his crib, waking between 5:30 and 6:30.  This is a huge improvement compared to before!  But most nights he goes to bed around 8:30 pm, wakes between 12:30 and 2:30, and then sleeps through the rest of the night in bed with me until 7:30 am.  Compared to what we were doing before, one wake-up is amazing!

So there you have it... how we have managed through a less than perfect sleep situation.  I know this method is not for most people, but it worked for us :)

3 comments:

  1. So happy to hear this is improving for you! Perhaps baby #2 will be in your future! I love that Noah is soothed by playing with your hair! Liam likes to put his hand between my boobs (what he did when he nursed) so we're working towards just holding hands, ha!

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  2. So great to hear its getting better! There is no right way, no perfect way, just whatever works for you! :)

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