Friday, December 14, 2012

Sleeping Through the Night

Mostly. A couple weeks before Thanksgiving Michael started sleeping through the night. Not all the way through but atleast 4-5 hour stretches, sometimes more.

How? Following a schedule based on the recommended times in Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child as well as Michael's sleep cues and nightweaning. Once Michael's sleep schedule was well-established with naps around 9am and 1pm, bedtime around 5:30pm, wakeup around 7am, I started to log his middle of the night wake-ups. These were getting really bothersome and keeping him from consolidating his sleep. He started waking like clockwork around 11pm, 2am, and 4am. Ugh. He would sit up and tug at my shirt, try to climb over me to get to the boppy. His behavior was clearly habitual and not out of hunger.

After reading some unhelpful stories, including waking the baby up to nurse before he wakes up (why, after working so hard to get him to sleep, would I want to wake him up???), I decided to just say no. But not to every request. If he awoke while I was still awake, basically before 10 or 11pm, I would nurse. I would also nurse at his 4am waking since it was more difficult for him to go back to sleep around this time. So that meant saying no to any other wakings, mainly the 2am-ish. We co-sleep so I was not abandoning him in his crib at this time. When he awoke and wanted to nurse, I would say no and tell him to lay down and go night-night. I made sure he had his blankie and his snuggle-bear. The first few nights he cried, alot. I only picked him up if he really, really couldn't go back to sleep. I didn't want to let him cry, but he was in the bed next to me so he could snuggle up to me if he needed. It only took about a week for him to figure it out. The 11pm nursing soon disappeared on its own. Every once in a while after, he would wake around 9 or 10pm wanting to nurse and I would go ahead. That quickly disappeared too. Even over Thanksgiving, while we were visiting in-laws, he slept through the night. He still wakes around 4am to nurse and I let him, but he is able to fall asleep much quicker at that time, so I'm deciding when to wean that nursing as well. Maybe once he starts whole milk and I can make sure he is getting enough during the day.

Of course there have been setbacks. The day we were flying back from Thanksgiving, Michael came down with a fever. He was drowsy but woke frequently. Poor thing! It was his first fever! I nursed whenever he wanted to. He ended up having roseola which itself is not bad, but the fever that kickstarts it can be rough. Needless to say, night-wakings were back. Then Michael caught a cold! Battles again. But this week, his sleep is getting back on track, even with some other changes. I've always soothed Michael to sleep, in the rocking chair or standing up and swinging. Lately, he hasn't been responding well and started reaching for the bed as if he wanted to lie down, so I let him. I'll write a separate post, but basically we've started an uber-gradual process of learning to self-soothe. The other change, which I've been most resistant to, is the transition to one nap. Ugh. Again, I'm not forcing it. I'm just following Michael's cues. With his improved night sleep, he wakes up full of energy and he doesn't seem sleepy anymore around 9am or even 10 or 11 for that matter! Hopefully, there's not too many changes happening at once, but all I can do is follow his cues and make adjustments if something doesn't feel right.

I just want to let mothers of high needs babies know that your baby can nap on a schedule, be fairly easily nightweaned, and sleep through the night! And hopefully soon I'll be able to add self-soothe!

posted from Bloggeroid


  1. I look forward to the day my daughter (4 mons) is able to do this. At this point, she HAS to take all of her naps in a Moby wrap. The only time she sleeps on her own is in the bassinette at night. How I got her to do that, I'll never your blog. My dau is "high needs" and is quite a handful. It nice to know that it does get somewhat easier with time.

    1. Thanks so much for reading! My LO was napping on me until about 7 months. He seemed to nap so well I didn't want to bother him! He did sleep well at night in his rock n play but outgrew it at 4 months, hence our current co-sleeping. I hope some of the information I've posted can help you with your daughter. 4 months seems to be the magical time to start scheduling or sleep training. Wish I had known that!

  2. So glad you have found a routine and what works for you. Hang in there.