I have to say that the 30 day mark brough us some interesting changes. For one, Everly now makes very little fuss when she is put down to sleep. In fact she does this really cute little ritual of playing with her hippo and talking. I think she is telling the hippo a sleep time story. We keep the hippo in the crib, so she only gets him at sleep times- creating novelty we are! It is so nice to just lay her down and she falls asleep. This was our biggest problem and it began to be solved, how lucky were we!
Then she started a new routine of consistent night waking and staying up for 2 hours. Needless to say, I was quickly eager to kick this experience to the curb, as I didn’t think it was beneficial to anyone in our family or entire household. I read an article about trained night feeders and another about the possibility of backsliding to multiple feedings each night because of night feeds for babies who really didn’t need them… a 4:30 am feeding becomes 4:00, and then 3:30 and then 3:00 and so on and so on… this is what was happening to us. Then I read another article about morning rituals and we were guilty of a confusing morning ritual as well… gawd! All of this googling happened between the wee hours of 1:00 am and 3:00 am while I was waiting for her to fall back asleep on Sunday night.
When we started the sleep training I just fed Everly when she woke up in the middle of the night. The first week of training the middle of the night was around 5:00 am (yes I know that’s not the middle of the night but it felt like it, lol). The week after that it was 4:00 am, and then 3:00 am and then 2:00 am. Each time I fed her she would go back to sleep for another 3 or 4 hours. Initially when the feedings were very early morning another stretch of 3 or 4 hours was perfect. However, once she was waking at 2:00 am, one night feeding became two and she started staying awake and wanting to play. This was not a habit I wanted us to get into because if she didn’t need it before, why did she need it now… well I realized that she needed to eat to get back to sleep. So we decided to eliminate any feedings that occurred before 5:00 am (a baseline time we knew she could comfortably do). I read a lot about how to know when a baby is ready to eliminate night time feeds and it looks as though she qualifies by age, health and size; I also have an appointment with our doctor on Thursday to confirm these findings.
So, to eliminate night waking we have begun the process of gradually eliminating the 5:00 am feeding. Last night I let her eat until she was drowsy again and it took 15 minutes, so tonight she eats for no more than 14 minutes. Apparently once you get to 5 minutes and under the baby will eliminate the feeding all on their own. The night before last was the first night we tried this and she protested, oh did she protest! I was up for 3 hours in the middle of the night waiting for her to fall back asleep. I just needed to know if it was possible- and it was! Last night she didn’t wake up until 5:00 am again, so I got a blissful 7 hours worth of sleep. I feel a bit drunk truth be told 🙂
Our morning ritual was another speed bump that we had to level. When she would want that 5:00 or 6:00 am feeding, I would bring her into bed and lay down while feeding her and of course we would fall asleep. Now how confusing must that have been for her. No wonder she would wake in the middle of the night and be upset. She had no idea that 2:00 am was not 5:00 am, she just knew she wanted to be fed to sleep in our bed and that sometimes it happens, so we had to cut that out. Yesterday and today I fed her on the couch and put her back in her crib and both times she slept until 8:00 am (longer than she does in our bed!). So now I feel super guilty of course as I was confusing the crap out of her because I wanted to get in a little more sleep. Well I have now learned to not underestimate her. I thought she wouldn’t go back to sleep if I put her back in her crib at that time of the morning. Turns out that if she is still tired she will sleep- what a novel idea. I promptly apologized to her. She can still come in to our bed in the morning for a little play time so we can cuddle, I don’t want to give that up, that is my favourite part of the day, it’s when the 3 of us feel most like a family to me 🙂
So here’s to having another night like last night, but with only 14 minutes of eating at 5:00 am!