If babies are born with one fundamental flaw it is that they don’t realise that if they do not allow their mother to sleep and eat then their care may be substandard. Baby, if you let me sleep and eat properly I will be able to care for you in a much happier and competent way and I will also make better milk. Not permitting either of these things could be detrimental to you! It is in your interests to allow these things to happen.
It’s not advice I’m after here because I’ve got a few ideas that I need to work through first but it would be nice to look back on this when TTB sleeps through the night. Hah. If.
Over the past 6 weeks or so, TTB has gone from sleeping ok (3 hours, then 2 hours, then 2 hours and another hour if I could convince him to) to absolutely dreadful. At the lowest points he was sleeping on me while I slept propped up against the corner of the room on pillows. Actually no, the lowest point was the nights preceeding that where I did not sleep at all because he wouldn’t let me put him down at all. I figured that sleeping propped up with him on me was better than no sleep at all, or waking up on the chair with him in my arms and my face on his head.
Then came the co-sleeping … he would let me sleep laying down but only if he was right next to me and wanted to cuddle my face all night long. Disconcerting at best, he has very soggy hands at the moment.
Following that, the only way he would sleep in his cot at all was to put his small crib mattress in there too so that he was tricked into thinking he was still sleeping in his crib. However, he would wake after 30 minutes and then not go back down at all and would wake hourly if I did manage to get him to go back down.
Then, on New Year’s Eve in a fit of frustration I laid him down on his front and he actually went to sleep and looked happy and comfortable and peaceful. Of course, this goes against all of the guidelines so we hovered like nervous hawks for ages and googled like mad to make sure he was ok. He was and continues to be ok on his front and most of all, HE SLEEPS! Hurrah!
Now, we have a very strict bedtime routine in that I bath him at 18:45 and then he is in bed at 19:00. From his bath he goes into his darkened bedroom where his lullaby CD is playing and his little picture projector thing is projecting onto the ceiling. I feed him, he falls asleep, I put him down and then go downstairs.
Typically he will then wake at 9 for another feed, and then go for another 2 hours before another feed and then another two hours. After that though, he wakes to feed hourly. Yes, hourly. On Monday night he fed 7 times between 7pm and 5:30am. He wakes up at 6:30 and I make sure we get up then so that we start the day at the same time.
My dilemma at the moment is: he takes a full, proper feed at each waking. He is a big boy (almost 16lb) and is hungry. But, I am not convinced that he is really hungry at each waking or whether he has just learnt to feed each time he wakes (After feeding on demand as a newborn) and needs to feed to get back to sleep.
On the one hand, I have always fed him when he wakes at night because I just assumed he was waking through hunger. However, has he now learned that this is what happens when he wakes in the night? Or is he actually hungry because he is so big and that the only way he can get enough calories is to feed frequently? Honestly, although this means I don’t sleep very much, I know it’s not going to be forever and if this boy needs frequent feeding I’m happy to provide it. (And erm also he won’t take a bottle so …) It’s only for a short time and I’m not doing too badly.
The health visitor want me to hold off on weaning as long as I can. I think he is ready to eat more, but I don’t want to assume that he will magically go through the night when I wean him as the problem may be that he is just used to being fed to sleep and to feeding when he wakes.
Hopefully this will sort itself out but it doesn’t help the continued feelings I have of “I am doing this wrong” and “I should have done this differently from the start”. I know every baby and every mum is different but the look of horror that crossed the face of my friend who I spoke to about it today got me thinking that perhaps I should be trying to tackle it. My gut feeling says to just ride it out and see how he is when he gets real food but I do wonder if I should just refuse to feed him at night if it’s been less than 3 hours. But then … neither of us will sleep and he will just get upset.
Gah, sometimes I wish that I didn’t have to make all the decisions ;-) (Sometimes I think that I’m just playing at being a grown up!)