Pinch me, am I dreaming?

A small (huge!) miracle occurred last night… 

As usual, Sam went to bed at 7.40pm after the usual feed to sleep and waking after 25 minutes, before being fed to sleep again. Carl and I had a lovely evening with a glass of wine and generally put our feet up. We never learn, so it was gone midnight by the time we finally went to bed. 

At 4.45am we heard Sam wake and start fussing. Shattered, we didn’t move. After 5 minutes or so, he went back to sleep! He then slept again until 6.05am. 

10 hours and 25 minutes. 

Why didn’t we go to bed early to get a decent night’s sleep!! 

Goodness me, I never thought this would happen. As ever, I accept that it may be a while before this occurs again but, as I always say, it shows he can do it. It must be said that I was about to explode after such a long time between feeds… obviously, he had a huge feed when he woke, thank goodness! 

What a step forward. 

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Return on investment 

I’m all about a good ROI, so when it takes 50 minutes to get Sam down for a 15 minute nap, it really doesn’t seem worth the effort. 

Overall, sleep has been improving and although we generally have a couple of wakings before we head up to bed, Sam now usually sleeps 3-5 hours at a time between 10pm and 7am, after being in bed by 6.30/7pm. 

Naps are more hit and miss. He’s a fan of the 20-40 minute nap, and it can be pretty quick to rock him to sleep if I get the timing right. Not always though, as today has reminded me. It’s tiring when it takes such a long time and then he doesn’t have a decent sleep! I’ll try again at 3.20pm (the 3 hour mark) and hopefully he won’t fight it so much then… Unsurprisingly, he’s pretty miserable and tired now.

I do envy mums whose babies enjoy 1-2 hour naps! 20-40 minutes in his cot is better than when he slept on me, but I wouldn’t mind having a relaxed shower or leisurely lunch one day.

However, sleep is getting better so I very much hope that naps will follow. I couldn’t have imagined that we would even be at this stage a couple of weeks ago! We go to Wales next week and when we get back it’s time to start looking at how to teach Sam to fall asleep on his own. We know he can do it, so he needs to remember that he can and realise that there’s no need for crying and whinging and fighting sleep! 

On a different note, I can’t wait for our trip to Wales. Sam will finally get to meet my grandparents! Here’s hoping he doesn’t start crawling while we’re there….! 

We have our room back!

I’ve been putting off writing this post, since I didn’t want to ‘jinx’ anything…but last Wednesday we took the plunge and moved Sam into the nursery. The first night was far better than expected, the second was very unsettled but, fingers crossed, since then Sam has been sleeping much better. 

After the rolling incident in our room, we decided it was time to move Sam to the safety (and space) of his cot bed. When we initially put him in there, we thought he would struggle, having probably grown accustomed to taking up much of our double, but he adapted pretty quickly. In fact, he now seems to prefer curling up into the side. It hasn’t stopped him getting onto his front (and obviously getting stuck there), but it’s definitely less frequent – or maybe the novelty has worn off for him. I notice that he does sometimes sleep on his front for a couple of hours, but he often remains on his side.

From waking increasingly regularly in our room, he now (touch wood) will sleep up to SIX HOURS. This was unheard of and a dream I never believed would happen. Night before last he slept 7-11 and then 11.10-5.15, at which point I brought him in with us. My rule is that if he wakes any time after 5, I bring him in for the final quick feed and nap. He wakes between 6 and 7 anyway, so this maximises the amount of sleep I get before he is ready for the day!

On Friday, a small miracle happened…I managed to get him to NAP in his cot! Right now, he is fast asleep in his cot enjoying his first nap of the day. He will generally sleep 20-40 minutes, 3 times a day. It’s very helpful knowing roughly how long I have and being better able to predict when. The first is usually 90 minutes after waking, the second 90 minutes after waking from that nap. The third and final is around 3pm, or 3 hours after waking from the second nap. This means he then has a 3 hour stretch to bed. 

  Sussing out naps is entirely thanks to the book I found (The 90 Minute Baby Sleep Program) which focuses on baby awake cycles, rather than sleep. I bought a used copy off Amazon for a couple of pounds. It struck a chord for me since Sam often got tired after an hour or so. This works on the premise that baby’s awake cycles are in multiples of 90 minutes. It’s a fascinating read and also one of the few books that doesn’t recommend teaching your baby to self settle before they’re able. It advocates rocking or soothing them (by any means except feeding) until they’re 6-8 months old, or ready to learn to go to sleep on their own. 

If they cry hysterically, they aren’t ready.

So, it seems we may finally be making some real steps forward. It’s wonderful having our own space back, along with our evenings since he now goes to bed between 6 and 7. It’s a shock to my system getting up at 6-6.30 most days, but it means we have breakfast as a family and Sam has a nap by 8, giving me time to shower and get ready for the day.

If you’re struggling with sleep and nothing seems to be working, keep reading or listening to your instincts. I already ‘knew’ that Sam needed naps after these short intervals, but it took me reading the book to reinforce that I was right. Taking the plunge and moving him out of our room is helping all of us sleep better. 

Do whatever works for you – if your baby needs to feed every hour, then keep them in with you. If your baby needs rocking to sleep, then do it – I don’t for one minute believe we’ll still be rocking Sam when he’s 18! If your baby keeps you all awake and needs more space, try moving them out. 

You’ll figure it out and find what works best for your family. 

Operation ‘cot bed’ has begun

Firstly, you can stop being impressed by the fancy code name for this operation, it took me ages to come up with it. 

The clue is in the title really. Last night, we decided to see how Sam went in his cot bed. We have to start somewhere and if it’s anything like the cot and bath, he’ll take a while to adapt. It’s only in the last 2 days that he hasn’t cried in the bath! With the cot, I initially put him in it for one sleep a night and once he’d got used to that, we moved him in for the whole night (obviously around feeds!). Both were slow processes but we got there in the end.

So, we bathed Sam and then decided to bite the bullet and feed him in his room, see what happened. He fell asleep straight after the feed and we put him in his bed. So far, so good. Then Archie (one of our cats), slipped in and jumped into the bed, waking a startled and now crying Sam. 

I returned to feed him again (helping him learn to fall asleep on his own will be tackled another day!!). It took longer for him to fall asleep this time but we put him in his bed once he did, then I went downstairs to start dinner and Carl sat with him.  

Holding Carl’s finger as he sleeps

This time he lasted half an hour before waking. At first he was just shouting, so Carl tried to settle him without picking him up. However, this soon turned to tears so Carl took him out and started calming him. 

Tears often mean hunger, so I returned to feed him again. It took quite a while, but he eventually started dozing off. Once he was almost asleep, I went to eat my dinner (now ready) while Carl continued calming him and, upon my return 15 minutes later, he was asleep so we put him back in the bed. Carl went to eat his dinner and when he returned to find Sam still sleeping, we set up the monitor so we could leave him. 

Oh my goodness, the baby was sleeping on his own! What to do with our freedom? 

“We could go to bed. It is nearly 9pm…” 

Which is exactly what we did, crazy people that we are…although I struggled to fall asleep, keeping a close eye on the monitor and waiting for Sam to wake. 

He lasted 2hrs 45mins asleep. I woke to hear him fussing and crying at 11.15pm. As agreed in advance with Carl, I brought him back to our room to feed and finish the night. 

It’s a good start!