It’s been a rough week for all 3 of us because all 3 of us are so very darn stubborn. Calvin is almost 6 months old, and he’s now getting 1 Tablespoon of solid foods per day, in addition to some water and breast milk approximately 10 times a day. There is no reason the ravenous beast needs to eat in the middle of the night. I think he’s just USED to it. So, it’s a tough habit that we’re attempting to break, and it just really really sucks to work through this process.
I feed him at 7:30pm just before his bedtime routine (although I’m thinking about moving his bedtime ahead 30 minutes to 7:30 pm since that seems more the time he’s ready to crash for the night). Then, I feed him again sometime around 10:30 and 11pm before I go to bed. Although tonight, I’m going to bed as soon as I finish this post! Then he wakes up sometime between 1:30am and 2am with his hungry “Neh” cry. However, for the past 2 nights, I’ve been forcing him to wait until 4am for his next feeding. That means I give him the pacifier or even a little water since he’s been a little congested lately due to teething (mouth breathing–getting dehydrated at night). It means that he’ll wake up again an hour after he falls asleep, yet we’re sticking to our plan.
As my mommy friend said, we’ve got to set our boundaries now with this or it’ll be hard to establish other boundaries later. I agree with that in the same way I had to “teach” him how to nurse in such a way that wasn’t so painful to me.
It’s hard to find what’s the RIGHT thing to do since there are so many ranges of schedules of how often to nurse a baby at various ages, and many different parenting philosophies. I tended to pursue a blend of a couple of books/methods that I liked, primarily Secrets of the Baby Whisperer and The Happiest Baby on the Block with a little of Babywise and La Leche League in the mix. Yes I know, some of those philosophies are completely opposed to one another, however, I think at different stages of Calvin’s development and my lessons learned as a new mom, I’ve learned something valuable from each of those. However, now that Calvin’s older, getting more food during the day, I know he’s definitely not “hungry” at night. And, I’d love for him to get a good 10-12 hours straight through the night without waking up.
With all the extensive traveling we’ve done since he was born, it was sometimes hard to have the same routine day in and day out. I know a lot of parents claim that’s the way to go, but it hasn’t been completely realistic with our situation. Calvin’s crib is in our room . . . so it’s a lot harder to just let him cry for however long it takes if we want to get some rest at night. Plus he often stirs and even wakes whenever I enter the room at night because he has a super snooper baby nose for the scent of milk–he smells it/or me and wakes crying for it.
Considering the fact that some of our errands usually are a 45 min drive in just 1 direction, that often causes whatever naptime routine we’ve established to just have to be adaptable on days when we have to go to the bigger grocery store or the Amish cheese factory. But ya know, that’s life . . . especially if you live in the country. So, doing the best we can to keep Calvin on as much as a familiar routine as possible, his bedtime, waketime, and general windows for naptimes have remained relatively consistent.
Now, if only he’d sleep completely through the night. Please, DEAR LORD, help him to sleep until 5 AM! (I earnestly pray this every night.) Last night, Steve literally cycled through a routine of picking Calvin up until he was calm, then put him back down in his crib (which resulted in major crying)
for 1 hour. . . oh, and this began at 1:20 am. Somewhere in that hour, Steve changed Calvin’s diaper. By 2:20 am, Steve relented and gave the reins over to me. The only problem is, when Steve picked Calvin up, he’d calm him because he’s DADDY. Calvin was just angry to not be held anymore. When I pick him up, he wants to assume the nursing position and he’ll even chew on my shirt. After a couple of attempts, I just put him down in the crib, patted his belly, and told him firmly and lovingly that I wasn’t going to feed him until 4am, and that he needed to go to sleep. I never thought he’d carry on for an hour . . . we both thought he’d finally relent to sleep. But, once I just let him cry and fuss for a few minutes, he DID fall asleep on his own.
So, here we are on Night 3 of Operation Sleep Stretch. Unfortunately, we’re not at home in Calvin’s familiar crib. Instead, we’re at my mom’s house in NY–he’s been here before on more than one occasion. In fact, we were just here 2 weeks ago. He’s sleeping on his inflatable IKEA Gullunge changing pad (I throw a towel and blanket on it, and it’s an instant portable baby air mattress for on the go!). At least it’s a familiar bed, and he’s so worn out because the past 2 nights have just sucked all around for all 3 of us. He got in a few fierce naps today, so I hope that makes an impact on him having a wonderfully delicious night’s sleep.
I welcome any and all stories, comments, suggestions, ideas on this topic to you veteran breastfeeding parents out there.