First of all, THANK YOU all so much for all your comments last week about Mac's sleeping. It was so nice to hear from both so many first time commenters and veteran moms. I'm so blessed to have the smartest mamas out there as readers! Y'all rock.
Secondly, I really hope that post didn't come off as whiny or complaining. As you all know, it took us a LONG time to have a baby and I don't want to take one second of it for granted. I know there are millions of women out there that would give anything to be in my sleepless situation because it means they have a baby to love. I never want to make it sound like I'm ungrateful for my baby or complaining. I know sleepless nights come with the territory of being a mom and I spent years praying for those nights. I definitely don't want to give the impression that I've forgotten about that or am unappreciative.
Since last week's post, a lot of you have asked how things are going, so I thought I'd give you a little update. Here's the deets on what we've done/changed in the last week.
We've added a morning nap to Mac's schedule. He does not want the nap at all if he's home and playing, but we've found that if we put him in the car and drive around for a while, he falls asleep. So that's what we've done. He's had a 15-45 minute morning nap every day for the past week and while I'm not sure it's helped with night-time waking, I definitely think it's improved his mood in the afternoons. He's not nearly as tired and clingy in the evenings any more (or maybe that's because he's finally not sick). Either way, we're going to try to keep this up. It may not happen every day, but it's a good start and good to know that he needs more daytime sleep. I had no idea he was so young to drop a nap - thanks for the comments on that.
We've been giving him a lovely to hold during his night-time routine. He has absolutely no interest in it and doesn't even want to hold it. Basically I hold it in front of him and kiss it, love on it and talk to it and he looks at me like I'm batshit crazy. I put it in his crib with him, but he's never once even acknowledged it's existence in there. Not sure if this one's going to catch on anytime soon, but we'll keep it up. It definitely can't hurt anything.
I've been putting him down to sleep at night awake. This is HARD. I still rock him and sing to him and give him his nightly bottle while snuggling and cuddling, but I've been cutting our routine a little bit short and putting him down before he's passed out. He's definitely tired and oh-so-close to falling asleep when I put him in his crib, but as soon as he touches the mattress, he's wide awake and pissed off! The first night he cried for about 20 minutes and then laid down and went to sleep. The second night he just kind of whimpered and whined for about 12 minutes and then went down. The third night was around 20 minutes again. The fourth night was an hour of full blown screaming bloody murder and I had to go in and calm him down. Ugh. Regression. The fifth night was 45 minutes of major screaming. And last night we were back to only 12 minutes of whimpering. I don't have a clue if he's getting any better at self-soothing.
When he wakes in the middle of the night, we've been trying not to give him a bottle. Every now and then we do, but only when he's inconsolable and needs it to calm himself down. I think he's having bad dreams because he's had a few wake-ups where he's just freaking out and still crying in his sleep while in our arms. A lot of you commented that he could be having dreams of falling from just starting to walk, which makes a lot of sense, so we try comfort him as much as we can in this case. The bottle's our last resort, but sometimes necessary. He usually only takes an ounce or two, so I know he's not really hungry and doesn't need it. Otherwise, we've tried to eliminate the nighttime feedings.
We've also been trying to put him back in his crib awake if he wakes in the middle of the night. Also very hard to do. Mainly because it's the MIDDLE OF THE FREAKING NIGHT and we just want to go back to bed. The first time I did this, he cried for about 30 seconds and then fell asleep! WOW. I thought I'd won the mommy lottery! But then I did it again on Monday night and he cried for 45 minutes before finally laying back down and falling asleep on his own. There is nothing worse than lying in bed wide awake at 3:00 a.m. on a Monday night listening to your child scream his head off knowing that you have to go to work in a couple hours. Ugh.
So, has his sleep improved? Maybe. The first two nights on the new system he slept through the WHOLE night without ANY wake-ups. I'm talking 11-12 straight hours of sleep. OMG, it was the greatest thing EVER. I was convinced that I'd solved the world's baby sleeping problems and was daydreaming of writing a best-selling book on sleep and making bajillions of dollars. Then he starting waking up in the middle of the night again and has ever since. So we had 2 awesome nights, 2 crappy nights with one wake-up, and 2 miserable nights with 2 (or more) wake-ups and lots of crying.
So, basically we're back to where we started. We're going to keep the new routine up a while longer, just to see if it starts to sink in. Maybe our kid's just thick-headed and stubborn (like me) and needs a little longer to adjust. Who knows. If not, I'm very happy (and excited) to go back to our routine of rocking him to sleep every night with a bottle and a lullaby. I'll keep you all updated. And in the meantime, I'm going to try to really appreciate those middle of the night cuddle sessions because I know they won't last forever. And if it turns out he really does need me to go to college with him and rock him to sleep every night, I'll happily go! I loved college, after all. :)