I just love "AHA" moments. I had one yesterday morning.
Josef had his four month checkup on Wednesday and I mentioned to his pediatrician that he had been sleeping through the night (midnight to 6AM) consistently for over a month, but has been waking up every three hours again over the last few weeks. I feel like I have a newborn again, and I am exhausted.
She suggested that maybe I was getting him up too soon and that I should wait until he's really crying before going in to his room. If I have to go in there she said not to feed him, but offer a bottle of water if necessary.
So, I had resolved to take her advice and not feed him that night (I already don't go in there unless he is crying, but I did try to let him cry awhile longer that night). He went to sleep for the night about 11:30, and by midnight he was crying. I waited, and he just cried harder. So, I went in and rocked him for a few minutes and he fell right back to sleep. Victory.
Or so I thought.
Just as I was drifting off the crying started again - 12:35. Waiting did no good - he just screamed.
Rocking did no good - he screamed louder.
The boy was HUNGRY.
Since he will hardly even take a bottle of breast milk anymore, I knew a bottle of water was out of the question. So an hour into the great experiment, I gave up and nursed him until he fell asleep. 1 AM and I was back to bed.
He is crying.
He is screaming and I am exhausted and ready to cry myself.
This is not working.
Rocking him was useless. After nursing for a few minutes he started to drift off.
And then I remembered...
When he was a newborn I had to work to keep him awake during feeding. If I did, he slept longer.
So this time I made him stay awake until he finished one breast and then tucked him back into his crib. He slept until 6:45. And I slept until 6:45.
And then I remembered....
He started sleeping through the night when I started giving him a full bottle of breast milk at his 11 PM feeding. I haven't been doing that lately because he hasn't seemed that hungry and simply breastfeeding seemed to be enough, but why?
Then I had my A-HA moment.
In late October I had some stress related milk production issues, so I went back to demand feeding to re-establish my milk supply. Also, it turned to winter here in the Frozen Tundra and we have been spending our evenings in the family room with a fire in the fireplace just being together as a family. And during that time he has fallen into a routine of having several short feedings and little catnaps all evening long. Since he has snacked and napped several times during the evening, he is not that hungry at 11 PM, nor is he that tired.
Yep. I did it. I let him snack and catnap all evening, and cost my self a night of sleep. Or many nights of sleep.
So yesterday I went back to scheduled feedings and didn't let him nap after dinnertime. He nursed at 8PM and then took a full 4oz bottle of expressed milk and nursed from both sides at 11PM. He slept NINE HOURS STRAIGHT last night!!
I just love A-HA moments. And sleep.