Monday, April 19, 2010

Sleep - The Long and Winding Road

Success! My child slept (more or less) through the night last night!

Mind you, Carter had been sleeping through the night since late January or so, although I wasn't. That's because I did two dreamfeeds (nursing without waking) every night. For six weeks or so, every night I would snatch my sleeping baby out of his crib and pop him on the boob at 11pm and (ugh) 2am. He would nurse greedily, never once opening his little eyes, and then I would plunk him back down in his crib. Hearing my alarm go off at 2am was misery, but it was worth it for a night of otherwise uninterrupted sleep, and to have a small sense of control during the wee hours (Type A, anyone?).

After six weeks of dreamfeeds, I slowly began cutting down on the time of each feed. Since Carter has always been a speed-nurser, his longest feed was never more than six minutes. So one night I did five, then get the idea. It's pretty heartbreaking to pry your hungry, slumbering infant off your breast, but within a few days I had cut out the 2am feeding, he was sleeping til morning, and I was singing the praises of this sleep training method (no idea what it's called - a friend told me about it - no time to read anything). A week or so later, I slowly cut out the 11pm, and then (drumroll) my boy was sleeping blissfully from 7:30pm until 6am (or sometimes 5:30, but that's good enough for me).

For a few wonderful weeks, we slept. Until last week, when it all went to hell. Carter got a cold and started waking up again, and I just didn't have the strength to let my sick baby cry it out. So there I was, once again stumbling out of bed in the wee hours to comfort my crying infant. After weeks of sleeping soundly, this was torturous.

Last night, however, was different. He woke up at 3:20am and fussed for a bit, but I stayed strong and did not go to him. Then he went back to sleep until 5:30, when I nursed him and put him back to bed. He slept in til 6:45 (you know you're a mother when you consider waking up at 6:45am "sleeping in"). Ahhhh. AHHHHHHHHHH.

Now I'm sitting here wondering if I did anything differently last night that helped him sleep better. Was it his dinner? Did the lentil/quinoa combo possess some magical sleep-inducing wallop of protein? Or was it the sweet potato-pea-avocado side dishes (eat the rainbow, people. Eat the rainbow)?

I'll never know. In fact, I've learned enough by now to know that the only sure thing about parenthood is that whenever you think you've got it all figured out, it'll change. There you have it. Welcome to the rest of my life.

1 comment:

The Mama said...

I am jealous! We're working on weaning the night feedings now so hopefully we'll be in your boat some day.