Today at my Mommy and Me group a fellow mom shared how her son was now sleeping 8pm – 6am. WHAT?! While other moms said they weren’t getting that long of a stretch it seemed almost all of them had already implemented night time routines. I’m still in a daze of on-demand feeding, never knowing when she’ll wake next and neither of us having much of a concept for day time vs night time. But upon hearing what other moms were doing I came home encouraged and determined to start a night time routine. I informed my husband of the plan and when she started getting fussy around 6:30pm I decided she was getting tired and it was time to start winding her down. First, I fed her. She nursed for an hour. One side to the next, several pauses for burps in between and lots of milk. “Good,” I thought, “she’s filling up her tummy and will sleep for a really long stretch!” Then dad read a few books to her. Then we turned on some soothing classical baby music. We changed her diaper and put her in her PJs. Then we rubbed Honest Company lavender lotion while talking to her in soothing tones. She was still awake so I nursed her again. More burps. Then bouncing on the yoga ball while the music played until she fell asleep. Yesssssss. Feeling like an absolute pro at the Mom thing, I put her down and tip-toed out of the room.
With my newfound freedom, I grabbed a beer (great for milk supply), made a gourmet salad with roasted chicken (I even grated some fresh parmesan cheese, finely chopped some red onion and basil), sat down, turned on a show i’ve been wanting to watch and…. she started crying. I waited… it got louder. So I went in, soothed her gently but she would not be calmed. Checked her diaper, it was wet. “Easy solve, i’ll just change her and put her back down,” I thought. But she was eating her hand while we changed her, which means she’s hungry. My boobs were done after over an hour of nursing (it’s 8:30pm by this point and reminder, we started trying to put her down at 6:30pm) so we decide Tim will feed her a bottle. They get settled in our room, lights dim, white noise machine on. And she’s taking the bottle – phew. I settle back in to start my dinner, press play and… hear Tim SCREAM. So I jump up, run into the room and him and Evelyn are COVERED in milk. She spit up everything. I took her while Tim changed his shorts, shirt and even his underwear was soaked in milk. Of course he was feeding her on my side of the bed so my bedding is now covered in milk.
I put her on the changing table, wiped her down, new PJs and looked at Tim and said, “F-it. So we’re putting her in her swing?” “Yep.”
Evelyn ended up not falling asleep until 1:30am. That’s 7 hours of a painfully failed attempt of all of us getting more sleep.
The next day, we had a check up for her. The pediatrician asked how things were going and I mentioned we’d attempted a sleep routine to get her to sleep earlier and longer through the night based on feedback i’d gotten in my Mommy and Me group. As soon as I told him you could see he was trying to hold back from laughing, he leans in and trying to look super casual was like “I’m just curious, can you tell me what you did for your routine?” He literally looked like this meme:
After listening to my whole routine he assured me us getting no sleep and her not sleeping through the night was completely normal.
The kicker is – we’ve actually had two nights so far when she has slept 5 hour stretches and they’ve been some of the worst nights for us because she wakes up wide awake and well rested… sometime between 3am – 5am. So i’d actually rather the 3 hour stretches where we are both sleeping on and off from 12am – 9am then sleeping 11pm – 4am.
The hardest part with this whole sleep thing is just not knowing what you’re going to get that night. Is it going to be cluster feeding 8pm -12am? Is she going to wake up every two hours or will we get 4 hours in between? Not knowing means as it gets later in the day i’m dreading it. And it’s hard to want to get out and do things and miss MY afternoon nap because I don’t know what i’m in for that night. I might wake up and feel fairly good so I try to tackle a lot around the house, maybe go out for a few hours with her in the afternoon. By 8pm after dinner, i’m exhausted and usually, if we’ve been out and about and she slept the whole time in her car seat, then she’s ready to hang 8 -12am.
I just have to keep reminding myself to take it easy. Even at 7 weeks now with my body being healed it’s still new, it’s still an adjustment and it’s OK to have some days off – especially when you don’t know what curve ball you’re going to be thrown in the sleep department. Right now, that’s what i’m working through, feeling better, wanting to do more, but continually reminding myself that it’s OK to slow down.