Thought I’d better update on our sleep progress with four month old Baby. A few weeks ago he was only getting to sleep through feeding and was waking increasingly often. We resorted to a ‘crying-but-not-abandoning’ approach (more info here.)
So a few weeks after the crunch time where are we? Although not all plain sailing things are generally really good. Baby will happily go into his cot wide awake. He kicks and murmurs to himself for a while before usually dozing off quite happily. About one time in four he gets a bit fussy and may cry a bit. During these times I stay in the room with him but don’t really do much beyond verbally soothing him. And very, very occasionally he gets very upset. Usually this is when I’ve mistimed things so he’s overtired. Then I verbally sooth and also do the Baby Whisperer’s pick up/put down. I also get him out of bed if he’s not asleep after an hour, do something different for fifteen minutes, and then try again.
Once asleep he often naps for 1.5 to 2.5 hours at a time. At night he sleeps for eight to ten hours (woo hoo!) He was doing this great night sleep before so I can’t say this approach was responsible. But it did stop a slide backwards towards two night wakings which had started.
I am so glad we decided to do this. Feeding to sleep is lovely in theory but the reality so often isn’t. He was getting less and less sleep and more and more grumpy. So often he was tired but not hungry resulting in tetchy feeds. I felt I was reinforcing a bad lesson about sleep. I still feed on demand and if he wants food before a sleep he can have it. I just make sure not to put him down asleep. And it means our feeds are more enjoyable too. He only has food when he wants and not because he is desperately trying to get to sleep.
As I said it’s not all plain sailing. It still takes him a while to settle to sleep for naps. He’s mostly very happy in the cot but it makes me question my timing when he is regularly taking thirty minutes to settle. Was I too early or too late? We also struggle outside of the house. He is fab in his cot but doesn’t fall asleep easily in a buggy and is increasingly resistant to sleeping in the sling or the car. I try not to have him miss too many naps but sometimes it just can’t be helped.
Bizarrely his night sleeping has got better and worse at the same time. He now sleeps for between eight and ten hours straight each night. Brilliant! But unfortunately it’s almost impossible to get him back to sleep after he then wakes for a feed. Before I used to do side-lying feeding and would basically keep him asleep by feeding him for an age. But now I feed him in the chair and he is normally awake at the end of the feed. And try as we might he just doesn’t want to go back to sleep. He still gets a good daily total amount of sleep because he takes good naps. But only having such short nights is taking it’s toll on me – I am not used to being up at six am! This will probably only be solved by putting him to bed earlier once he’ll take a bedtime bottle so this is my next priority.