Archive for the ‘Sleepz’ Category

Argh, early rising!

October 12, 2013

My boy is waking up too early. It’s driving me mad. And making him super tired. By evening he is exhausted as rather than getting the twelve hours sleep he needs he is instead getting 10-11 hours. This day after day is really taking its toll on us both. For me it’s not so much about having to get up early as I’m often up with the baby anyway. It’s dealing with such a tired and grumpy boy all day.

This all started when he got his new bed and simultaneously discovered he could open the gate to his room. He now knows he can get up when he chooses and this motivates him to get up when he first stirs. Plus I think he doesn’t sleep as well due to being unused to the new bed.

Am really not sure what to do. His room is massively blacked out, plus it’s quite dark in the morning anyway. He has a Gro-clock and understands that he shouldn’t get up till ‘up time’. Still doesn’t stop him! And a sticker chart to reinforce it is having no effect either.

In the past the only successful strategy I’ve found for early waking is an earlier bedtime. It’s counter-intuitive but it stops him being over tired come bedtime. We’ll be trying this for a few days and I hope that it works.

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Not a ‘snacker’ anymore

September 7, 2013

I’ve written several times about Baby’s snacky tendencies. From very early days he was a ‘little and often’ breast feeder. Always fairly unpredictable except that he’d take a lot before bed and first thing. After I moved to bottles and formula he was initially very similar. Big feed in the morning then an ounce here and an ounce there before a big feed at bed.

But we’ve now, at six months, cracked it. He now has three 8oz bottles and two 5oz bottles a day (routine here). He drinks what he wants from these in one go (usually all of it) and then doesn’t need more until his next regular feed.

So what did we do? Three things I think helped.

1) Getting the milk flow up. When we first started on bottles my boy struggled with all but the slowest flow bottles. These most mimicked my breast feeding flow which he was used to. All fine but boy, they were slow. Even with a size two MAM teat it was taking 40 minutes for him to drink an 8oz bottle. No wonder he lost interest in feeding in the daytime. He’s only recently been comfortable with a size three teat but using it has been a revelation. An 8oz feed now takes around ten minutes. A 5oz feed can be drunk in three if he is so inclined. He’s now taking in what he needs for a full feed and the snacking has vanished.

2) Not mis-reading tired cues. In the day time Baby gets tired after around two hours. But in the early mornings he gets sleepy after only being up an hour or so. Now I know this I just pop him into bed and he dozes off. But a while ago I used to interpret his crabbiness about an hour after waking as hunger. Even if he’d had lots of milk I’d be offering more. And because it was soothing and helped him relax he’d take some. And then began a vicious circle of him not being that hungry later, etc etc.

3) Not being too hasty to offer feeds. I certainly don’t advocate keeping a hungry baby from his milk. But I think in earlier days I offered Baby milk when actually he really wanted something else. Mainly he was tired (see point two). But he might also have wanted a change of scene or toy or a cuddle. Gradually over time I’ve come to hold back a bit just to see what he really needs. And more often than not milk isn’t it.

So there we have it. My experiences and reflections on easing out of a snacking situation. What are your experiences?

Six months old :-)

August 27, 2013

This time six months ago I was in labour. And look what I got to show for it? My lovely baby boy. How time flies!
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Things have changed a lot recently. Purely on formula. Rolling and turning. Sleeping through the night 🙂 All good stuff.

And more fun to come. I’ve purposely held back from weaning till I had to and so we start in earnest this week. He’s had a few bits to grab and bite but I don’t think he’s swallowed anything yet.

For posterity here is his routine at six months old. No solids in this. It’s not exact as we go by his signals but so long as we are at home he’s pretty predictable now.

As a snacky feeder he doesn’t often drink all his milk in one go. So below I’ve given the times I offer a new bottle but he doesn’t necessarily drink it all up then. Often he’ll have half then and the remainder an hour or so later.

8am: Wake, 8oz milk
10am: Sleep, usually at least two hours and sometimes up to three
12n / on waking: 8oz milk
2pm: Sleep, usually 1.5 to two hours
4pm / on waking: 5oz milk
6pm: 5oz milk
8pm: Bath, 8oz milk
9pm: In bed asleep

You can see how he tanks up on milk before bed. How lucky we are with his sleep. It can occasionally be tricky to get him to doze off but once out he does sleep well. Perfect baby I think!

When to stop breastfeeding?

July 18, 2013

An interesting question and one I am pondering a fair bit at the moment. I guess in many ways I am lucky to have the choice. Breastfeeding is going well and I’m not really facing the supply issues I had with Bub, my first baby. Twenty week old Baby wakes less at night too so I can’t even claim I want to share the night feedings. However I am still thinking about the possibility of stopping in the next few weeks. I’m not sure if I will or not. At the moment I’m just contemplating it.

One of my main reasons for stopping is Baby’s sleep. Or rather his feed-to-sleep habit. It just comes so naturally to him. We’ve stopped the habit twice now only for it to gradually creep back. I fear it has crept back again now. It sometimes feels like the only proper shift away from this will come when he is bottle fed. But then I feel mean as he clearly loves it so. But then I wonder if it’s meaner to continue to breastfeed, let habits set in and then have days of tears as we try to move away from them. (And before you ask I’m not happy having him habitually feed-to-sleep as he wakes up constantly seeking the sleep-inducing-boob all day and night which is no good for anyone.)

Last time around I fed Bub till he was eight months plus. I stopped because my supply had diminished massively and I was returning to work a couple of months later. By that stage I was thoroughly sick of lengthy night feeds which were each taking over an hour due to poor supply. I didn’t feel guilty about stopping at all. I think this time around I probably would. I can’t help but compare the two boys and it feels like Baby is getting short changed. However I do need to split my time between the two boys and so long and lingering breast feeds aren’t so lovely second time around.

I think the fact it’s the hottest summer in years isn’t helping either. Often Baby and I are dripping with sweat which isn’t pleasant. Side-lying feeding helps here but isn’t that practical when you are out and about!!

So when to stop? I really don’t know. At the moment I feel bottle feeding might solve a few immediate issues and be rather convenient. But that’s not exactly a great reason to stop something so obviously beneficial and enjoyable for Baby. And of course breastfeeding can be incredibly helpful during tough times like illness or teething. I’d hate to stop only to regret it!

For now I’m going to continue and we’ll just see how we go. He currently has formula at bedtime and breast milk at all other feeds. That seems to be working out so we’ll stick with it for now and just take it one day at a time.

So pissed off with sleep issues right now

July 2, 2013

Never again shall I post up about our sleeping success. It’s definitely a jinxing thing to do. Twice I’ve done this, saying we seem to be getting there. And twice it’s been only a few days until it feels like square one again. Maybe it’s me getting complacent which swings it?

Anyway things are crap with sleep again. With BOTH kids. Baby’s routine is all out of whack which is leading to him feeding just before sleep. Uh oh! And yes, of course, it didn’t take too long for this to take us right back to where we started. He now desperately wants to feed to sleep and we’re having to sleep train all over again. As for his big brother I really don’t know what is going on. He’s regularly screaming in his room at bedtime and refusing to go to bed. I think Baby’s bedtime tears are upsetting Bub. But it’s also my decreased availability to him as I stay with Baby through the tears. And all our heightened stress levels and tiredness doesn’t help. Feels like the whole house is over tired and it’s no fun.

Last night both Baby and Bub screamed themselves to sleep… And then Bub woke at 2am shouting and screaming and refusing to be comforted. And of course Baby woke at 4.30am. And at 7.30am he was up for the day. And has only just dozed off after yet more tears at nap time. This is crap and I am shattered!

So pissed off with sleep issues right now

July 2, 2013

Never again shall I post up about our sleeping success. It’s definitely a jinxing thing to do. Twice I’ve done this, saying we seem to be getting there. And twice it’s been only a few days until it feels like square one again. Maybe it’s me getting complacent which swings it?

Anyway things are crap with sleep again. With BOTH kids. Baby’s routine is all out of whack which is leading to him feeding just before sleep. Uh oh! And yes, of course, it didn’t take too long for this to take us right back to where we started. He now desperately wants to feed to sleep and we’re having to sleep train all over again. As for his big brother I really don’t know what is going on. He’s regularly screaming in his room at bedtime and refusing to go to bed. I think Baby’s bedtime tears are upsetting Bub. But it’s also my decreased availability to him as I stay with Baby through the tears. And all our heightened stress levels and tiredness doesn’t help. Feels like the whole house is over tired and it’s no fun.

Last night both Baby and Bub screamed themselves to sleep… And then Bub woke at 2am shouting and screaming and refusing to be comforted. And of course Baby woke at 4.30am. And at 7.30am he was up for the day. And has only just dozed off after yet more tears at nap time. This is crap and I am shattered!

And now the other one won’t sleep!!

June 30, 2013

I think my two boys might be ganging up on me. It seems that as soon as one has their sleep sorted the other gets in a pickle.

Bub, our three year old, has become a total nightmare to get to sleep. He used to go to sleep within minutes of us saying good night. He’d be snoring gently by 9pm and sleep soundly till around 9-9.30am. This seems like a very late bedtime to most but we structure his whole day around it and use blackouts to help him sleep in till ‘up time’. This last week or so he’s totally lost it however. The other night I actually ended up going to bed whilst he was still awake. I turned out the lights and lay here with him still shouting for me! I think that night he went to sleep at 11pm. And the night before it’d been 10.30pm. All far too late and meaning he is seriously overtired.

We’ve always had our challenges with Bub’s sleep. So much so it led to me naming this blog as I did. Routine, routine, routine was our salvation. Bub knew what was coming and when and he didn’t think he had a choice. Except now he realises he can play about in his room, turn on the light, shout for a story, a wee, a drink…

I think the root of this lies in him actually oversleeping one day and us letting him. So he wasn’t tired next day and started messing. And liked it so much he did it again and again. And a couple of times we didn’t realise he had put his light on and he was awake ages having a whale of a time.

This does happen from time to time. Often it is accompanied by early morning wakings and over tiredness. The only solution I have found is to put him to bed much earlier. Even for early wakings. We put him down earlier and he messes about but falls asleep that bit earlier too. So next day he is less overtired and sleep comes a bit easier. So again less overtired etc. Eventually we can revert back to the usual sleep time.

Last night we put him in bed a half hour early. He then had an hour of rampaging in his bedroom, of course. We ignored him as best we could and tried not to engage more than absolutely necessary. And he fell asleep at quarter to ten. Not brilliant but better than the previous two nights. He was asleep on two pillows which he’d put in the floor behind the bed, mind you. However luckily he didn’t wake when moved. What a monkey!

Sleep progress :-)

June 29, 2013

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.

Baby routine at 16 weeks

June 22, 2013

Sixteen weeks already. My Baby is getting more alert and interested in the world every day.

His routine is a bit fluid at the moment. Things are going well with sleep training but we still get the odd nap which we struggle with. He tends to get sleepy about ninety minutes after waking. Though this is less in the morning and more in the evening. He is now feeding pretty much every four hours in the day. And at night can go 8-10 hours before waking. Woo hoo!

Because things are still settling down I can’t really share a generalised routine. So I thought I’d post up his day from when he was exactly 16 weeks old as an example. Plus it was a fairly good day and he got a nice lot of sleep.

10.15pm Asleep for night
6.30am Awake (8+1/4 hours sleep), milk (30mins)
7.05am Back to sleep (fed to sleep then placed in cot)
9.30am Awake (2+1/4 hours sleep)
10.30am Milk (40mins)
11.30am Nap (dozy after feed so had to wake, then in cot from 11.10am, no tears)
1.40pm Awake (2+1/4 hours sleep)
2.20pm Milk (30 mins)
4.10pm Nap (in cot from 3.40pm, some tears)
6.40pm Awake (had to wake as getting late, 2+1/2 hours sleep)
6.45pm Milk (20 mins)
8.00pm Bath
8.40pm Milk (50 mins)
9.40pm Milk (20 mins)
10.00pm Asleep for night (woke after feed then put down, asleep quickly and easily)

I try to have an EASY structure to the day (ie Eat, Activity, Sleep). But when he has a night wake/feed so late in the night it can throw the day out. So in today’s example I don’t feed him immediately on waking as he isn’t hungry. More recently he’s been waking slightly later (eg 7am or beyond) and not dropping straight back to sleep. This makes us much more likely to follow the EASY template.

Final observation is the very late bedtime. 10pm is far from ideal. But after his bath I’m feeding him for 60-90 minutes in the evening and so it usually does work out to be this time when he finally finishes feeding and falls asleep. This is why I really want to use a bottle of formula for the evening feed as my milk supply is very sluggish later on. Poor boy is usually shattered by bedtime as am I. We’re still struggling with introducing a bottle so this is my next challenge!

Baby sleep update

June 17, 2013

So three days after we started sleep training with Baby how are things going? No clear conclusion at the moment. There are some great times when he settles in the cot very happily. And some crappy times when he gets very frustrated and upset.

I’m kind of making this up as I go along but what we are doing is:

– A brief bedtime routine prior to going in cot.
– Then into the cot.
– Hopefully falling asleep easily and calmly.
– Me or his daddy staying with him if he gets upset. We’re in the room but not in his face and murmur soothing words from time to time so he knows he’s not alone. If he gets very upset we pick him up (a la the Baby Whisperer) but this hasn’t been needed yet.
– At nap time if he’s not settled after an hour I get him up and try to get him to sleep in the sling or car. Anything but feeding to sleep really.

This last rule came from this website. I’m actually not convinced it is helpful. His falling asleep was rapidly improving till I did this today. And then the day was totally rubbish. I fear that he’s now just waiting on the sling as his preferred option. Or maybe I’m reading too much into it?

He has fussed a lot and cried a fair amount too. But not as much as I’d feared. He seems frustrated and tired but not desperate or scared. He has settled himself to sleep in the past and has done so this week. So I know he can do it. He also seems fine in his awake time and not upset or anything. I’m therefore reasonably ok with this approach we’ve adopted and we’re going to stick it out a bit longer.

In terms of breastfeeding I’ve been feeding him when he is hungry which has worked out to be 3-4 hourly. At night he’s gone 8-9 hours without food but then he’s not resettled after what should be a middle of night feeding. So some very early starts! I have resisted feeding before naps as they are usually only an hour or so since he last fed. He doesn’t seem hungry at that point bit prior to our change he would have fed to get to sleep. However my foremilk/hindmilk issues seem to have returned almost immediately I dropped these pre-nap feeds – he did four poos today (after doing only one a day all last week.) So I may need to do a pre-nap feed after all (waking him up after of course!) This might help relax him too which would be good so long as he doesn’t feed to sleep.

What I really need to get sorted is feeding him from a bottle. My milk supply is poor in the evening and his final feed takes about 90 minutes. This is ridiculous and means he’s missing out on valuable sleep time. If he would only take a bottle this would help enormously. But despite trying nightly so far we’re getting nowhere.

So that’s the latest. Hopefully my next sleep post will contain better news


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