So, we've been struggling with the whole "sleep" thing for awhile now (as you lovely people well know!) and I honestly did not think we'd be at this point at 8.5 months. I really truly thought that he'd have been sleeping through the night for months now. Call it naivety, delusion or blind hope.....I really thought it would happen sooner.
Friends told me that it depended on whether they were a pacifier baby or a hand/finger/thumb sucker....self-soother's can sttn sooner and easier. People also told me formula would help....as would solids....as would when he becomes more physically during the day....napping...routines...getting over the teething hump....the list goes on and on. It seems like there is always "something" that would help him sleep...if I could just make it happen at the precise time, in the precise way necessary, as all planets align and Congress agrees on something....
So, we just kept on. Kept on waking up at least once a night. Kept on struggling to get him to go to sleep, go back to sleep....just sleep. We had that lovely stretch where he sttn for one whole week. It taught me that he, in fact, was getting enough calories to be able to sleep and not "need" the night feed. So, snuggled and rocked instead of ate. It worked---it just took time.
But, we kept on. A couple weeks ago, we hit a peak. He was up for at least an hour at a time....and would not go back to sleep for anyone but me. And not even me sometimes. Usually, I'd cave and give him a few ounces and he'd go back to sleep....for a good chunk of time. But, it just didn't make sense. If he was truly hungry, 2-4 oz for a baby used to 7oz at a time shouldn't fulfill him enough to make him sleep for a long time.
We were struggling. I dreaded the night. I dreaded the morning...when the exhaustion was so bad that I would just sit in the bathroom while the shower ran because damn....there was no way I had the energy to get wet, soap up, shave, wash my hair (and dry it). I just could.not.do.it. Work was becoming an issue....I was being a b.itch to my kids. I just didn't have the patience to deal with it.
Finally, we decided to mess with his food again. His daycare provider mentioned a couple times that he seemed like he would've eaten more or really sucked down his bottles. But, just as many days, he wouldn't finish...so we didn't think much of it. We tried adding another solids meal in the evening between his two bottles (one around 4-5, another at 7-8 for bedtime). But, this just seemed to either make him fussy (too full?) or he wouldn't finish his bedtime bottle and then would be up to eat. I mentioned to the daycare lady that she was welcome to give him more baby food if he seemed hungry (he does 1/2 jar fruit in the a.m. and 1/2 jar veggies in the pm, plus his 3 7oz bottles). We would make sure he still was finishing his bottles though, as that is important to me.
This was last Thursday. Every day this week, he has eaten TWO full jars of a baby food a day (except one day when it was 1 1.5) at daycare....plus all of his bottles....plus napped longer. He's gnoshed a little at home with us at "dinner" with some mum-mums, mushy carrots or mushy pears. He even at a 1/2 jar of peas and brown rice. LM has been an eating machine!
But....most importantly....MUCH more importantly...he has STTN Monday night, Tuesday night AND Wednesday night. He's taken his bedtime bottle well and conked out right after....with just a few wiggles and whines. No 20 minutes of head-rubbing or hand-holding through the slats. No up and down the stairs 3-4 times as he cries himself awake. Just a baby who went to sleep and stayed there until I wake him up to go to daycare.
WTF? Turns out he's just been hungry. I hope hope hope hope this is a new thing and he hasn't been this hungry the whole time. He's so happy and go-with-it all the time that I worry he was just going with the flow and could've been eating more for awhile.
I don't know how long this will last (especially since I just jinxed myself by posting about it!). Our weekends usually throw off his schedule since we let him sleep until he wakes himself up instead of at 6am. I hope we can keep him on schedule enough to feed him plenty of food and keep the streak alive.....it's been indescribably helpful to my well-being. I don't feel 100% myself again but I do feel more human.
This is just another lesson in motherhood for me that has taught me to just keep trying things. I can't assume something isn't the case just because it didn't work at one point. LM is constantly changing and growing and I have to keep up!
And now, if you'll excuse me....I'm going to bed...and hopefully staying there until my alarm goes off :-)