Second kids like to challenge the rules.
Little C started sleeping through the night (for real – 8-10 hours) during his first week on the outside. I kept quiet. I didn’t tell anyone. I didn’t want to mess it up. And it lasted for almost 6 months. It was glorious!
I should have known that meant trouble.
At 3 months I found out I had a supply issue that was brought on and aggravated by how much he slept. My boys are both little, but this time, Little C wasn’t really gaining weight. I had been enjoying the amazing sleep and for some reason I had never thought about the need to pump at some point during the night. Thankfully, I found an amazing friend who donated about 200 oz of milk to us so I could supplement him a few ounces each day while I let him nurse as much as humanly possible and pump at least once or twice a day to bring my supply back.
Fast forward to 6 months and he no longer slept through the night. I’m not sure what changed. Maybe the lack of milk had caught up so he was hungry? Maybe the 6 teeth almost all at once did it? Maybe the first cold he had? Maybe the 6 month growth spurt? I don’t know, but suddenly he started sleeping (or not sleeping, in this case) like he ‘should’ have as a newborn. At first he woke up every 3/4 hours, then down to 2/3. For the last few months it’s been more like 1/2 hours. It’s been tough and I feel like a zombie, but I tried not to complain (too much). I knew this was payback for those first few months. And I just kept trying to remind myself that soon enough I’ll be begging him to wake up. And technically, he’s easy. I just have to stumble in there, feed him for 5-10 minutes at the most and lay him back down in the crib. He goes right back to sleep. It was ‘easy’ to just keep trudging along because he didn’t stay up or fight sleep – he just woke up every hour or so.
We weren’t sure how to help him, and me, get more sleep and we were scared to try much since both boys share a room. It didn’t seem to be a good idea to make the little one scream just to wake up the big one. But now Little C is 1. We know he can go longer between feedings. And more importantly, we know he needs more sleep to be the happy baby he should be. In spite of the broken sleep, he is a pretty happy kid, but on the days where he sleeps better there is a marked difference.
So we’ve been in sleep boot camp this week and will be for the next few weeks, I’m sure. We’re not ready to night wean yet. Between his size and my supply issues, I’m just not ready, but something needs to change. After thinking through everything that goes on we’ve come up with a plan:
- Try to be more diligent about putting him down for 2 good naps a day. I would make many of his naps be in the car because we had errands, etc and then sometimes we’d miss the second nap. In this week alone of making sure to follow more of a routine (with some naps still in the car) he has been way happier during the day. Especially in the early evening.
- Create more of a bedtime routine. He is a champion nurse-to-sleeper so we haven’t really done much of a routine. If we want him to sleep without having to nurse so much, I really think the routine is vital.
- Pay attention to ambient lights. Caleb doesn’t seem to be bothered by lights much so we hadn’t really thought about it. Paying attention this week, it seems that the light from our bedroom can wake up the little one if we’re not careful. We’ve been trying to keep the door closed and it seems to help.
- Teach him to fall asleep separate from nursing. This is HUGE! He falls asleep SO easily if I just let him nurse long enough. And he just lets me lay him back in bed no problem. But now he can’t stir in the night and get back to sleep without my help. This week we’ve been working on it and I’ll share more in a post tomorrow!