We. Have. A. SLEEPER!
I hope that if there are any of you out there that have had sleep issues with your little ones, you'll read ahead. We have a well rested family.
I have hesitated to write about it in fear of jinxing it. I'm sure there are plenty of you that know what I'm talking about. The moment you "brag" about your great sleeper, they change on you. And maybe she will after this post.
You may remember this entry or this one. And now that I look back, it's been over two months in the making.
I asked for lots of advice and suggestions. I think I read every book, blog, and magazine about it. I followed my instincts, and I ignored my instincts. I somehow managed to be consistently inconsistent. But we got it figured out.
When Charlotte was 4 months old, her pediatrician told me that "she can nutritionally go 12 hours without eating." I wouldn't believe it. She could barely go 5 hours without waking up and I assumed it was because of hunger. But starting then, I chose to not feed her at night. And breast-feeding moms? You know how that feels. Hello boobies!! There were times that I would get up to pump at night just so I could fall back asleep. Yes, Charlotte was still waking constantly, and I felt horrible about pumping when I could just feed her.
After several weeks of attempting to phase out a night feeding, we were sort of making progress. About once a week, we'd get a little bit more sleep.
But she was still a stinker.
Cry Cry Crying. She'd sleep great from 7:30-11, then she'd be up multiple times. For weeks, the most I got was maybe 3 consecutive hours of sleep.
This is when I started the book reading. And I am so thankful for the suggestions to read Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child.
::side note : my friend Betsy recommended this book. And her daughter sleeps like a CHAMP.::
This book saved my sanity. It was tough. I downloaded it on my eReader and found the parts that applied to me and started putting them into practice.
What it came down to was that she was going to have to cry. I mean, she was crying anyway, even when I was trying everything to get her to stop. So now I was just going to have to not try.
We turned down/off the monitor, and cracked the door so I could just barely hear her. I think it took roughly a week of doing this seriously. There were many nights where I had no idea how well she did because I couldn't hear if she was crying.
Okay, I'll cut to the chase.
She now sleeps 7:30pm-7:30am with 1-3 wake ups but goes RIGHT BACK to sleep many times without my help. The 5:30 wake up is harder to break, but we're getting there. She takes killer naps, but we are still enjoying a flexible schedule. It's not the end of the world anymore if her naps get screwy.
The downside to all of this? The lack of a night time feeding has greatly reduced my milk supply. The combo of that and going back to work and having less than comfortable pumping accommodations has meant that Charlotte is now on formula 99.9 % of the time as of last week. I miss the good ol' days, but life is getting so much easier and for that I am thankful.
Thank you to all of you who offered your help, and for any of you who are struggling with night time sleep, shoot me an email/comment/message on facebook. You can do it!
Oh, and we also broke the swaddle cold-turkey! Without a single problem, incidentally. I think I was so afraid to try it in fear that our nights would be filled with the screams of an enraged child, but she's getting too big for it. And it worked!
Moving ahead towards our next hurdle...whatever that might be.
Crap. Now we'll be dealing with teething.
But at least I know she is capable of being an incredibly awesome baby.