October 6, 2012

Trial & Error: Baby Sleeping

Category: Being Parents

Baby sleeping (or the lack of) is one of the most discussed topics amongst parents, and unless you are the lucky few who are blessed with a baby that sleeps through at such an early age, I am, by now, convinced that baby sleeping is, and will remain a universal challenge for most.

Even with the second child, we found ourselves struggling to get Squirt into a predictable sleeping rhythm, especially so at night.  While there has been some pattern established – mostly of when and how he goes down every night – it can and it has, gotten quite unpredictable throughout the night.

Since he was about 5 weeks old, Squirt, has so far, been able to do a 5-hour stretch when we put him down at 6.30 pm (he did fuss till 8 or even 8.30 pm in the initial stages), usually waking up at midnight or 1 am for a feed. It then gets unpredictable from here. Whilst there had been just TWO measly occasions when he slept through till 6 am (a fluke!) from his last 10.30 pm feed, there had also been days where he has woken up twice or thrice and then, there were times when he had woken up every hour or two for a feed till 6.30 am. 

We introduced the dream feeding when Squirt was about 10 weeks old in the hope that he will be able to stretch his sleep longer and not wake up for a midnight feed.  Sometimes it worked with Squirt sleeping through till 3.30 am, thus skipping the 12 am feed, and sometimes it just doesn’t.  One thing for sure, with the introduction of the 10.30 pm feed, Squirt seems to have been conditioned to it, and if we are a little late in giving him the bottle, he would be screaming his head off!

It has been hard to pinpoint what triggered him sleeping longer, for since Day 1 when he came home, his wind-down routine, although a slightly shortened version of Spud’s, has been fairly consistent:

5.15 pm
  • Reflux medication
  • Rub-down and change into PJ
  • Breast feed in front of the TV as Spud gets her TV time

6.30 pm
  • Bring him to the bedroom where the lights are dimmed
  • If I don’t forget or if he is not cranky, I’ll read him a story
  • Rub some lavender sleep balm to aid natural sleep
  • Turn on his lullaby
  • Continue nursing till he is done with his feed

6.45 pm – 7pm     
  • (Usually) Out cold

10.30 pm              
  • Dream Feed (Shoving a bottle while he is fast asleep)
  • Change diaper if necessary

With Squirt, we have been fairly lucky with him in the sense that he usually always falls asleep without a fight during his last nursing session in the room. And if he doesn’t and fusses, I would usually just put him down in his cot and let him cry for a little bit. Sometimes he settles, and the times when he didn’t settle within 10 minutes, I would usually feed him again. That usually does the trick as he seems to need that little bit more of milk before conking out; he just happens to want to fuss first.

The only thing is that he usually falls asleep at the breasts by the time I put him into his cot. In the long-term, I know that it is not the most ideal way of letting him fall asleep. It has been something I have been very conscious about and while I have been very mindful of the potential consequence to that, I decided that I am not going to worry about that at this point in time. Like Spud, we managed to vary the routine a little when she started on solids, and I hope we can do the same with him when he gets a little bit older.
For now, the above bedtime routine works for us to get him to sleep. As for trying to get Squirt to sleep through the night, we are still trying to figure that one out.

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