Sunday, January 8, 2012

Sleep training

Because we've had to wean to formula due to low milk supply, our nighttime strategy has become problematic. basically I've been side-lying nursing whenever he wakes up so we can both go back to sleep as soon as possible.  However, since the onset of low milk supply, he's been waking up 6-8 times a night, and since we've begun the weaning process, it's even more often than that.  Last night, for example ended up being 11 wakeups, with some sleep intervals only 20 minutes.  Obviously this is neither healthy nor sustainable for him or me, so something had to change.  I've been happy to continue to try to night-nurse him, just to ease the transition to weaning, but really, I can't live with this schedule much longer.

I've been working on updating our go-to-bed routine, to move the feeding part earlier and then not nurse or feed to sleep.  I was hoping that once he realized we weren't going to nurse to sleep, this would catch on for the rest of the night.  Going to sleep initially without nursing worked fairly well right away.  There was a bit of protest, but mostly he'd just eventually roll over and close his eyes.  However, he was waking up earlier and more often demanding to nurse, so that plan sort of backfired.

Last night he went less than two hours on his first block of sleep, and then he demanded to nurse.  Some light bulb went on in my head and I realized that we were going to have to make a change.  So I decided that I wasn't going to nurse him.

Boy, was he MAD.

He cried in my arms for about an hour.  Then he cried in Travis's arms for about a half hour.  Then he cried in my arms for 20 minutes before finally accepting his fate and dropping off to sleep.  He had wakeups for bottles at 12:45am and 3:45am and a short "oops I shouldn't be awake yet" wakeup at 5:30am before waking happily for the day at 6:30am.  He didn't ask to nurse again all night.  And he's been in a great mood all day.

I have all sorts of mixed feelings about the whole thing, but I do think that ultimately it was the right call to quit night nursing cold turkey.  The sooner he moves on, the sooner we can try to reestablish some sort of workable sleep schedule.  And it was really important for me to be there with him while he was upset.  Hopefully this was the worst night of this thing and it'll get better from here.

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