My son sleeps with us, right between us under the blankets. He goes to bed with Mommy and Daddy at 10pm. He is four months old. This has been a pretty ideal set up so far, he wakes twice to feed and I just sorta guide my nipple to his mouth in a half awake state and he nurses himself back to sleep without ever completely waking. I wake a couple extra times to check that the blanket hasn’t covered his face or that his Dad hasn’t rolled over on him, just because I’m a little paranoid. Baby and I sleep on our sides, facing one another, with my bottom arm wrapped around his back and my top hand on his hip. I switch sides when we wake so each breast gets emptied.
Our daytime schedule is baby led. When he seems tired, I rock or nurse him to sleep. When he smacks his lips or eyes my cleavage, I feed him. When he smells like baby pee, I change him. Everything has gone perfectly…. and then two nights ago, everything changed. It was two days after his 4 month birthday. We went from our peaceful bed sharing ritual to that little snuggler thrashing around every 45 minutes ALL NIGHT LONG. Every 45 minutes, I wake and pop the nipple in his mouth, only to have to do the same thing all over again. After two days of this, I am one tired mama! I read all about the sleep regression and it is all a little conflicting. I am supposed to continue my “bad” habit of nursing him to sleep until this phase ends, but this phase never ends? I’m not supposed to sleep coach him yet, since he is too little, but I am supposed to be coaching him to soothing himself to sleep. Every website says something different.
Night one, we tried a little cry it out. I am just not that woman. I can’t just listen to him cry. It makes me crazy. We do attachment parenting. I am a baby wearing, bed sharing, breastfeeding, baby led scheduling mama.
Night two, we tried sleeping with a human pacifier in, as in my nipple never left his mouth. This option also sucked. The plan is to slowly move his bedtime up and see if an early schedule makes him happier. We started at 10 a week ago, we are down to 9. He gets bedtime lotion and massage and then into his jammies. Then mama nurses him to sleep in the bed.
So Night three is tonight. Bedtime at 8:30. We will try nursing with a bottle of expressed milk as a top off, then rocking/nursing to sleep in his crib. Maybe if he can’t smell me and my milky breasts and I can’t hear or feel him squirming around in my arms looking for the boob… Updates to come..
Night Three Update: Bedtime was 8:30, bath, lotion, massage and jammies then I nursed him to sleep in my bed. He slept just fine until I came to bed at 9:30. His dad was out having his man night (we try to have one night a week where one or both of us goes out with friends). Then it was every 45 minutes again. I am exhausted. We will try the original night three plan again tonight. We are taking shifts though, so maybe I can get some sleep tonight. Three nights of not sleeping more than an hour at a time is pretty brutal. I may even have to forgo my cleaning and cooking today and just nap with my baby!
He is a happy baby all day, all smiles and laughs, he blows bubbles and squeals at his kitties. I just want my little nighttime snuggle monster back! And my sleep!
Night Four Update: Last night was a little better. He fought bedtime, so he didn’t fall asleep until 9:30. He slept in the bed, I am too tired to try weaning him from that right now. He woke at 10:15 to eat. Then he slept for 4 blissful hours. He woke at 2:30 for his night feeding and then at 4:30 and 6:30. We all finally got some sleep! Yay!