Monday, March 1, 2010

Alternate or Actual Reality?

The last ten days have been a new chapter in our progress toward sleep. There have been some low low moments and some very high, encouraging, and exciting moments as well. Ace by 'official' standards (6 hours+) has slept through the night four of those ten nights, three of which were the last three nights. We have eliminate night breastfeeding and that seems to have been the biggest factor in his increased slumber. He receives breast milk before he gets into bed and then again after 7am. When he wakes in the night he's offered the bottle after his first big sleep - which after the first night of our trials - the shortest stint of sleep was 4.5 hours and that was due to one of our cats jumping on that (more on that in a bit.)

Ace still has a mini tantrum in the night when he isn't allowed to get the breast milk, but it often doesn't last long and will either take the bottle or hold my hand - overall his behavior has already vastly improved from the earlier part of this past week. He was getting very agitated and spinning around and thrashing all over the bed - ticked off he couldn't have the milk. It's a process and it is getting better.

Friday night was a whole other story around here. This was behavior we had never dealt with in it's intensity stubbornness. That day he had taken a three hour nap from three until six. Again I will state this is his longest nap ever outside of the newborn phase. So when he was requesting the bottle and skipping mama milk entirely right at 8:45pm I was awestruck. Then I was struck back into reality later when after literally 30+ times of putting him back into his bed. I locked him in his room at 10:14pm. Siiigh. He of course got out of bed again and was thwarted by this evil door. He screamed, banged, screamed mamamamama (broke my heart!) and finally it was silent at 10:28pm ... not terribly bad in the grand scheme of things - I should have done it earlier than that rather than spending the 85 minutes going up and down the stairs putting him back in bed. Siigh. So finally after it being quiet for about 20 minutes I decided to go check on him....

This is what I found.... and that was as far as I could open the door.
So I put the camera in and hooked it around the door to assess the situation with the night-vision setting and I found this....

I did have to nudge him ever so slightly and of course he woke back up. I picked him up and hugged him tight and laid him in bed with his fish (Nemo) and he went back to sleep within ten minutes. No bottle, no mama-milk. And he slept from 11pm-5:45am (nearly SEVEN hours!) After that he woke one other time still seeking the mama-milk and had to wait - finally at 7:15ish he woke and was able to enjoy his mama-milk.

Were we merely living in the twilight zone on Friday night? Was it going to be required he wear himself out that much by screaming for 15 minutes in order for him to sleep that long again? That was my fear as we put him down to sleep on Saturday. He went to sleep at 8:45 and slept until 3:45am (an official SEVEN hours!) what excitement!!!! He came and found us in our room and climbed into bed. He took less than a sip of milk and went to sleep until 6:30am, when we woke and fussed for a bit wanting mama-milk. He fell back asleep with a good ol' staple of Mama singing Kokomo. He slept for another hour and then received his mama-milk.

Last night he went to bed with relative ease. Fell asleep right at 9 and then at 11 we heard his cries. Uh oh! It was more than panic in my brain when I was screaming internally NOOOOO! It turned out he was just overheated (he has a space heater in his room) and had too many covers on that night. Loving Husband adjusted his covers and he fell asleep without much fuss. And slept until 6am! (Another SEVEN hours!!) He woke again at 7am and was greeted with mama-milk! Good job, Baby Bear!!
Our goal is to eventually phase out the bottle in the middle of the night entirely and in the nearer future than not I am planning to wean him entirely from the breast milk. The next phase of that will be to remove him from that 7am feeding. I have a feeling after we do that - he won't be as eager to wake and seek it out hoping it is 7am this time. :) However, we'll move slow so as to not interrupt this delightful SEVEN hour sleep stint cycle he is in.
Now earlier I mentioned our cats jumping on Ace waking him after a solid 4.5 hours of slumber and robbing him the chance of potentially more. Perhaps that was the night he would have slept through the night... ok unlikely... but still! Our cats do NOT need to be the reason he isn't sleeping - so sorry kitties you're getting the boot! Luckily, their boot was just down to the bottom level of the house - they had the whole playroom and laundry room to wander in. One day last week I went and purchased them new beds (they previously had these 'normal' cat beds that the billowed out over) and put them down in there. While they're not thrilled with this arrangement - since previously they slept on our bed or Ace's >:-[ - they aren't protesting too loudly or revolting in bad behavior. So for now until Ace is able to kick them off, not care, or share his bed with them - they will remain in their own beds in the laundry room.

Sleep is coming to us all slowly but surely.


Heather said...

Oh yay!!! I'm so glad you've found something that worked.

The crying really sucks, I know. I'm glad it was only for 15 minutes though.

Gem said...

omg...i can so relate. DS2 only recently started sleeping through the night. and it is really hard hearing them cry (for us really scary because of breath holding spells).Now I'm just trying to wean him.

Slowly but surely...they learn =)

sugarlens said...

I am 38 weeks pregnant and surely will be kissing my 8-hour sleeps goodbye. Stopping by from SITS. I am glad to find your blog, I will sure be taking tips from you in the near future.

Suzette said...

OMG!! I went through this phase, too - oh, so long ago! I trusted Dr. Ferber's advise on taking the bottle away in an unusual way. I just posted about this very topic (inspired by the show Modern Family: Ferberize!).
Good luck to you and stay strong...crying only sounds bad, sleep is the sweetest sound ever!