Those first 2.5 weeks compared to now are not at all the same. Sleep was not Hunter’s friend, which meant it wasn’t my friend either. Before I tell you how it is now, this is how it was.
I knew to feed Hunter every 2-3 hours, but I also fed him on demand. When he’d act hungry or cry a lot, I’d offer the boob. Sometimes when he’d be crying all evening into the night the only thing I could do to make him stop crying was pop him on my boob. I think it was more comforting to him than really getting a meal. I guess you could say he was being a snacker, much like his mama is.
For a couple days I noticed that if he ate every 2 hours during the day, he seemed more likely to go every 3 hours at night. I wanted all the sleep I could get so I’d make sure he ate every 2 hours, even if he was sleeping during the day I’d wake him up to eat. That plan worked okay for really just a few days, then he got to the point where he always wanted to be on my boob, or else he’d cry. All I wanted was for the crying to stop, so I gave in and he got the boob.
I was okay with this until last week. He was 2 weeks and 4 days old and had decided to cry all night. I’m pretty sure I got about 2 hours of sleep that night and figured I’d just do nothing the next day so I could sleep when he slept. But then the worst thing happened…. he didn’t want to sleep during the day either! The kid just wouldn’t sleep, and since he hadn’t been sleeping much, he was super crabby. Since he was super crabby he just wanted to be on the boob again, all the time.
When he would sleep for long stretches, the only place he’d want to do that was on my chest. I loved it and all the extra cuddle time, but after those couple weeks, I was ready for him to learn to sleep on his own. My back was starting to get a wee bit sore from only sleeping on it and not getting to move much.
That combo of him crying, not sleeping, always wanting to be on my boob and not sleeping by himself got me to the point where I realized, it’s okay for him to cry for 5 minutes. Of course if I know he’s hungry, needs his diaper changed, need to burp or something, I’d take care of that instead of just letting him cry.
Jacob and I were both picking him up right away and trying to get the crying to stop right when he would happen. We never gave him the chance to cry a bit, and learn to be okay.
When I decided to let him cry for 5 minutes, and then if he hadn’t stopped I’d check on him, everything changed. And it was like magic, at least for a little while.
The same day I decided I was okay to let him cry, I got the book baby wise from my sister in law. I started reading it when I was nursing him and quickly decided I was going to do it. The timing to read it was perfect. I was ready for it.
The premise of babywise is the 3 hour schedule of eat-wake time-nap time.
Once I switched to that it just clicked for us. Before I’d try to have him sleep right after eating since he’d normally be sleepy, but changing to the schedule of wake time after eating made a huge difference. I don’t know how it works, but it did for us.
About every 3 hours during the day it goes like this:
EAT (30-40 minutes)
WAKE TIME (20-30 minutes)
We play together, I sing to him (finally someone likes my singing!) I’ll read a book, he’ll sit in the swing and watch the mobile, we go for a walk, he’ll have tummy time, we’ll run an errand or he gets a bath. 30 minutes is usually as long as he lasts before getting cranky and ready to sleep.
NAP TIME (2 hours)
It’s amazing how putting him down for a nap and having him learn to put himself to sleep works so well. He typically cries right away, but I just look at the clock so I know when 5 minutes has gone by and if he’s still crying I’ll check on him. That rarely happens. Usually he’s out within 2-3 minutes.
He normally wakes up about half way through his nap crying for 5-10 minutes. I’ll check on him and have to re-swaddle him most of the time. Now that he’s starting to take a pacifier a bit, that helps him fall back to sleep too.
That first day we were on the schedule something amazing happened. He ate around 8pm, then didn’t stir until 1am! The second night went like that too! I couldn’t believe he slept so well for such a long stretch.
At night he goes anywhere from 3-5 hours now between feedings, so I’m only having to wake up twice throughout the night.
Remember that ‘for a little while‘ I said above… well the 3 hour schedule worked like a charm for about 3-4 days, then he decided he didn’t want to nap well during the day and became more cranky in the evenings. The plus though… no more being up the entire night trying to sooth him. Once he falls asleep around 10ish he sleeps so great at night waking me up twice to eat, but going back to sleep easily.
I have high hopes that if I just stick with it he’ll get back on board again too. We’re both still adjusting and learning.
Getting Hunter to sleep on his own
There were some key things involved in this that made it happen.
- white noise
- tucked between 2 pillows
- dark room
- tight swaddle
When all those things happened it worked — he seemed to be okay sleeping on his back on his own. The white noise is key, but not any white noise. He has to have the vacuum on the soothing seal app. He will not stay asleep on his own if he doesn’t have it continuously playing.
Since the app is on my phone, that means throughout the day for 1-2 hour stretched I have no phone. I picked up a white noise machine, but he wasn’t okay with the noises on there, so instead, Jacob found a used Ipod touch for cheap. We’re going to get the soothing seal app on that for him so I can have my phone back.
I’m so interested to see how the next couple weeks go and what else changes.
Has anyone else had success with baby wise and having your newborn on a schedule?
I have a couple friends who loved the EAT-WAKE-NAP schedule and it’s worked really well for them. I’m hoping it does for us too!