Wednesday, May 04, 2011

calling all mommies: the night shift

This week's topic is.....


I think it's pretty crazy how God really prepares our bodies for sleepless nights during the last few weeks of pregnancy.  Just in this past week, I have really started to sleep pretty restlessly, getting up multiple times in the night to turn, go to the bathroom, adjust the pillows or get a cramp out of my leg.  I wake up very sleepy and I can only think......"hmmmmm this is what my life is about to be like.".......{times 10} 

So my question this week is......

How do you get through the night?
Do you always wake up with baby or does Daddy help out?
If you nurse, do you pump so Daddy can help out?
How did you get your baby to sleep through the night?
Do you swaddle, rock, plop them in the crib or let them cry it out?
When did your baby start "sleeping through the night"? 
What do you consider "sleeping through the night"?


Christine said...

During my last bit of pregnancy I got through the night via Ambien provided by my lovely nurses. :) Now, I get through the night by reminding myself that this is for a relatively short time.

I'm nursing, so yes, I always get up with baby. Brian got up with me and helped more when she was still in her room, but now that we moved her to the crib in her room, it's pretty much all me unless I ask him for help for something.

When we first came home, we were both nursing and bottling, so at night, I pumped while Brian bottle fed her. Honestly, it was exhausting. Once we switched to all nursing, it was much better. If you are pumping, I would say not to do it at night unless you can't nurse for some reason (and there are many).

She's still not sleeping all the way through the night. I think we're up to about 5 hour stretches though which is nice and is considered by some to be "sleeping through". Her natural rhythms have just gradually stretched out the time for the most part. At around 6 months, we'll start actively working to eliminate her night feeding because my research suggests that at that point it's not so much a need as it is a comforting habit, but for now, I think little girl still needs it.

We do swaddle because otherwise little girl would whack herself in the face and wake up constantly. That'll go away at some point, not sure when yet (I'll have to do my own calling all mommies). We used to rock her until she was pretty much asleep. Now that she is a little older, we're starting some sleep training, so we rock her for a little then put her in her crib. If she cries, we let her for about 5 minutes, then go pat her, etc and leave waiting another 5 min. Seems to be working pretty well. We usually don't have to go in more than a couple times and it should gradually stop as she learns to soothe herself. There's lots of great info out there on sleep training methods. When it's time to start implementing them (I would say between 3 and 6 months), you'll know what seems like your best option.

From what I understand, professionals consider 5-6 hours as sleeping through the night. Me personally, I say more like 7-8 hours. When baby girl isn't waking me up from my peaceful slumber then I'll say she's sleeping through the night. :) As I said, she still isn't. I think sleeping through the night is far more dependent on weight/size than on age. Since baby girl is small for her age, I'm not surprised. Also, 100% breastfed babies typically don't sleep through the night as early as formula fed babies because breastmilk is digested more quickly than formula and breastfed babies usually don't overeat. And lastly, babies temperment and personality play into this too. I had a friend who had to wake her baby to feed her from the get-go because she would happily doze all night despite being a small, breastfed baby.

So, the long and short of it - you have no way to predict when your baby will sleep through the night and limited options on what you can do about it (at least for the first few months until sleep training is appropriate). So pretty much, just hang on for the ride!

The Roberts' said...

You definitely learn that you can operate on much less sleep than you used to think. It's not fun but it's doable!

I get up with Elliot. We used to say that Josh could get up with him on weekends, but then I'd have to pump anyways (so my body didn't think that feeding didn't happen), so that seemed dumb.

We had to use a swaddle because Elliot had crazy arms that never stopped moving. We stopped using the swaddle around 5 months, & since he still has the crazy arms, he sleeps on his tummy. He still can't sleep on his back. He also sleeps with a paci. There were nights I had to get up just to put it back in his mouth, & that was annoying, but now he can do it on his own which is really nice.

We always, even from the beginning, put him to bed awake so he learned how to put himself to sleep, so we haven't had to deal with teaching him that, but he is not a natural born awesome sleeper so there has been some training involved, including crying some. You could get a baby that sleeps through the night early, or you may not. Part is definitely just whether or not they are a good sleeper! I consider sleeping through the night never waking up from bedtime to wake time (I want to be able to sleep too!), & he does that every now & then, but most nights he's up once, more rarely twice.

Becky said...

i nursed until charlotte slept through the night. and you just wait, because it is SO easy to fall asleep while doing this. so... jeff would almost always go and get her & bring her to me. i'd have to turn a light on and the t.v. on. i also would eat sweet tarts to keep me awake. i know it sounds weird, but i'd suck on them as long as i could. i'd change her diaper in bed & then he'd go put her back up in bed. it took usually around 30 minutes so he'd fall asleep again while i was feeding her. if i got up and went upstairs, i'd have a really hard time falling back asleep so this is what worked for us.

sleeping through the night? when she started sleeping from 11-7-ish is what i'd consider 'through the night'. that happened around 2 or so months old. she started sleeping from 8-7-ish around 3 1/2 months.

i'd recommend reading Baby Wise or the Baby Whisperer. We did baby wise, but i've heard the baby whisperer is similar & really good as well.

just don't get too caught up in the details of what they say until after he gets here. those first 2-4 weeks are pure survival mode. after that, you'll start to get the swing of things & know what's best for him. talk with your pedi about it too. many people {and doctors} have differing opinions.

i'm a firm believer that mommy knows best.

Brian and Jessica Ross said...

The first 2 months are survival mode! I just want to reinforce that! Don't stress yourself out in the early weeks because babies are constantly changing so there is no routine to figure out. I was sooo stressed between 3 and 6 weeks trying to 'get her on a schedule' which was so dumb. At 9 weeks everything fell into place and I have had a wonderful sleeper (with the occasional crazy night) ever since!

I always got up with her at night. It's a pain to make a bottle (breastmilk or formula) in the middle of the night. I hardly noticed getting up with her since I left the lights off and did no diaper change. I just put her back in the crib and she went right to sleep (that's a Babywise thing). Brian would grab her in the mornings and bring her to me so that I could nurse her in bed. That was nice. He was getting up that early for work anyway.

Around 5 or 6 weeks we started letting her cry more when we would put her down for naps and such, only replacing the paci as needed. I think she figured out pretty quickly that she was supposed to sleep when we put her in her crib (another Babywise thing). That made it easier to put her down initially at night. By 9 weeks (started around 7) she was sleeping 8 hours a night consistently. At 7 months, she sleeps from 8:30-7 or so each night.

Babywise is a good reference and helped me a lot but don't hold yourself to it as law! :)