Three weeks ago, I committed to helping Sophie sleep better in the middle of the night. Since she turned three months old, her six and seven hour stretches of sleep vanished and she began waking every hour or so.
She’d have to be nursed or walked or held every time she woke. It was sending me into a very desperate place. When she was close to six months, we used the Ferber method to sleep train her and she learned quickly how to fall asleep on her own. But we struggled a bit more with the middle of the night wakings.
I had visions of a magical night where everything just clicked and my little girl no longer woke every few hours. I would, then, be wonderfully rested, feeling happy and light, ready to start our day.
A mom can dream (at least daydream).
Reality looks a little more scattered, but things are looking up. Absolutely.
After two weeks, sometimes my interventions helped her. I let her fuss for 10-15 minutes and sometimes she fell back to sleep, sometimes not. I tried to hold her off for 6 hours before feeding her. Sometimes it worked. Sometimes not.
I looked for patterns. Did she do better on days with better naps? Did she sleep longer if I put her to bed earlier? Later? Were there any improvements if she had three naps instead of two?
Answers were not easy to come by. I poured over her sleep logs, the notes I took each day on when I put her down, when she fell asleep and when she woke. I found nada. Nothing. No rhyme or reason to when she had a good night or when she decided to stay awake for more than three hours in the middle of the night, crying, no matter what I did.
The first sign of any major improvement came in the third week when she started eating solids twice a day. But still, we were far from my imaginary dream world of sleep.
All in all, three weeks in and her nights are 50 / 25 / 25. Fifty percent good, 25 percent OK, and 25 percent complete crap.
I should clarify that the complete crap nights are far and away better than the good ol’ days. And the good days are getting better.
Last night, Sophie slept for eight hours before waking up to eat at 3 a.m. That’s the longest she’s ever slept in one stretch. The night before, her long stretch was almost six hours. Now if only I could sleep when she did.
Coincidence or not, as her night sleep improves, her naps are going pear shaped. She used to go down with little to no fussing, but for the past week she has either fussed or absolutely refused her naps. Maybe it’s just a phase.
If it’s not one thing …
So for now I’ll just go on watching her signs, hoping she sleeps. I’ll do my best to accept whatever she throws my way. She’s still a tiny baby who is changing by the minute. But I’ll also do what I can to help her get the rest she needs. I can’t let her go back to the days where such bad sleep led to a grumpy baby. But I also can’t be so uptight and rigid that I become a grumpy mamma.
Finding the balance there is tricky. Wish us luck!