Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Sleep (what's that, again?)

I'm happy to report that, at nearly 16 weeks old, Mia is down to three night wakings. That's right - no sleeping through the night here. Even when just 5 hours of consecutive sleep is considered STTN, she hasn't broken her longest sleep record of four hours and forty-five minutes. She did that once, and only once - more typical is a three hour period during which I am so amazed and thankful that she is sleeping more than two hours at a stretch!

She wakes to nurse*, and for at least one diaper change** during the night. A typical night is - 9:30 to sleep***, wakes at 12:30 to nurse for 20 minutes, wakes at 3:00 for a wet diaper change and to nurse for 15 minutes, wakes at 5:30 to nurse for half an hour, sleep until 7 or 8am, often with a nurse at 7 before snoozing until 8.

So when the mamas on my birth club board are talking about a "4 month sleep regression" and complaining that their babies, who previously slept 6-10 hours without waking, are now waking up (the horror) three times a night.... sorry, ladies, I have NO SYMPATHY!

*About the nursing: Mia is exclusively breast-fed and will stay that way until she weans. I've got lots of milk, and don't feel that supplementing with formula or adding the empty calories of rice cereal to "fill her up" is the best thing for my baby. She's gaining and growing like a champ on breast milk - we estimated she was around 16.5 lbs, based on our home scale, and 25 1/4" long at 15 weeks - that's up in the 90's percentile I believe for EBF babies. And yes, I can tell the difference between night fussing/sleep noises and hunger.

**About the diaper changes: she will not tolerate a wet diaper. I've tried big inserts, and doubling the inserts in her cloth diapers; hemp, bamboo, and microfibre inserts, even - ick - disposables on our various trips, it doesn't matter. The girl doesn't like to be wet (and who can blame her?).

***About the sleep: There's no way Mia will go to sleep at 7:30pm as so many babies do. She's never been a good sleeper, and now that she's finally taking daytime naps I am simply grateful that she goes to sleep around 9:30. Sometimes it's later. I know that sleep begets sleep. Her daytime naps took ages to happen at all; for the first two months of her life she probably only slept 6-8 of every 24 hours. Even as a fresh newborn.
She sleeps in a bassinet beside our bed, at an incline due to her reflux, in a onesie with a flannel receiving blanket over her legs. She's strapped in
(it's a Fisher Price bassinet with a restraint), so can't slide down under the blanket, and the blanket is firmly tucked around and underneath her, so she can't kick it up over her face. She was swaddled for a long time but hated it, and as she is finally growing out of the Moro reflex, we have stopped swaddling her entirely. She doesn't startle awake anymore. Once we are back home in Ontario, we intend to move her into a crib in her own room overnight, but meanwhile we are limited by what we have here at our temporary home in Calgary.

Basically... I'm not looking for advice, I'm happy she's sleeping well for her. Just had to vent a little about the whinging of the other mamas who have no idea how lucky they've been!


  1. Good for you for being comfortable with your baby's schedule. Do you mean exclusively breastfed till she weans on her own, no matter when that is? So if she weans at 2 years old, she'll be exclusively breastfed till then? or am I missing something?

    Also I've never heard of a bassinet where you strap them in. I don't think my son would like being held in place, but I could be wrong.

  2. When I read, "She's never been a good sleeper" I was concerned but then when I finished reading and you said she's sleeping, "well for her" I was relieved. Every baby sleeps differently and if she's happy, healthy and growing then she's probably getting good sleep :)

    I can't believe that she's 16 weeks already!! I love the photo!

  3. sounds like my first!!! in fact he'll be 3 YEARS OLD in August and still doesn't sleep through the night!!!!! he wakes up at least twice and I weaned him 1.5 years ago!! ugh, do I know!

    Now baby #2 is 8 weeks and last night he slept 5 hours without waking. I'm not holding my breath yet about him being a better sleeper. He usually doesn't fall asleep until 10pm and that is with him co-sleeping with me. Tonight is the first night in a long time I got him to sleep in his own room. Again, not holding my breath!

    I totally agree about cereals, no nutrition and it does NOT keep them fuller to make them sleep longer. My ped was wanting me to give my first baby cereal at 4 months and I kept putting it off to 5 months. I did it twice and when I noticed that it did NOT help him sleep through the night, I stopped. I knew it was a bunch of BS anyway.

    So.....keep what you are doing. I know it's tiresome! I think that's why I weaned #1 at 15 months but I'm going to try to go longer with baby #2.

  4. Sounds like you've gotten lots of "advice" haha- good for you for trusting your mama instincts :)
    Ev (my youngest) wasnt a great sleeper either and was always up at least 2 times a night (she still isn't a good sleeper) and I got so much advice. I believe it comes down to personality, so I was never one for sleep training. Soon you will be missing the night time snuggles and nursing so enjoy your sweet baby- that picture is the cutest btw.
    Tara (natural mama reviews) --not sure why I am locked out of blogger??

  5. Oh, Callista, good point - I said that all wrong. She'll be breastfed until she decides she's finished with the breast. I hope to do baby-led weaning, and start her on solids when she's ready, after she's 6 months old.

    Jenn, that's exactly how I feel - she's getting what she needs and is definitely healthy and strong. I could use a few more hours myself, but I am so thrilled to have her in my life that (although I may complain a bit) it's not really that much of a hardship to wake with her when she needs me. Now I can say that - when she was a couple weeks old and waking every hour to nurse for 15 minutes, I was pretty shattered! I can't believe she's 16 weeks already, either!

    Chari, I also can't believe your LO is already 8 weeks! Where does the time go?! That's interesting that cereal didn't help your LO sleep. I have my doubts about it and it's good to hear that I'm not far off the mark. Wishing you some good sleeps!

  6. I guess each person has their own level of tolerance. You are an amazing mama!

  7. Ah yes this reminds me of my daughter she was the same. I finally learned to sleep and nurse at the same time. Lots of sleepless nights. She's just turned 3 years and it's now better, she officially sleeps through the night ;)
    hang in there!


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