Tuesday, August 23, 2011
Today, I celebrate!
Sleep has never come easy to Malone. From day one he made it really clear to us that he was going to need a lot of support around his sleep. For the first 4 months of his life, he slept almost exclusively either on our chest or in his swing. From there, we moved on to all other sorts of combination- in our bed, in his swing, in his crib, and so on and so forth.
He never slept through the night. Until we night weaned around 18 months, he woke to nurse. After that, he woke at least once in the night and needed a few minutes of reassurance that we were still right here.
We switched him from the crib to a twin size mattress on the floor during the 22 month sleep regression. I thought that regression was going to be the death of me. We had several nights where Malone woke up and was ready to start his day at 3:00 am. Somehow, we made it through it. And after it was over, Malone's vocabulary and cognitive development exploded with him expanding upon ideas and understanding basic emotions.
However, right after that he hit a growth spurt. This growth spurt manifested with him waking up to eat in the night. We tried to keep it simple with foods we could bring to him in bed. He usually woke to eat a fruit puree (think organic pureed baby food that comes in a Capri Sun style pouch), cheese stick, and a banana. We tried not to let him fully wake up and monitored him very closely while he ate. We didn't want him to wake up because then he'd BE up for the day. And nobody wants that at 3:00 am.
Despite my best efforts to shift him to eating more during the day, the night time wakings to eat lasted about 5 weeks. It was difficult, but manageable. He's now 2 to 3 inches taller and a pound heavier.
During this growth spurt we also hammered out a new bedtime routine. Currently, our routine looks like this: Malone and I watch a few books being read on You Tube (Chicka Chicka Boom Boom is #1 right now), we brush teeth, go potty, and then Mike and I each read two books. After that, I kiss him good night and exit. It will be a long time before Malone is confident enough to fall asleep on his own. But we've shifted from Mama staying with him to Daddy. It gives them a little extra special time at night together and me a chance to get a head start on the evening housekeeping or meet friends for a late dinner.
This morning marked day 5 of Malone sleeping through the night. He slept from about 8:30 to 6:30 (give or take 15 minutes). This is a big deal in our house. It means that I too, (after 2 years, 1 month, and 24 days) have slept through the night 5 days in a row!
I knock on wood and pray that it's here to stay. I forgot what it feels like to sleep 8 hours with no interruption. But, I like it.
It's been a long road for us with a fair share of bumps. There were certainly periods of frustration and resentment. Especially since a fair share of his little friends have been sleeping through the night for several months to a year. But I do not regret the way we've parented Malone in the night. The best thing we can do for Malone is to meet him where he's at and support his growth and development in a way that is appropriate FOR HIM.