We did it… made it through 8 months without a dummy AAANNNDDD regret? Is it regret? It is when he’s teething and wakes up a thousand times throughout the night (ok more like 5). Or when I’m trying desperately to remember how the hell I actually night wean. My daughter had a dummy so bit of a different scenario.
Seriously though, how do I do this again? First time she self weaned around this time at least in the day from memory. This little boy though, he loooovveess his food and loves the boob. My husband keeps reminding him that they are only on loan :o) .
Wean Plan A
We were going to change to a bottle before bedtime to make sure he was filling up enough… FAIL. It worked one night out of 4. And we discovered the little turd has become all fussy about only wanting the liquid gold and no formula (our fault for not giving it to him after the premmie episode I guess). So now we are stuck with a selective palette vampire…
Cut down gradually.. just like you do when you realise you are drinking a bottle of wine to yourself with dinner. It’s now night 5 coming up. I’m down to two feeds through the night. One usually between 11 and 12:30 and the other between 3 and 4. I don’t count the 5-6am as night to make myself feel better as well as the fact that it is technically morning and I’m usually up.
I’ve progressed to phase 2 which is only feeding one side when I go in. It’s worked every night but last night when the teeth monsters were having a party.
Tonight, we are going to attempt to forego feed number one by sending in the boobless parent which may move feed number 2 up to a new timeslot. Wish us luck!
6 months in, and the little man has gone from waking up 2-3 times a night to almost hourly, if not even more often. 4 month sleep regression feels more like a 2020 regression as we have been having issues since Townsville. Welcome sleep training.
I created one for me in January when I was with the two kids away and very sleep deprived. Started feeding to sleep more often than not and on nights where I’d gotten up what felt like 50 times, I put him in my bed.
Now at the end of Feb, I’m struggling to function as a zombie anymore (I don’t do coffee or caffeine fixes). I’ve considered the dummy many times, but figure if we have made it this far, why start now?
The method to end the madness
I visited my good friend Dr Google again. Even though I was meant to just follow my instincts this time round and not stress… yeah right. Read many stories of sleep training, controlled crying, why it’s happening etc.
We decided on putting him down drowsy and then the pick up, put down with a bit of controlled crying as well. I didn’t know how good we would be at the controlled crying as we couldn’t hack it for more than a minute with my daughter. Surprisingly when you want sleep that badly, you can become a lot less emotional about it.
Before we launched into the night training, I got the day sleep sorted which took about 2-3 days. I’d been putting him down a bit early (at the first signs of tiredness around 1.5hrs after a sleep), and this made him more agitated and harder to settle.
The routine (for now):
Wake up: 6:45 to 7am
Power nap: 8am for an hour to an hour and a half. On school drop off days unfortunately I have to cut this one short.
Awake for 2 hours.
Lunch sleep: Somewhere between 11 and 11:30. This one on a good day can last 1h 45 mins if he resettles, otherwise an hour and then assistance from me which is a hit and miss.
Awake for 2 to 2.5hrs.
Afternoon nap: Around 3:15pm on a school day, sometimes earlier if at home. This one has to be timed precisely or he loses his sh*t and I have to end up going for an hour walk to try and get a nap out of him.
Early evening power nap: Depending on what happens with the afternoon nap, there are days we need a 15 min power nap to make it to bed time. We tried moving bed time forward one night (see Day 1) and it was a disaster so we do this instead. It also works better for us as my daughter goes to bed at 8pm too.
Fail, fail, fail. I decided even bed time was going to be 2-2.5hrs after the last nap which made it 6:15pm. I got him to sleep, but he woke 20 mins later. Hubby went in to check and he said he looked quite awake but I thought picking him up again would ruin the night so we started our training.
It took 2.5hrs of taking turns going in, rocking, patting, shushing (no boob), until this gremlin finally passed out. The rest of the night was much the same as before with waking almost every hour.
Not much of a win at all. We’ve gotten a few hours out of him in the first stretch or once we have resettled once. The rest of the night is wake ups every few hours. 4am onwards I take him to my bed or the spare room and can manage to get 1-2 hours after a feed if he is pretty relaxed before wake up.
I’m being very strict on the feeds being at least 3 hours apart and the rest of the wake ups we just settle using the above techniques. The crying and fighting is much worse at night as I’ve created a boob addict.
What week 2… complete strike out!
Note to self, don’t start sleep training the week before immunisations or getting sick (not that you can predict the latter). Long story short, we had the shots and then both got a stomach bug. In saying that, the days are still going brilliantly. The nights marginally better in the first stretch, then up every 2 hours. He has however resettled once or twice.
I’m a bit scared to type it in case I jinx myself but day 2 of week 3 and he slept through the whole night until 5am. Insane, right? My other one took until 10 months and then didn’t do it again for a long time.
So here we are on day 3, it’s been 3 hours and he hasn’t yet woken. Early days but I’m calling this half attempt at sleep training a success. And the best part? It didn’t matter we had a few hiccups along the way and caved in to old habits, as he still learnt the skill anyway.
I don’t know about you, but when I think of the “sleeping like a baby” saying, I don’t see a restful night ahead. Passed out and undisturbed is the exact opposite of how they sleep. Babies wake up… A LOT. It may be more accurate to say ” slept like a drunk” but probably wouldn’t have the same ring to it.
Yeah ok, I have friends who have had the dream baby that has slept through at night at 6 or 8 weeks. It’s definitely not the norm though. I can also confirm formula feed or putting rice cereal in the milk for a breastfed baby will also not make this magic happen. I tried it already.
Both of my kids haven’t slept through at 8 weeks or similar. The first was such a cat napper through the day that we ended up at QEII Family Centre . Although the advice and help was great, we still didn’t manage to extend day sleep past 40 mins without being held by the time we left.
Side note, the ‘Love to dream’ swaddles are so worth the $. If you have a baby that hates being restrained, give up on the wrapping and just buy a few of these.
A bit of silver lining
My son was actually a huge improvement. I partly also attribute this to not being an absolute rookie anymore and missing tired signs etc. Now at 4 months, we generally get 5 hours from bedtime and then the early morning is up and down depending on the day. Day wise, I can get at least 3 x 45 min naps, and if it’s a good day we will get a 2-3 hour stretch. I just need to become smarter and actually go to bed when he does.
Oh I was obsessed with this first time round. Dr Google, friend’s advice, Save our Sleep and Sleeping like a baby books. You name it, I tried it. After all, I only had 3 months to get this baby sorted before I returned to full time work. Did it work? Nope. And the worst thing was, that the books didn’t really have a “What to do if your whole routine craps itself” section for dummies.
Going with the flow
This time round, I’ve embraced not following a routine. I’ve got time up my sleeve, and I take my cues from him. And man is it so much nicer, and stressless! You’re always going to have regressions, always going to have a sick kid, and life generally will throw curve balls. I think both ways have their pluses, but given I’ve still got a preschooler running around, this works better for us.
This beach trip unfortunately had no dips in the ocean, sunbaking or reading magazines while hanging with your besties.
It was barely 8am and we were parked at Malua Bay beach. Cars had already packed the grass area near the surf club. The air was thick with smoke and we had no idea what the day was going to bring. Our wake up call this morning was the automated phone call telling us to evacuate the house at 6am.
Just the beginning
We’d only driven down the day prior through Bega. I thought it was a good idea to have a break given we’d just finished renovating our house we practically gutted over the last year (while both working full time, raising a toddler and being pregnant with our second child).
Back at the beach, we watched as cars kept arriving. Filled to the brim with what belongings people could take in the short time. The sky kept getting darker and we could see the flames on the ridge ahead. This was mixed with the occasional bang of a gas bottle exploding. Our phones had no service, no way to tell family in Canberra we were ok.
Within what felt like minutes we were surrounded by it. Guerilla bay burned to our left, and spot fires were not even 200m away near the surf club. The houses straight ahead on the hill were collapsing and there was a fire racing down the hill towards the beach.
It was deemed too unsafe to stay where we were so we all got out of our cars and on to the beach. The wind sprayed sand, the air was choking, but luckily the waves made it a bit more bearable. I did my best to shield my 4 year old and 4 month old while trying to stand comfortably with my left foot in a boot because I’d stupidly broken my toe a few days back. My mother in law held all 3 dogs while my husband and father in law did their best to get more information on the situation and help others.
How are these volunteer firefighters coping in these conditions every day without the proper gear? Here we were struggling to breathe and it was not even a few hours of exposure.
Strangely enough, there wasn’t a feeling of panic in the air. The surf lifesavers were being fantastic sounding the shark alarm at regular intervals to keep everyone informed. The guy next to us actually went surfing for 5 minutes as he felt there was nothing else to do. People calmly sat on the beach with their loved ones and pets.
And so it went on for hours, until the two men in our family decided to drive back to see if the house was still standing. It was around 3pm at this point.
Smoky with a chance of…
The house was still ok, so we made the decision to go back up the road around 4pm so the kids could sleep somewhere comfortably and be a bit more out of the smoke. All I wanted at this point was to get the little man to have a decent sleep after the road trip where he had barely slept a wink.
We all took showers with the remaining hot water and served up some cold ham and leftovers we had in the camp fridge. We hadn’t properly eaten until now aside from feeding the kids. I thanked my lucky stars again that I was breastfeeding and could feed my son on the go.
The radio remained on and we all hopped into bed before 9pm, not knowing what the night would bring. We’d made a plan to not drive anywhere without a proper plan in the morning… but that all went out the window pretty quick.
Get out, NOW
Was the message we heard instead of Happy New Year’s. The risk of the fires was increasing, and all tourists were urged to get out of the beach communities via the limited roads that were still open for now.
We made a decision to head north to Ulladulla in the hopes we could get back to Canberra through Kangaroo Valley (the Bega way was still closed due to active fires). It took almost an hour to get over the Bateman’s Bay bridge, and every petrol station we passed had queues kilometres long. It was like a scene from ‘War of the Worlds’, minus the aliens.
Ulladulla was without power also. There were hundreds of people already at the evacuation centre there. The beautiful people at Ocean Vibe were feeding people for free with what food they had left, and we had at least two people offer us help on the street even though they didn’t know us. The roads out were closed so there was no way of getting home today.
We drove around until about 3:30pm looking for accommodation. Somewhere that would take us and the dogs, but had no luck. Again, we made the decision to head back to Lilli Pilli despite the risk. At least we could have a shower and a clean bed. More than what so many poor people in this area don’t have access to right now.
Take me out
Morning of the 2nd, we anxiously listened to the radio in hope the road would open. Sometime after 9am we learnt we were able to get home via Bega. We embarked on what would end up being a 10 hour trip. Some of these hours we only crawled along at 10km, or sat in a queue km’s long up Brown Mountain.
My 4 year old was nothing short of a legend in the car this day. She barely complained. As for the bub, I pumped on the go so we could bottle feed and keep moving. The risk of stopping on the side of the road meant we may not even get home.
As with all great adventures, he decided to make it interesting by pooing no less than 5 times. And although he was so overtired from the ordeal over the past 3 days, he did surprisingly well being stuck in a car for 10 hours straight. Yes I did hold him when we were crawling along. And I may have done a drive by nappy change too…but hell we just wanted to, and needed to get home to safety.
The real heroes
This short ordeal of what we went through is nothing compared to the thousands of people that have lost their homes. That is why for the months of January and February, all profit from our sales will be donated to RFS NSW. These people are giving up their time and risking their health and lives to keep others safe.
Lastly, a shout out to everyone else who has offered help to someone in this time. Whether it be financial, food, a roof over their heads or even just assistance with a task. Times like these really do remind us of how good people are.