So when I set out to “stretch” Bean’s night time feedings, I actually wanted to go really, really slow.
Since, on average she was waking up at 4am most nights, I knew she could go at least that long. My goal was to stretch her to 4:30am this week and increase in half hour increments each week after that.
Well, Saturday she woke up at 3:30am. So Stephen paced with her until 4 and then I nursed her to sleep. Sunday she woke up at 4am and Stephen lasted about 20 minutes before handing her off to me. I was sort of getting frustrated because he wasn’t lasting very long with the soothing and distracting. Plus, I was kind of mad because for all these months I’ve been getting up and staying up through at least the feedings and longer if I wasn’t able to fall back asleep.
Anyway, on Monday she woke up at 5:20am. Since this was past our goal of 4:30am we didn’t even try to stretch her any more that night. Tuesday she woke up at 5:40am and again we didn’t try to stretch her at all, just fed and then back to sleep. She actually slept until 9am after that one feeding.
So I was like, “YES! It is really working!!!” I was so excited that she was getting it all on her own.
Well, last night it was starting to seem like we were going to have a big regression, but in fact it turned into a nice little breakthrough.
Bean woke up at 4am. Stephen changed her diaper and paced the halls with her until 4:18am. Then he came in the room and said, “What do you want to do? She’s wide awake and she’s not going back to sleep. I’ve stretched her for 18 minutes. I’m sure we can expect a regression here and there. It’s not that big of a deal.”
I was pretty frustrated. I said, “Well, we know she can make it until 5:30am, so I don’t want to feed her before then. I know it is a long time to stay up, but we have to stay consistent.”
Stephen indicated that he would be “dead” at work today if he stayed up. So I decided that I would try my hand at the soothing and distracting expecting that I probably wouldn’t be able to make it last much longer considering our previous attempts at me doing this.
I paced and swayed and rocked. This time was different. She didn’t flail and cry and thrash. As 4:30am approached she was still wide awake, just looking around at everything. I decided to head downstairs and see if she wanted to play with some toys for a bit. She wasn’t interested, she just wanted to cuddle with me. So I picked her up and walked around swaying her and rocking her.
My arms started to get tired so I sat down on the floor for awhile with her in my lap and rocked back and forth. I decided to start humming some lullaby that I can’t remember the words to. Slowly her body began to stop being so tense. She eased into the curve of my arms and started going limp. My arms feeling rested, I picked her up and rocked and swayed some more until she became a deadweight and was fast asleep.
I made my way upstairs and began trying to put her down in her bed. She rolled over as soon as she touched the mattress and began to cry. Into my arms again, but this time she was back out in a couple of seconds. We repeated this back and forth until I was feeling desperate for a rocking chair and thinking I was going to definitely not make it. Finally, 5:30am approached. I had been rocking and rocking on my feet for close to an hour now. I decided to try and lay down with her in our bed. As soon as the rocking stopped she was awake again. I got back up and paced some more. At 5:35am I had reached my breaking point. I just couldn’t stay awake much longer rocking a heavy sleeping baby. I decided to lay her down. Again she rolled and cried. I decided I was going to go get Stephen and see if he could be more successful with the transfer from arms to bed because I’m so short that every time I would try to put her in the crib her leg would hit the railing or I’d have to jossle her in some way to get her up above it which was the precursor to the waking.
But, miraculously, by the time I reached our room a second later, the crying had stopped. She had found her comfortable position and drifted back off. I laid down in bed thinking it wouldn’t last, but it did!
At 8:45am I began hearing her stir a bit. I got up and even though she wasn’t actually awake yet I scooped her up and began our day.