Trying to win the sleep war

I know I have posted about sleep issues on my blog before, but here we are again, still battling sleep issues with Drew.  Well, just one main issue, he doesn't like to sleep, my child in fact hates to sleep longer than 5 hours at a time.  If you've ever battled sleep issues in your house you know what a bear they can be, and having other parents comment about how well their children sleep is a knife in your heart.  Although, it's completely not their fault, please don't ask me how Drew is sleeping and when I say not well, do not answer with " well you probably don't want to hear that little Jonny slept through the night at 6 weeks."  Yeah, nope didn't want to hear that.  Sleep issues are not fun and I'm sure those parents that don't have them are battling other issues of their own with their child, so that's neither here nor there.  Anyway, I digress,  my point is Drew is not a good sleeper, he was still getting up twice a night and a few months back we had decided to try to combat these issues, and we were but then he got sick, was teething and everything came to a screeching halt. Then we got lazy and it just became routine for us each to get up once a night.  Brendan would get up first, I would get up second and we alternate who got up with him in the morning.  It actually would work pretty well, but we were tired.  Drew even went for a stretch of sleeping through the night.  I thought our sleep issues may have magically gone away....I was being naive people!  That lasted all of maybe 2 weeks!  It was glorious when it did last. 

Drew has been regularly getting up twice a night and eating 6oz. of formula at each feeding.  Our routine would be to change him, feed him and back to bed.  Each feeding takes about 20 minutes.  Not a big deal right, except he's 11 months old and he was waking up at the SAME EXACT TIME EACH NIGHT.  A light bulb finally went off in my head saying, hello Abby, he's doing it out of habit, not hunger, DUH you moron!  So Brendan and I chatted and we devised our own sleep training method that I'm sure lots of other parents have used.  Combat one feeding at a time.  We decided to gradually decrease the amount of ounces during the first feeding. Decreasing 1oz every 3 nights. We feed when he initially wakes up, then if he woke up with in 3 hours of the initial feeding he would have to cry himself back to sleep, an adaptation on the Ferber method of sleep training.  If he went longer than 5 hours of sleep, then we would feed him the second feeding.  After we eliminate the first feeding, we combat the second feeding.  Our hope is that we could gradually wean him and there would be minimal crying periods. 

How's it been going you ask?  So glad you did, we've been gradually decreasing Drew on his first feeding and it's going very well.  Drew goes to bed between 7-7:30pm each night.  He takes 6oz. of formula then and he goes to sleep awake but drowsy.  We've done this for sometime and it's worked well for us.  As for the first feeding we are currently down to 3oz of formula, tonight is going to be our 8th night and Drew has cut his second feeding out all by himself.  He still wakes up for his first feeding around midnight, we change him, feed him, and rock for a few minutes, he's usually still awake and then back to bed.  He's minimally fussed a few nights but it's been maybe 30 seconds and then back to sleep.  As for the second feeding, this has been absolutely a Godsend.  Two nights ago has been the only night Drew has woken up within 3 hours of his first feeding, I let him fuss for a couple of minutes to make sure he was awake, I went in gave him his paci and his Mr. Cow, his lovey he sleeps with and he fussed for 10 more minutes and went back to sleep.  Last night again the same thing, woke up within 3 hours of his initial feeding, fussed for 30 seconds and went back to sleep.  Drew then has been sleeping until 6:30am when he wakes up for the day and wants his morning bottle.
   I have no idea what tonight holds, this could very well blow up in our face, who knows.  I post this because at one point I had no idea what to do, I wasn't sold on the Ferber method of sleep training, I couldn't listen to my child cry for that long, although it's had amazing results for many, many families, it just wasn't right for us at the time.  What we are doing very well may not work in the end for us either, but I post this because if it can help another stressed out mom who's child is having sleep issues to know, she's not alone, then this post was a success.  I will report back about how everything ends up.  I'm sure every night is not going to be perfect in our house, he's a baby and although we can have the best laid plans, they never seem to work out as we plan.  My hope is, that this does give Drew a better nighttime schedule because everything I've ever read says kids who sleep through the night wake up more rested and better equipped to face the day.  Who wouldn't want that for their child.  So here's to hoping our little plan works, all I can do is say a prayer, and stick with it and have a little faith!


Bear's mom said...

Have you read the book "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child?" It's by Marc Weissbluth.

It's a really light read and the method is really easy. There's almost little to no crying it out... (actually he gives alternative ideas if you don't want to let your little one cry it out).

If you haven't already please look into it! I know how hard it is when your little one isn't sleeping through the night. After a week of using the book bear's sleep went from 4 hours to 12 hours w/3 naps a day!

Lots of luck!

Jessica said...

The Ferber method is the only method that will work for G! We had to do it for naps and now G has started getting up (out of habit) 1-2 times a night. This started about 2-3 months ago and we just started Ferbering her too. It's SO tough because she just looks at me with the big sad eyes but I know it is best for her, especially in the long run. Good luck Abby! Here's to both of us getting some more sleep!

Karen At Home said...

Hi Abby, I can so relate to this post. The first few paragraphs I felt like I could have written it myself. Jillian was a terrible sleeper and didn't sleep through the night until she was ten months old!!! I would go crazy when my co-workers would tell me their baby slept through the night at 8-12 weeks and would come into work all bright eyed and I would be a miserable, crying mess drowning myself in coffee.
We finally did a method of Cry It Out which has worked wonders for us. The book we read (it's listed on my blog, I can't think of the name at this moment!) was all about negative sleep associations and how we need to teach them to soothe themselves so if they get up at night they can fall back to sleep on thier own. Is he falling asleep to the bottle? Are you able to put him down drowsy but awake? Those are the key points that were causing Jillian such bad sleep habits. Once we did the sleep training and we were putting her down drowsy but awake, she stopped waking up at night. Of course she still has her moments of teething and growth spurts where she gets up at night but they are now the exception and not the norm thankfully!!!!

Please, please, please email me if you ever want to talk about sleep, I have so been there, and it would bring me so much happiness if I can help another Mom going through these issues!!!! It's rough, I know!!! Hang in there.


Steph said...

Any advice for putting a baby down drowsy but awake? Our 10 month old at his 2 naps and bedtime sits with me and we sit and/or rock for 10 minutes then I ever so gently move him to the crib. He usually turns on his side or pops his pacifier back in his mouth but he's pretty much out of it. I know this will be a major problem in two months when I go back to work and I'm guessing they just turn out the lights, say naptime and pop the kids in the cribs.

Abby said...

Bear's mom, I thought I had read that book, but after looking it up, I haven't. I'm borrowing it from my sister tonight! Thanks for the suggestion!

Karen, you are so very sweet! I'm going to be sending you an email in the next few days!

Steph, as for laying Drew down drowsy but awake, I really just started trying it one evening. I started doing it at bedtime. I knew he was tired, and I left his bedside lamp on when I fed him his bottle and then I rocked him for a few minutes, and he was still awake so I gave it a shot. She did fuss a bit and toss and turn and still does sometimes, but it usually is no more than 5 minutes and he's down for the count. He does have the Fisher Price soothing sea horse in his crib and I play that for him when I lay him down. Who knows if it works, but I like to think so. After he got the hang of going down drowsy but awake at bedtime, I started the transition at naptime. This is still sometimes a bit of a battle for us. He's getting better, I just try to keep his room as dark as possible during the day. I'm not a sleep expert by any means, but I hope this helps even a little bit!

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