sleep REtraining: night 1

i was talking to my bloggy buddy hillary hull about having a sick baby since her 5 1/2 month old cutie, parker, just got his first cold this week. i happened to mention that when judah got sick back in august he went from sleeping 8 hours a night to waking up every 3 again like a newborn and that it has been that way for a month now.

honestly, we have been doing fine. somehow the waking up at 2 and 5 and then getting up for work at 7 isnt killing us at all. we hear judah start crying in the monitor, jesse gets up and goes and gets him and brings him to me in bed. i feed him for 20-30 minutes (and may or may not fall asleep for a whole hour somewhere in between boobs with the bug laying on me) and then i wake jesse back up and he burps the little guy and puts him back in his crib. all of this is always done with the miracle swaddler on, which jesse must rewrap after every feeding session because little guy hulk-busts his way out of it. judah hasnt ever been able to even NAP without the swaddler, so we just started putting him on his tummy swaddled to try to extend the sleep cycle.
swaddled...on the floor for some reason? with a pimento on the carpet. sure. why not?

we had fallen into a really good program in judah's 3rd week. without really trying or altering his natural patterns, newborn judah was falling into a kind of babywise plan for nighttime sleep and by 9 weeks old he was consistently getting 7-8 hours straight before his first wake to eat session. we never even really had to make him "cry it out" as they say, he just happily fell into this schedule.

well i mentioned our lovely new post-sickness schedule to hillary, and she about flipped that we were living that way. her parker is a solid 9-12 hours a night, so i asked for some key tips. i got a seminar. literally. she tuned me in to moms on call and told me to look over their methods and start TONIGHT. moms on call are these 2 pediatric nurses (with 8 kids between them including a set of twin boys each) who do consultations for about $100 and hour and help you establish nighttime sleep routines for your 3-12 month old. they also give an online seminar, which i watched yesterday. the basic plan:

-babies should and can sleep 9-12 hours through the night with 2-4 naps during the day
-you have to set a consistent sleep routine and be faithful to it
-readjusting your baby from his current routine to this one can take up to 3 full nights.
-it will be VERY hard on your mommy and daddy hearts to survive these 3 nights without giving in but it takes that long to establish a new internal clock for baby

please dont make me go to bed!

so last night we left a bday party early and to come home and start the routine at about 7:45. we started with a nice relaxing bath for the bug followed by his final meal of the night. we even added an extra ounce of formula after he finished breastfeeding to make sure his tummy was extra full for the long night ahead. we took everything out of his crib, including the beloved and much relied-upon swaddler, cranked the white noise machine (well, it makes ocean noises, which youre not supposed to use, but we'll hold off on that investment just now), turned out ALL the lights (we had been rocking a soft glow ikea moon nightlight--mostly to help zombie-jesse find his way in at night and to help judah be able to see his mobile and glow-worm...both no-no's in themselves). we told him we loved him, prayed with him and said we'd see him when the sun came up, and then shut the door...not to be opened again UNTIL MORNING (dun, dun, duuuun).

gotta get every drop while i can!

back in our room, we turned off the monitor, knowing that listening to his inevitable cries wouldn't help us at all and that we wouldn't go in there anyway. we told ourselves that he was safe, loved, and capable of making this change. well, i put in earplugs, or else i wouldn't have stood a chance. i woke up at 2 and 4 and even though i couldn't hear anything, was so worried for him that i couldn't fall back asleep. at 2, he wasn't even crying though, but at 4 he was. jesse also tells me that he cried from 12-1:30 and that it was really very hard to listen to. but we made it somehow and went in and joyfully got him at 6 am (the plan says 7 am, but we have to be up for work earlier than that would allow) and fed him a BIG meal. he wasn't sweaty with rage or malnourished, and he didn't seem resentful over what we had done to him. even though he did cry a lot during the night, he was our exact same happy little binks-man. i consider night 1 a success.

learning the MOC plan taught me that judah isnt waking up in the night because he NEEDS to eat, but because that is what he is used to: stirring a bit out of deep sleep and then us rushing in and waking him fully so he can eat rather than allowing him to naturally transition back into REM, like humans do. and even though he isn't starving, of course he will eat when i give him the boob just because he can; he's being soothed and snacking, not really eating a full meal (b/c he doesn't need one yet!). so even though he's eating every 3 hours in the night, he isnt eating fully, which is telling MY body that he needs less milk to be made. AH-HAH!
i had been freaking out because my milk supply has been dwindling like a mother (a non breastfeeding mother, apparently). at work, i can hardly pump enough to allow him to have 1/2 breast milk and 1/2 formula in his next day's bottle at nursery. that was another reason i wasn't loosing my mind over his old schedule, because i figured if that was my milk supply with him eating around the clock, then it would become nonexistent if he slept through the night. hillary reminded me though that my body needs to be resting efficiently to be able to make milk, but i thought it couldn't be that because i honestly wasn't feeling exhausted. well, damn, was that wrong. as i typed that paragraph up there, i freaking overflowed my containers that i pump into at work (intimate sharing, anyone?). i never even come close to filling them up; halfway is a good pump session for me, and i just freaking overflowed BOTH of them. luckily no one but me is in the office today, therefore i am wearing sweatpants so the milk spillage doesn't offend anyone. i just pumped more in one sitting than i usually do in an entire day! hope the boss doesn't mind me borrowing his tupperware as a storage facility for my surplus!

yeah, hearing the little guy cry himself back to sleep sucks, but jesse and i are on the same team saying that its worth it to get us all on the healthiest schedule for everyone. night one is supposed to be the hardest, but we are reassured by the fact that he is saying "what's going on, i usually get up at this time," when he cries, and not, "i am starving, what did i do wrong, you don't love me, i HATE you, i'm in pain," like we tend to imagine. no matter what the schedule though, waking up to this at ANY hour is always worth it.

so hillary, i raise an overflowing glass of freshly expressed breastmilk to you, my friend. THANK YOU!

wish us luck on night #2!


  1. Keight -
    You probably don't know who I am but I was mabe a year ahead of at Tech. Laura Griffies roommate at Tech and am I friends with Tiffany. My baby is a few weeks older than Judah. She was doing great through the night, and has now started waking up a couple of times every night. I go nurse her because it is easier than being awake, listening to the monitor for an hour. You have officially inspired me to turn the monitor off tonight! Good luck on night #2!

  2. Yay :) I am so happy for you Keight! And you can raise that glass of breast milk up to me anytime! I'll raise one right back atcha!

  3. I'm inspired too!!! Over the last week or 2 madison has been waking up once about 1am for no particular reason...After the bagwell wedding I think I'm going to have to cowboy up and try this...we've never really had to let her CIO either and I didn't want to have to :( but she shouldn't be waking up anymore ;(
    Thanks Hillary!!

  4. hey! if he's used to the ocean sound, it's probably OK... there are several things that MOC suggests that we don't necessarily go by to the tee. however - we got our sound machine from bed bath and beyond... it was about $20 and we used a 20% off coupon so it wasn't too bad. it's call the Homedics Sound Spa machine - and turned all the way up - it's just to the right level of noise (MOC suggest it needs to be as loud as an average vacuum cleaner.)

  5. This is one of the most awful things I've ever read. Your poor baby. If God had wanted babies to sleep through the night He would have made them that way, without having to make them suffer.

    1. Hahahahaha. We are truly awful. I'm surprised social services didnt come and take him away to alleviate his "suffering." Kudos on a great anonymous comment 5+ years later!