At Clayton’s latest doctors appointment, for his two month checkup, the well educated doc was quick to advise that we stop nighttime feedings. SAY WHAT? You want me to do what? I quickly responded with a, “And how do you suppose I do that?”
“Let him cry.” That was his response. So naturally my next move was to ask for how long. His response, “Until he stops.”
Now I know all of this to be true. I went to school for this. I worked in day care for half of my life. I always said I would be the mother that did this. It’s for the better.
Then, when you become a mommy, and all that knowledge is questioned, you just want to ignore it all && cuddle your little love. The mere thought of them crying breaks your heart. And forget when they actually do cry. Game over.
A friend of mine gave me this cheat sheet. It was used by her and her sister (loosely), and it seemed to work for them. I liked this idea better than completely cutting Clayton off cold turkey. We started it yesterday morning, and it seemed to go just fine. Minus a few hiccups in terms of time frames (he fell asleep later, we don’t do bath time everyday, a catnap never happens, and little things of the like). Then came bedtime. We ate, we read “We’re Going on A Bear Hunt”, we rocked. We fell asleep. Hit the crib, was fine for five minutes, then the fun began.
He started to do his whiny little cry, which I ignored. I can handle ignoring the attention seeking cries. Slowly && surely though, those little cries turned into deep cries. I don’t know about you other mamas out there, but I think my max time limit to let them cry is about 15 minutes. So I went in, gave him his pacifier, and left. Well fun fact about Clayton, he loves to play games with the paci. It’s his soothing little love for sure, but it’s also how he gets mom and dad to come back. So he spits it out, cries for it, we give it, he’s fine for 5 minutes, spits it out, cries, we give it, and repeat. Eventually, when it falls out on his own, it’s fine. We’re done playing the paci game. He’s asleep. So that happened. Phew! Okay, so maybe we can do this.
I slept in the guest bedroom across from his, just to be closer, and for peace of mind. Well I didn’t even need the monitor. His cries were so loud the entire night, it was just an added echo to the already loud cries he created. So let’s see… Around 11:15, he woke up again, but it was fine, because that was when I was supposed to do his “dreamfeeding” anyways. We rock and cuddle while he eats. The lights stayed off. I was half asleep. He eats about three ounces. That’s his usual amount anyways. We burp (no spit up! YAY!). We rock together a little longer. Into his crib he went. He screamed and screamed and screamed some more. He spit up. He was laying in his spit up. So I cleaned him up. Gave the paci, and went to my room. He continued to scream, but I’m pretty sure I fell asleep before him. Only being woken up again at 3:15. Seems about right, as he only ate three ounces. Clayton tends to run on this schedule of how ever many ounces he eats, is how long he can go in between feedings. But my same friend gave the advice of only making him go as long as he has gone before. If he made it 6 hours at least once before, try to hold him off for 6 hours. Well I could tell that wasn’t going to happen, so I settled for five. We played the pacifier game again, we rocked in the chair. And at 4:00 I fed him. This time he tanked, I mean literally tanked 5 ounces in like 10 minutes. He never eats that fast. We burped, we spit up, and I thought, “Oh good, this means he will sleep so well, his belly has to be full.” Into his crib he goes. He cried, AGAIN! Fell asleep, woke up at 6:16, and I was done. How after 5 ounces could you possibly be hungry again. I let him go. 15 minutes passed, that’s all I can handle. Went in and got him, only to bring him into bed with me. He is only waking up now (9:30am). So he technically went 5 hours, matching the 5 ounces he ate. He just needed mommy in between.
So this is where I say schedule smedule, but also know how important it is to get him onto a schedule. I just feel like what we were doing was working. He typically only ate once a night anyways. It just never added up to 8 hours straight. So do I do my thing, or keep plugging away at this? After day one, I want to say, “No, sir.” It seems like we were worse off with this routine compared to our own. I know he needs to sleep in his crib. I am fine with that part. He has outgrown the bassinet anyways. BUT is going the whole night with out eating really what is best. I play the preemie card a lot too. He is only 8lbs 8oz. Most babies by month two are past the 10lb mark. And most babies eat way more than 3oz at a time. I don’t think Clayton’s little tummy can handle all of that. PLUS the more serious part. He spits up, and when I say spit up, I mean more like throws up EVERYTHING. and I can’t let him sleep in it. And with all the upset crying he did last night, he spit up every time I went to check on him. This moring, with the 4am feeding, his entire PJ was soaked. He smelled terrible. His hair was all crusty. And I did not like any of it one bit. This didn’t happen when he was sleeping next to us in the bassinet. If he spit up, I would hear it. It typically happened once. BUT with all of this crying && screaming, it is causing him to spit up more, and I can’t hear that in the monitor. I only know when I go in to check on him. I just feel like its defeating the purpose, pushing for 8 hours, when clearly he is not ready. I know I am not forced to do anything, but I also want Clayton to learn to soothe himself, and to get on a schedule. Do I follow the part of me that says he really is only a month old gestational, or follow the two month time frame, when this is all supposed to begin?
For now, the hubby and I agree that 15 minutes is the max we let him scream for, especially because he gets himself so worked up that he is puking. And 5-6 hours is how long we will make him go in between the dream feed and the early morning feeding. After a few days, maybe extend it by 15 minutes. I just think cutting the poor kid off, cold turkey is not fair to him. DO I want a full nights sleep? MORE THAN ANYTHING sometimes. BUT I want my little man to be comfortable, safe, and healthy way more. Am I a terrible mom, is this going to affect us in the future, will he ever be able to go a full night? I ask myself this all the time. My brain says do this. Get him on a schedule. But my heart and instincts or maybe my emotions say otherwise. I guess only time will tell. And one day cannot justify if it is working or not. BUT after last night, I am not quite a fan. I feel like Clayton is all messed up now anyways. I tried to get right back on the schedule, but he wasn’t ready to eat again, he was clearly still tired, and I don’t know anymore.
I’m done ranting for now. I am going to cuddle the heck out of my little booger and play it by year.