Sleeping Through the night
One of the first questions people like to ask when you have a baby is - 'is he/she sleeping through the night'? Somehow, we have been blessed with two babies that sleep well. What's the secret? I have absolutely no idea, but I thought I would share how things work in our house.
For the first few weeks after the baby is born they like to sleep on me. That means 24-hour one-on-one cuddling. With Soren, we worried about this, but after about two weeks we started transitioning his night sleep to a bassinet beside our bed. He continued to sleep with the same frequency, but on his own, which equated to a much more restful sleep for me. As is typical with newborns, both Soren and Poppy slept for 2-4 hour stretches during those first few weeks.
Around three to four weeks their sleep patterns became a little more predictable. A typical night would go like this - 11pm - nurse, fall asleep in bassinet, 3am - wake up and nurse, back to bassinet. 6am - nurse, fall asleep in bed with me for another hour or so. This pattern worked quite well, as the feedings were quick and I wasn't awake for too long. I think an important factor in our sleep success is that I typically do not put the babies in their bassinet asleep. They lie down awake (but sleepy), and then I gently rock the bassinet for a few minutes till they nod off. And of course there have been nights where I, or my husband, have sat there rocking for an hour straight. But the baby goes to sleep on his or her own, not in my arms.
On Soren's 6-week birthday, and on Poppy's 5.5 week 'birthday', something amazing happened. They dropped the 3am feeding! At 11pm I put them to bed as usual, expecting to hear soft cries at 3am. Instead, I didn't wake up until practically dawn at 6am!! I was a little petrified the first time it happened, thinking that he must have stopped breathing. But sure enough, he was perfectly content in his little space beside me.
Between 6 weeks and 3 months, the 11pm-6am sleep pattern continued. Sometimes 6am would turn into 7am, and sometimes a random 4am wake-up would occur. Around 3 months they started getting REALLY fussy in the evenings. My babies are typically fussier in the hours leading up to bedtime, and tend to cluster feed every hour or so. But around 3 months a change occurred, and they were inconsolable in the later evening hours. The only thing I could think to do was put them to bed earlier, and so I did, and it worked. Over the course of a few days the bedtime changed from 11pm till 8pm. Poppy is in the phase now. A typical night looks like this: 8pm - nurse and bed, 4am - wake up and nurse, back to bassinet, 7-8am - wake up.
Eventually the 8pm bedtime moved to 7 or 7:30 with Soren, and he would wake once to nurse. I believe he dropped the early morning feed around 7 or 8 months, after which he would sleep for 12 hours straight. This pattern continues now, at 2.5 years.
Are we lucky? Absolutely. I know there are SO many issues with sleep, and I hesitated to even write this as I don't want to come across like I am bragging. It's kind of like birth stories - you tend to remember the bad ones, although there are plenty of good birth experiences too. Good sleepers do exist, at least that's my story today. Tomorrow could bring a whole other challenge.