I have so many lovely things to say about LMM right now so I’m kicking myself for writing this but here I go anyway – he needs to learn how to sleep!
As I type he is downstairs in the Bugaboo sleeping at a 45 degree angle, that I’m sure isn’t ideal, to the offensive but apparently soothing whistle of our kitchen extractor fan. I feel like this is a crutch I shouldn’t be using but I also feel that he needs to sleep, and the latter outweighs the former at the moment.
LMM is now nearly 5 months old and he often wakes up several times throughout the night. Thankfully we can usually get him to bed by 8pm (although in NY we struggled to do this for the first couple of weeks, the time change no doubt upsetting his already sensitive nature) but by 10pm onwards we can be looking at him waking every 2-3 hours until the morning. When he was really small I mostly fed him on demand, though I did try to stretch gaps between nursing to at least 2.5-3 hours. Then I realized these feeds were more like soothing snacks, where he didn’t take much but used my breast as a human pacifier. So then I cut back on nursing him through the night in hopes this would reduce his waking, but it hasn’t worked out that way either.
I’m now giving LMM two solid feeds at night but he still often wakes up a few times in between. I say often because one night he’ll sleep through until 4am, and then the next three nights he’ll wake up several times throughout the night. It doesn’t seem to matter whether he is in our bed or his own, he’ll wake either way. From observing this for a couple of months now we’ve determined this waking is not about hunger, and more about LMM’s difficulty self soothing at night. He is as I’ve said a sensitive soul. It’s as though his own movement or ours (as this occurs in both his and our bed) wakes him from sleep and he can’t drift back off. He’ll start to cry and will reach a wail of rage within 30 seconds. It’s not the tired sort of cry that is going to putter out after a minute. It’s like he goes from zero to 100 miles and hour with the click of a finger.
So we rub his back or hold him and rock him. We put a muslin over his head as this seems to de-stimulate him too. We mimic a heartbeat and pat his back or his bum until he calms down. Then we’ll put him back in the crib only to do it all over again and again until he settles. I had hoped this would gradually regulate his sleeping but so far it hasn’t and our nights remain potluck. And when we really can’t settle him, the kitchen fan and/or the Bugaboo do the trick and are the crutch I feel I shouldn’t be using but am anyway.
I think what I’m finding most frustrating is the inconsistency of it all and my inability to shift this despite my best efforts. I think this is just a phase that hopefully he’ll grow out of with time, with being more active, with eating solids. I hope. We’re pretty tired and are realizing in retrospect how lucky we were with LLC who also woke to be fed at around 11pm and 3am until she started on solids but would then go straight back to sleep and has remained a good sleeper.
The other thing I’m considering trying is visiting a Cranial Osteopath as I’ve heard great things about them settling tense babies. Perhaps that quick birth on the bathroom floor was harder on LMM than I realized? Oh my nutty beautiful little boy. Chris has just brought him upstairs from the fan and he’s sleeping angelically. But somehow I suspect not for long….