One of the first questions people ask us about Avery is: "How well is he sleeping?" And we've been bright eyed and chipper in answering "very well!" Yes, our 2 1/2 month old sleeps through the night. And yes, we consider ourselves EXTREMELY blessed. We did go about a strict sleeping regime which I'll share...but I'll also throw in a disclaimer that it may not work for all babies... or parents who have issues with letting a baby self-soothe. But it worked for us after 3 weeks. So, just sayin'... haha.
Week 1: (Out of the hospital)
What a blur. We did everything we could to satisfy our son's needs. When he cried, we feed him, burped him, changed him, and rocked him back to sleep. It was exhausting and stressful. His bassinet was set up in our room as well, which made it hard for us to sleep since I woke up every time he breathed irregularly (which infants are notorious for!)...and in turn I would wake up Matt in a frantic. But still, we made it through the week of newborn bliss.
We need a schedule. Matt was back at work and couldn't afford the sleepless nights. We talked with our nurse who reassured us that as babies do eat every 2 hours, they have the capacity to go up to 4 hours. Especially if the baby is as good an eater as ours. (aka...chunky monkey stored milk like a squirrel stores nuts). So that night we went to bed with the intention of only feeding every 4 hours. When he woke up after 2 hours, we let him cry himself to sleep. As a mom, this was very difficult. Matt had to put him in his own room, shut the door and set my alarm to wake up 2 hours later and go feed him. He eventually fell back asleep and after the additional 2 hours I went in and woke him up to feed. We continued this through the week. Each night he cried a little less. (Note: Avery was in his crib now sleeping on his back, swaddled, using the boppy pillow)
Now we put our scheduling to the test. During the day we did our best to keep Avery awake longer. This meant stripping him down when he fed so he wouldn't fall back asleep, burping him more often, playing with him when he was done. Then at night we would put him down and let him wake up when he was hungry. The key was I would still set my 4-hour alarm...but if he was still asleep I would let him keep sleeping instead of waking him up. The first couple nights were like week 2... but by the end of week 4 Avery was sleeping 6-7 hours!
Week 5 - 8:
Avery's sleeping is more consistent. We put him to bed late, 10-11pm after his bath and large bottle and he wakes up around 4am to eat (4 oz) and then goes straight back to sleep until I wake him at 8am for his morning bath. During the day he's staying up a lot longer and enjoys playing on his back with his play gym. (Note: Avery is now sleeping on his belly. It's what he prefers, and since he's holding his head up himself we feel safe letting him do so) A couple times he slept for 8 hours! Some mornings I'd bring him into our room to finish sleeping while I did morning chores.
Week 9: (Mommy goes back to work)
We needed to adjust his sleep schedule to accommodate us waking up earlier for work. He still went to bed at 10pm, but now he wakes up between 4:30 and 5 depending on how much he ate just before going to bed. Since he's going through a growth spurt and upping his amount of milk (about 6 oz), we have nights where he wakes up at 3am for a quick snack. Otherwise we wake him up at 6 am sometimes to take his bath.
Little peanut is sleeping on average 7 hours. There are a couple days he wakes up earlier so we're in the process of upping his bottle amount to 8 oz. He guzzles it down...so obviously he needed it. :) On Saturday he'll wake up at 4am and then go back to bed and wake up around 9am if we let him. So yes, we consider him sleeping in... love it!
Please feel free to share your experiences!