...has been terrific. My baby is sleeping through the night by anyone's definition. He goes to bed around 7:30ish (whenever he looks tired enough) and is usually asleep within 15 minutes. He does protest a bit if we put him down before he's really tired, but he still goes with it eventually. Then I get him up at 9:45 to feed again and put him straight back down (he's pretty much asleep by the end of that feed anyway). We've often heard some peeps at around 6am, but he quiets back down and either falls back asleep or lays in bed contentedly (I don't know which since I can't see him) until I go get him at 7. And then he's super happy and interactive in the mornings.
Like I said, we had a breakthrough with naps this week that also had a big effect on the night sleep. On Monday and Tuesday, he started waking early from naps again. I was frustrated and confused. It seemed like every time he started to become more consistent, he would start waking early again. Then I wouldn't know if I should feed him or should wait until the normal feed time, and he would be tired too early for the next nap, so it was just a vicious cycle. It was stressing me out, mostly because I felt like I was doing something wrong. Other Babywise moms all seemed to be able to get these nice, predictable schedules at this point. But I didn't want to risk not feeding him if he was waking out of hunger.
He helped me out on Tuesday morning, though. I decided to feed him whenever he woke up for a day and see if the problem corrected itself. However, after waking early from his first nap, he was clearly not interested in eating, which is extremely rare for him. He ate for a few minutes then just kept stopping and pulling off. So I knew for sure that the early waking was not a hunger issue. After that, I decided to give cry-it-out a go when he woke up early.
Other Babywise moms are hesitant to do cry-it-out when babies wake early from naps. They'll do it before naps but not mid-nap, especially this young. However, my gut was telling me that cry-it-out was what Brax needed. It seems confusing that I wouldn't rescue him when he cried before naps but would after--how was he supposed to figure out a pattern? And he was waking consistently after 45 minutes, which is when babies go through a sleep transition. So I realized he needed to learn to self-soothe and put himself back to sleep. If we had our swing here, I probably would have picked him up and put him in the swing to finish his naps. But we don't, and every time I've tried rocking him back to sleep, it doesn't work (he often just gets more angry).
So Pete and I determined to give CIO at least a week. And it was magic! Though he woke up early for the next nap and cried for a while, he actually went back to sleep on his own! After that, the mid-nap crying has diminished greatly. Though he still wakes up early pretty often, he just yells a bit for a while and then gets quiet and is often back to sleep by the time I get him for the next feeding. So we have predictability in our days, which has enabled me to relax and enjoy him so much more, since I'm not always worrying about having to go rescue him earlier than I expected.
I think this is also what made things click with the night sleep and morning wake times. He was consistently waking at 6, which was still over 7 hours sleep, so pretty good. I was planning to slowly extend things to 7, which seemed a much nicer wake time for me. However, the day after we started CIO mid-nap, I heard him make some noise at 6. I decided to wait a little while and see if he would go back to sleep. And he did, within about 5 minutes! I was stunned. He and I both slept straight until 7, when I went to get him so we could start our day.
Now I actually feel much more confident that I will know when he's going through a growth spurt, because I think the early waking and crying will be different than the light, on-and-off fussing he does at times now.
We took Brax out for a "late" evening for this first time this week. It helped so much to have a more predictable schedule in place so we could plan our evening a bit. A family I know from before invited us to their apartment for dinner last night, starting at 7. He actually woke early from his last nap anyway (the last nap is definitely the worst for him--I'm thinking it needs to be quite a bit shorter than the others), so we transferred him to the sling to take him over. I brought a bottle and planned to feed when we got there. Our friend offered to feed him so I could eat, so I let her do that. But he seemed so content that she concluded he wasn't hungry. I knew that wasn't the case and that she just wasn't holding the bottle the way he was used to. But I let it go and let her play with him a while. We finally got her to try again (around 8--an hour and a half later than he normally eats and 4 hours after the last feeding), and he took it pretty well, though it took a while with lots of distractions. He was so happy and content the whole time, though--too interested in the new surroundings to be grumpy, I guess. We finally got him back in the sling to try to get him to sleep around 8:45, and that's when the overtiredness hit and he started fussing. So we left. He napped in the sling until I fed him at 9:45 and put him down. He did wake up at 5, and I decided he deserved some grace after the late night and fed him. He went back to sleep until 7 and seems back to normal today.
I'm so thankful we have a little guy who doesn't make a huge fuss when he mess with his routine every now and then. He's usually okay, we just have to accept that we may pay for it with a slightly fussier baby or less sleep at night if we go out late in the day. So the outing needs to be worth it, and we need to accept those consequences without blaming Brax!
Growth and Development
Brax is enjoying tummy time more and especially likes it laying on my chest with his mirror close by to look at. He's grasping his toys more often--still on accident, I think, but he's working so hard to figure it all out! He's starting squealing quite a bit this week, along with making lots of other noises. But he only talks if he's looking straight at a face, or sometimes to the toys in his gym. Otherwise, he stays pretty quiet and observant of the world around him. I put him on the bed one morning to watch me while I exercised, and he seemed pretty fascinated. He kept kicking his legs like he was trying to imitate me...but that may be just me being overly aspirational :).
I'll stop there. I just wanted to put out a quick disclaimer before ending. I may come across as being a super confident mom in these posts. I'm not always! I definitely think that following a routine has helped me gain lots of confidence and get to know my baby and his needs better. But I'm someone who thrives on routine, so I knew I needed that to be a happy mommy. And Brax must take after me, because he's responded to the routine better than I could have hoped. But I've had many moments of confusion and frustration. It's very good for me and reminds me that the routine is truly not my end goal at all. And that all stages will change into something different at some point!
Okay, enough said. Time to eat and head to Walmart. That is, Wa er ma.
Oh, and wish me luck--or pray for me if you do that--this week. Pete's headed to Shanghai from Sunday through Wednesday, so I'll be trying my hand at being a single mom. I probably won't get out of the apartment much. At least we just got a vpn, so I may be able to watch some movies online if I'm lucky. And I think Brax will be sleeping in my room for a few nights to keep me company!