Thursday, September 27, 2007

Soliciting Advice and/or Horror Stories

Sleep. I think it has to be the issue most frequently googled by parents of an infant. At first I was curious to see when we could hope Landon would sleep through the night, then it was to see when we could start encouraging him to sleep through the night, and now I just want to hear other parents talk about how long their baby took and how exhausted they were so that I can feel better about our present situation. Here's the gist of what I've gathered so far: Formula-fed babies usually sleep through the night sooner because formula is denser and keeps babies full longer. Metabolically, a baby that is over 11 lbs. is capable of fasting 6+ hours at night. At 2 months, babies can be expected to drink approximately 6 oz. at each feeding for a total of 30-40 oz. a day. You shouldn't do much to "sleep train" a baby until he is 4 months old because that is when they are neurologically capable of soothing themselves, any sooner and crying just gets them worked up to a state they can't recover from; however, you can start setting up a bedtime routine and take some measures to encourage your baby to want fewer nighttime feedings.

That's all from books or articles. From the few people I know with babies I've gathered the following: my siblings and I all slept 6-7 hours a night by the time we were 8 weeks old. My friend's 8 week old has been sleeping 6 hours at night for about 2 weeks. He drinks 6 oz. at each feeding, for a total of 36 oz. a day.

And here's Landon: he never drinks more than 4 oz. at once, usually every 3-4 hours, and almost never exceeds 24 oz. in a day. When we try to give him more he spits up. He's gaining weight properly (he's 12 lbs.) but he's not drinking as much as the guidelines say. He usually takes a 4 oz. bottle at 10pm and goes to sleep. He then wakes up at 2am for a full 4 oz. feeding, gets up at 5am but takes no more than 2 oz., and then gets up at 7am to take a few more. He had a few nights where he slept from 11pm, to 4am, to 7:30- and drank a full 4 oz. each time- and that was wonderful. Now, at the 5am feeding he's mainly just looking around- after a few voracious sucks (1/2 oz.) he's not too interested in the bottle. So can I try not giving it to him? I truly believe he only needs one nighttime feeding- when he gets up more than that his volume remains the same, it's just spread out. We have the approval (and encouragement) from our pediatrician to only feed him once at night, I just don't know how to go about doing that.

So, those of you who have kids (or have friends or siblings with kids), what did their time lines look like? What would you do? I'm not trying to get him on a strict schedule or anything, I just want to prod him in the direction of getting up once at night (or not at all, but I'm trying to be realistic). I've read that offering a pacifier or water at the one feeding you want eliminated can help, but we haven't tried it yet (partially because we're too bleary eyed to think of anything except sticking a bottle in his mouth). One guy in my law school class said his baby was still getting up every 2 hours at 3 months, so while I felt bad for him, it did make me feel good about us.

Sleep advice, anecdotes, and horror stories are requested.


  1. I'll chime in though my comment probably won't really help you. My babies never slept through the night until they self-weaned from the boob (~10m).

    Four hour stretches was the best I got until I introduced solids. Then, they would sleep about six hours at night with one short AM nap and one longer PM nap.

  2. I don't have any "make you feel better" advice. Pumpkinhead has always been a champion sleeper. The only thing that will make you feel better there is that every baby is different and maybe your next one will sleep well! I was a good sleeper, too, but my brother was a devil child. One thing that I think really, really helped Pumpkinhead sleep well was co-sleeping. Having us there close by seemed to help him re-settle quickly if he stirred during the night. Not sure if that's an option you'd be interested in, but it worked well for us.

  3. My son didn't sleep thru the night until after he weaned at 18 months. It was hell. Around the 9 month growth spurt he woke every 45 minutes for 6 weeks. It will get better, it will get worse, but I don't believe you can change the essential nature of your child's sleeping patterns. We tried No Cry Sleep SOlution, we tried Healthy Sleep Habits Happy Child, we tried co sleeping, we mostly used a crib. CIO never worked well for us the way other people claim.

  4. I'm not sure I can be very helpful because Eden is only a month or so older, but it was a gradual, somewhat bumpy process. It started with a five hours, then sometimes six, sometimes four, then six, then five, then seven...

    And then last night, she decided she wanted to wake up at 2:30 and play. Yeah. I fed her, she spit up explosively all over both of us, then because it was that or I would fall asleep and drop her, she ended up in her papasan and then slept until 7. There's just no telling.

    One thing that has helped my sanity is that -- so Matthew can function M-F -- I am responsible for all middle-of-the-night operations on his work nights, and he takes the weekends. Lopsided (I also work!), but just being able to sleep until 10 two days a week is heaven.