One of the things I've learned as a new mom is that old classic, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it". I feel like I convinced myself that things were going to be a lot more complicated, or maybe I did too much research so I knew about way too many options, or maybe I am just always thinking there is something better out there? Who the heck knows. As an example, Anna liked the very first pacifier that we tried. But instead of just being happy with our luck, I kept trying new pacifiers "just in case" she liked a different one better. Luckily pacifiers are cheap so it's not like I wasted a whole lot of money there, but regardless, I have had to teach myself to chill out and relax...if the baby's happy, I win! I don't have to keep searching for a new solution!
This past week though I have broken my self-enforced chillness, and I'm starting to wonder if I'm being epically stupid. As you readers know, Anna will be 3 months old tomorrow (yay baby girl!) and she is still waking up pretty much every 3 hours on the dot. I have to say though that it worked really well for us. We would put her down around 10:30 or 11:00 at night, and she'd wake up twice during the night to eat, and then we'd be up for the day together around 8:00 or 9:00. And we were both perfectly happy...I was able to function well (no brain static at all, hooray), and she slept like a rock in between her feedings. I honestly didn't even think about her sleeping longer...I figured when she was ready, she would start sleeping more.
But...when other moms(especially the older ones) hear that, they say OMGZ!!!! WHY ISN'T SHE SLEEPING THROUGH THE NIGHT YET??!??!!? And it also seemed like, among my limited pool of other new or recent moms, that their babies started sleeping longer stretches way earlier too. So even though my internet and baby book research claims over and over again that it's perfectly normal for babies to keep waking up, especially breastfed ones, I have to admit that I've started to be concerned that maybe I'm doing something wrong. Was something about our schedule sabotaging her sleep efforts? Was I the reason she wasn't sleeping longer?
The only advice I've gotten so far (beyond what we are already doing) is to add rice cereal to her bedtime bottle (which, kind of makes sense, but based on my research, it seems like it could create more problems, including allergies. and she doesn't take a bottle anyways) or to let her cry it out (hell no). So I bought my very first Nook Book the other night - The No-Cry Sleep Solution. I bought it on the recommendation of a friend who had read it for her newborn, and I really enjoyed it. What surprised me about it was that I actually felt better about everything after I read it. We were doing a surprising amount of things right, according to that book, and we didn't even know it. So, high-five to us. The book also stressed that if momma's happy, and baby's happy, and the house is happy...then maybe nothing needs to change. But I was still concerned about her bedtime. The book said (and pretty much all my other mommy friends agreed) that babies like to go to bed in the early evening...at the latest by 8:30. I decided that maybe it was worth a try to bump Anna's bedtime back from 10:30 or 11:00 just to see if that made a difference.
Well, it made a difference all right and I am pretty sure it's not a good one. This past week, we've been watching her really closely for signs of her getting tired, and when we notice them, we start her bedtime routine and put her down. She will fall asleep fine around 8:00, but that's pretty much the only thing going right with this. She's now waking up every 2 hours, sometimes less. Her normally consistent nap schedule during the day has gone to hell. I'm sleeping like absolute crap (if at all) and it's starting to show. I'm having massive guilt about being out in the evenings now because it means I'm missing Anna's new bedtime and leaving Steve to handle it. While I have to admit that it's pretty nice to have some time to myself after she goes to bed, I'm really not sure that this is all worth it.
I'm really starting to contemplate abandoning this new bedtime. Is this just an adjustment period and if I keep going a few more days, it will work itself out? Was it stupid to start this in the first place, since 11:00 seemed like part of her natural sleep cycle and we were all happy, even though it was a late bedtime? And I don't even know what the point of this post was beyond getting my thoughts down and maybe some of my mommy readers have some advice or opinions? Kudos to you for still reading this long, rambling post...but now, give me your thoughts :-)