Sammy Mammy here. Thanks to all those who sent us your sleep stories, ideas, and encouragement, here in the comments and elsewhere. We’ve had a variable week. It still takes a while to get Sam to sleep at bedtime, but we’ve had more success with her naps. One thing that seems to help is not letting her stay up longer than 2 hours at a time, in addition to watching for signs of sleepiness.
But something interesting happened last night.
We started the bedtime ritual at 9:30: bath, one book, and swaddling. At 10 she had her final nursing. At 10:30 I put a drowsy baby in her crib, and her eyes flew open the moment she hit the sheet. Sammy smiled at me and kicked off the swaddling in one swipe. Dad came in, re swaddled her, turned out the light, and proceeded to “father” her back down to sleep.
She cried, she screamed, she twisted her body. AC uses a pacifier to help her calm herself to sleep and she kept spitting it out.
After a while, I heard silence. Then giggles. Wha? Sure enough, giggles. AC came out of the bedroom with our bundled baby.
Watch this, he said. He put the pacifier in her mouth, then withdrew it. This is a technique we read about in Harvey Karp’s The Happiest Baby on the Block: to teach your baby to keep the pacifier in her mouth, pull on it gently and she will naturally suck harder to retain it. Except Sam didn’t suck at all– she cracked up. Again. Again. We were laughing now too. Sam’s eyes were bright and alert. So cute, so adorable… but so not sleeping!
Maybe she is spitting the pacifier out because she is still hungry, I said. Sometimes that’s a sign of hunger for her. And sometimes Sam likes to cluster feed in the evening.
It was now 11. I nursed her again. But after a time it was clear she was using me as a pacifier. I wasn’t laughing now. AC put her back to bed. She screamed and wailed. It took several tries, and many rounds of “FrÃ¨re Jacques,” before she was quiet in the crib.
It was now midnight. Sam’s middle of the night feeding usually happens around 2am, but that was only 2 hours away. Our normal schedule shot to hell, we decided to just go to bed and see what would happen. We have a fixed wake-up time of 6am, so that I can nurse Sam before I go to work, but since I don’t teach on Tuesdays we have some flexibility there.
We went to bed.
My alarm went off at 6. Nooo, I though, not already! Then I realized that it was light out.
Did we get up and feed the baby last night? I asked AC.
Huh? Confusion. Then, clarity. No!
Just then Sam started to cry. I jumped out of bed and did a little jig on my way to get her.
Sam went 7 hours without eating!
She slept 6 hours straight without waking once!
*I* slept 6 hours straight without waking once!
One occurrence does not a pattern make, but still, it feels like a new day in the Fay-Capehart household.