Vincent used to be a great sleeper. He fell asleep between 7:30pm-8:00pm then he’d wake up once during the middle of the night to eat and get changed, and sleep until I either woke him up to go to the sitters (usually 6:30am) or he’d wake up on his own between 7:00am-8:00am. I could handle that and still function as a relatively competent human being during the day.
(Husband works nights, so it’s Mommy’s job to be up with the baby. On his nights off, Husband is great and takes all of the nighttime shifts, but most of the night hours fall on me.)
Recently, about the past month or so, Vinny has been waking up 3 or 4 times during the night to eat and get changed. And he SCREAMS. I mean screams that would make any mother within a 10 mile radius come rushing to his side to see what’s wrong.
What’s wrong you ask? Nothing. He might be hungry. He might have just woken himself up and can’t fall back asleep. (His favorite party trick is pulling himself up on the crib and just standing there screaming. He hasn’t quite figured out how to get back down yet without falling.) But really, nothing is wrong. I would change him, feed him, and he’d go back to sleep until he woke up 2-3 hours later, screaming bloody murder.
My mom and my aunt may have given me the secret to getting more sleep. Because, let’s face it, if Mommy’s not happy, nobody’s happy. And this mommy hasn’t been happy because I haven’t been sleeping. Plus, it’s the worst time to be sleep deprived and crabby – my Christmas program is coming up, I haven’t even started most of my Christmas shopping, and everything is just happening way too fast. Vincent’s first Christmas is flying by, and I feel like I’m not enjoying it enough because all I’m thinking about is all of the things I have to do that are keeping me from getting sleep.
So, apparently the secret to getting more sleep is (drum roll please…) rice cereal! Ok, maybe not rice cereal exactly, but food. Vinny is a big kid, but he’s not always crazy about eating solid food. He’d much prefer his bottle, and we’d been indulging him. If he didn’t want to eat, we wouldn’t really try very hard, and we’d just give him a bottle. Not anymore kid! We started a new routine yesterday – Fruit and cereal for breakfast, bottle before nap, veggies and cereal for lunch, bottle before nap, veggies and cereal with some fruit for dessert for dinner, small rice cereal snack and large bottle before bed. We’ll also offer him a bottle during and after his meals if he wants it. It helps when he doesn’t want to eat if we offer him the bottle, so he knows he’ll get the bottle after he eats a bite of his food.
It helped last night – Vincent went to bed around 7:40ish and woke up twice, once at 9:45pm (I just rocked him back to sleep because he certainly didn’t need to eat, and I didn’t want him to get used to eating at night) then again at 5:00am when I did change him and give him a bottle (8oz but he ate 6oz). He then slept until about 7:40 when he was up for the day. Let me tell you, sleeping from 10:00pm – 5:00am without interruption last night was like gold. I feel like a new woman today. We’re going to keep this up, and hopefully Vinny (and Mommy!) will continue to have long stretches of sleep.
Maybe this isn’t rocket science. Maybe every mom who reads this blog already knew this, and I’m just late to the party. But maybe it’s not. And maybe this will help another sleep deprived mommy with an 8 month old baby get some much needed and well deserved rest.