Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Sleeping through the night

It's true Parent Directed Feeding really means more sleep for everybody!

When I learned about PDF it sounded wonderful and much better than what I experience with Demand Feeding. However, I didn't now my next baby would be adopted and I wouldn't have the benefit of "holding" her for nine months prior to birth. So, needless to say, we held her every moment we could while we were in Texas and then for a week back at home. But when I was ready to get out life back in order I called my friend Jennifer to get started with PDF.

She told me I needed to wake Amanda up to feed her every three hours, keep her wide awake for a full feeding in under 40 minutes, keep her up 20 more minutes, then put her in her bed to sleep. I wasn't to pick her up until the next feeding time. I should check for diaper changes, safety and comfort, but leave her in her crib. She promised me organizing the day would lead to full night sleep.

Amanda protested to the new order of business with gusto. I kept doubting myself and worrying. But Jennifer reassured me that it would get better. Even if Amanda cried on and off for her whole nap time, she'd be okay. So, I persisted. I called for support. My friend sent me my books Babywise by Gary Ezzo and Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Marc Weissbluth, MD.

The days we going fine, but Amanda was still waking up ever two hours at night until about midnight and then she'd sleep until 5 am, nurse lazily and go back to sleep until 7 am or 8 am. I kept scanning the books trying to figure out what I was supposed to do what was normal when would this get better. Finally, I put all the pieces together. A baby Amanda's age can go 6-8 hours at nights without a feeding. When she woke at night I could never really test if she was hungry or simply wanting comfort because once I defrosted the stored breastmilk I made sure she drank it because it was too precious to go to waste if she feel asleep half way through a feeding.

Dr. Weissbluth said a baby Amanda's age would start needing an earlier bedtime with only one night waking and shouldn't be allowed to start the day before 6 am. So, I made the rules. After Amanda's last feeding at 7 pm she would stay in bed until after midnight. At midnight I would feed her and then she would stay in bed until after 6 am. I would check to make sure her diaper wasn't dirty if she cried persistently but she would stay in bed.

That was Sunday night, there was considerable crying on and off until the midnight feeding and then starting at 4 am, there was more on and off crying. Then last night she went to be at 7 pm and didn't start fussing until 11 pm, ate at 12 am and then slept until 7 am! I would call that sleeping through the night!

Also, PDF has made having Amanda eliminate in the toilet really easy because we have such a good schedule, but I'll have to write more about that later. It time to wake her up for her next feeding!

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