My New Year’s resolution? Helping us all sleep a little better!

You have all heard me rant and rave about The Sleep Situation.

Not in the beginning. No, in those early months, I knew I was supposed to be getting up all night to nurse the baby. I expected it. It was tiring, yeah, but it was normal.

No, it was in the fourth and fifth months that things really turned sour. Other babies began sleeping through the night. Most babies. Every baby but mine??? Books claimed that most were sleeping through the night, except “some” breastfed babies who “may” get up for “just one nighttime feeding.”

To that I said, “Ha!”

Needless to say, my baby was not sleeping through the night. Not even close. He still isn’t. He has been waking up every two (sometimes three, if I’m lucky) hours to nurse, every night, for three or four months now (I’m too tired to count exactly how many).

We tried cereal, and it didn’t work. Starting solids didn’t help. I tried shortening the feedings, but then he’d just wake up more often. I just kept reassuring myself that at least he was getting nice, nourishing breast milk all night, and “feeding on demand” is good, etc. I mostly just got used to the sleeplessness, I think. It became my new normal.

Now that Baby Boy is almost *gulp* seven months old, I think it’s time I worked harder to change this situation. He’s old enough now that I KNOW he doesn’t physically need to be nursing five times through the night. He SHOULD be sleeping longer than 2-3 hours at a time. I need to DO something to make it happen.

So here is my plan …

I admit I’ve been very sparing with the solid foods. When we started cereal, I got all freaked out that he was going to fill up on the empty calories and not drink enough breast milk, and my supply would suffer, and OH MY GOD the world would crumble, etc.

I never really got over that paranoia, so when he moved on to pureed veggies and fruits, I kept his portions really small. “He only needs a little taste, to expand his palette,” I’d tell myself. Oh, and “Eating’s just for practice right now.” I said that, too. I really got sucked in by the breastfeeding-until-age-two zealots. Sigh.

So while he’s eaten lots of solids in the last month (green beans, sweet potatoes, apples, bananas, pears, broccoli, and carrots — plus, uh, cookies), he only ever eats a tablespoon or so at a time. There is no rhythm or reason to his meals — he eats whenever, nurses whenever. And some days, he doesn’t eat anything except breast milk, because … well, a mixture of laziness (on my part) and busyness.

Baby Boy is already on a very solid nap/bedtime schedule, so my hope is that if I can set up a good schedule for eating and nursing, he won’t be as hungry through the night, and will sleep longer.

Stay tuned for the proposed schedule in tomorrow’s post — and let’s hope 2011 is going to be the year of better sleep!

So what do you think?

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