Monday, July 16, 2012

The Dream Feed...

...With 4 weeks to go until I head back to work, it's time for AR, Matt and I to start our routine for bedtime. Bedtime is seriously my LEAST favorite time of day because she's crabby, I'm crabby, Matt's crabby when he's there...ugh! Plus I think I try to rush it because I know I have about 30 minutes to an hour to get things done before I need to go to bed. Some nights, she'll fall right to sleep but other nights, it's an hour long battle. We have a general "routine" but if she's fussy, the book is out. If she's sleepy, we just put her straight to bed.

For now, she gets up about once/night between 12:30-1:30 and it's not that bad. Now when I go back to work and I don't get off until 10, home until 11ish and then I'll have to get up with her at 12:30-1:30 then have us both up by 5 and me at work by 7...well, that's going to suck.

The main reasons for wanting to change this routine was because 1. I didn't think she was getting enough sleep. 2. She was SUPER crabby to the point of no return between 5-7:30 3. hoping to get her on track to sleep through the night.

I read the Baby Whisperer who says to tank them up and then give them a dream feed before you go to bed so we decided to alter bedtime a bit to see what would happen...

So let me review our routines...

What we had been doing...
5:00 Feed
5:00-7:00 AR SUPER crabby
7:00 Bath
7:30 Matt gives bottle then book and prayer
8:00 Bed
-If she's asleep after bottle then straight to bed.
-Some nights she's so crabby that it takes a good 10-15 minutes to calm her down to even take the bottle.
12:30-1:30 AR wakes up to eat again
5:00AM Wake up and start the day
-On this routine, I hated how crabby she was, for her sake not mine, because she'd get so worked up we could barely calm her down. However, she usually fell asleep very quickly.

What we're trying now...
5:00 Feed
6:30 Bath, Book, Prayer
6:45 Nurse with me
7:00 Bed
-With this, it takes her almost an hour to fall asleep with the help of a paci even after she's eaten. I hate giving her the paci because once it falls out, she cries until we put it back in...so back in, falls, repeat...about 10x.
-AR is one of those babies that you can rock her until her eyes get heavy or she's asleep and the second you put her down, her eyes pop open and she's wide awake!
9:30 Matt gives the dream feed
12:30-1:30 AR wakes up to eat again
5:00AM Wake up and start the day
-This routine doesn't really seem to make any difference. She's still getting up about the same time and we're just adding another feeding but it doesn't effect her sleeping longer.
-Some nights when she wakes up at 12:30-1:30 to eat, she takes longer to get back to sleep because she's slept longer.

What we'd like...
5:00 Feed
6:30 Bath, Book, Prayer
6:45 Nurse
7:00 Bed
9:30 Dream feed
5:00AM Wake up and start the day

I know it'll take awhile to get to the 7.5 stretch of sleep but I do feel like if we're feeding her at 9:30 then I just figured she'd sleep longer than 1:30 because previously she was eating at 7:30 and sleeping until the same time. So really, what's the point of the dream feed? I know that it takes 3 days to form a habit but we're going on a week here and the habit is the same as the one before.

I also don't feel like we have a rock steady routine. It was really nice when Matt was doing the bottle because he'd do all of bedtime and I'd get a nice break (and my boobs were very thankful!). We cut it out and let him take over the 9:30 feeding so that I could get a longer stretch of sleep. From reading books, I feel like the routine needs more cues in it...i.e. closing the curtain and saying "Goodnight Mr. Sun", same book, same person, etc...I do always end with "Goodnight Moon" when I do bedtime but some nights Matt won't even read to her or say prayer if she's really crabby or already asleep.

I do everything with the light on then turn it off to nurse. I even started leaving the light off when I nurse at 1am so she'll know it's not time to wake up and will hopefully fall back asleep (I'll leave the hall light on so I can see). Matt will leave the light on for everything (and he always leaves the wipes open too, nothing to do with routine but UGH! Sometimes he even leaves an empty container for me to find at 1AM-men!). She has an alarm clock in her room that goes off with a CD and the same song every morning in hopes that when she hears that she'll know it's time to wake up. Matt and I have discussed bedtime routine and I've told him the importance of the same thing every night but alas, he's a man so he does what he wants.

I shouldn't complain because she's really a good baby and getting up once/night is awesome! I read the books and do what they say so I get frustrated (I've been banned from saying that word at my house from my DH) when they don't work. And this isn't like breastfeeding where I can call the LC and say HELP! So I'm asking you all for HELP! Let me know what your bedtime routines are and if the dream feed worked for you all, if I should give it time or just cut it out. Any tips or advice would be greatly appreciated-thanks in advance!

9 comments :

danielle said...

Hey! It's Danielle (formerly DAR, but haven't blogged in over a year!). Anyway, my son is almost 6 months old so I feel like we just did this! Our bedtime routine since he was 5 weeks old looks like this:
6:30 bath
6:45 bottle
7:00 bed
The "dreamfeed" backfired on us so we refused to do it. It just seemed so odd to wake up a baby to eat when we were trying to get him to sleep all night? Anyways, he started STTN around 13 weeks (12 full hours, no feeds).

Just be consistent, she will get the hang of it! Also, if she is super fussy, try moving bedtime up 15 minutes until you get to the point where she isn't fussy anymore. She isn't an adult, and she doesn't need a late bed time. It is perfectly a-okay to put her to bed at 6pm until you get the kinks worked out :). We had some insane fussiness around 5-6 weeks and we just started putting him to bed a little earlier. Presto--no more night time fussies.

Feel free to shoot me an email if you want to chat/bounce some ideas around. I feel like we pretty much read everything about sleep, haha.

Kristal said...

I think our routine at that age was bath, book, boob, bed. And I think he went to be pretty late at that age, like around 9.

But honestly? I don't think it makes that much of a difference. She is still so young, things change so fast at that age, and routines generally don't stick until closer to 12 weeks. The witching hour is a biotch, but it's pretty typical. I certainly don't think a routine hurts and it's probably good to establish something just so YOU'RE used to something, but in my experience with Isaac, it didn't make much of a difference to his sleep/fussy pattern.

Also, we tried the dream feed as well and it didn't make a difference for us either. It seemed nice in theory, but just didn't pan out for us.

I do think that with the routine change you made, your instinct was right that she needed more sleep. If she's sleeping that whole time she was normally awake and still waking up at the same times, I'd say she needs it! :)

Once you go back to work, how often do you have to work until 11 and then be back in at 7? That stinks, I hope it's not often. Maybe Matt can do the midnight feeding sometimes? Although that never really worked for chad and I because I'd wake up anyway and then be frustrated (haha) if he didn't do things the "right" (aka my) way.

Liz said...

So I haven't really read all that much, and really am just winging this whole baby bedtime thing, but this is what works for us:

Bath around 8pm
BIG feeding around 8:30pm - like give him as much as he wants, even if I have to supplement when I'm all out of breast milk (for you, this may just mean giving her more breast milk via bottle - since you've got a nice stash! - or just letting her nurse until she's falling asleep)
Swaddle, turn on sound machine, put in bed (pat or rock more if the swaddling wakes him up)

If he goes to sleep around 9:30, then he gets up around 3:30am for a small feeding (2-4 oz) and back out until 8am or so. Which means momma gets to sleep until then too. I'm hoping that we eventually cut out the 3:30 am wake up so he sleeps from 9pm - 8am. I know a lot of people do 7pm bedtimes, but then they get up at 5am and well, that's too early for me and my hubs. Even when I'm working, I don't get up until almost 7am. And I think it's more important for us to be on similar sleep schedules than to deprive us or him of any sleep. I need 8 hours and I'm not much of a napper, so if I'm getting enough sleep at night, then he's definitely getting enough. :)

But my point is, don't stress about it. It doesn't matter if you put her to bed at 7pm or 9pm - as long as whatever you're doing works with your schedule and AR is putting in the hours. Just be consistent and she'll adapt, eventually.

Hilary Lane said...

You totally just gave me a glimpse of my future - open wipes cases and empty cases in the middle of the night. Ahhh! I already go to the bathroom to find empty TP rolls & in the kitchen, half the cabinets are open. And this has NOTHING to do with it, but it's a man mystery.... I will leave like 5 sheets of TP on the roll - enough for a girl to go - but I ALWAYS look before I have to GO go, because the TP is stored in the guest bedroom. Josh NEVER goes to get another roll before he GO goes and somehow, that sheets was enough for him. Man mystery. I will probably never figure out how that works...

Hilary Lane said...

that 5 sheets*

SLESE1014 said...

Bedtime routines are a challenge....when Raegan was that young we were still putting her to bed pretty close to 9-9:30. As she got older we moved it up to 8:30. Now our routine is dinner at 6:30, bath 7:30, bottle at 8:00 and bedtime is 8:30 with a book/story before bed. Sometimes she's too sleepy for the whole book, but we say the important parts. Now I have it memorized and start the story as we walk up the stairs to bed. I'm very lucky because she was pretty much sleeping through the night by 2 months...9-5 kind of thing. Now we're up to 12 hours at night.

You'll get there...here's hoping she figures it out before you go back to work. GOOD LUCK!

Julie said...

I cannot believe we are in the middle of July already. Geez!!! Enjoy that precious baby time ... and blogger decided to delete some of my favorites and well you were one of them but I got up back on my page so hopefully now I won't miss any posts :)

Joanna said...

When our boys were this young we weren't bathing every night (bathing 3 wore me out!) but we would take them upstairs to our room (around 8/9) & only use soft lights (i.e. side lights not the above light) to help them get the idea that lights are going to go out. Changed bum, sleep attire, bottle then into bed. Then took them to their bed kisses & turned on the aquariums, said I love you, hope we have a good night, then left.

If it took them more than 20 minutes to fall asleep then we'd check on them & see if they had a burpt, etc then kisses & back to bed. Once they started sleeping more than 2-3 hours we would wake them at 5 - usually they were awake by 4:30/5 (Mike woke up for work at 5:30 so this way he could help feed at least one) then they would go back into their beds for another couple of hours & we'd start the day.

I definitely agree with the keep up the routine (same every time). She will start to know what's coming (& expect it).

Jenni-Bee said...

There are a lot of great comments on here, and I'm newer than you at this, but nighttime seems to be the only consistent time Emma has. She wakes at 11:45, 2am and 5:30am. She's still a comfort nurser, so hopefully when that breaks it will be more hour in between.

But, what works for me is to keep the lights out with the exception of the tv for me and the kitchen light. I feed on the first side as long as she wants it. Once she spits it out (not just stops or falls asleep, but pops off herself) I go change her in her room, and then sit back down in the same spot and feed on the other side until she pops off again - about 1/3 the time as the first). Then, 9 times out of 10 she is passed out and we go back to bed.