While I was on maternity leave, I got up with Baby H every night since hubby had to get up for work in the morning and I got to “stay home and take naps”. Since my little hippo is always hungry hungry, we would be up all the time. At the time, he was eating every 2.5-3 hours and hadn’t really started any longer stretches at night. But being up took seriously over an hour to an hour and a half sometimes. Changing a diaper, nursing (with him passing out super hard and then waking back up when I tried to put him down and screaming for more), then being given his formula chaser to finally fill him up, and rocking him so he would relax and go to sleep. I’ve mentioned before about my struggle breastfeeding him, even when I tried all the lovely tips people had to boost lactation, I didn’t see much of an increase. I was able to weigh him before and after nursing at breastfeeding support group, and it was clear that he got an average of 2 oz, sometimes 3 on a really good day. Well since he was eating 4-5 oz per feeding, he always got what I call a formula chaser after nursing.
When my maternity leave ended and I returned to work, I immediately got sick from the lack of sleep. I just couldn’t do it so I started skipping the nightly nursing to save time (since that usually takes the longest time, at least 45 minutes). I would then get up early and pump while Baby H was still asleep. When hubby started picking up a few nightly shifts and understood just how difficult our nights were and how little sleep I got, he came up with a great method that dropped us from over an hour to under 30 minutes.
The plan to be up less at night with baby
His idea was to give Baby H the full feeding amount formula in a bottle while he is still laying in his cradle, and let him fall back asleep. Rather than picking the baby up to feed him elsewhere and waking him up even more by changing his diaper, we would just let him remain laying down and he would fall asleep much faster. And it works!
Baby H sleeps in a cradle in our bedroom and we start put him down for “the night” when we finish dinner and start getting ready to go to bed. With me getting home around 7 and hubby getting home around 8, dinner ends late for us. We start with a bath around 9 or so, then a bedtime story, a final feeding, and usually we get him asleep by 10:30 or 11pm. Then I get to make the decision: shower or sleep? Now when he wakes up around 1am and 4am, or sometimes just once at 3 am, one of us (well, usually me since my husband seems to be able to sleep through all that screaming) gives Baby H his bottle and gets him back to sleep. Then we (I) go back to bed to catch a few more precious winks until I get up around 5:45 am to pump.
This may not be quite what Baby H wants, since he loves to be held and snuggled, but it gets us through the night with as much sleep as we can possibly get. Sure, Baby H’s diaper is huge in the morning, and I bet that isn’t too comfortable, but he doesn’t seem to mind it since he goes back to sleep fairly easily after eating, and he only seems to wake from hunger. The few random (and a bit scary) occasions when he slept through from 11-5 on his own, his diaper was just as full. My hope is he will soon start skipping the early morning feedings and will eventually sleep through the night for real. I mean, it has to happen right? He’s getting older and eventually infants can be weaned from night feedings. He gets plenty of food during the day so his 17 pound 4-month hippo body doesn’t need the extra food at night. He wants it, but he doesn’t need it, and I hope he learns that soon. Has anyone done a similar nightly plan?
Does anyone have any tips for “nights with baby” to share? Has anyone done a similar nightly plan?