It seems like it has been quite a while since I have written about Lewis’ sleep, so I figured I’d update about how things are going for us now, at just over 11 months old. I suppose I have not written about this in a while because there hasn’t been too much change or excitement (or frustration) with his sleep. When Chris asks me in the morning how Lewis slept the night before my answer is generally “the usual” or “about normal” or once in a while “he woke up a bit more than usual.”
At 8 1/2 months we had started round 2 of sleep training with him after a long period of nobody getting enough sleep. A few days later I posted about how well it was going, but mentioned that I was still nursing him to fall asleep at nap times. Our routine has definitely changed since then, and I don’t think I could nurse him to sleep if I wanted to. He is so good at putting himself to sleep now, and always happy to go into his crib when it is time, whether it is for nap or bed. He loves blankets, and always gets a huge smile when I tuck him in (although often plays around in the crib and ends up with the blanket off of him by the time he goes to sleep.) It usually takes him anywhere from 5 – 15 minutes to get to sleep, and in that time we hear him singing, babbling, playing with his toys, clapping, etc. but never crying or fussing. I love going in after he has fallen asleep to see what king of odd position he has gotten himself into. I also usually have to tuck him in with a second blanket as he likes to sleep on top of the blanket he starts out with.
He still tends to wake up around 3 times per night to nurse, which has been his “norm” since he was a few months old. As I was saying to Chris recently: I’ve been doing this for almost a year now so I’m pretty adjusted to getting up in the night and I really don’t mind it. The only time it gets hard for me is when he wakes up more than usual (like when he is actively teething.)
The other hard thing is that his morning wake ups have been getting earlier and earlier. We have always taken him into the bed with us when he wakes around 6:00 and then he would sleep there until we got up. When he was really little he would sleep in bed snuggled with me until 9:30 most days which was lovely. Then it moved down to 8:00, then 7:00, and now we’ve been having some 6:00 wakes up. I’m pretty well adjusted to the 7:00, but the 6:00 days are rough!
Bed time has been 9:00 for a while, but this past week we have moved it down to 8:30 since the internet seems to think that an earlier bed time can actually lead to a later wake up time. He did go back to waking at 7:00 for a few days but today it was 6:00 again so we’ll have to see. I’ve also changed things in the mornings and am no longer taking him into our bed at his 6:00 wake up. It seems like he has been having a hard time getting comfy in bed with us and he would climb around on top of me trying to get comfortable but ultimately just wake himself up more, so I’ve switched to nursing him and putting him back in the crib to sleep just like with any of our night wakings. He doesn’t seem to mind that he’s not sleeping in bed, and it gives us all an extra hour of sleep. (Most days, anyway.)
We also dropped down to 2 naps a day a couple of weeks ago. We had a pattern of three naps for a long time but his evening naps were getting shorter and shorter and also falling awfully close to bed time, so I decided to move his morning and afternoon naps just a bit later and cut out the evening nap. He has been doing very well with napping 3 hours after waking up in the morning, and then 3 hours after waking from his first nap. This usually falls around 10:00 and 3:00. (Morning nap is pretty consistently 2 hours, afternoon nap is anywhere from 1 to 2 hours.) I do adjust nap times a bit if we get up extra early, or if he seems super tired, or if one of his naps is much shorter than usual, but in general I have been trying to stick to the 10:00 and 3:00 schedule which seems to be working really well for us. The biggest downside is that he no longer naps when it is time for me to get dinner ready, which means I prepare as much as possible ahead of time and then do the rest of my cooking with him tugging at my pants (or playing nearby when he is in a good mood for playing by himself.)
Overall, things seem to be going really well with his sleep and I love that we have such a good routine going on. Of course I look forward to one day getting to sleep for a full night, but in the mean time I will try not to think about those other mothers who have babies sleeping through the night at 2 months. (Googling the topic leads me to believe that it is still pretty normal for a breastfed baby to nurse in the night at 1 year, and since he is such a frequent nurser anyway I can hardly expect him to go 12 hours at once without eating. He still goes barely 2 hours in between during the day, except when asleep or very busy.)