We've taken drastic action! Spence has been waking up earlier and earlier these days. He used to sleep until anywhere from 5.30am to 7am when we'd feed him and put him back to bed for a couple more hours. The last five weeks or so he's been waking earlier, more like 3.30am, so we'd been feeding him and putting him back to bed. Then he started to wake at 12.30am and 4am or so. We just did what we'd always done and fed him both times. Little alarm bells in my head were saying 'we're developing a bad habit here'. He doesn't need to food overnight, in fact, he often wouldn't even finish the bottles, plus he already has three meals a day as well as 4 bottles. I think we were just reinforcing for him that when he woke up, we give him a cuddle and a feed and he goes back to sleep, meaning we had no other real way of getting him back to sleep than feeding. Not to mention how tired it was making us which is hard as we're both working 4 days a week.
Anyway, we decided that we might have to address this. We talked to our MCHN and decided that we would try the 'controlled comforting' approach from now on when he wakes at night. So we started two nights ago, our progress so far goes like this:
NIGHT 1: We were all geared up full of motivation ready to start our new regime. We decided that we had to commit to at least a week of the controlled comforting approach to see if it made a difference. Kylie had just finished her work for the week and has 4 days off, so we figured now was the time! Little Spence went off to bed as usual at about 7pm and we went to bed early in anticipation of the long night ahead! Spence woke up at 12.30am as he had been the last few nights and so we waited until he was crying rather than just grizzling. Then Ky went in and just gave him a little talking to and a pat and some soothing words.
He wasn't impressed. He wanted a bottle, he wanted to be picked up....She stayed in there for a few minutes then came out. He cried. We waited for 2 mintues then went back in, soothing words, patting, shhh-ing and then left again. He cried. We waited 4 minutes, back in then out, 6 minutes, back in then out, 8 minutes, back in then out, 10 minutes, back in then out, 12 minutes, back in then out. All the while he cried his poor little head off. We hated it but just tried to remain strong and remember that in the long run it would be better. Finally after an hour he went back to sleep.
He woke up again at 4 and we went through the same ordeal. It was really hard and tiring for everyone. He really ramped his crying up and when he fell asleep after an hour and a half it was only for 10 minutes or so. We finally got him up and gave him a bottle at 5.30am. He then went back to sleep for a few hours after that, whilst i headed to work with a headache, feeling very tired and traumatized from the ordeal. Spence was fine though!
NIGHT 2: Had to psyche ourselves up to do it all again night 2, reinforcing our committment to a week before we pulled the pin on it if we couldn't handle it or saw no change. Went to bed early again and geared up for the long night.
Spence woke up at 1am. We waited till he was crying not just grizzling before i went in. I talked quietly to him, pulled the blankets up and gave him a pat and some shhh-ing. Then when he was quiet i said goodnight and left the room. He immediately started to cry and I went back to our room to wait out the few minutes before i'd go in again. But low and behold - he quietened down and went back to sleep!! I'd only been in there once!! He slept till 5.15am and then started to make some little noises and the odd cry, but kept going back to sleep! We ended up feeding him at 6am - he wasn't full on crying just half-crying but thought it was a reasonable time so we fed him. Success on night 2!! I feel fantastic after having so much sleep!!
We're well aware it's just night 2 so this may not be the new pattern yet, but at least we had some immediate success to keep us motivated! Will keep you posted on the next few nights progress.