I think Brayden is playing that game with sleep. But unlike the rink announcer, he's not calling out "red light" before he decides to stop sleeping or "green light" when he's ready to resume.
Three weeks ago, Brayden's sleep was a major "red light." He was waking up every 2.5-3 hours through the night. The only way he could get to sleep was nursing and the only place he would sleep was in his swing (a big change from him at two months, when he was sleeping for a six hour block in his crib). Oh - and he hates pacifiers, so nix that idea.
After getting pretty worried that he wasn't getting a healthy amount of sleep, I went back through all my sleep websites and re-read most of the books I have. I talked to my mom, my ped and other moms who had non-sleepers. Most of the advice was the same: I had to just let him cry to learn to fall asleep on his own. Lauren and I really didn't want to do it but reluctantly decided it was in his best interest.
We got all geared up and ready for a week of misery. The night we decided to start, I nursed him as usual and had a nice long talk with him about what we were going to do. I moved him to his crib (instead of his swing) and braced myself for some heavy tears. Instead, within ten seconds, this was him:
|"I love messing with mom and dad's sanity levels."|
Jump to today and laugh at my previous naivety.
Things are still way better than before, but the sleep light seems to be changing to red again. After about five days of awesome sleep, Brayden started waking up about 20 minutes earlier each day. Lauren joked that he was on a 23-hour day. It got to the point where he was waking up at 4:45 to start his day. No amount of nursing or coaxing could get him to go back to sleep. I didn't really like the choices we had - either let him cry until a set wake-up time or nurse him and try to get him to go back to sleep (and when that didn't work, he'd still end up crying). We went back to a "dream feed" at 11 in hopes that it would help him sleep longer. It didn't make too much of a difference. I tried putting him to sleep even earlier (since most sources seem to tout the value of an early bedtime), but that led to another 5am wake up call. (He goes down for the night around 6:45-7:15 these days. Do I really need to move it even earlier???)
His naps have also diminished a bit. He used to take three hour-long naps (or two 1 hour 15 minute naps). Yesterday, he took three 30-40 minute naps. Not very restorative, really.
So here we are again, playing the "what the heck do we do?" game. We're not fans of Brayden starting his day at 5 am. Nor are we fans of him crying for an hour and a half each morning. Our most recent idea is to stop his 11pm feeding and wait until he wakes up on his own sometime after 11 and feed him then. Our concern is that it will promote a return of night-wakings (if he knows we'll feed him when he wakes up, why not wake up more?).
Advice on how to get the light green again is always welcome. In the meantime, I'll do what I usually do at red lights: WAIT. And Lauren will do what he usually does at red lights: CURSE.