Sleep, blessed sleep!
As I may have mentioned previously, Grace has been hard to settle and get into a routine. What was happening was she would wake, I would feed her, she'd play and we'd have reading time, then I would top her up and try to get her to sleep. Usually she wasn't interested, so I'd end up laying with her on the bed and feeding her till she dozed off. And then, more often than not, she'd wake up half an hour later crying and off we would go again. Nights were much the same, as we were co sleeping, so I'd roll over and feed her, quick burp, and off we'd go to sleep again.
As you can imagine, things were getting a little tiring! Apart from the grizzles she is generally such a happy baby, and it was getting distressing having her cry through being tired and not being able to settle her. So, last Tuesday, Grace and I went to the Plunket Family Centre for the day to learn about sleep and find out what I was doing wrong and how to break those habits.
OH MY GOODNESS! The best day ever, and I am so thankful we went. Firstly, a nurse spent the entire morning with me watching what I did - so I'd feed Grace until she didn't seem interested anymore, then pop her down for tummy and play time. This time however, Grace was weighed before her feed and in her first feed she only took 70mls. So the nurse got me to feed her again, keeping her awake and alert by tickling her feet and hands, taking off her sleep suit so she was a little cooler, even using a wet cloth on her body. This time when we weighed her she was up to around 100mls, so we put her down for playtime and then with the top up she was at 120mls.
How the nurse explained it was that while Grace was getting all she needed in a day from me, because of the feeding to sleep and feeding to comfort when she was overtired, she wasn't getting it in one session - meaning that when I put her down after a feed and play she was waking up hungry. They also taught me some things to listen for when she cries - to stop and evaluate what kind of cry she is making, and to look at her body language before putting her to bed - is she windy, are those tired signs, etc etc.
To say our lives have changed in the last week is a complete understatement. She now goes into her cot for her sleeps, all swaddled and comfy, and she is sleeping between 2 and 3 hours at a time during the day. She wakes up smiling and cooing and ready for a feed, and I watch her closely to make sure she is actively feeding before we go onto playtime, during which I watch her for those tired signs.
She is going down to sleep with either just a little rocking, or a dummy - though the last few sleeps I have just kissed her, popped her in bed while she is still awake, and within a few minutes of chatting to herself she is fast asleep. The only exception seems to be when she is about to do a poo - I can't settle her then but have learned the signs so last night after two attempts at settling I brought her out to sit with us during dinner, held her while we watched TV till she got grizzly, then took her to bed for some cuddles and comfort feeding. An hour later the poo arrived!
Our new record is just over 6 hours sleep during the night, and last night she clocked up five hours from 10pm to 3am. Even better is how confident I feel - the days just feel easier and it's not a constant struggle, wondering how long she will sleep for and whether I can get something done while she is asleep. And, she seems so much happier and more content.
We took her up North on Saturday to visit my Mum - I was a bit worried about getting her out of her routine and environment but needn't have - she went down for two sleeps up there really easily, had lots of cuddles from Nana, and apart from crying in the car on the way home (hungry and the ear pressure from going over the big hills) she was fantastic. It was a really nice day, and things just feel so amazingly good right now - Rupert and I are beside ourselves with how well she is doing. I even had my first night home alone when Rupes was on a business trip and managed just fine, despite that afternoon being a bit rough with a poo coming on - before I had really figured out the signs and how to deal with it.
So. Happy Mummy, Happy Daddy and a very happy and active Grace! She is getting so strong, and even Plunket were saying her movement is advanced for her age - all that jumping around in the womb no doubt!