I feel incredibly lucky. Sapling is 14 weeks old for the last 2 nights has managed to sleep just over 10 hours in a stretch. According to other mums, apparently 3 nights in a row means your set and your baby is officially “sleeping through the night”. While my boobs haven’t quite got the message and I’m still waking up in the early morning with major engorgement and leaking this will correct itself over the next few days and my night time wakings will become an exception instead of the norm. Most of me is very happy though a tiny part will miss that dead of the night peace where its just her and me cuddling and feeding under the stars of her nightlight.
While I was still working and pregnant I had planned on putting Sapling into a strict feeding and sleeping routine. I bought and devoured 2 books – Save our Sleep by Tizzie Hall and The New Contented Little Baby Book by Gina Ford. Both had very strict routines that altered every few weeks as your newborn got older but the main aim of both books was to have your child sleep through for long stretches as early as possible. Both books were useful to me in the respect that I got a better idea of what life would be like with a newborn in the house. As someone who has had incredibly limited time around very young children I was really coming into motherhood as a complete newbie and these books helped make me feel more confident.
Where it all Unraveled
2 days after arriving home from the hospital, the city I live in Brisbane was hit with a natural disaster – flooding. While our apartment stayed dry, the area we live in was surrounded by flooded suburbs and we had no power for 5 days. Yes, I was looking after a brand new baby for the first time with no lights, no refrigerator, no washing machine, no hot water – life began to get very tough. I ended up sleeping in the nursery while the power was out as the bedrooms are quite far away and without power we had no baby monitor. Due to how difficult it was just surviving on a day by day basis, I wasn’t paying attention to how many feeds, nappy changes or sleeps she was having each day. Instead I was just going with the flow and letting her lead how the day would go.
When she was about 16 days old her feeds increased significantly to about 16 feeds in a 24 hour period. If I tried to follow either of the books I would have been holding a starving baby for a good 90 minutes between each feeding. I just couldn’t do that and threw all the book advice out the window and demand fed.
I’m not going to lie, demand feeding could be quite exhausting. I questioned whether I was doing the wrong thing constantly and would be googling breastfeeding information on my iPhone while I was feeding her multiple times a day. Reading what other mums had gone through made me feel better and showed me that feeding every hour or so was completely normal when they were so little. I tried to stay as positive as I could knowing things would get better and thankfully it did at about 8 weeks. By that stage she dropped some feeds and things just felt easier. I relaxed about it all and in the end we came up with our own daily routine without the help of any books – one that is guided by baby not the time and it works well for the two of us.
When you read books like the ones I did they infer that demand feeding can cause your child major sleep issues and places a higher level of stress on the mother as she isn’t getting as much sleep. Perhaps I was lucky and one of the small percentage whose babies work things out on their own. I’m skeptical – I think Sapling is getting there in her own time and I’m glad I decided to just go for the ride and enjoy things rather than stress out if she needs to feed that little bit sooner the a schedule says!
Wish me luck for night number #3 tonight!