I have long bemoaned Liam's sleep habits. I am not 100% sure how we got here. Part of it was my desire to feed him on demand. Part was his desire to eat All The Time. And I am sure there is some part that is linked to his food allergies and tummy troubles, which made him cry a lot and in response Ray and Xander both hounded me with choruses of "Liam's hungry. When did you feed him?" (I would get mad, tell them I had just fed him and offer more to prove it...of course Liam would eat every time, making a liar out of me.)
As time went on, we were all up with Liam. Over and over again all night long. Ray and I have reached the point where we are sleeping in 45 to 90 minute stretches. Xander is afraid to sleep in the same room, because Liam wakes up and cries so much, and he is now on the floor on his mattress in our room. We tried co-sleeping, crib sleeping, him in our room and in the nursery, and countless methods of sleep training. We've failed all of them. Don't get me wrong, they would work, for 7-10 days, and then fall flat.
By now we have reached further than "sleep deprivation". Much further. I have done nothing to harm my children, but I can say that I understand how and why people do. In this haze, we are sharp and we yell more. There is no patience left. No courtesies. As a tiny person, Liam escapes this, but Xander is an active 3 year old and he has noticed that Mom and Dad are falling apart.
My latest attempt is a little different. Desperate too. I need this to work. We all need this to work. My cousin recommended a book by a neurologist at Sick Kid's Hospital in Toronto. She said it was researched and done up differently. Well, most of the basic info in there is the same as what I have read before, but it is presented a little differently. What is more important is that instead of presenting a blanket approach, she narrows down sleep issues into different problems and different solutions...and then gives step by step answers on how to deal with it.
Liam has two problems: he eats all night and he cannot settle on his own. All the other approaches worked on his settling. Although I knew eating alll night was an issue, I had no idea what to do with it. Especially with breastfeeding. This author explains in detail that babies frequently have these problems and that you cannot teach them to settle until you wean them from their night feedings.
Talk about having a light go on!
So I began the process of night weaning. Only instead of cutting feedings, you knock them back literally 30 seconds per feed. Each night I have been wary. Would he accept this? Would he refuse? But each night he feeds and I take him off at the appointed time and he is fine. He goes back to sleep. But it was the same pattern.
Yesterday it changed: he added feedings an hour apart near the beginning of my night. 10, 11, 12 pm. Yesterday it meant an added feeding and still being up every 30 to 90 minutes. I rolled my eyes and kept going. Last night he did this again, but with one amazing difference...
He slept from midnight until 3 am, fed, then slept from 3 am until 6 am!!!
Now I am curious to see what tonight will bring.