Well folks, Winter is 10 weeks old and she has been officially “sleeping through the night” (8-9 hours) for an entire week! Last Thursday, at 9 weeks old on the dot, she slept through her nighttime feeding and hasn’t woken during the middle of the night since. Wow! I feel so blessed to have such an amazing sleeper. She is really the best!
At 8 weeks old, she started sleeping 7 hours in a row, waking only once during the middle of the night to eat (approximately 4:30 or 5:00 am). A week later at 9 weeks, she extended her sleep to 8-9 hours, going approximately from 10pm to 7am (though sometimes 6:30am).
After Christmas, we plan to move Winter into her crib in the nursery since she sleeps through the night.
There is a book out there called On Becoming Baby Wise and it promises that your baby can sleep through the night around 2 months old if you follow their advice. We do follow Baby Wise principles, which recommends “parent directed feeding” (PDF) as opposed to “demand feeding” (aka attachment parenting) or “strict schedule feeding.” BW tends to fall more on the scheduling end of the spectrum, but using your baby’s hunger cues to see when to feed rather than being strictly stuck to the clock. BW says that if you follow their advice, most BW babies will sleep 8 hours through the night around 8-10 weeks old. In our case, following BW principles work! I know some babies have a harder time sleeping through the night until an older age, but that just means “every baby is different.”
Baby Wise recommends feeding your baby on a 2.5-3 hour routine. I usually feed Winter every 3 hours during the day, but sometimes at the 2.5 hour mark if she signals she is hungry sooner. Rather than being on a strict schedule, it is very crucial to watch for baby to signal hunger cues.
In addition to following the timing of the routine, it is also really important to include eat time, wake time and nap/sleep time in the schedule (and in the ORDER!). Many people reverse the wake time and nap time, letting their baby fall asleep after eating. It’s very important to make sure the baby has playtime (wake time) after she finishes eating and then go to sleep for a nap an hour or so later. Then the baby wakes up hungry and is not dependent on needing to nurse in order to be able to fall asleep. Winter can fall asleep without assistance, though I usually do rock her and sing to her for a little bit to help her get drowsy. I enjoy that bonding time with her.
I know that different methods work well for different people, but in our case, I like having the structure of a routine. My baby seems to be very happy and she gets the gift of good sleep. She sleeps well, eats well, plays well, grows well and is over all very HAPPY! Her parents are happy too because she gives us the gift of her joyful temperament and also the gift of sleeping all night long! Well rested mommy = happier mommy!
Now that Winter has dropped her night feed, I wanted to add it back in somewhere to keep her at 7 quality feedings per day. We were on a 7am, 10am, 1pm, 4pm, 7pm, 10pm, 5(+/-)am routine, but now I’ve modified it because I don’t like having only 6 feeds per day when she is only 10 weeks old. I want to keep her at 7 feeds until she is a little older.
Here is how our day typically looks currently (after bumping back up to 7 feeds):
6:30 am – Wake up to eat. I pump out extra milk after she finishes nursing. We play for a while and then she falls asleep until her next feed.
8:30 or 9:00 am – Nurse, then play, then go to sleep.
11:30 am – Nurse, play, then nap.
2:30 pm – Nurse, play, then nap.
5:00 pm – Nurse, play, then nap.
8:00 pm – Nurse (or let Daddy feed her a bottle of breast milk) then get ready for bed (no playtime).
10:30 or 11pm – Dream feed, I wake her up to get in just one more feeding since I want her at 7 feeds rather than 6. She basically sleeps through the feed, but I usually give her a bottle at this time so I know how many ounces she ate.
I love having a great sleeper! She rocks! I love that Baby Wise has helped provide a good guideline for how to structure Winter’s days. It is such a relief to be able to PREDICT when she will eat and sleep. It allows me to be a better parent. I am a type-A personality, and it helps me to know that I have some predictability in my life. I love her “waketime” because we get to play and bond. Because of her predictability of her routine, I can run errands or go places without worrying that she might need to eat at anytime. Because of her routine, her metabolism has adjusted and it allows her to get better quality feedings (rather than snacky-type nursing sessions) as well as it allows her to get better quality sleep (rather than short cat naps where she doesn’t get into her deeper REM cycle). Better sleep = good. Better feedings = good. Good sleep + good feedings = a very HAPPY little baby!
CONCLUSION: One happy baby = one happy mommy!
Now, to end this post, here are a few photos of us with Winter this past weekend (my first few nights of getting an entire night’s rest for the first time in 2 months). She went to her first wedding!