Chronicling Babywise- Week 5

(This is #5 in a series chronicling our Baby Wise routine with our fifth child. CLICK HERE TO SEE: Week One, Week Two, Week Three, Week Four.)

This week was another one that went by very quickly... I'm learning and doing some new things with my free time and enjoying that a great deal. It was a great week! Moses is growing so well (we had his one-month pediatrician's visit, and he's well over 10 pounds now), and is more and more alert and interactive. He's started smiling at multiple family members, batting at toys on his bouncy seat, and cooing at anyone who sits with him long enough to listen. It's so fun to get to know this new little soul, created by God, and watch him learn about the world and our family.
As far as Babywise goes, it was also an excellent week. Moses is now quite accustomed to the daytime routine, and only (maybe) once a day do I either have to rouse him because he's slept too long or hold him off a few minutes if he's woken up a bit early. And I'm often still helping him to sleep, but that is not burdensome. I love to snuggle with him and it only takes a few minutes of snuggles with a pacifier for him to fall asleep.

(I will say, this is the first time I've done this-- holding/helping a baby to sleep in my arms-- so frequently, and a lot of it is due to the weather and our situation here... we do not have A/C as we did with all 3 of our other June & July babies, and it is not cold as it was with our March baby... so I can't swaddle him like I did with all of them. He already has a heat rash and I just don't want him to sweat or be miserable all wrapped up when we're all dying of heat.) Anyway. With the other babies, swaddling helped significantly to teach them to sleep after a short waketime, and he does too in the cooler hours of the day.

One very exciting piece of news this week is that he jumped up quite a bit in his nighttime sleep this week!!! Tuesday night, he slept 5 & 1/2 hours before waking (I was shocked!). Wednesday night, he did 5 hours between feeds. Thursday, we went to the doctor and he got a vaccination and was a bit fussy for the rest of the day so he reverted to the every-3 & 1/2 hour- feed throughout that night. But Friday night, he slept 5 hours & 45 minutes (yes, I'll count even those extra 15 minutes... those were like a balm for my weary body!), and last night (Saturday night), he slept just over SIX HOURS! I couldn't believe it!

He's been very happy and content throughout the day and night, and he's gaining weight well, so this is obviously good for him too. And I'm over the moon. Even if he reverts at any point (we are about to hit the 6-week mark so that may mean a growth-spurt and need to feed more often again to boost my supply), this jump in the amount of sleep I'm getting is such a gift, and felt so very needed!
Like I've said before, there is NO crying-it-out in this scenario. He is sleeping this length of time on his own because he is getting the calories and waketime he needs during the daytime hours. He is in the room with us and never cries longer than the few seconds it takes for us to hear him and get him from his bed. And because he knows the gig (that he will eat right away after waking up), he stops crying very quickly and waits to latch on.

Last week. a commenter asked if, at nighttime, I nurse laying down or sitting up. I've done it both ways. And fallen asleep both ways, LOL, only to find myself holding or laying next to a baby wanting to nurse hours later. If we're in bed, I find that I don't often achieve the full feeding, because it's just too easy to fall asleep (for me).

So, I tend to go ahead and sit up, prop my pillows up against the headboard, and around me so that I can nurse easily, and sit up for the 30-minute-or-so time it takes to feed. At first, I do it easily. Around weeks 1-3 I get really exhausted and can hardly stay awake.

But I've learned that it's worth it to work for full feedings (whether it's me or the baby I have to work to keep awake!). The longer we fool around with half-feedings and snacking in the middle of the night, I'm essentially working against myself in the goal of helping them achieve nighttime sleep. The more consistent I am, the more easily, and often more quickly, we'll achieve that end goal of blissful sleep for all parties involved. Doug's iPhone has helped with staying awake. :) I can grab it and browse the web while nursing... and I also try to find exciting books to read for those feed times, so that helps. Now that Moses is just waking up once a night, it's quite easy for me to stay awake for the full feeding and tuck him back into bed for our last few-hour-stretch of sleep before morning.

At this point, here's what our days/nights look like, as far as Moses' schedule goes:

7am-feed, longer waketime, lay down around 8:30/9am.
9:30- feed, shorter wake time, go to sleep around 10:30.
12 or 12:30- feed, wake time, lay down
3- feed, wake, nap
5:30- feed, longer waketime, short nap
8/8:30- feed, short waketime, sleep
10:30/11pm- feed (no waketime) and then right to sleep
4am- feed (no waketime) and then right back to sleep

All said, we're now waking up just one time a night, and he's growing and content. All of our weeks with Moses have been delightful, but this one was particularly nice for me because he surprised me with the unexpected gift of lengthier sleep. Thank you, Moses, and thank you, Baby Wise!

[Here are links to this whole Babywise series: Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, Week 4, Week 5, Weeks 6 & 7, Weeks 8-14]


Thia said...

Can I ask for a clarification on the use of the pacifier? I've started using one with my 4th baby, mostly when I cannot get to her right that moment for nursing due to another demand. Of course, it's only to hold her off a min or two. You are using it when he's falling asleep?

Mumkins said...

You're making me want to try baby wise if we have a #5. With the last two, I tried putting them down awake and it works for a bit. And they do end up sleep huge stretches at night, but it only lasts for a couple weeks, then they start nursing non stop all night...for the next year and a half.

I'm curious what you've been learning in your free time, if you'd like to share.

Monica said...

I absolutely agree about nursing while laying down. I gave birth to twin girls on July 14th and have been laying down for the middle of the night feedings. I have found that they do not fully feed during those feedings and wake up many times for snacks. I wake up very tired in the morning - which is hard when I have three older daughters ( 4 yo and 2 yo) I have to love and nurture. Tonight I will sit up and nurse no matter how tired I am. Thank you for your blog, I love your posts and updates on your new blessing.


Jess said...

Hi Thia,
Yes, we use a pacifier to help them fall asleep sometimes... probably more often than not, but not every time they fall asleep.

Babywise was a bit ambivalent, if I recall, about the pacifier, and the La Leche League/other breastfeeding literature I read seemed to discourage it, so we held off with our first son... I think we lasted about a week without it. Then I was scouring the cabinets like a mad woman one particularly fussy night, LOL. :)

With our second son, we tried to avoid it (again) only that time it fed his tendency to suck his fingers (which, of course, we can't just throw away a few months later when we want to break the habit), and that habit continued for many years.

So, with our third, fourth, and fifth children, we've used a pacifier without guilt in the early months to help them fall asleep from time to time. :) I generally try not to use it right before I'm going to nurse, because I want their strong suck reflex to be put to use on me, not on the pacifier, but to each their own... it's definitely always a balancing of demands once you have more than one child.

Anyway, hope that clarifies a bit.

Jess said...

I just finished reading "You Can Farm", so that gave me a lot of fodder for thought... not too much I can implement from my 12th story apartment in one of the most populous cement cities in the world... but it still has made for some fun discussions with my husband and has led me to consider different things from the "normal" things ruminating in my mind.

The other thing is that we've started watching shows on Food Network from time to time (like "Cupcake Wars" and "Challenge"), and so the older boys and I have started making cakes and cupcakes more frequently. Not so good for the waistline... but good for the tastebuds and for a fun time together. We've exhausted the recipes in my cookbooks (which really were quite limited, shockingly), so I'm about to start scouring the web for tasty cupcake ideas. I'm sure they're there to be found.

Also, I'm not being legalistic about it, but I'm trying to not spend any time online while the kids are awake on any day but Friday. All the other days, I'm just trying to focus more on using my time wisely, snuggling with the kids, playing games, cleaning, and getting back in the swing of cooking full-out meals (I had a freezer-full packed away for this post-baby time and it's diminishing).

All these things are random pieces I've been working on or thinking about in my free time these days.

Patricia said...

I have noticed the same thing about half feeds - snacking - at night. So I am working at getting a full feed in too, but I notice she often won't wake for the other half of the feed. That's a bit frustrating but I guess it usually rights itself as it did with my other ones :)
Thanks for the info. It's always nice to find out what works with other moms.
Usually at 6 months of age I go full force with night time training if the baby wasn't able to sleep through earlier, because once they are on solids they are able to handle it better. Until then I try but sometimes it doesn't always happen :) They outgrow this stage so quickly so my goal is to enjoy my babies as much as possible without stressing too much. And at the same time working to get a good routine. My fourth baby was a dream - slept through almost right away. My second baby, sweet as he is now, was the worst sleeper ever. Nothing worked. I worked hard at night training him from about 5 months old till 10 months when he finally started sleeping through and then NEVER woke for any reason!
So we'll see how this baby does. She has a hard time falling asleep without cuddling though and time is not always available with 4 other children for me to try her in her bed, so cuddles it is. Truth is...I love the cuddles ;)

WendyLou said...

Loves me some Babywise! Worked like a charm with all four of our kids. My husband swears that getting the daytime routine straight is the key to getting good nighttime routines. Your new Moses is spectacular!! I know y'all are enjoying him :)

Paola said...

Hi Jess, thank you very much for posting this. It's been a blessing as I've been referencing it while breastfeeding our first child. (I'm typing with one hand as he's actually nursing now!) =)..
You mentioned that sometimes you snugle little Moses to sleep or use a pacifier.Can you share a little more about your strategies to put him down to sleep during the day? BBwise advocates not using any props, but I'm having the hardest time getting him to sleep on his own..sometimes it even takes us a whole hr to get him to sleep, so by that time is feeding time again...thanks again!

Lastly do you know of any forum website for the BBwise method, like for the AP method?..thanks!


Jess said...

Hi Paola,
I don't know of any forum like that, sorry!

I do occasionally help Moses to sleep, but that is the exception, not the norm. He really falls asleep quite easily on his own. If I'm helping him, I just turn his body faced toward me slightly (across my body) and snuggle him close. Sometimes I'll rub his face or hum a little soothing tune cheek-to-cheek, but really, it shouldn't take that much effort with a newborn. They pretty much come pre-programmed to need sleep as long as we don't overstimulate them. The main thing I do is try to get them down early enough... not keep them up to the point of exhaustion/overstimulation. If you watch for signs of drowsiness and lay them down/help them to sleep in that sleepy state, they should drift off without too much even grizzling/fussing, because newborns are just so doggone sleepy! :)

Many blessings...

Nicole said...

Thank you for your posts! They have been very encouraging to me as I try to help my 5-week old sleep.
I would appreciate a couple of clarifications: 1-you never let Moses cry it out for 15 minutes to teach him how to fall asleep on his own?
2-you discussed spit-up. My daughter hasn't spit up much but screams 4-10 times in the middle of every feeding in pain. I think this is most often gas but other times it seems that she simply isn't hungry (when I think she should be). Any thoughts? more...I've been using PDF all along and my 5 week old doesn't generally sleep more than 3 hours at night in one stretch. I think this is because she doesn't get full feedings in the evenings because of her gas(?) pain, but I am trying to establish a schedule before I return to work, to ensure that we are eating/pumping at the same times and that I can get as many direct feedings in on my work day. I wake her for the last feeding between 10 and 11pm and after 1-3 night time feedings wake her again between 6 and 6:30am...she is usually not hungry for this morning feeding but I'm trying to get her accustomed to being hungry in the morning. Is this the way to go? I appreciate any advice.
Sorry for the novel. I know Moses is older now but I really appreciate your posts and any advice.
God's Richest Blessings to you and your family!

Jess said...

Hello there-

(1)-- It is important to understand the difference between the momentary sound of a newborn grizzling themselves to sleep, kind of like a light fuss, and crying. Full blown crying should not happen. If it does, I always check-- clean diaper? need to be burped? nothing wrapped too tight around little fingers/toes, etc.? But I'm personally a-OK with a light grizzly small noise for anywhere from 1-5 minutes as they learn to self-soothe and settle down for a nap. That is normal.

(2) Are you using formula? I ask because you mention returning to work... and I've heard that formula causes a whole different world of gastrointestinal goings on. If so, that's a whole different ballgame. But if not, then I would encourage you to learn to burp well. Is this your first baby?

My favorite burping position is with a newborn is basically sitting on the outside edge of my left leg, facing away from me, with my left hand supporting their chest and just under their chin, with them leaning slightly down, so that I can burp them with my right hand. For burping, I use a firm pat-pat-pat, followed by a firm quick rub around the back, again and again. This usually produces burps if there are any to be had.

(3) 5 weeks old is still quite young. Do work for full feedings, even sneaking in a "dream feed" to top her off just before you lay down.

Hope this helps,

Jess said...

Oh, and yes, press on and continue on. I don't know what your baby's weight was, but I've found that my larger babies slept through the night earlier. So some of this is just waiting for that time when she is physically able to do that. Keep working with a routine, and she will sleep through the night. I know it seems so long in these early days, but you really will look back and see that it passed quickly.

So press on and make sure she's getting plenty to eat. It would concern me if she is not having plenty of wet and poopy diapers... please make sure you check to ensure that she is having plenty of diapers. And then work towards full, regular feedings. Do not begin to stretch out feedings until she is eating full feedings & sleeping better at night.

OK, all for now.

Anonymous said...

(This is a ridiculously long comment - I tried emailing, but the email was returned? Anyway, feel free to delete this comment because it is soooo long!)

I'm a first time mom who has a son who is 4.5 weeks old (5 weeks on Thursday). His night 'naps' are just about as long as his day 'naps'....what am I doing wrong?

Am I not feeding enough? We're formula fed and I've been suspecting that it's time to increase the amount since he rarely wants less food and occasionally wants more. But he's gaining weight really fast. He has plenty of wet and dirty diapers. He's at 8 pounds or so (started off at 5 lbs, 12 ounces). It takes him about 20 minutes or so to finish a bottle, so anything more than that is just him being awake.
Am I keeping him awake too long during the day?
I'm following the pattern for the most part, unless I feel his waking up was just a fluke - like after 45 minutes when it's nighttime. He hasn't shown hunger then, just wanting comfort. So I give it for a few minutes, then put him back down. It's hardly ever been longer than 3 hours between feedings.


The last 2 days:
Saturday, 5/19
12:45 - awake, slept 4.5 hours, fed 3 ozs. Back asleep at 1:15 = 30 min of wake time.
4:00 - awake, slept 2.75 hours, fed 3 ozs. Back asleep at 4:40 = 40 min of wake time.
6:40 - awake, slept 2 hours, fed 3 ozs. Back asleep at 7:15 = 35 min of wake time
8:15 - awake, slept 1 hour, fed 1 oz. Back asleep at 9:00 = 45 min of wake time.
10:15 - awake, slept 1.25 hours, fed 3.5 ozs. Back asleep at 11:30 = 75 min of wake time.
12:15 - awake, slept .75 hours, fed 3 ozs. Didn't sleep before getting hungry again.
2:05 - fed 3 ozs. Asleep at 2:20 (probably should have put him to nap long before this.) = 2 hours of wake time
4:30 - awake, slept 2+ hours, fed 3 ozs. Back asleep at 5:30 = 60 min of wake time.
8:30 - awake, slept 3 hours, fed 3 ozs. Back asleep at 9:30 = 60 min of wake time.
11:45 - awake, slept 2.25 hours, fed 3 ozs. Back asleep at 12:15 = 30 min of wake time.

Sunday, 5/20
1:30 - awake, slept 1.25 hours, fed 2.5 ozs. Back asleep at 2:00 = 30 min of wake time.
4:30 - awake, slept 2.5 hours, fed 3.75 ozs. Back asleep at 5:00 = 60 min of wake time.
7:30 - awake, slept 2.5 hours, fed 3 ozs. Back asleep at 9:30 (while at church) = 2 hours of wake time.
10:45 - awake, slept 1 hour, fed 3 ozs. Back asleep at 12:15 = 90 min of wake time.
1:45 - awake, slept 1.5 hours, fed 3 ozs. Back asleep at 2:45 = 60 min of wake time.
3:15 - awake, slept .5 hours, fed 3 ozs. Back asleep at 4:15 = 60 min of wake time.
6:15 - awake, slept 2 hours, fed 4 ozs. Back asleep at 8:15 = 2 hours of wake time.
10:45 - awake, slept 2.5 hours, fed 3.5 ozs. Back asleep at 12:00 = 75 min of wake time.

Monday, 5/21
1:45 - awake, slept 1.75 hours, fed 3 ozs. Back asleep at 2:45 = 60 min of wake time.
5:00 - awake, slept 2.25 hours, fed 3 ozs. Back asleep at 5:45 = 45 min of wake time.
6:30 - awake, slept 45 min, didn't feed. Fell back asleep at 7:00. (Why'd he wake up?) = 30 min of wake time
7:45 - awake, slept .75 hours, fed 3 ozs. Back asleep at 8:30. = 45 min of wake time
9:30 - awake, slept 1 hour, didn't feed - didn't seem hungry, just wanted held. Back asleep at 9:45. = 15 min of wake time

Natalie said...

Hi Jess,

Can you tell me since you didn't swaddle your son did you lay him down on his back? Or a different position? My son is 5 weeks and we are in the middle of summer and I think he hates sleeping on his back. Curious to know what you did.

Also, on average how long were your son's wake times? Thanks!

Jess said...

Hi Natalie,
Thanks for your question.

I did swaddle my older kids, and my most recent little guy (now 5 months).

But Moses I didn't swaddle because of it being summer without a/c.

Ethan was in the NICU for a week and got laid flat down on his stomach from the beginning, so he was already used to that when he came home. With all of my babies, I found that they sleep better on their tummies. Thus, the startle reflex is nullified & they don't wake themselves up as easily.

That said, until their neck is strong enough that they are able to hold up their head up well, I lay them only on their side or back. After that, I lay them in a flat crib with only light sheet-like bedding or afghans with holes, bellydown with their face to one side. Hope this helps.

Unknown said...

My little boy is 5 weeks. I am pretty much following the same schedule as you at this week. One exception... My LO wakes 3-3.5 hours after his "Dream feeding" and then after his middle of the night feeding, he doesn't go back to bed for about 2 hours. He fusses and is up.

Any ideas why this would be?

He goes right down after the dream feed... but when he wakes at around 3am, he is up for about 2 hours.

Sadie said...

I am in the same boat as the above commenter. My little girl is just about 6 weeks old and she eats 7 times a day including the DF and the night feed. She eats at 7pm, down at 8-8:15, DF at 10, but she won't wake up for it, she still eats and sometimes throws it all up. then she is up at 2-3:30 eats and cries when I put her down till about 5-5:30. Then wakes up again at 6-6:30. We start her day at 7. I just need some help I feel like I'm doing something wrong.