On Wednesday we decided it was time to change Freddie's bedtime routine. I searched many ways of sleeping methods and the one that suited me the best was similar to what I did with both girls. It's kind of a controlled crying method. I know a lot of parents who are against controlled crying but I think no one should judge the way we deal with things, it's all down to how comfortable the parent feels with it, isn't it? I felt really sly and quite mean on the first night. It took three and a half hours of going back and forth every five or so minutes. Reassuring him that he wasn't alone but also teaching him that he wasn't going to get picked up each time he woke up. Previously, I would settle him by feeding him and putting him down around 7.30-8pm each night. He would wake up within the next hour and then usually he would be up either every half hour or hour. It was exhausting. I felt like I needed that 'me time' back during the evenings. He doesn't sleep that well through the day, only sometimes, so I felt as if I was on the go constantly the minute I woke up to when I go to sleep and broken sleep through the night.
As I said above, the first night took three and a half hours. It was exhausting, and I felt low. But it worked in the end. The second night my partner took over instead, and after the usual bedtime routine, he woke up once, and it only took half an hour for him to settle. That night I had my first full night sleep in eight and a half months. It was amazing - but I was still shattered. The following two nights, he has slept from the usual bedtime 7.30-8pm and has slept all evening. I was able to carry on with my work and even go to bed without him waking me up within 10 or so minutes. The third night he woke up 1am and 5am for feeds. The fourth night he woke up 3am and 5.30am. It feels strange not having the evening calls and midnight calls and then every hour or so through the night. It actually feels normal now. My next aim is to try and cut it down to one feed during the night, then to none.
I think eight and half months is a long time to be constantly up through the night and I know others who have one, two and even three year olds who are still getting up during the night. We had trouble with Elliw settling when she was young. She would take 2-4 hours to settle and so we felt we didn't have our evenings then. It stopped when she was around four years old. She then went through a very long phase of waking up most nights. She's stopped now, but she is an early bird and will wake up any time between 6-7am. Mia is totally different though. She will happily have a lie in until around 8am or later if she could. Sharing a room with Elliw makes it hard for her to have that lie in, though.
I am planning my first ever night out in a couple of weeks - if all goes well with Freddie! I have also bidded on an auction to win tickets and a stay in Manchester in September, and so my next step is for him to accept mixed feeding and somehow like a bottle now and then. As I will be away from him for one night - something I am really dreading, but I have to do if I want to do certain things. But at the moment I hope he sticks to how he's been the past few nights.