Originally Posted by earlyworm
My little guy is three and a half months old. He's sleeping in a crib in my bedroom, and then ends up in bed with me and DH usually around 2 or 4 AM. He sometimes does a four hour stretch (AWESOME) but usually he is up every two hours or so. All. Night. Long. He does a couple of actual feeds at night, but usually just touches his lips to my breast and falls right back to sleep (nice for him, but it takes me 30 minutes to fall back to sleep!).
I know he is too young to expect much more than this, and I am totally opposed to crying it out even when he's older, but there is no denying that the sleep deprivation is pretty intense, and I'm only three months in. I admit that I'm scared about this going on for another three, six, twelve months...
I am using some of the NCSS techniques, which is when we started seeing the occasional four hour stretch, so that's nice.
I keep telling myself that I can sleep on weekends when DH is home. My little guy is only a baby for a short time. I love that I can comfort him when he wakes up. I have family who parented their reluctant sleepers this way, and they encourage me. But I am TIRED.
What do you tell yourself at 3 AM when you've only had four hours of broken sleep? I need something pithy that my sleep deprived brain can cling to. ;)
I'm going to disagree with the "You'll get more sleep if you just have them in the same bed with you all night" camp. I'm sure that MANY people do find that, but I don't think it's true for everyone. Personally, I found that the stretches of uninterrupted sleep that I could get without baby beside me, in the earlier part of the night, were very important. If I coslept from beginning to end of the night, I got up the next morning feeling unrefreshed and hurting all over. The reason cosleeping is safe for babies is because adults keep the knowledge that there is a small thing in the bed with them in their subconscious all the time, so they don't roll over on them. Thus, you don't sleep as deeply. Also, I personally could not sleep through a nursing session. I had to wake up at least somewhat, and then the nursing would keep me up, especially if it switched over to the non-nutritive "nibble nursing" form.
My babies started the night in their own bed, either the basinnette right by my bed, or later, the crib. They went down in that for the first part of the night. If they woke to nurse before 3-ish am, I nursed them and put them back down, and I brought them back to my bed for the second half of the night. This worked really well, because both of them would usually have one stretch of 3-4 hours, and if I could get at least 3 hours of sleep on my own, I was much more functional and the overall sleep deprivation did not feel as severe.
In my experience, both of my kids stretched that initial long sleep longer and longer. My DS actually was going 5-6 hours a stretch, on his own, by the time he was 14 weeks old. DD was up more frequently until she was much older, but she did get to the point of giving me at least one 3-4 hour block a night most nights.