If you've read some of my recent posts, you'll be well aware of the fact that Felix does not sleep through at over 17 months old, apart from on 6 magical and random nights. Every night he wakes at some point, it could be at any time from 1am - 5am and we've always gone in to him and given him a bottle of milk and settled him back down.
Until about 14 months old this wasn't too much of an issue. He'd wake for his feed, one of us would pop in with the milk, feed him and then put him down again. The feed would take about 10-15 minutes and often he'd fall asleep during it. After putting him back in his cot whoever was feeding him would head back to bed and sleep on. This was fine. However,about three months ago, this pattern changed. His feeds started taking a LOOOOOOOOONG time. He'd be taking 45 minutes or more to drink the bottle. Our reaction to this was to start just giving him the bottle in his cot and leaving him to it. Not perfect, but it meant he was happy and we all got back to sleep. Sorted.
And then... it wasn't sorted. Not any more. No. About 6 weeks ago, Felix started happily drinking his milk in his cot but not falling asleep. No, after the feed, he'd stay awake and start kicking up a fuss in his cot. He wasn't screaming or super upset, he'd grumble, cry a bit, moan, go quiet, cry for a minute or two, moan, chat to himself, go quiet, cry, moan. This would go on for up to two hours. We're not sure why this started happening. A wonder week? A growth spurt? Teething? Either way, it was happening and it didn't stop.
The trouble is that when Felix is awake, I am awake. I am sensitive to every move and sound he makes. I've never needed to use a baby monitor, I've always woken up for both of my boys. Often I wake just before they do, like some kind of sixth sense. If he's crying and moaning, it's even worse. Going in to him didn't seem to help. What he really wanted was to fall asleep lying on me and be transferred to his cot... but this isn't a solution for us.
Everyone's sleep has been affected by these night wakings. Ethan has been woken several times. Often what happens is that Felix will wake at about 4am, be awake and making noise until about 6am at which point he'll drop off and Ethan will wake up.
For the last few weeks I've felt like the walking dead. Normally I am a night owl, for years I've not gone to bed later earlier than midnight. Sometimes I would work on my blog until 1 or 2am once a week. I can no longer do this. Most nights I am now in bed by 9:30-10pm which is super early for me. I feel like I am surviving life rather than living it. I am constantly tired and yawning. I feel like everything is suffering. I don't have the time or energy that I'd like for my blog. I feel sluggish and don't feel like I have the brainpower or energy to deal with my boys.
I've had enough. After a discussion with Pete, we've decided to try to cut the night feed out. It's not helping Felix get back to sleep any more. He's 17 months old, he really shouldn't need to have 7oz of milk to get him through the night. We've tried watering it down in an attempt to make it not worth waking up for, but that hasn't worked. We decided it was time to go cold turkey. Just not give him a feed.
Last night, Thursday night, we decided to do it. No night feed!! So, what happened?
Well... it was pretty tiring, I can tell you that much! Felix woke at 3am. I went in to him. I picked him up, gave him a few sips of water from his water bottle and gave him a quick cuddle, I then placed him back in his cot and patted him on the back for a minute. Then I left the room..
At first, he was quiet.. but only for a minute or two. He cried a bit, then called out for me. He spent a good why calling:
"Mummy! Mummy! Cuggle!!! Cuggle!".
Then he'd go quiet for a bit.
He cried and grumbled on and off for an hour and a half. I didn't go back in to him because I felt he never reached the point of true upset. Don't get me wrong, I don't like hearing him crying and calling out for me. It's horrible. But at the same time, for my sanity, I need him to sleep so I can sleep.
After an hour and a half he spent 15 minutes quietly chatting to himself and then, a little while before 5am he fell asleep again.
I never fell asleep again. I am sitting here typing this feeling even more exhausted than ever after 3 and a half hours sleep. Big boo :-(
I am hoping, praying even, that tonight, when he wakes (and I have no doubt he will wake) that he doesn't take quite so long to go back to sleep. I hope that I'm doing the right thing. I'm already on medication for anxiety. I really REALLY need to be able to sleep properly again. I have had enough and I feel very worn down and low.