Bennett, on the other hand, started off as the best sleeper ever! From the time we put him down, he would sleep 4-5 hours, wake up to eat, back down for 2-3 more, up to eat again, and sleep until morning. It was beautiful. It was magnificent. It was short lived. If we were grading him, he has fallen from an A+ down to a D-. I'll stop short of failing him, but if he wakes up before I finish writing this blog, I'll probably reconsider...
A good sleeping day for Mr. B looks a little something like this:
7:00-7:30ish: Bennett starts squirming around and flapping his arms, usually smacking me in the face and/or pulls out my hair. Goooooood morning!
8:30-9:30ish: It's time for nap! First, I nurse him. Sometimes I get lucky and he will fall asleep nursing, after which I can just lay him in the crib. Most times, he finishes eating then pulls himself to a standing position just because he can. Phase 2: Bennett is popped into the mei tai and worn around the house. If he particularly squirmy, I turn on Bright Eyes (The People's Key). It's kind of like a baby tranquilizer. Once he is asleep, into the crib he goes.
8:45-11:45ish: Bennett will wake up anywhere from 15 minutes to 1.5 hours after I put him down. It's kind of a crapshoot. Once he wakes up, he is up. Scaling crib walls, doing log rolls, crawling around the crib...there is no going back to sleep at this point.
2:00ish: Another nap. See above for how this goes down.
(note: there are sometimes other mini naps in there...they aren't consistent, but if they happen, they are around 45 minutes long...a single sleep cycle, basically)
4:30-5:00ish: Bennett is exhausted. We are now faced with the dilemma of either keeping him awake through dinner until bedtime or letting him take a catnap. We have tried both, and neither one seems to help him at bedtime. So we kind of just do whatever we are feeling that day.
7:00-8:00ish: It begins. We do the bedtime routine: bath (not daily...), fresh diaper, new onesie, night-night to Lincoln. I take Bennett and nurse him. He rarely falls asleep this way, so then Lucas or I will wear him in the mei tai. If Lucas has him, he plays guitar until Bennett is asleep. If I have him, I push play on the CD player (I have listened to The People's Key more times than I care to admit...). Once asleep, we put him in the crib.
5-10 minutes later: We hear the crib creaking and peek in the room. Bennett is standing upright and peering at us through the crib. He will then either try to scale the wall to jump out or fall down and hit his head. We pick him up. Sometimes if he is still groggy enough, we put him back in the mei tai or nurse him again to try and get him back down. Sometimes if he is bouncing around and clearly wide awake, we take him to the living room to wear him back out.
30-60 minutes later: Repeat bedtime. Put him in the crib.
15-20 minutes later: Bennett is awake again. He stands up, then falls down and bonks his head. Pick him up.
Bennett now gets to stay up and do P90X with us. This may seem like a punishment for him, but in reality it is a punishment for Lucas and me. Have you tried exercising with a 5 month old crawling around your feet? Not easy, friends.
10:00ish: Bennett finally falls asleep. He is in his crib. Lucas and I finish exercising/watching TV/whatever and get ready for bed. We get in bed and Lucas goes to sleep. I attempt to sleep, but end up just laying there because I know the second I fall asleep, Bennett will wake up.
11:30-12:00ish: Bennett wakes up (I knew it!!!). I pull him into bed with us, nurse him, and there he stays until morning. Unless, he doesn't. Sometimes he wakes up around 3:00 WIDE AWAKE and ready for the day. He will be squealing, rolling around, climbing over us....This results in Lucas or I having to wear him around the house until he is asleep, because 3:00 is not an acceptable wake up time. I've walked him for up to 2 hours some nights.
To answer some questions in advance:
1. Do we ever let him just cry himself to sleep?
I don't do cry it out (just personal choice), but even if I did, I am pretty convinced it wouldn't work. As mentioned above, if Bennett wakes up, he stands up and then either tries to climb out or falls down and hits his head. I don't really think leaving him in there by himself is very safe.
2. Does he like to rock?
3. What's a mei tai?
It's a baby carrier.
4. What have you tried?
I started an experiment today to see if Bennett would fall asleep on our bed if I just laid there next to him (I felt our bed was safer than his crib--in his crib, he falls and hits his head on the hard sides). He laid there a long time, just talking to himself, rolling back and forth, scratching his fingers on the sheets. I could tell he was getting tired. Then, he started crawling around the bed. I had to stop him from getting too close to the edge, so I would pick him up and lay him back down. Then he started scaling the head board. At this point he was super tired. I laid him down again and he sprang back up on all fours and crawled around like a crazy person. He was headed for the head board again, but I don't think he knew what he was doing and was about to smack his head into it, crying the whole time. I finally laid him down again and let him nurse...he was asleep in about 30 seconds. I put him in the crib. 5 minutes later, he woke up, stood up, and tried to climb out. Other than that, we haven't tried much. He is still pretty young, so sleep training wasn't even on the radar.
Here's what I know. I know eventually he will be an awesome sleeper like Lincoln. I also know that we need more sleep. I will keep trying with my experiment outlined above. I think if he could fall asleep laying next to me, then I could eventually move farther and farther away and he might fall asleep by himself. To be clear, I don't mind nursing him at night, and I don't mind bringing him in our bed, but I would really like him to stay asleep more than 15-20 minutes at a time. Also, any ideas how to tell a 5 month old to stop standing up because you are going to fall and hit your head?
Please share your stories of terrible sleepers. I need to know I'm not alone here.