Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Sleepless in Tennessee

Jacob has reached another milestone: soothing himself back to sleep. Of course, every good thing comes with a price. Ours was consecutive sleepless nights.

This hellacious anecdote dates back to last week. It was time when -- I say this with the utmost of love -- Jacob was absolutely horrible. He wasn't eating well -- he was fussy and squirmy as he sucked on his bottle -- and he was sleeping more than usual during the day. He just wasn't his usual smiling, happy self. As a result, he was waking up in the middle of the night -- every... single... night -- like clockwork, around 2 a.m. Some nights we just had to rock him back to sleep. Other nights he was a wide-eyed, little night owl who wanted to play.

To his defense, he was coming off a fever from the flu shot he got the previous week, and we thought at the time he might've been suffering from a sore throat (hence the fussiness while sucking down formula). Regardless, he was exhibiting nocturnal tendencies that were driving us eye-twitching, head-pounding, fighting-over-who-would-stay-up-this-night crazy. At 6 months, he should be sleeping through the night. We had absolutely no clue what to do.

Late in the week, as he was tugging on his ear, we decided to take him to the doctor. We thought maybe he had an ear infection that was causing his irritability. Of course, as soon as the doctor began to examine Jacob, he miraculously perked up as if nothing was ever wrong. The doctor said his throat was a bit dry, but his ears were fine.

So we took him home. That night, as usual, we woke up to the midnight squeal coming through the monitor. And, like usual, we both let out a grunt of disgust. I looked at the clock. 3 a.m. We remained prone, staring at the silhouette of the ceiling fan, waiting, hoping, praying the crying would stop so we could go back to sleep. It didn't. It got louder.

Finally, Erin got out of bed and went into his room. No rocking. No cradling. No feeding. She just put his pacifier in his mouth and walked away.


HE FELL ASLEEP! Hallelujah! Praise the Lord! God bless that little piece of a plastic with the rubbery nipple!

We had talked about whether he was old enough to soothe himself, but we weren't sure if would work. I guess when you're against the wall is a good a time as any to try anything new. Luckily for us it was successful.

Since then, he occasionally wakes up in the middle of the night, but all we have to do is put the passy in his mouth and he does the rest. He even puts himself to sleep while he's playing on the floor. We hope soon he will be able to find the passy himself while lying in bed and become completely self-sufficient in the soothing department. But we'll take what we can get, and we got back our happy baby!

We're also happy to report that the past few days have yielded, what Erin believes, a bit of a growth spurt. Along with sleeping through the night, he's been eating more, both solids and formula. We think he's ready to increase his bottle amount from 5 to 6 ounces per feeding.

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