For the last two weeks or so, I've been wondering what happened to my sweet baby girl who woke up once in the middle of the night to feed and went right back to peaceful sleep. I don't know why, but Ella has not been sleeping well lately.
There was one night where we put her down at 8:30ish, and she woke up at 10:00 pm, midnight, 2:00 am, and 4:00 am. She would eat when I offered her the breast, but she would fall asleep halfway through...but then wake up and fuss when I put her back down. I needed my sleep, so I started to just bring her into bed with us to nurse so that I could snooze a bit too, but I hated that I was reinforcing bad habits and putting her at risk to be in our bed with us (I still have nightmares from time to time about losing her in the blankets). I felt like I was handling the interrupted sleep decently, but my husband started to get rather snappy as the nights wore on.
Ella has been in the cradle in our room, but my (tired) husband put his foot down and said that she needed to go to her crib. I shouldn't say it like that--it wasn't in a forceful way; rather, he's just very logical and matter-of-fact in his approach and thinks it's time. He also thinks it's time to let her fuss, and the pediatrician agrees that there is value in helping a baby learn to self-soothe (assuming that all of her other needs are met). And they're probably right. I've noticed that there is a distinct difference between Ella's "fuss" and her "cry". It breaks my heart, but I can tolerate the little fussing and whimpering...but I draw the line and intervene when it escalates to a true cry.
I've been racking my brain to see if there is anything else that could be bothering her. Perhaps it's a growth spurt, or maybe she's teething. She was in a cloth diaper the first three nights, so I considered that maybe she didn't like that. And then I realized that I've been sneaking chocolates from the candy tray at work. I was so good at abstaining when I was trying to get pregnant and then was pregnant, but I've let myself indulge in the occasional piece from time to time (okay, maybe it's more frequent than I'd like to admit). But I stayed away yesterday, and what do you know--Ella was back to her one feeding! I can't pin all the blame on chocolate just quite after only one night, but I resisted the urge to eat any today as well to further put my theory to test. I sure enjoy my sweets, but I think I value sleep a little more--not only for me, but for Ella as well.
It was wonderful to wake up once last night. If anything, I guess I can say that the relapse into waking every couple of hours made me appreciate that singular feeding so much more. I think that the middle-of-the-night feeding is also helping to keep my supply up, which is important to me, so I'm genuinely trying to embrace it in that regard. We'll eventually need her to sleep all the way through the night, but what we have is so much better than the alternative. And besides--I like my time with her.
Today's blessing is recognizing that my husband and I make a pretty good team. Our pipes froze overnight, but yet we somehow got them working and both made it out the door on time (without forgetting anything). And with frozen pipes and gas outages nearby, I'm reminded of just how blessed I am to have a home and utilities.