We may have had a mini breakthrough with the sleeping. And I hate to type it out in case I am jinxing myself... but...
After reading the accounts of a few mums in my online group and their experience with sleep schools, I'd been thinking about how I could work up to trying some sort of 'cry it out' arrangement with the baby. The main things holding me back were that I didn't think I would be able to stomach her crying, and also that the husband wakes up to her quicker than I do - he would be more awake and awake longer if we left her, and he has to get up to go to work the next day.
On Tuesday night, the baby woke around midnight as per usual. We were on the couch and about to go to bed, but as I had both dogs on my lap, I asked the husband to go in and settle her. He only lasted a few minutes before he came out, claiming he was too tired and didn't have the patience to manage her. I sat by the cot for a few minutes, shushing her and patting her and trying to keep the dummy in her mouth, all to no avail.
So I left the room, shut her door, shut our door and sat on the bed.
The husband asked what my line of thinking was - what was the plan?
I didn't know. I just knew I was getting jack of getting up to her every four hours when I knew she could sleep longer than that.
Some of the sleep tactics that the ladies in the online group were following was to listen to their baby when they called out. Try to leave them as long as you can, until the point where they are really crying. When they are really crying, go in and settle them, do all that you need to without feeding them. Do this three times, and if it happens a fourth, then you give in and feed them. Some of these poor ladies have been waking every hour since their baby was born. I can't comprehend it.
I knew that the baby just wanted a hug when she woke up. I knew that when I did give in and feed her, it was a half-hearted feed on her behalf. I knew that at her age she only needs three milk feeds a day, and she is usually on four or five or six. I knew that when she was calling out at night, she wasn't really crying - I was getting there as quick as I was awake so as to limit disruption for the husband. I knew that she really ramped up when we went in to the room for her.
So, on Tuesday night, we left her. And she wouldn't have even called out for five minutes before she was asleep again - she never got to the point where she really cried.
At 3am in the morning, she called out once and woke me. But then nothing.
Then I woke at 4.30. And 6.00. And at 7.00 when the husband got up for work and I asked him to check on her (she was fine). And at 8.00 when she woke up and covered her with kisses and gave her a feed as a reward and told her what a good baby she was.
It was a similar story last night, though we got home later from family tea, so she didn't wake at 12, only at 3.30. And she called out longer, but again, she never got to the point of actually crying. Then she didn't wake until 9am (although I woke every half hour to hour from 3am onwards).
I really, Really, REALLY hopes this keeps up - I can't wait to see what I feel like once I have had a full nights sleep!!