The night after that update, I got 2 hours of sleep. Some of it directly because of Dio's wakings, and the rest indirectly because I was so stressed/exhausted/desperate that I literally could not sleep after 1:30 am. I decided that I could not go on like this. Something had to change.
So here's what we did the following night:
- Moved Zari into her own room so she wouldn't wake him up, and vice-versa
- Moved Dio's crib into his room and removed the twin mattress. We'd recently started keeping Dio in his room all night, and we resolved to keep that up.
- Closed both doors connecting our bedrooms, rather than just one, so I wouldn't wake up every time Dio made noise.
- Ran a fan for white noise in our own bedroom, as well as Dio's, again to help mask all but the loudest crying.
- I decided that I was not getting out of bed until 3 am or later (with the exception of going to the bathroom). And I was only nursing Dio once. If Eric wanted to tend to Dio at other times, fine. But I was not going to.
I still wasn't sure what the plan was if Dio woke up and would not settle down for hours on end--something he'd been doing a lot lately. Would I actually be able to let him cry and cry if it came to that? Would he survive this sudden change in nursing schedules (from twice to once)? Things were at such a crisis point for me that I asked Eric to give Dio a blessing before bedtime.
So we put Dio to bed in his crib, in his own room, and waited to see what would happen. (Remember, the only change for Dio was that he was in a crib, rather than on his twin mattress. Otherwise same environment and routine.)
He slept until 4:30 am. I nursed him, put him back down, and he slept the rest of the night.
The next night he woke up once at 3 am to nurse, then slept the rest of the night.
I felt like a human being again. It was amazing.
For the next two weeks, Dio would alternate between waking once between 3-5 am, or waking an additional time around midnight. Still not bad. More and more often at that earlier waking, we'd let Dio fuss for a few minutes to see what would happen. And, amazingly, he'd stop crying, lay himself back down, and go back to sleep. And we're not talking hours of crying here--usually just a few minutes.
At this point, Dio usually wakes up just once to nurse, around 3-4 am. And if he does wake up at other times, he gets himself back to sleep fairly quickly. And I've found that I no longer need the white noise in my room.
So what accounts for this radical shift in sleeping behavior? I think it's a combination of:
- Being in a crib where he can't fall off or wander around
- Being in a room so dark that there's nothing to see. Our room, where his crib used to be, is a lot lighter at night. He always wanted to be standing and partying when his crib was in our room (or screaming because he could see me, and it simply would not do to be 3 feet away from me).
- Not being woken up by Zari, who thrashes around a lot at night
- Switching from 2 to 1 night nursings, which helped reset his nocturnal clock