We have been putting our little guy to sleep on his own since day one. There were the usual times when family and friends would visit the first couple of weeks and hold him during nap time. But around two weeks we started trying to be diligent about putting him down for naps and not holding him. This has never really worked for us, but I still keep trying because I don't want him to always get used to being held for naps. Now his napping is worse than ever. I will rock him until drowsy but as soon as I put him in his crib he will cry. He is not soothed by our voices or patting…in fact, I think this makes it worse. He won't calm down until we pick him up, and then he will usually calm down and start falling asleep immediately. But if we keep trying to put him down, he will end up getting so upset that he won't nap at all, and before you know its time for the next feeding…this throws off the whole day and he gets super grumpy, overstimulated, and over tired. I believe that his sleep is important, especially at this age, so after he has missed one nap in a day, I don't let him miss another. At that point, I will do whatever I need to get him to sleep for the rest of his naps…which means carrying him. Yesterday I did get him to sleep in his 4moms swing with white noise and a canopy over it to make it dark (I couldn't believe this actually worked!) I know this inconsistency is probably confusing for him, but I'm not sure what else to do. He will literally stay awake all day if I don't carry him! At the same time, I want him to get used to sleeping in his crib.
At night time, he is a little better. He will stay asleep in his crib for much longer. However, it's clear that he associates being carried with falling asleep. He wakes up 45 minutes after we put him to bed and 45 minutes after I put him down for each of his feedings. After his 3am feeding, he wakes multiple times…usually every 10 minutes or so and never seems to go back into a deep sleep. On an average night, he wakes 8-10 times. I know that he will sleep better if he sleeps in bed with us, but that's just not something that my husband and I want to do. No matter how tired I am, I continue to rock him and put him back to bed at night until 6am when it gets light outside. At that point, he won't sleep in his crib anymore and I have accumulated about 3 hours of sleep…so then I hold him in the rocker and we both sleep until 8.
We recently started using white noise, we swaddle him tightly, I don't change his diaper unless he poos (which he does at least once at night). He definitely knows the difference between night and day. At night he doesn't open his eyes at all, and I make sure to keep things dark and quiet. During the day he eats every 2 hrs and 45 minutes. At night, he goes about the same length of time, although I know he can go longer because he will go up to 4.5 hours if we hold him instead of putting him back in his crib. I give him anti-gas drops every night at his 3am feeding because that is when he usually gets gassy. I can tell when he is hungry and when he is gassy, so I don't think that that is why he wakes so often. On average, he wakes 8-10 times a night.
I'm not sure if I'm venting, looking for advice, or just looking to hear what has worked well for other parents…I guess I am just tired. I feel like I' m missing something here. He used to be at least a little better at sleeping, and now it seems to be getting worse. And no, i don't think it's a growth spurt…he already had his 6 week spurt and ate like crazy! I feel like constantly putting him back in his crib to the point where he because so upset that he won't go back to sleep is affecting his attachment and trust in us. I kind of don't think that he will be soothed by us just talking to him and patting him until he feels a sense of security, and it doesn't seem like he is at that point with us yet. How do we change his association with being carried and sleep without letting him cry? I am fine with letting my baby cry, but everything I have read says not to let them cry longer than 2-5 minutes at this age. If I just snuggle him all night and day, I am afraid that he will never learn to sleep on his own. I want to make sure he learns how to fall asleep on his own without neglecting him of the comfort that he needs. I also know that my husband and I can't continue to get this little sleep forever. Thanks so much for reading and any encouragement or helpful thoughts would be appreciated!