Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Sleep training an MCAD baby?

MCAD and sleeping through the night don't go hand in hand.  So while many fellow moms are debating their parenting philosophies regarding nighttime, we are secure in knowing we are not going to get a full night sleep for many months.  Whether Cupcake wants to or not.

It's surprisingly freeing, and we also figured we wouldn't have to deal with sleep training.  After all, the ultimate goal in all the techniques is getting the baby to sleep through the night uninterrupted, so it didn't apply to us.

And yet....

Originally we had to set the alarm and dream feed Cupcake, as she would sleep the whole night with no problems.  Back in those first three months we though we had the best baby EV-ER, and we would curse the MCADD that wouldn't let us sleep.  Then the 4 month sleep regression happened, and she started waking up a couple of times a night before the alarm clock.  This was fine, as it felt much more natural to feed an awake and hungry baby than a sleeping one.  But waking 2 times a night begat 3 times a night, and before we knew it, she was waking 4+ times and I was feeding her every time.

It made sense to nurse her for every night waking.  Firstly, its the fastest way to get her back asleep.  But mostly it was a way to make sure she wasn't fasting at any point in the night.  However, this system is not sustainable, and even the most dedicated of moms needs to get sleep once in a while.  We had to figure out a way to get her back to the 4 hour nighttime schedule.

We started our own version of sleep training.  No crying, lots of rocking and soothing, and eventually, at just about the 4 hour mark, we'd feed.  The idea is that she'll be actually hungrier then and eat more, which will hold her over for another 4 hours.  I just can't have her lightly grazing every night, it's too much for me and I end up being a snappy mom the next day from sleep deprivation.

It's not a fool proof system.  One of the nights we managed to soothe her back to sleep at 4:30 am, only to find her asleep at 6 am when she was due to eat.  Which then gets us in the never-wake-a-sleeping baby conundrum.   So... should I feed her at 4:30 have her graze every 2-3 hours (and she'll eat when she's awake, yay), or try to get her in a schedule but have to make sure I'm setting the alarm?  I like the stability of her eating on a schedule at night; I don't have to worry about tracking when she ate last, which is hard to do when one is half asleep.

The books don't have answers.  There doesn't seem to be any advice out there for this type of situation.  So we soldier on, doing our modified sleep training, and as we rock her, we imagine the Rocky theme in the background.  Actually, I have sung her to Rocky music to sleep before. She seems to like it.


  1. You are sooo right- there are no books for our kiddos. But, it sounds like you are doing great making it up as you go:)

    Believe it or not my almost 5 yo doesn't wake up for his night feeding- I give him his starch&milk in a cup with a straw.

  2. Thanks for the encouragement.

    I'm guessing your kid basically dreams feeds his starch? That sound pretty awesome