Ryan used to sleep so great that he completely blindsided me when he all of a sudden went from sleeping 13 hours a night (The first 8-9 hours in a row with no waking) to very, VERY suddenly waking up constantly at 3 months. This began our cycle of frequent night nursing that I am now trying to get under control since he is at the age where it is no longer physically necessary for him to do that.
I logged this one day/night last week. It's a pretty typical 24 hours for us.
7:30 am: Awake for the day
9:40 - 11:10: Nap (1.5 hours)
1:30 - 3:00: Nap (1.5 hours)
5:00 - 6:00: Nap (1 hour)
Note the awesome naps. These are usually predictable, we can count on them and they are perfect for his age. He'll probably drop the last one soon. Love him for his naps.
7:45 pm: Bed (this is usually closer to 7pm)
10:45: Fuss (this means we go up, pat his butt and shhhh him, and he goes back to sleep)
11:10: Fuss, nurse, back in bed in 15 minutes
12:50 am: Fuss
1:36 - 2:22: Crying, crying, crying, soothing back to sleep (This time is always a feeding, but this is the first night I didn't give it to him, hence the crying and extended awake time).
2:30: Crying - I give in, nurse, back in bed in 15 minutes
4:50 - 5:15: Cry, nurse, diaper
6:30: Fuss, bring to bed with me, sleep (I can usually change his diaper and put him back in his crib with his crib toy on at this time, he will talk to himself awhile and fall back to sleep, but sometimes I just bring him in with me.)
7:30 am: Awake for the day
Rinse and repeat.
Try to find an hour in there after 10pm when I wasn't up....it's hard.
Despite the way-too-frequent wakeups, we do have some things going for us, like the fact that he takes appropriate naps and goes back down in his crib within 10-15 minutes of nursing most times at night (that was a battle for awhile, but now he usually goes back down without objection).
His naps are by design. I know what's appropriate for his age and don't let him get overtired - EVER. He is in his crib asleep before he ever reaches exhaustion. I plan things around his naps whenever possible. It may seem unnecessary but to me it's not. I believe in doing everything possible to make sure kids get the right amount of sleep for their age - it affects so much. Babies and even older kids crave routine and normalcy, it makes them feel safe and secure, and he has this. Despite his constant night fussings, he gets exactly the amount of sleep he should, and he doesn't really even "wake up" for these feedings.
What his Pediatrician told us is that they can usually go 10 hours without eating at this age (actually, that was 2 months ago that she said that). From his bedtime at 7pm to his wake-up anywhere between 7am and 8am, it's 12-13 hours, so I have no problem feeding him once, maybe twice a night, but I know that he is not always hungry, he just wants the comfort of it. You can't blame him, but we still need to make changes. Usually he wakes for his first feeding between 11:30pm and 12:30am. I believe he may genuinely be hungry at this time and have no problem nursing him. He may also just want some physical contact and reassurance that I'm there, since it's been 5 hours - OK by me. Now, when he wakes at around 2am, I know he's not hungry, but he will not settle down until I nurse him. The night I cataloged above is evident of that because he eventually went back to sleep, and if he was truly hungry, I would have been able to tell. He also will nurse for just a few minutes before he's back to sleep - not a whole feeding.
Last night, I also did not give in to this feeding, and he went back to sleep for another hour before waking at 4am. 4am is another common feeding time for him, and I did not argue with him for this one (one battle at a time), so he did essentially skip the 2am feeding and was fine. He then woke at around 6:30 and at this time I normally feed him, put him back in his bed wide awake and he plays for a bit and falls back to sleep. I decided to see if he'd go back down without eating - and he did, with no problem. The next time he nursed was 8am and he was not even that hungry! Which really reassures me that I can cut out 2 of these feedings. Definitely the 2am, and then either the 4am or 6am. I believe that if I'm not nursing him back to sleep at these times (just 2am for now) that he will ultimately stop waking at this time. We shall see.
One last thing I'll add is that I never leave him in his crib to just cry, that's not how I "deny" him the feeding. We walk, rock, cuddle, sing, soothe in any way possible, and Todd helps me. He will cry less if Todd is holding him because that way the milk isn't so close that it's ticking him off as much to not be able to have it.
I was originally just going to post this with the title and the sleep log for that 24 hour period, but decided to expand a little. I'd better stop now - it's 11:40 and I await the beckoning of my baby bear :).