My Pesach Mess-Up (and how I fixed it)

I have a secret to tell you.

My kids aren’t perfect.

And I’m not perfect either.

Sure, I know all the rules. I know how to make things right. But that doesn’t mean that I always follow it. (Like when I moved my baby out of my room at 3 months instead of 2… and then regretted it.)

Me and my kids are human just like you and yours.

So that’s why we had The Great Pesach Debacle.

Set Up for Success

I worked really hard to set us up for success. I made sure to prep my toddlers in advance (like way, way, way in advance). The girls would sleep in one room, and the baby in my closet (but it’s a big closet!). We brought all their dekis (blankies), brought the baby’s sheets – did everything.

The girls settled in even better than I could have imagined. Not a peep, not a cry.

We did their routine a couple hours after we arrived (and, mind you, we’d flown during nap time, so they hadn’t even napped!), and they went into their “bubbie cribbies” (that’s what we’d been calling them) calmly and quietly. And went to sleep.

Same thing for nap the next day – and they actually slept better than they do at home.

The baby was where things got tough.

The Perfect Storm

There was a little problem that I had been conveniently ignoring for a couple weeks already: G knows how to flip over. But only one way. He’d been occasionally waking – only once a night if at all – for a couple weeks.

We’d kind of been set up for disaster. Two weeks before Pesach, the girls took turns being sick. We were up every other night as one or the other tried to settle herself after she woke up uncomfortable. When he woke in the middle of the night, we were too tired to give him time to figure it out on his own. So we went in and flipped him back.

By the time bein hazanim rolled around, and my husband was home with an extra set of hands, (which would mean we could nap in the middle of the day if need be) I was sick, and needed every moment of sleep I could. So no waiting it out then either.

But my sickness did more than just make me need to sleep: it ravaged my supply.

So by the time we left, I was just getting over this nasty bug, still tired from it, and working on building my supply back up.

Low supply + a developmental milestone. It was the perfect storm.

The Debacle

A week later, I was feeling a whole lot better, but still struggling to up my supply. Sir G has been sleeping through the night for about two months now, and I’ve been pumping before I go to bed for the night so I don’t go a full 12 hours.  Sometimes I give him some as a top-off before bed; before I’d gotten sick, he hadn’t needed any of it.

Now, though, I was draining the freezer stash I’d brought with me, and wasn’t able to replenish it. I’d pumped into soap on the first nights of y”t, and I couldn’t bear the thought of losing that milk again.

So I decided I’d wake him up at least one of the nights to feed him.

(Yes, dreamfeeds are a big no-no in my book. Like I said – I do break the rules sometimes.)

7th night I woke him, I fed him, and he went right back to sleep. (I must say – it was the yummiest, cuddliest thing ever. If I wasn’t a sleep consultant, I’d do dreamfeeds all the time.)

The 8th night rolled around, and I was debating whether or not I should feed him again.

He decided for me. At 11ish, I heard him wake and start to make noises. I fed him again.

Motzaei Y”T rolled around, and I was back to pumping. I’d also decided that we were going to finally dive in and let him figure the flipping thing out – either he’d fall asleep as he was, or he’d learn to flip back.

But he was already primed for his not-so-dreamfeed… and woke at 11 pm feed. Smart kid. Too smart.

Time to get back on track.

Getting back on track is hard.

He was miserable, I was miserable.

I knew, though, that giving him the space to figure it out on his own (and learn again that we do sleep through the night!), was the only way to get back to where we had been – and where I knew he could be!

And we did it. We’re still working on the “fall back asleep” piece (as of this writing – last night was night 3), but on nights 2 and 3, he only woke once in the 5-6 am range and did fall back asleep – only after a little kvetching. None of the crying of night one.


So how was your Pesach? Did you encounter any setbacks? How did you deal with them?

Leave your questions or comments in the comments below!

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Comments (4)
  1. Dini

    Love your posts! And your honesty! Dreamfeeds are yummy so why not allow them? Babies can learn to sleep through the night at 12 mth old just as well.
    I have an 8 month old delicious little baby boy who wakes up twice a night for feeding. Just wondering what is wrong with dreamfeeds? He is only nursing with no bottles and eats a little bit of food. Some mashed sweet potato, some baby puffs, and sometimes potato or soup. Was giving him bananas but he was getting constipated from them so we stopped. He also doesn’t nurse so beautifully during the day. He eats in 5 min which is not enough food for him, so I feel like he would not have enough calories if I didn’t feed him at night especially since he eats much better when he is sleepy then when he is wide awake. He only nurses 5 times during a day which is not enough for a 18 lb baby. When he is about a year old and starts eating 3 proper meals a day I would feel comfortable stopping the night feeds but right now I dont see any reason to. It is good for him for bonding for nutrition and for comfort and it is good for my milk supply and I so dont mind waking up in the middle of the night to feed him. I dont really see a downside. I have done this with all my kids and they are all good sleepers b”h! They usually dropped the night feed themselves when we started with real food.

    • Hi Dini,

      Great question! I linked to my post on dreamfeeds above, where I explain, in more detail, why I don’t recommend them. I do often find that babies who eat a lot at night tend to eat less during the day. That’ll either show up as nursing less during the day, or as refusing solids.

      When my clients start solids, we discuss the importance of giving real foods once their baby has the whole “eating” business down pat. I recommend steering clear of puffs or baby cereal, and offering eggs, chicken, ground meat, yogurt, cheese, sweet potato, baked fruits, veggies from the soup, etc. instead. Good fats – like avocado, coconut/olive oils and animal fats – and protein will fill your baby up and also help him get the calories he needs.

      In general, when it comes to solids, from about 6 to about 9 months it should be in addition to breastmilk, and at about 9 months is when we start to get serious on the solids, and it can start to (slightly) bite into a baby’s breastmilk intake. I usually recommend that a baby have 3 solid meals a day starting from about 9 months.

      When it comes to sleep and nighttime feedings, the truth is that there is no “right” way. I know that I need my uninterrupted sleep to be the best person I can be – for myself, my husband, my kids, my clients, etc. You need to know what will work for you and your family.

      As you’ll see in the post on dreamfeeds, as well as in the post on sleeping through the night, there is a whole lot of experience that has led me to recommend against dream feeds, and recommend against nighttime feeds past 9 months of age. While every baby is, of course, different, and some babies (like yours) drop nighttime feeds without a problem, most babies don’t. (Studies have shown that about 80% of children who have sleep difficulties as babies continue to struggle for 3-5 years of age. Of course that means that 20% DON’T continue to struggle – I’m not saying those babies don’t exist; however, they are the minority.)

      And, as always, if what you’re doing is working for you, KEEP DOING IT!

      Thanks so much for your feedback!

      Chaya Shifra

      • dini

        So Sorry!! i just read your post on dreamfeeds and i totally misunderstood. i thought dreamfeeds are when you feed the baby in the middle of the night. did not realize that it means you wake the baby up to feed them.
        i never did a dreamfeed!! but my baby still wakes up 1 or 2 times per night to nurse. he is 8 mths old and loves food!
        i make him homemade sweet potato blended, carrots and chicken blend, blended apples and pears and blended soups.
        the puffs are really for when we all eat and he wants to feel part of the crowd and eat too! 🙂 i don’t consider that nutrition at all.
        thanks again! and i love listening to you on akeres habayis!