It is very common for people with Williams syndrome to have sleep problems. Bean is not an exception. As a matter of fact, he is an absolutely horrible sleeper.
I am quite confident that he could stay up and play all night if he didn't take melatonin, but the problem with that is that it doesn't help him stay asleep. Until very recently, he was waking up every 1-2 hours through the night and demanded to nurse at least 3-4 of those times. No, I'm not exaggerating. I wish I were. Husband and I are beyond sleep-deprived.
I've been going along with the feedings because he has so many difficulties with food and gaining weight and his doctors didn't want to deny him the calories.
Recently, though, Bean has started sleeping for a 4-5 hour stretch following his melatonin and then wakes up every 1-2 hours after that. He still needs to be held and will only sleep in bed with me but I'll take any progress I can get (he's sleeping on my lap right now). I know that part of his sleep problems are physiological in nature but there is definitely a behavioral component going on.
Because he's been going that longer stretch and he's been eating a bit better during the day, I have decided to (finally!) attempt night weaning and I'm so excited to say that he has gone two nights now without nursing. He is still waking up and fussing a bit but I'm able to get him back to sleep without feeding. This is a huge deal for us!
I feel that this gets him (and husband and me) one step closer to independent, restful sleep. My thinking here is that if he doesn't get what he wants, he'll decide it's not worth it to wake up so frequently.
Our next step will be to get him in his own bed. I think that will be a bit more tough but I'm setting a goal to make the transition by his 2nd birthday at the end of August. We are going on vacation in a week so I'll wait to rock that boat until we get back.
And speaking of vacation, I have teamed up with a good friend and blogger. While I'm gone, she will be featured here in a very special, important and moving guest post. Please watch for that!
Anyway, I am so proud of the progress Bean has made and I can't wait til the day that I can announce that he is sleeping through the night in his own bed. Until that time, though, I'll keep celebrating his sure but steady inchstones. And really, I must admit that I do enjoy my sweet, cherubic, sleeping child snuggled up next to me every night. Sleep, baby, sleep.