39 posts categorized "Sleep"

Did I break it? Sleepless Nights with the 16-month old

September 22, 2016

It's been so long since I started down this road.  Now on my fourth child, he is almost 16-months old.  Very much lovable, as many toddlers are (I love this age), the nights are pure horror, whereas his first year of life was a walk in the park in the sleep department!  Whether it be teething or something else, he is up and fumbling around from 2am onward.  I nurse and try to put him down in the same cycle for up to 2 hours before I give up, call my co-parent for back-up, and/or just let him scream it out, waking up everyone else in the household and probably neighbors too.

I was up last night from 2:27 until 5:12 AM, and during my awake time I crafted strategy for tonight's wake up:

  • Be disciplined.  When he wakes up, he no longer needs to eat, right?  Maybe just go see him in the crib, pat his back as he drifts back to sleep.
  • Show stamina.  I can't crumble.  I need to stay with it.  Don't let him into the bed.  
  • Use drugs.  Does it seem like the teeth are what are bothering him?  I should use the advil/motrin/tylenol as it seems like it makes sense
  • Get my co-parent on board.  We need to be aligned on the strategy.  At one point this morning, I noticed a glow from the other side of the bed, and there was my toddler watching Elmo on my partner's phone as he snored!

Please: may tonight be a better night.  I cannot be a zombie any longer!

That’s what it’s all about

January 04, 2012

Note: As a fair warning, this post has been written after a night of very little sleep. I’m not making excuses, just stating the facts as they are. If it’s incomprehensible or confusing, consider yourself warned. If you are scared of reading something incomprehensible or confusing, perhaps you’d best skip this one. And every other one I write ;-)

 Cameron_1yrBaby boy is now 13 months old. He’s getting good at taking more than three steps at a time before flopping down on his diaper-padded tush. He’s starting to say more words, probably more than even I understand yet. And we’ve started that long, long process of weaning by eliminating night nursing. He actually took to sleeping through the night like a champ. However, after all the excitement of the holidays were done, and we started back to our weekly routine I think his world was a little rocked. Why do I think this? Well, it started at around 2:45 AM, the screaming. Before I looked at the clock I thought “wow, is it 6:45 already?” Nope. Maybe he’ll fall back asleep…

… 5 minutes later, still screaming. My darling dearest and I were wide awake. “what’s wrong with him?” he asks. “I don’t know…” I respond. In my head I think… he ate lots of dinner, so not likely hunger. He doesn’t seem to be sick or teething. He took care of all his bowel needs just before bed… so what could it be? Can 1 year olds have nightmares? (he sounded terrified!) Can he be getting another molar? Does he have a fever? Is his night light freaking him out? “I’ll go check on him…” says my darling dearest. *Whew* I think to myself. I’m trying to avoid going back to the nursing all night thing, and I’m afraid if I go to him, he’ll scream even LOUDER if I don’t nurse him.

I listen in… the screaming gets worse. My darling dearest is not having any luck calming him down. After 20 minutes he gives up . Just then, baby boy settles. The quiet is nearly deafening. My ears are ringing. “There was a smell in the room, and I didn’t check his diaper, maybe he had pooped?” my darling dearest says. “No, couldn’t be, he just did that before bed. It’s probably the diaper you smelled” I respond. But he must know, so he goes back in to check…  and in so doing, he wakes baby boy, who begins to wail again. My heart was breaking, but what could I do? Twenty minutes more passed, and my darling dearest gave up again. Five minutes more, and he still hadn’t settled…

I couldn’t take it anymore. It was my turn to go in. I had a plan, and it didn’t involve boobs. It involved the Hokey Pokey. So I picked him up, and he pushed away at me, trying to escape, it seemed. He wailed even louder but I hugged him close and started singing quietly in his ear “you put your right foot in, you put your right foot out…” doing a little dance to go along with it. By the time I got to the hands, he’d stopped screaming and was just sniffling a bit. By the time I got to the hips, he had settled his little head on my chest and relaxed completely. When I got to the head, his arms started to droop and his breathing settled a bit. Finally I just hummed the tune as I ran out of body parts. I gently placed him in his bed, which woke him a bit and set him screaming again, but he quickly settled in and I rubbed his back until he finally fell asleep. I snuck out very VERY slowly, careful not to set him off again. With all the silence I was able to enjoy a little thought to myself: “Maybe the Hokey Pokey *is* what it’s all about”…

I crept back into bed, wide awake.  Thirty minutes later: “WAHHHHHHHHHH” *sigh*

Goodnight, Moon. Goodnight, Child. GO TO SLEEP!

October 18, 2010

Sleep is important, so important for the little folk.  Routines are important, too.  An urbanMama recently emailed us, looking for your tips and tricks with the bedtime routines:

OK, I've just lost my temper with my almost 5 year old for the nth night in a row due to what has become a way-too-drawnout bedtime routine.  She's almost 5, and for a long time the routine was brush teeth, 3 books, a couple songs, night night.  My husband and I have always alternated (we also have a 1 year old, so we take turns with each of them).  Over the years, bedtime has evolved into a routine that involves extensive storytelling after the bookreading, long chats, acting out stories, sometimes drawing the stories etc.  We try to keep it within a certain timeframe (about an hour) and while it is often the best quality time my husband or I have with her on work days, it is becoming absolutely draining.  In part because it is a long process but also because it so often ends with her whining, crying, and begging for more.  We have to wake up early so I feel like a bedtime btwn 8-8:30 is reasonable, but as of late it sometimes lasts later.  I need time to myself and with my husband afterward, and the worst part of all of this is that I am kind of dreading that time with her.  How do other families handle bedtime?  What are your routines, how do you establish limits, and also make it a pleasant good night?? 

Summer Sleep: what time to bed?

July 26, 2010

One of the most delicious things of the summer is sun lighting our way well into the 9 o'clock hour.  It's light until late, giving us time to lallygag, saunter, and generally play around outside until almost 10 o'clock.  And then I hear my husband telling the kids: "Get into bed!  It's 9 o'clock; let's get to bed early tonight!" 

Uh: 9 o'clock is early?  Under normal circumstances, during the school year, in the heart of the autumn and winter, bedtimes in our household are in the 7 to 8 o'clock range.  Under summer circumstances of concerts in the park and long-lasting barbecues, bedtimes drool into the 9 to 10 o'clock range.  That's a two-hour difference!

Well: how about you all?  How much later are bedtimes, now that Mister Sun, Sun, Mister Golden Sun is out until almost the double-digit evening hours?

Juggling two different nap schedules

March 16, 2010

Naps!  They can be so important for a little person's routine.  An urbanMama recently emailed, wanting to know how other urbanMamas may have juggled two different nap schedules:

I am wondering if anyone has an strategy's for dealing with 2 kids with 2 separate nap schedules??  If the baby is 6 months and taking a morning and afternoon nap, and the toddler is taking a nap right after lunch when do we ever leave the house? There is just one parent or nanny home with the 2 kids.  How do we ever get the toddler out to do fun things if the younger one needs to be in their crib seemingly all of the time?  Am I missing something?

Co-sleeping: when the bed gets too snug

February 03, 2010

This email comes in at the very moment my husband is trolling craigslist and online furniture stores, considering upgrading our queen-sized bed to a king-sized one.  Many mornings, there are four bodies in the bed: myself, my husband, our six-year old, and our four-month old.  It is a super-cozy situation, but it just may be too snug.

An urbanMama recently emailed, thinking proactively, about how her bed may also soon be occupiedBoys_in_bed
by four bodies.  Both she & I would love to hear your thoughts:

I have a 3 1/2 year old that we recently transitioned (mostly) to her own bed.  She starts the night in her bed and comes into our bed at some point in the night - sometimes before midnight, other times not until it's nearly time to rise and shine.  We don't consider this a problem - we've never been fans of forced solo-sleeping.  The issue is I'm pregnant with #2.  We'd like to co-sleep with the second child, but are concerned about our daughter coming into the bed and it being too crowded or her rolling over onto the new baby.  I'd love to know how other co-sleeping families have dealt with this.  Do we have to make a choice between the two?  Are there other, more creative ways to continue to co-sleep as our family grows?

bedtime routines for the unfailingly energetic

December 08, 2009

We have a typical bedtime routine: after dinner, I let the boys play together for a while (winter: inside; summer: outside) and then, after a few regular warnings, I issue snacks, order potty trips, and start in on the books. Truman and Monroe get four books, together; if Everett's still awake by that time, he gets his own book. An hour from start to finish.

That's with melatonin, a gentle sleep aid recommended by my pediatrician. Without the melatonin, which Everett sometimes resists (he's worried it makes nighttime accidents more likely) and Monroe sometimes is unaffected by, it's a couple of hours with Everett (seven and a half) and Monroe (two and a half) literally bouncing off the walls, floors, bunkbed, tackling each other, playing cannonball with the stuffed animals, jumping rope, hanging upside down from the top bunk, throwing paper airplanes at me and giving me "two for flinching!" Meanwhile, Truman (four and a half) variously cries, giggles, joins in, or falls asleep in understandable self-defense. Splitting them up for bedtime doesn't work; all the rooms available for sleeping are too close together and none of them have properly securable doors.

Ideally, I won't have to give Everett and Monroe melatonin until they're 18 and bedtimes are no longer my responsibility; I'll somehow teach them to develop calming methods of their own. All my considerable efforts to do so thus far have been in vain, and I've tried yoga, early evening exercise, baths (much objection, anyway, to frequent bathing), bedtime milk, completely foregoing sugar, sleepy time tea (which helped, once, at 11 p.m.), breathing exercises, poetry, prayer. Once they're wound up, my efforts often end up being completely ignored, anyway, CANNONBALL! 

Ideas? Has anyone developed a surefire way to calm a couple of children who, by every indication, are developmentally delayed in self-calming? I'd love to hear any thoughts.

Back to School: Getting Back on Bedtime Track

August 26, 2009

In my household, one thing I am very anxious about is bedtime.  Friends who are teachers have told me that ample sleep is one huge thing that parents can do to help prepare their kids for learning, every day.  To prepare for those crazy mornings struggling to get to school on time, I've been trying to be more strict about the bedtimes, which have just slipped, slipped, slipped later and later over the past 10 weeks.  How we've gone from a 7pm bedtime to a 10pm bedtime, I really can't tell you.  All I know is that we've GOT to get our bedtime closer to 8pm, so the kids can get a reasonable amount of sleep before their [first] days of school.

Does your summer bedtime approach the double-digits or have you remained vigilant about a consistent bedtime, even with the lure of all those summer concerts and the warm evening sun that won't set?  Is your summer bedtime well into the double-digits with wake up times correspondingly late?  How ever will we get back on track?

Co-sleeping siblings: did it work for you?

March 10, 2009

We are a two-child household and both of our kids have shared a room since the little one moved out of our bed at around 8 or 9 months of age.  It wasn't an easy transition, necessarily, with one child sleeping before the other, then with frequent middle-of-the-night awakenings.  Still, we love that they share a room, even if we do have a third room we could've used for another kid's room.  The sweetness of hearing the two (now aged 5 and 8) chat before going to bed or after just waking up is precious, as is the lessons of learning to get along in a pretty small living space.  An urbanMama wants to hear about your experiences in transitioning two siblings to sleep together:

I was wondering if I could ask for advice from the urbanMamas community about moving my 4 year old daughter and 2 year old son in to the same room, possibly into the same queen sized bed that my daughter has slept in since she was born.  I was thinking about adding a twin bed to the room, so they could sleep together (since they are big snugglers) or apart depending on their mood.  Plus a parent could sleep comfortably with them during the transition.  Right now my 4 year old daughter is in her room, and I’m with her (trying to night-wean my son) and my husband is in our king sized bed with our 2 year old son.  So we’ve started a transition of some sort, but are at a stand still about the next step.
Neither are great sleepers, but I think we could all adjust to it....maybe.  I’d at least like to try it.  Getting them to fall asleep would be the tricky part, esp. if they are so tired they are trying to hit/kick each other or don’t want to share the parent or bed.  Right now, we stay with them individually until they fall asleep (too traumatic for all involved to do otherwise).  We do have 3 bedrooms, but I hate to give up the computer room that also lets them watch the occasional dvd, an area for them to color, I can call about bills late at night or grocery shop on-line, plus it is the only room in the house with decent daylight where we can hang out.  My husband wants to move them each into their own room, but I feel like my sanity is at stake, since the computer room is crucial to my connections outside of the house, late at night when everyone else is asleep.  Has anyone else been in a similar situation?  Did you decide to have siblings share a room?  Did you decide to give them each their own?  Any advice would be most welcome! 

"I'm scared of monsters!"

February 25, 2009

Fears can be real, especially when you're two feet tall and the world seems so big and daunting.  Our little babes are scared of the dark and even of ladybugs and cows.  It's normal and totally understandable.  But, how do we help our little folks work through these fears?  Do you think we can assume that they'll eventually get over the fears?

An urbanMama recently emailed:

I have 2 little girls 10 months and 28 months. My 2 year old has developed a huge fear of monsters in her room at night. It takes he over an hour of panicking and screaming to go to sleep. Which means the baby suffers too as they share a room. My husband is the working parent so bedtime is his domain. He sits with her until she finally falls asleep. We are not sure where it came from, an episode of Charlie and Lola maybe or something else, we do not know. We have a night light, she has a flashlight and "monster spray" in her bed. I just need some help on what direction to take with this. Any book recommendations for the kids or the parents?  What have other mamas or papas done to help put these fears and their babies to bed?

How to transition: from co-sleeper to crib?

December 02, 2008

Each time our first daughter transitioned further from us, it was a difficult change, for mama, papa, and for babe.  First, it was from our bed to her crib in the corner of the room.  Then, it was from the corner of our room to her own room across the apartment.  It felt like she was taking leaps and bounds in her journey away from us.

An urbanMama seeks some advice and your perspective on the transitioning:

I'm a 27 year old married mama to an 8 month old breast feeding, sweet, smart, active, adorable boy.  My husband and I have been co sleeping with our little man, but have reached a point where he is so active, even in his sleep, that we think all of us would sleep better if he had his own space.  He has a crib, but doesn't even nap in it at this point.

I would like to transition him to his crib to sleep for (at least most of) the night and for naps.  I would say that we are semi attachment.  I don't want to traumatize him, but I also don't want to bother him in an attempt to soothe him.  We are both frustrated during the "soothing" process which consists of breast feeding, rocking, bouncing, shushing, and/or rocking.  I feel like he's outgrowing some or all of these.

Any mamas have advice for transitioning from co sleeping to crib?

Binky removal causes sleep crisis: What to do?

October 27, 2008

Have you ever gone through the great binky guilt? I know it's common, and many pediatricians have strict guidelines about when pacifiers should be tossed. Can you offer any advice to Stephanie in NE Portland? It sounds like she's been extremely creative and needs more help!

We're in the middle of a binky induced sleep crisis and I'm looking for some help.  A week and a half ago we took away our two year old son's pacifiers and now he is refusing to nap or go to sleep in his own crib.  This is a child who has slept (easily) in his crib since coming home from the hospital. 

At my son's two year appt my pediatrician said we should get rid of the binkies before March when our second child is born.  He said if we didn't, then our son would never give them up.  For more than a month we restricted binky use to naps and bedtime only.  Then last Saturday (a week and a half ago) we cut the tops off of the binkies.  I expected this would be a gradual way of getting him to dislike and ditch his binkies.  Instead he totally rejected them instantly and we had a cold turkey situation on our hands.
I tried to do this as gently as I could.  I bought books to read to my son about giving up the binky to prepare him and we have been talking about it for awhile.  Several days after cutting the tops off of the binkies my son and I decorated a box and left it for the Binky Fairy.  He received an IKEA train set the next day from the Fairy.

Continue reading "Binky removal causes sleep crisis: What to do?" »

Transition: From Two naps to One

April 28, 2008

While children will often give us lots of cues and clues on when they are ready to transition into a new schedule, it sure does help us mamas to get perspective from the experiences of mamas who have "been there, done that".  Can you share your thoughts with Sharon?

I would love to get feedback from other moms about the 2-to-1 nap transition.  My son just turned 1 year.  He has taken a morning nap and afternoon nap consistently since birth.  I read in all the books that about 12 -18 months, kids usually give up the morning nap and go to one longer nap, usually after lunchtime.  My questions:  What did this look like for your kid?  Did you let your little one find this new nap pattern himself, or did you initiate it?  If so, how? 

Movin' on up: to a "big kid" bed

March 12, 2008

For those mamas who have already been through this, Courtney would love your insight:

What about “big kid beds”?  Assuming your kid slept/sleeps in a crib - How old was s/he when they moved up to the big kid bed? What was the motivation to move them, esp. without another kid that needs the crib? Can they just stay in the crib for as long as they fit? Do they need to move when they are toilet trained and need to go potty at night? When they asked (whined) enough?  Did you go with toddler bed with crib mattress?  Twin?  Full?  Bunk?  Best place to purchase any of the options?

Daylight Savings and YOU: "Springing Forward" 2008

March 11, 2008

It was just last November when we talked about "falling back", and now we're springing forward?  So, how is the sleep schedule in your household after Sunday's 23-hour day?  "Springing Forward" - a piece of cake?

Happy National Sleep Awareness Week, 2008!

March 04, 2008

Who knew there was a National Sleep Awareness Week?  I didn't.  The CDC offers some guidelines on how much sleep we should get.  In our household, our sleep routine isn't the smoothest, but I think we all come close to getting the "recommended" number of hours.  Sleep is an important thing for us all.  In honor of National Sleep Awareness Week, we invite you all to share in an open discussion:

What are your tips and tricks to helping your little ones get the sleep they need?  What are your tips and tricks to make sure YOU get the sleep you need?  What are chronic sleep issues you encounter?

Suggestions for a 7yo bedwetter?

February 26, 2008

Mamas, any suggestions?

I have a seven year old who is still wetting the bed every night. I’m interested in knowing if there are other parents out there who have found particular books or bedwetting alarms helpful with their child.  I am considering using a bedwetting alarm and am looking at two in particular, one called the Potty Pager and the other made by Malem, but have no idea how to choose one.  The book Dry All Night: The Picture Book Technique that Stops Bedwetting also intrigues me.  Any advice would be appreciated.

"Bedtime is time to fall asleep..."

December 19, 2007

Sleep.  It's not really the gift that keeps on giving, it's the issue that keeps on issuing.  For many mamas and papas out there, sleep issues are top on their lists for frustrations and challenges.  Some kids sleep like they've been knocked out every night promptly at 7pm.  Other kids fight their sleep until double-digit hours, night after night.  We once thought we had champion sleepers.  Now, however, we don't question that we don't.

Ellen recently emailed about her 3-year old, who has just discovered an ability to protest bedtime:

My 3 year old, who has been cheerfully (for the most part) and consistently going to sleep easily since he was 5 months old, is now protesting bedtime and has started getting out of his room.  He ends up exhausted and we are exasperated with trying to coax and convince him to settle into sleep.  I am wondering if anyone has advice on this one.  We are looking for a loving, but firm, way to communicate that bedtime is time to fall asleep.  We have not been co-sleeping or staying with him until he falls asleep and are not planning on starting either of these approaches.  I have been fantasizing about a bed tent that would frustrate his wandering tendencies but would also be safe and kid-friendly in look and design.


Daylight Savings and YOU

November 06, 2007

Sun_moonOn Sunday morning, when the time "fell back", leaving daylight savings for the next few months.  That morning, we woke up at 7:15AM, which was really 8:15 on our body clocks.  I was thankful that my girls are relatively sleepy little girls, as I don't think I could have managed to wake up much earlier.  That night, we were ALL out of sorts, having meltdowns when it was only 8PM.  I guess I had forgotten that it was really 9PM (pretty darn late for us) on our body clocks.

The next morning, Monday morning, we woke up gloriously "early" - 7AM.  It was a natural and easy wakeup, whereas other mornings we struggle to get dressed and fed at 7:45AM and we race to school to avoid those awful tardy slips and getting sent to the office.

Monday evening, the bedtime routine was not as long-drawn as others.  By 8PM, they were tuckered out and were generally pretty cozy in their bunks.

Today, we are approaching 7AM, and I am hoping that the mornings will be earlier once again, and that we can have leisurely breakfasts and rides to school, but it remains to be seen.

I my girls were early risers, I could see how this could all be reeking havoc, with kids waking up ready to go at 4 or 5AM.

How has the time change been in your family?  Crazy?  Unnoticeable?

Crib recall for Graco, Simplicity brands

September 21, 2007

Everett_and_crib Graco has always been the old faithful baby gear brand in my home, and I know we've owned any number of products marketed by the company. Today I'm happy, though, to note we don't currently own a Graco crib (in fact, we haven't owned a crib since our first son outgrew it). The latest and awfullest recall to hit the market covers nearly a million cribs sold by Graco and Simplicity (all manufactured by Simplicity), from 1998 to May 2007.

I wrote about this recall for 'work' today, and while I can't say I'm horrified, I can say that I'm so, so sad for the parents of the children who died in the cribs and it just hits me how easy it would have been to make the same mistake -- the children were suffocated because the drop side is easy to install upside down, leaving a gap into which a baby's head can fit.

With all these recalls, I wonder if the CPSC is being more careful; manufacturers are being more responsible; or it's just random. Is this world getting more dangerous for our kids instead of less dangerous? Or do we just have better and better information?

Get to sleep! How do you change a child's bedtime?

August 30, 2007

My husband and I are confirmed night owls, always have been, always will struggle with it! I've read studies that a predisposition to early rising or staying up to all hours is hereditary, so you can imagine that our kids are just like us. Unfortunately, we're all night dwellers in a world designed for the early bird. And (what with Everett starting school at 8 a.m. in 11 days) I'm trying to change our ways.

Let's take yesterday as a case study: I woke the boys at 8 a.m., only 45 minutes past my goal time of 7:15. Truman (28 mos) took a nap, nearly three hours in the late afternoon. I tried to wake him up starting at around 90 minutes, but it didn't 'take' until 5:30 or so. All day I did admirably on what I call Project: Schedule; we ate meals at regular times, went largely without TV, tried to have a post-lunch settle down. Around 8:00, I started my recently-established routine: bath, maybe a glass of milk, brush teeth, books, good night! A few minutes before 11, I checked on them and they were quietly playing. 10 minutes later, Truman trundles down the stairs, and we do the carry-back-upstairs three or four times before finally, it's nighty-night.

Zoinks! What should I do? I just can't seem to get them to go to sleep at a "normal" time (I'd hope for something in the 9 p.m. range). I've been working on this for a couple of months now, some days assiduously, some days (I'll admit) a bit lackadaisical. I've tried some tricks that didn't work, like spiking the milk with Benadryl (I gave up after a week feeling guilty), aromatherapy bubble bath, even reading books that all have a bedtime theme. How can a mama get a couple of energetic boys to sleep already?

Sleep for a 9-month old

April 19, 2007

Sleep is one of the biggest issues for these little people. Right now, I am looking at the clock reading 9:03 PM and my girls are still up bouncing in their bunks. Some nights, they can giggle til 10 PM. Other nights, they are out cold by 8 PM. Some nights, they go to bed without needing a visit from mama or daddy. Other nights, my husband or I race up those stairs at the speed of light, trying to exude some godly presence like the house will cave in if they don't go to bed.

It all starts when they're little. It's often a rough ride, and there are so many paths to take. Diana would love to hear what worked for you and what didn't:

My baby girl just had her 9-month well-baby check up and the doctor asked me if she was sleeping through the night. I said no and he recommended that I try letting her cry it out a little bit to teach her to self soothe. I've tried this before, when she was around 5 months old and it was awful for me and her. She would cry so hard that she would start choking and I felt like a terrible mom. I've read some accounts from other parents that after sticking it out and letting the baby cry, theirs learned to sleep better in about 3 days to a week. Ours didn't seem like she was learning anything new about sleeping after a week (did I stop too soon?). I am very uncomfortable with letting her cry it out, for any length of time. Am I spoiling her? Am I teaching her bad sleeping habits?

This is our first baby and I have no real idea of how things naturally progress. Are there any parents out there that have babies that learned to sleep by themselves without using the crying out method? What age did yours finally start sleeping through the night without any help?

Cry it out? Baby Whispering? What worked for you?

To Sleep, Per Chance to Sleep

March 02, 2007

Asleeepingjpg_1So. Tired.  Please, bear with me through this post.  I can hardly finish a thought muchless a whole sentence.  For those of you keeping track, we have been dealing with eczema and teething, and of course this is followed with a lack of night time sleep.  The little guy is a whopping four and a half months now and even though he's a younger brother, I still feel like I have no idea what I'm doing.

Just to clarify, I don't expect a breastfed four month old to be sleeping through the night.  I'm just confused as to why night wakings aren't, uh, spreading out a bit by now.  I'm not sure I'm looking for a solution so much as the knowledge that things will improve at some point.  The longest sleep period my little guy can muster these days is about three hours, and that's usually between 7:30 and 10:30 (ie when I'm still awake).  From 10:30 until 6:30 or 7 AM the longest sleep period is about 2 hours, but the most common length of sleep is about 1 to 1 and a half hours.  It's just killing us!  Today I'm in such a dour mood because of the lack of sleep that I find myself acting out nearly as badly as my three year old!  My husband is also feeling the strain of no sleep.

Now there are several reasons why a baby might be waking so frequently in the night, and I think we can safely say that our little guy meets all of these reasons!  Hungry?  Check! (won't just take a paci, must eat)  Teething?  Check!  Needing mama time?  Check!  Development?  Check! (about to roll over, just getting good at scratching his eczema)  Illness?  Semi-check.  He has a cough which worsens at night.  He may even be enjoying some diaper discomforts as he's really wetting a lot at night and wears cloth diapers.  I tried using a disposable instead but that didn't change his waking patterns.  It's almost as if as the night progresses, the sleep periods get shorter and shorter (and mom gets more and more bleary eyed and exhausted during feeding).

Some of you are probably thinking "Why doesn't she just cosleep and get it overwith -- no waking in the night!"  Well, for me it's exactly the opposite.  If my baby is in the bed I do NOT SLEEP.  It's even worse than waking every hour or so.  I am usually my moodiest after a night with baby in the bed.  Add to that the complication of baby waking and not even wanting to eat or take a paci, just be frustrated at something (teething?  gas?).  It's so hard to trouble shoot in the middle of the night when you just want to SLEEP!

So I wonder where the limit is.  When will I lose my mind?  How will I get out of this rut?  Have any of you survived something like this and lived to tell about it?  Do tell, please!

Sleepless in Portland

February 11, 2007

O.k. experienced mamas, someone needs your help!  Is there anything Fara can do to catch a wee bit more sleep in the morning hours?  She asks:

I have a 5 month old son who is into a great regular bedtime routine. We start with a calming warm bath, feeding, cuddling, and then he happily goes down to sleep in his own crib by around 6:45pm.  He wakes up once during the night around 2 or 3 am, nurses and goes right back to sleep.  Blissful, right?  The problem-- he then wakes up no later than 5:30am and is totally ready for the day.  I have tried putting him to bed later (although I do cherish my evenings alone with my husband) but that seems to make him wake up even EARLIER!  I also tried leaving him in his crib until 6am since he is usually just happy to lay and chatter to himself until then, but he doesnt seem to get that 5am is not wake up time.  Am I doomed to become a morning person or does anyone have any suggestions as to how to help this little guy sleep in a bit?

"I'm scared of the dark!"

January 11, 2007

Normally, our six-year old daughter is our champion sleeper. She limits last-minute negotiating for water, snacks, more dinner, or trips to the bathroom. She quickly settles into bed, flips through a book, then turns off her light when she's ready for shut-eye.

CasperRecently, though, she has been fighting her sleep, fighting her routine. She cries when her little sister isn't allowed (or doesn't want) to sleep in her upper bunk with her. She protests when we turn of the room lights. She complains if we don't leave both the room light and hallway light on. When I ask her, "What's wrong?" She tells me that her friends at school told her they saw "ghosts". We had a long talk about ghosts the other day: how ghosts can be good or bad, how her friends may not have even really seen ghosts, that she may want to ask her friends about the ghosts tomorrow. For all we know, these ghosts may be the happiest and friendliest Caspers around.

Still, my daughter cries that she's scared of the dark, which is when - apparently - the ghosts come out. Any thoughts on how to help my little sleeper get through this? I may not even be the best help when it comes to the dark: I'm pretty scared of the dark myself.

Blowing off bedtime

August 29, 2006

As the summer draws to a close, the days are finally starting to get shorter again.  The sun isn't waking up quite as early, and neither is my son.  It's nice some mornings, that he can sleep in a bit (past 6 AM).  Of course I hear of some kids who sleep past 8:30 and even as long as 10:30 and I'm stumped... I could NEVER imagine Andrew doing this!

Perhaps that's because I'm a bit of a control freak when it comes to bedtimes and the whole going-to-bed protocol.  Once I nailed it down at the age of 2 or so, it's been pretty consistent.  This summer, though, I pushed it a few times, so that we could enjoy some evening time picnics at the park.  But as many a camping trip has taught me... the next day is always a disaster when bedtime protocol hasn't been adhered to.  So I find myself wondering... should I push it one more time?  Because (and now I'm going to feel selfish for saying this) I really, really want to go see the Oregon Symphony do their concert at the Tom McCall waterfront park this Thursday night.  I've been wanting to see the 1812 Overture performed with cannons and fireworks since... well since we moved to inner SE and could hear it happening just a mile or so away (that's 4 yrs now!).

The question is... will I have the energy in my 8-month pregnant body to get there, handle Andrew, and get back, and also enjoy the show?  Will I have the energy the next day to deal with the antics as I work from home?  Am I pushing my luck by blowing off bedtime???  What would you guys do?

Co-Sleeping Safely

August 15, 2006

Many of us have shared (or still share) beds with our little babes, and making sure they slumber safely is key.  Asks Sarah:

We are cosleeping with an active crawling about 7 month-old. I usually put him to sleep in our bed/co-sleeper (has really short sides, pretty much just adds some extra space to our bed) and we join him later. Tonight I went in to check on him after he stirred and found him about to crawl off the edge of the bed. I'm looking for creative options. What have other mama's and papa's found to work?

Dads, Babies, and Much Needed Sleep

June 10, 2006

Rebecca is desperately seeking sleep.  Can you help?

I'm wondering if I could query the breastfeeding mamas out there about whether or how their husbands are able to put their babies to sleep. I'm a first time mom with a two-month old and I can always put her to sleep by nursing her. However, she still doesn't sleep for long periods, so I really enjoy/need my husband to take a 3-4 hour shift so I can get some consecutive hours of sleep. This has worked well because he's been able to get her to be calm and sleep by wearing her in the sling (which she actually will not allow me to do). But now she's too big for the sling and cries and seems very uncomfortable. We're at a loss for how he can soothe her. She takes a bottle from him but it doesn't knock her out like breast milk and she's happy to sit and play with him for brief periods, but we are curious if there are ways that we could that he could actually soothe her to sleep? If he just rocks or carries her, it always ends with her crying. Is she just too young still?

Pillow Talk

June 04, 2006

Interesting question about sleep.  Leah writes:

We're wondering if/when we should give our 18 month old a pillow for sleeping? Last night he laid down with his head on his teddy bear as if it were a pillow and fell asleep that way. And when he sleeps with us, lately he always sleeps on my pillow whereas we used to scoot our pillows to the side and he slept between us in a cozy little spot on the bed. So we're wondering, is it normal to introduce a pillow at some point before they make the move to the big boy bed?

Help with Troublesome Tot Traits

May 09, 2006

Betsy is looking for insight from the urbanMamas:

Of course my 21-month old son is an absolute ANGEL most of the time (really, he's a good kid). But we're having two problems I thought I'd see if I could get some input on. 1) Diaper changes are a nightmare of kicking and tantrumy screaming. This is a problem as I am pregnant and don't want random blows to my belly. I'd do stand-up changes but his BMs are often still, er, not conducive to a good cleanup unless he's lying down. Distractor toys, songs, books only work some of the time. Any other suggestions? What's the 'logical consequence' of not cooperating with a diaper change?

2) Naptime has !poof! disappeared. He literally went from taking a three-hour nap one day to entering a phase - two weeks and counting - when he will not nap anymore. Our best nap so far in that time has been 1 hour. He has a pretty good routine - comes home from daycare at 12:30 and right up to bed, but it's not doing the trick anymore. He often can spend up to an hour or more hanging out in his crib *not* napping (but not crying), and sometimes he'll fall asleep eventually, and sometimes he'll start crying and make it clear that it's hopeless. By the time we give up, the afternoon is gone. Should I move naptime back, or give in and start skipping it and move bedtime up? (I should add that when he doesn't nap, the last two hours of the waking day are loooong with tantrums and rubbed eyes, etc., so I think he NEEDS them, he just won't take them).

Baby Whispering - A Different Perspective

May 08, 2006

When Rosa posted this comment, my heart went out to her sleeping woes.  Do you think we can workshop this one together?

I love all these comments. I am a first time mom and am stuck on what's supposed to be "normal". I have a 3 month old who really hates to go to sleep. He gets visibly tired and then cranky but once we swaddel him he starts to wail at us and push and scream. Both my husband and I get worn down from it and have not been able to keep him on a consistent nap routine. What we have learned is that no matter how we handle it, he is going to scream for a while. Any ideas out there at making the process a little less painful?

We also tried out the Baby Whisperer and couldn't even make it through the first day. I almost passed out from all the shushing - 45 minutes or more of shush and pat did not work to calm him at all, in fact he seemed to escalate once he associated it with being put down to sleep. Then I was having a really hard time dealing with a sleep deprived baby. Anyway, I was pretty disappointed for a while, in myself mostly. I would say the parent would need to be a certain kind of temperment to successfully manage the Baby Whisperer process but it makes a lot of sense. My husband and I really did gleen some good information from the book but at this point I think doing what feels right to us is working better - not great but better. I'd just love to get him over the fight to sleep. Is this normal, do most babies really hate the idea of sleeping? Are there any new ideas out there for calming a baby - I'd love to hear them.

Transitioning from Co-Sleeping to Own Bed

May 01, 2006

Lucy is seeking thoughts on transitioning away from co-sleeping:

Does anyone have any opinions or experiences to share about when they felt the right time was to transition their child out of their bed after co-sleeping has been the norm?  We have a three year old daughter that still sleeps with us, and I'm getting vibes from my mom, among others, that I ought to get her her own bed.  I still feel fine about it-- I'm a working mom and it gives me a way to feel like I'm still her parent even though I don't get to see her awake during the week for more than a couple hours at a time.  She seems to enjoy the closeness too.  She now will go to sleep on her own, but she counts on us coming in to share the bed at some point.  Perhaps there are benefits to her sleeping on her own that I'm not considering?  I'd get more closeness with my partner for one thing.  Thoughts?

Baby Whispering, Nights 3 & 4: A Study in Contrasts

February 26, 2006

Baby Gennie and I have been exploring the plusses and minuses of the Baby Whispering routine for sleeping through the night.  Here's the latest report.


So bad!  Gennie made it to 2:30am and then was up every 40 minutes until 6:30am.  I was on duty that night, and I began mentally fighting with myself, Tracy Hogg, and just everyone about this routine:

--What is the point of this, really?  Parental convenience?  Give it up!

--But Tracy Hogg says the baby will sleep better, that it's up to us to guide them.

--Western culture wants us to believe this, but it's just an excuse to fit babies into overbooked adult lives.

--But plenty of babies sleep through the night.

--Urbana Mamas says that's temperment.

--Noam Chomsky would say there's equal parts nature and nurture here.

--Yeah, and Dr. Phil would say "When does it end?  Do you want her throwing the car keys on the night stand, saying Mom, I'm home!, and jumping in to bed with you?

--That's the classic pull-them-up-by-their-bootstraps neoconservative argument.

This inner dialogue wound round and round until I realized This is my brain on sleep deprivation. Not a good time to make any decisions.  I remembered how, the night before, I heard Steve settling Gennie back down by playing the piano.  I was infuriated!  How in the world will piano music calm her?  He's just overstimulating her!  Wait, wait, we don't own a piano. I am not rational now.  And then Danielle's comment on this blog came just in time: Stick with it, you're doing fine.


She went down at "bedtime", up at 10:15pm for a tank up, and slept until 5am.  I've had to console her a couple times to get her to sleep until now (6am), but I'm so thrilled to have slept 6 hours in a row that I am the one who cannot settle back down!  So I'm writing this instead.  Urban Mamas, if every night could be this good--well, I'm not going to let myself even hope for it yet...

Baby Whispering Night 2

February 23, 2006

Hola, mamacitas.

Well the whole baby-whispering thing was terrible last night!  Genevieve cried so frequently, so long, and so loudly, (from maybe 2:30 on) that I wasn't sure if she ever stopped.  But, yet again, my husband vehemently denies this, and claims she cried for a total of about one hour.  I just don't know what to believe.

Naps took extra work today, too, though I did get her down after many reassurances.  We may have blown it, because we decided to move her crib to her own room today.  I know, it seems like a lot at once, but there's so many other potential disturbances coming up--teeth, shots, visitors.

My wonderful, incoherent, exhausted husband is on baby duty all night tonight, while I'm upstairs in our newly emptied room.  Maybe I'll sleep--but will I remember it if I do?

Baby Whispering Day 2

February 22, 2006

Genevieve and I are muddling our way through the Baby Whispering method that guides babies to sleep through the night and take naps.  Into the second day, I can see a difference.


I did not know that babies tend to wake up 40 minutes into a nap, but then settle back in.  With the book open to the "extend the nap" section in the crib, I read and consoled Gennie back to sleep for both morning and afternoon naps.  Two 2-hour naps (minus 10 minutes screaming time).


It feels strange to wait for full feeding sessions.  My breasts get rock hard from milk.  I'm noticing that she doesn't gasp and guzzle for it, though, but takes a long, leisurely nurse.  I wonder why that is, when she used to really go at it when she was nursing hourly.  Maybe because the milk flows more quickly?


As I commented on an earlier post, I have no idea what went on last night.  These past couple days feel like I'm suspended in a surreal painting of motherhood, with melting clocks measuring naps and nursing.  I will say this--she's down now, and did it with just some farting around in the crib and a whimper.  I would be crazy--and tempting fate--to say this baby whispering works this fast, so I won't.  I'll just report back tomorrow.


My deepest thanks for all the responses and emails.  It helps me keep the momentum.

Baby Whispering Day 1

February 21, 2006

Here it is, day one of the Baby Whispering regime.  And it feels like a regime.  I keep imagining Genevieve and I are in a makeover movie and, with a whisk of a mascara wand (and the requisite removal of the glasses) she'll be a sleep-through-the-night baby.  So, here is the good, the bad and the ugly, in reverse order:

The Ugly

I'm on very little sleep after last night's drama on top of 6 sleep-deprived months.  It doesn't get uglier.

The Bad

This pick up, put down routine instead of just consoling her to sleep or letting her cry it out feels like it prolongs the agony.  Gennie shrieks, arches her back, and fights all the way up and all the way back down.  I felt like I was doing barbell lifts.

The Good

She went down for two naps today, each nearly 2 hours, but interrupted by some (shortish) screaming sessions, during which I picked up, put down, ad infinitum.

And now!  She's sleeping.  She has been since 7pm!  And it's nearly 10pm.  She hasn't slept 3 hours in a row, day or night, since she was a newborn.  Plus she had those 2 naps. 

Can I tell you that today, minus the terrible shrieking during the "settling down" for nap, she was so happy and bright-eyed and playful?  Maybe I'm just telling myself something I desperately wish to believe, but I sensed she wanted this, too, that the constant snacking and light sleeping was dragging her down, too. 

Back to the Bad

I have to wake her up in 45 minutes for her "dream feed".  Then, we are going to try to go until 6:30 or 7am without a nursing session.  This could be a trying night.  Good thing my husband and I prepared for it by watching "Get Shorty".  We were supposed to be sleeping to gather up our energy for what lays ahead, but we felt too giddy with both children down...

Baby Whispering

February 20, 2006

I stumbled upon Tracy Hogg's The Baby Whisperer and have decided to give her sleep-through-the-night method a go.  My daughter, Genevieve is nearly 6 months and still wakes at 11, 1ish, 3ish, 5ish and sometimes extra to nurse, nurse, nurse. 

Today is day one of the E.A.S.Y. plan--four-hour time slots of eating, activity, sleep, and you-time (during the sleeping).  It felt strange and panicky to back off on the frequency of nursing during the day, but I truly look forward to easier nights. 

I'll post here a couple times in the duration of this baby-whispering experiment to let everyone know how it's progressing.  Today was mostly about observing the baby's current routines, but I did implement the pick up/put down procedure.  The procedure is a real struggle but, for me, ultimately better than letting Genevieve cry it out.  You basically put baby in the crib for nap or night sleep and, if she cries, pick her up and speak in a monotone. The second she stops crying, back to the crib she goes.  No rocking, singing, or coaxing to sleep.  If she cries again, up again, then back down.  The book says that the record for repeated pick up and put back downs is 150 over the course of a couple hours...dios mio.

Some say patience is a virtue.

January 05, 2006

OK.  I need some help and a teensy bit of affirmation here.  The past couple of weeks have been fun and rambunctious, with all the festivities and all.  As Philly said to someone last Monday, "I stayed up til twelve the other night."  As an understandable result, sleeping routines and general temperments are challenged.  Extremely challenged.

Every night from 7pm until 6am, I have to lie down with one or the other.  I am scratching backs, giving warm milk, nam-namming, negotiating, hushing, singing, or telling stories.  Once one girl's eyes are just about to close, the other will call out for me.  Raph will try to run to the rescue, and he'll be denied access.  "No!  I want Mommy!"  The almost-sleeping girl will wake up and cry.  The other one will cry, too, waiting for me.

There are other pressures: not sharing, pulling hair, refusing to walk, refusing to bathe, wanting to stay up, throwing cheerios, asking me three consecutive times when I'm doing something else, wailing "Mommy!" as if everything was an emergency.  I am starting to crack.

Yesterday, when Philly was whining about not wanting to take her lunch bag out of the car.  I told her, "I won't pack you a lunch tomorrow if you don't bring it into the kitchen."  When I say things like that, I try to keep my tone noncholant and matter-of-fact.  She started to wail: "Mommmmmyyyy!!!!" The whining continued.  It hurt my ears.  I yelled at her: "PHILLY!"  I followed with some general long grunting, moaning, and some low-level growling.  I needed to let out some steam verbally: "AAAAAAAAARRRRRHHHHHHHH!"  Philly stopped.  She said, "Mommy, you're scaring me."  Being as calm-voiced as I could, I said very, very sternly, "PHILLY.  Bring. your. lunch. bag. into. the. kitchen."  I honestly can't remember if she brought it in or if I did.

Then, last night, Tati had her usual early morning wake-up.  She cried for me, I ran to her, I nursed her.  At some point, I tell her, "No more nam-nam."  She cried so hard!!!  "Mommy PLEASE!"  Her eyes looked at me so big and I felt like I was committing child abuse, but - still - I said, "NO MORE NAM-NAM."  We do this dance for a long while, all the while with her pleading, "Mommy!!!!  Just a li'l bit!  Nam-nam!  PLEASE!"  I think I did the same grunting growl last night.  I was so fed up!!!  I am so fed up.  This morning, Tati said to Raph, "Daddy, is Mama angry?"  Raph tried to explain how we need to sleep like big girls, no more nam-nam, go to bed with no crying.

Today, I feel like a bad, bad mama.  For losing my patience and taking it out on them.  I know I need to give myself a time out.  I know that this, too, shall pass.  Children will be sleeping like saints soon, for 12 hours straight through the night.  Like the old days.  But, what I really want to know, is how can I best say to them, "I'm sorry for losing my temper" but also try to explain myself?

To cry or not to cry?

November 18, 2005

The other day, Dr. Ferber appeared on The Early Show (*link to the video) to speak to some of the criticism he's gotten.  He attempted to clarify his Center's approaches and also clarify misconceptions of "crying it out".  I admit: I haven't read his book, "Solve Your Child's Sleep Problems."  But, I have read a mainstream diluted interpretation "The Ferber Method demystified", complements of BabyCenter.com.

We say that we "ferberized" both our girls.  Our older daughter, we tried the mainstream diluted Ferber recipe at around 7 months old.  It took 3 nights.  After those three excrutiating nights, I could do the whole bedtime routine (bath, book, nurse), then put her into her crib still awake, and she'd go down to sleep by herself.  For our younger daughter, we tried the method at around 13 months old.  It was trickier because the two girls share a room.  It pretty much worked in a few nights.

So, it worked for us.  Did you ferberize?  It's not for everyone.  Maybe my girls are just sleepy-heads, just like me.