Wednesday, December 19, 2007


So, how do you get a baby to sleep, anyway?

It's not that we don't have a routine. We do. It's just that recently Rachel has ignored our routine.

I've been reading up on sleep patterns for babies and apparently Rachel should be getting 5 hours worth of naps everyday. That's not a problem with me except that she doesn't nap.

She power-naps. Half an hour and she's done. And she'll only do that once or twice a day.

So, if I "force" her to sleep longer at nap time, will she sleep better at night? That's what all the articles I read said.

I'm not sure I believe them. She's related to my little sister who stayed up for a full 24+ hours after she was born...and who, thirteen years later, still runs on very little sleep.

Little bundles of energy, they are. Rachel seems to push bedtime back for each nap she takes, minute by minute, if she naps more than an hour a day. I don't know though. Is she just overtired?

I do sometimes force her not to have naps (like the 9 o'clock "nap"--that one just has to go. Napping at 9 PM should just be illegal. That's a good bedtime, Rachel. We don't nap at 9 o'clock).

Anyway...we've tried pretty much everything. Baths, singing, reading, rocking, eating...we had a routine that was butchered this week, but has been pretty consistent in the past...


(She's asleep I'm going to bed. We let her cry herself out in her only took 28 minutes, but that was after our bedtime routine so in total it took about an hour or so to get her to sleep. That's not terrible considering last night we spent, oh, let me pull out my calculator...SEVEN!)


Abra said...

Just so you know, if you stick with that... (while it's hard) letting her cry... the time shortens each time. She cries because she knows you'll come, (which is good, she needs to know you're there) but when it's bedtime, she needs to know it's time to sleep. By leaving her, she'll learn that, that is the only time you're not coming when she cries. Thusly she will eventually play or just go to sleep when it's time for bed. And playing is a lot easier to deal with then crying :)
I love you I wish I could come and play with her so you could sleep!

Crissy Bear said...

Yeah Abra is right. It does get shorter and shorter but it is hard. The first night we put Ezra to bed without nursing he probably cried for an hour and a half. Torture. After ten minutes I came in, rocked him a second and then put him down, then fifteen minutes later I went again and did the same thing, then again twenty minutes later. Then a half hour later, etc. The next night maybe he cried and hour and twenty with me coming in at the same schedule. Then the next night an hour but by the end of the week he was down to probably just twenty minutes and the week after that he'd cry for few minutes and then he'd be out. Now he goes to bed like an angel. I mean he tries to weasel out extra stories but once he is in his bed and we turn the lights out he stays until he falls asleep. From Ezra I learned that nursing them to sleep makes things harder from the get go so Grace just got put down and had to cry it out. And she does. A year later she still puts up five minutes of protest when she goes down for her nap or for bed, but it is just expected. As soon as she sees us kneel down for prayer she starts up because she knows she has about thirty seconds before she gets put down. Good grief. You just have to find what works for you. It is all about balance. What as a mother can you deal with? How much sleep do you need? How much crying can you take? Everyone has to figure out what works best for them. For us seven o'clock is what I can take. At seven we get on pjs , brush teeth, read a story, have prayers and we are in bed by seven thirty. With kisses and crying (grace) the kids are asleep by eight. Then I do everything I couldn't do before like talk to my husband. The kids don't sleep in though so I think that might explain why they go to sleep so early. In the summer they are up at around five and in the winter six. I think they are little sun babies. So from then until bed it is go, go, go. Like I said, it is a balance of what you can take/stand. I agree with you that nine o'clock naps are not OK :) One tip I can give you though is watch her while she is nursing. My kids always tried to sneak in a few minutes of nap then. I used to tickle their feet or pull them off when they did that...obviously I didn't do that when they were new, but when they were a little older and I was trying to figure out a better schedule with them. Anyway sorry your week has been so bad. I hope you guys negotiate something that works. Parenthood is all about negotiation but I've found that as the parent you usually have less to bargain with :)

The Buchanan's said...

It is hard to let them cry it out but from my experience it works. The time that they cry gets shorter and shorter. I have been putting Maggie down for bed when she has been awake so she can train herself to put herself to sleep. So far it hasn't been bad. I still wrap her up though. I find she sleeps better being all wrapped up like a burrito. If I just lay her down in her bed with a blanket over her she tends to hit herself and wake herself up. Well good luck and call me if you have any questions.

Anonymous said...

First of all, when things get rough, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE come ask me for some help. I am only mere feet away. I get sleep. I would love to help others get it too. I know what it can be like, especially when the mommy is sick!!! Even though I know it is hard and uncomfortable, sometimes you have to just come out and ask for help. Seriously.
Secondly, I add my voice in favor of the Ferber method. Look it up. I used to sit in the girls' room, stroking their heads until they fell asleep. Not comfortable, not my idea of fun. Finally, I had had enough and I tried this method out. It seemed to work. Also, how would Rachel do with some tight swaddling? That's the only way my girls would sleep until they were about 9 months.
May your next child be a sleeper!

Bonnie Parks said...

I agree with everything, particularly what Kim said about asking for help. Amy is an awesome sleeper at night and pretty good in the day. That's why I am ok with the fact that it's almost 2:30 and I am still up. It'll be a little rough tomorrow morning, but Amy will sleep enough that I'll be fine. So the point is, I can help too. I don't mind coming over there or having Rachel over there. Almost any time. And you know it's pretty easy to just find me online. Let me know. Also I have such a testimony of swaddling. (Did you ever get to watch "Happiest Baby on the Block?" It's all about this stuff. And even though it talks about newborns, I find the techniques still work with Amy. Also Amy is a squirmer. She can get out of blankets well even when she is swaddled tight. But she has a lot harder time getting out of her "Swaddle Me" blanket from Babies R Us. Part of our bedtime routine is to wrap her in that right after pajamas. My sister and I swear by them. I think Laurel had her baby swaddled every night for the first seven months (or was it nine?). No matter what it is, I hope you find something that works for you and soon. I am sorry for you that this has been so difficult.

Bonnie Parks said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rosie said...

I don't know you, Nancy, but I know Bonnie... she served in my home ward and I was in Nauvoo with Matt. I linked here from her blog and read your post. My daughter is about your daughter's age I think (based on the photos posted here). Every kid is different with naps, but bedtime, I think, should be an absolute. Crying won't hurt them, and learning to fall asleep on their own will help them sleep better later in life. We started forcing the bedtime issue with our daughter at 8 weeks becuase I had already gone back to work and she had me up until 11 pm, then up every 2 or 3 hours, which resulted in getting less than 5 hours of sleep, which I just couldn't function one. It only took 3 night to get her bedtime trained. She still cries some nights, but she knows its bedtime and it never lasts long. I would suggest the book "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child." Granted, all kids are different so you can't go strictly by the book, but it has a lot of good information on sleep in general. Wishing you more sleep!