Monday, November 10, 2008

Go To Sleep!

When your baby was, lets say about 9 months old--what was his/her bedtime like? Did he/she cry a ton in the crib, while you listened in the other room? Or did you rock them until they were asleep in your arms? Or do you just let them stay up until they just crash? Bedtime rituals? I want to hear it all.

Mostly, I lack the patience to rock him over 15 minutes each night, and sometimes that just doesn't seem like enough, because once I lay him down, Michael just screams. But I can only take so much screaming. But I don't want to take him out, because he only thinks it's play time again.

So I'd love to hear about some of your experiences, and advice...please.


Bonnie Parks said...

Sad! Baby sleeping is such a hard topic! Amy was a great sleeper from the beginning and then went through a phase where she didn't do as well. That started around 6/7 months. Then we couldn't figure out what to do for her. We are basically cry-it-out kind of parents (once bedtime routine is over.) But she would cry for long times, and we would know she wasn't going to get to sleep. The worst part was when she could pull herself up, but she couldn't get back down. So we knew it was pointless to just leave her there, crying. We would rub her back a lot, or rock her or dance with her.
Sometimes we would leave her for quite a while and then go rub her back. We never got a great solution. But the good news is, Amy got better at sleeping again, especially when she learned to get back down by herself. Now she's a pro, as soon as we put her in her crib at night she pretty much goes right to sleep. I think our bedtime routine has really helped. We do song then story then prayer then nursing then dancing to our singing or a CD of lullabies. By this point (Amy's 14 months old) she knows what's coming. She'll fold her arms when she's ready to have prayer, etc. It's great! So that wasn't a lot of good advice, but good luck and hang in there. It will get better.

Rosie said...

Sleep is such a rough topic. So many opinions on whats okay and whats not and what it all depends on what you're willing or able to cope with when.
I am lucky... Brian and I decided very early on that we were going to enforce good sleeping habits in Allison. Part of it was that I went back to work when Allison was 6 weeks old and by the time she was 8 weeks I simply couldn't function while waking with her every 2 hours when I KNEW she was capable of sleeping 6-8 (since she had, but only if she was in bed with me, which was also no longer an option). We started a bedtime routine at 8 weeks ans she has been sleeping 6-8 hours without wasking since 9 weeks and all 12 hours since about 7 months. But, we were cry it out parents, like Bonnie and Matt. Even at 8 weeks it was hard to hear her fussing (not really crying, just fussing) but I knew it was going to be best for her in the long run. She needed to know how to fall asleep by herself for her health and happiness and my sanity! =)

Our bedtime routine: daddy does pjs, teeth brushing and flouride, then we say prayers, kiss daddy (somtimes mommy) goodnight, read a book, since a song and say good night. We lay her in her crib (with her blanket and bear... no bear at 9 months though) and turn on her crib soother music and leave the room. She plays and talks some nights, other nights she doesn't. Either way she is by herself and puts herself to sleep. At 9 months she would cry sometimes, but only for a few minutes and she knew the routine well enough to know that it was time to fall asleep and that we were not going to come back in to play. All in all, she knew exactly what to expect and felt secure in her routne. This was how bedtime went and she knew that we could get her up in the morning when she was all done sleeping.
My advice, if you're not opposed to the cry-it-out method, give it a shot. It takes about 3 days to change behaviors, and then every once in a while you'll still have an off night. If you are opposed to it, why not try the "graduated extinction" method. It takes more effort, but some people feel better about it. Leave your baby along in their bedroom, go in to soothe for a few minutes after 5 minutes of crying, then wait 10 minutes before going in again, then wait 15 minutes... you get the idea I'm sure. part of the deal though is you can't pick your baby up when you go in to soothe... that is counter productive and, and I'm sure you know, can signal play time and "you win" to the baby.
Good luck! Sleep is a rough issue, and every new development it changes again, at least for a while. If I could recommend any book to you on the topic, it would be "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child"... the Drs last name starts with a W. It is a great book and really deals with sleep issues from infancy through adolesence. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

The magical tool for us is the CD player. We turn it on together and then after a few minutes of crying he listens to the music until he's asleep. It works about 85% of the time.

Krystal said...

I'm not a cry-it-out believer. Yeah, it does work, but it's not for us. We are STRICT on bed-time though, and that's what counts. It's at 7pm, EVERY SINGLE NIGHT. We do bath, songs during (inside out) then soft songs (I'm a child of God) wrap up in blanket, and read a few stories (aka-mother goose). Then I take her into the dark room, and nurse her. Sometimes she falls asleep, sometimes she doesn't. Either way I lay her down. Usually she'll put herself to sleep, sometimes we have to go back and rock her a little bit. help nudge her there.

But she's not sleeping through the night either--she's 10 months old--she gets up 2 or 3 times a night, and we have to go in and rock her, or I nurse her. The way I figure it, she's only a baby, and while sometimes it's frustrating, knowing she can sleep through the night and doesn't need to eat, I know it's just a phase.

Good luck! and remember, 'this too shall pass' :)

Mrs. Mordecai said...

I can't do the cry-it-out thing either. We finally got him sleeping all night after the transition to the big bed at age 17 months. He's slept really well since then.

A routine really helps, as does getting them up at the same time every morning.