Sunday, February 24, 2008

live blogging: where am I? what's that smell?

Henry slept soundly last night from 7:20 until 5:02 this morning. I didn't go to him right away when he woke up and instead listened to him loudly babble with a few pitching screeches that translated to the English language as "I KNOW YOU ARE THERE! WHY AM I HERE?"

There were long periods of silence and then he'd start again.

At 6:30, I brought him to bed with me and he fell asleep nursing within 10 minutes. Charlie came home, thankfully, because that little virus that I've been barely keeping at bay has morphed in to the plague. Henry and I slept until 8:00. Charlie then brought him out and fed him breakfast and let the kids play while I slept until 9:55.

When I stumbled out of the bedroom, thinking that my entire motherhood experience has been a dream, Charlie said that he'd put Henry down for a nap at around 9:30 and although he hasn't cried, he hasn't really slept, either. It is now 10:15 and I can hear him babbling. I suspect that the morning nap is shot because he slept with me for an hour and a half - so I'm going to go get him and try putting him down for his second nap at around noon.

I'm taking a recess from live blogging.

But while I'm out running and playing (or sleeping and soaking) I would really like to hear more about No-Cry-Solutions that people keep commenting on, and also, the "reverse cycling" that Maria mentioned.

For the record: Some families are up early and go to bed early. Some go to bed late and wake up late. If you take your child out shopping at 9 PM and your child is not overtired, and their schedule is in sync with your family schedule, great. Equally great is the family that puts their child to bed at 6 PM, with the expectation that they will be up for the day at 5 AM. But for those families that ignore or are ignorant to their child's sleep cues and drag them all over creation - and then wonder why they are fussy, or argue that they "just don't sleep!", I want to hit them in the head gently place Dr. Weissbluth's book in to their tightly clenched hands.

I don't think that crying-it-out is the only way for a child to self-soothe. I do believe, that if a child is put in to bed at the optimal time, there will be little to no crying. Last night when I put Henry to bed at 6:35, he cried. But when I put him down around 40 minutes later, he went right to sleep. When he woke up crying from his second nap yesterday - he cried on and off for about 45 minutes, before I realized that he wasn't going to go back to sleep and I needed to get him.

Sleep training can really make a person second-guess every move they make. But, I think the more you know your child's sleep patterns and schedule - the better you are able to know when they are up and need you, and when they still need to sleep.

If I ran to Henry so that he never cried from his crib - I'm fairly certain that he would still be waking up every three hours and his catnaps would not extend more than 30 minutes. I also know that as much as I enjoyed "wearing" Henry is the Bjorn and letting him nap on me, in the longterm, that is not helping him establish healthy sleep habits.

Although I will nurse Henry in the morning from bed, he is very restless and does not sleep well for long stretches of time when he is with us. This is a good thing because with four children, a stuffed giraffe and a queen size bed, co-sleeping isn't very practical for our family.

I am now stepping off of my soapbox and in to the tub.


  1. You poor thing. I knew you were going to get sick because you weren't getting any sleep. Thank God Charlie is home!

  2. It's got to be tough to 'sleep train' a baby when there are older siblings with different schedules. It sounds like Henry is catching on and he'll be all caught up on sleep in no time. You're doing great - don't let anyone tell you otherwise!
    ~Sarah in Ohio

  3. Oh, I'm sorry you are sick!! I'm so happy Charlie is home to help out again!!

    I did have another suggestion for you tho...

    I noticed my little guy waking up early for a while when he was about Henry's age. It was abnormal for him, so I decided to try adding more solids. BINGO! The very next day he slept longer!! (till the desired time of 7am) Maybe Henry needs more to eat solid wise through the day? Just an idea! I'm in no way saying that you don't feed him enough. ;)

  4. Reverse Cycling is when the baby nurses more in the evening/overnight due to a decrease in day time nursing. Kellymom does a much better job describing it than I can.

    The "No-Cry-Sleep Solution" is a book by Elizabeth Pantley. The toddler version does allow for some crying, while I started using the baby version and haven't had to experience the crying so much. From what you describe about Weissbluth, much of their rhetoric is the same-- establishing and keeping a schedule, tracking their sleep in the beginning, etc. Pantley also discusses routines in pre-bed/nap time and how to use those routines to create "sleep cues," so the child gets in the habit of (for example) taking a bath, reading 3 books and then going to sleep (or something similar). That way when the child has read that third book, sleep is next and the kid knows that.

    As is the case with any parenting book, I have retained what I needed most from the book and another person who reads it might have retained more of a different aspect.

    Good luck with your continued sleep training. It is NEVER easy to put your parenting style out on the web like this, and I appreciate your openness!

  5. Sorry. One more thing...

    Pantley is big on learning your child's "sleep cues" -- i.e. eye rubbing, yawning, etc and using those to know that it is time for bed even if you have to abbreviate your bed time routine.

    And-- I agree on parents who ignore those cues, take their child out, and then don't "know why" their child is acting up. Sure, I occasionally keep my child out later than I should, but I fully admit the reason for his fussiness, and generally leave to put him to bed. Anyway. sorry for writing so much.

  6. I'm glad your Charlie is home. I always love it when my husband comes back from a trip - it makes my hear skip a little bit.

    Thanks for the live blogging - it's been fun!

  7. Hee!!! THAT is why we have a king bed now. Four kids creeping in with occasional nightmares/illness/morning snuggles. It's a reeeeeeaaaallly tight fit now that they are 9-1/2, 8, 6-1/2, and almost 4. Add in the dog and we are at maximum capacity.

  8. Jen, I was wondering if you have ever found that what you eat effects baby Henry and his sleep? With both of my kids, I found that when I ate something like chocolate (which I CAN NOT live without) and then nursed them, they were less likely to sleep well because of the caffeine. Also, if I ate things like broccoli they got super gassy and fussy. I know every situation is different but I was just curious if you noticed anything... We seem to have a very similar affection for chocolate!

  9. I agree that perhaps a little more food might make him sleep longer.
    Haveyou tried the baked potato yet?
    My Mom swore by that. I think he is teething and that affects his sleep also. They all look so cute.
    Glad Guy is back safely.

  10. I am just catching up on all your sleep posts...all I have to say is AMEN, Sister! It is really hard to train a child to sleep well but I think it is an important gift you can give your child. Our bodies and brains need sleep and establishing healthy sleeping habits early on will really benefit your children later in life. Hang in there!

  11. I've read your posts over the last two days and felt a combination of compassion and inferiority.
    I don't know how I helped my oldest learn to self soothe, but I'm failing miserably with the baby. I want to let her cry, but it triggers her asthma and so I'm perpetrating the nursing/rocking to sleep and it's killing us in the middle of the night. It doesn't help that we have a tiny house and each and every one of her cries wakes up her sister.
    You are inspiring me to try harder to find a solution. Thanks for documenting all of this so carefully!

  12. I haven't read this book, but I have tried to be very aware of Jon Kai's sleep cues. He is a very happy, active child. When he stops babbling and rubs his eyes or doesn't smile readily, I know it's time to consider going down. We still don't have a defined sleep schedule, as he's at daycare and I'm not entirely sure how to get a schedule down for him when I'm not there. But his nights are MUCH better this past week now that he's eating solids. Just 3 or 4 tablespoons of cereal before bath (which is right before bedtime) and then a full bottle before bed has been enough to keep him asleep from 7 pm to 5 am, sometimes later. So I second the eating more solids during the day. This week, we're adding 3 - 4 tablespoons of cereal at lunch. We'll see how it goes at nap time.

  13. Oh, and we have a definite "routine" in the evening. His dinner of cereal is promptly at 6. Bathtime at 6:15 and jammies and a book by 6:30. By 6:45 he's got a bottle and he's rarely down later than 7:15. On some nights our routine is turned over because we're at church (Sunday nights) or at some other function. I notice on those nights he doesn't sleep as well and he wakes earlier. I need to probably be a little more militant about getting him into a regular routine. It'd make all our lives easier I think.

  14. Man, I had a lot of catching up to do...I think I just read for 30 minutes! You did a great job of keeping us updated to the sleep training...

    Sleep is SO important to me and sometimes people (friends and familY) don't understand my obsession with it (and my obsession wiht getting my kids to sleep)...but I have found that it is the foundation for us...

    Thanks and I hope you are feeling better too. And I don't think you are "mean" for letting him cry it out. I think it works and it doesn't harm them and learning to self-soothe is SO important...

  15. I started reading your blog when a friend read my post in January entitled-Yesterday & Today, essential a quick note on living life with a two year old and a newborn with colic that happened to coincide with your entry on the anatomy of a nervous breakdown. It did make me feel better. I love reading parenting opinions and embracing the daily ups and downs of parenthood. Sleeping has always been a tough one for us. I finally let my two year old CIO at nine months-although she never had to cry hard or long. I thought it would be so easy to get the newborn on a sleep routine, or even in her crib for that matter, until I realized the curve ball we are being thrown with colic- in the end it's all about throwing everything you think you know out the window and going with what feels right:)

  16. Karen in Buffalo2/25/08, 12:54 PM

    So glad your Charlie is home and I'm sorry you're not feeling well. You did a great job with the kids on your own. Thanks for the sleep training posts~ I'm taking notes and hope to find the answer to our sleep issues with our girls.
    Get well quick!