Monday, May 26, 2008


Getting D to sleep has been getting increasingly frustrating. It's becoming such a fight each time. At least over the weekend Zach and I could tag-team it-- "You go get things started, if he's still screaming in 10 minutes I'll come up and relieve you."

I keep going through cycles every few days. I'll try nursing him to sleep at each naptime, which works ok for at least half of the time-- he'll go to sleep quickly and often stay asleep and we skip the whole fight, but sometimes he'll still be awake afterwards, or sometimes lately I think he gets drinking too fast and swallows some air and then he'll be crying even harder than before. But it at least makes some of the days' naps easier, except he won't always get a good feed in since he's falling asleep, so then he'll be hungry again when he wakes up, and in the end there will be parts of the day (if not most of the day) where we're nursing every hour.

So then I'll get tired of feeding him all the time so I'll switch to an eat-awake-sleep routine that I've heard so much about, and that will work really well for feedings (he'll eat well, go 2 hours-or sometimes close to 3- between feedings, etc) but then it's a struggle to get him down for naps and bed, so after a few days of that I'll give in and start nursing him to sleep again. And back and forth we go...

So, mommies, I'm looking for advice here. He doesn't take pacifiers, he doesn't like the rocking chair, I swaddle him and that helps him calm down (at least works better than not swaddling), etc. Any other ideas to try? I'm not too far off from trying the Ferber method of letting him cry it out for a few days...

ps- Part of the problem is also not being able to stay asleep once he's down. I'll spend 20+ mins walking with him and getting him to fall asleep, will set him down, and he'll seem fine (and sleeping) but then 2-5 mins later he wakes up screaming. Sometimes we do this over and over for up to an hour before he finally will sleep and take a normal nap (~45mins)-- and sometimes I just give up and we skip the nap altogether. He'll be so tired and fairly easy to get back to sleep when he does this. I don't know what could be waking him up so much, why he can't stay asleep.


  1. i have zero advice but just wanted to say that im thinking sleepy thoughts for D. Hang in there, and let me know if you need anything...

  2. If he is struggling with reflux, when he lays down or goes horizontal, he might have acid up his esophagus. Same problem with Ryan and the solution was to have her sleep sitting up in her carrier or her bouncy seat - strapped in of course. They can do a radiology test for reflux where they give him a bottle with a solution in the formula, then put him under the x-ray machine and you can watch the solution move through his system. And there are good treatments for baby reflux, aka GERD.

    The other thing is he can tell when you put him down by the change in smell and temperature. Maybe have him sleep with a shirt you have worn.

    There is nothing wrong with crying it out and I think the best sleep book I read said that about 6 months old is when they start to "get it" that you're not abandoning them and they're supposed to go to sleep. Just don't feel guilty or that you're a bad mom if you try it. You're not and it is important for him to figure out how to soothe himself and sleep on his own. Otherwise you'll have a 5 year old who sneaks into your bed almost every night.

  3. Ryan wants to send you some cake from her birthday party to make you feel better. This year was Cinderella's head. I'll send a photo when I get them off the camera.

  4. Anonymous8:29 AM

    I don't know nothin' 'bout birthin' no babies (or sleeping them, for that matter - like I said, my babies nap all day long, fat lazy bums that they are), but maybe he doesn't need that much sleep? I'm going from my daycare experience, with the kids who just wouldn't nap. I know D's a lot smaller than those kids, but maybe skipping some of the nap times might be better than fighting him, especially if he doesn't sleep that much at each nap anyway.

    But then again, that's partly because I think you have a super-smart genius Bruce-Banner-type baby who's too advanced for normal baby activities such as sleep.

    Get him a Lego set and see what he does with it. If he swallows the pieces, then put him down for a nap (after you Heimlich the swallowed pieces out of him, of course); if he builds a working model of the Challenger or the Concord, then let him stay up and watch C-Span.

  5. Anonymous9:15 AM

    I was thinking along the same lines as Criss. Maybe Donovan doesn't need as much sleep as you think he does. If it's the time you would consider bedtime but he seems cheerful and wide awake then maybe wait a little bit till he feels more tired. None of my girls needed a lot of sleep and it hasn't hurt them.

  6. Well, A is 22 months and only started sleeping through the night (8+ hour stretches) about a month ago. So I'm no help. She did start sleeping well at about 12 weeks, but then I went back to work and she reverse cycled and that was over. I just followed her cues.

    We nursed to sleep until recently. I used to be able to nurse her back to sleep when she woke up (we co-slept until 14 months, else I never would have survived). I basically rolled over and we both fell back to sleep. Eventually that stopped I just talked her through it when she woke up (she is still in a crib right next to the bed). Now she's doing fairly well.
    But I'm guessing you don't want to wait 22 months to sleep through the night ;)

  7. I'm not a mom yet. But I was a live-in nanny and also worked in a child care center.

    You might want to pick a method and try it for longer than a few days. Children can usually adapt in 5-7 days of consistency.

    Trying something for a few days, deciding it doesn't work and trying a completely different method may be part of the issue.

  8. The thing is I always wait till he shows me what I assume are clear sleepy signs (yawning, rubbing eyes, fussiness) so it seems like he's tired...

    GL- and therein lies the rub. I'm trying to form consistent routines, but it's hard when I'm also trying to be flexible and follow his cues, which change daily it seems.

  9. Anonymous12:28 AM

    i'm not a mom and know little about children, but in my nursing program we were told that babies who seem fussy sometimes need to be placed so they are laying on their right side (so sliding a rolled up towel behind the back slightly helps).... or maybe it was the left side? uhhh. i'm sure it's the right. try both haha. this helps with gastric emptying and other bowel issues.

    the other thing is that sometimes babies really need to be wrapped up tightly in a blanket. i know you swaddle him in your arms, but onced he's laid down he probably still needs the same reassurance with a blanket wrapped around him tightly, especially the legs and arms.

    sassy use to use a hairdryer around the corner or the vaccume to fall her little one to sleep sometimes.

    i use to fall my own sister alseep by using the stroller inside. i'd lay her down flat in the stroller, dim the lights, and sing to her the same song over and over again very lightly while rolling the stroller back and forth slowly.

    hope this sorta helps.

  10. I know I am a bit late (Mem Day weekend in these parts), but I only have two pieces of advice: one is that I think a lot of it has to do with his age and this will sort itself out on its own, and two is that I also tried to watch for "sleep" signs but had little luck. We now have a rock solid routine (b/c Ellie is older--we certainly didn't have the kinks worked out at D's age) and I basically wait until she's all-out fussy to put her down (note fussy but not hysterical--but yes, actually crying a little, not just rubbing eyes etc). You can sabotage the whole nap if you try to put him down too soon, so I might wait until his cues are a bit more obvious.

    If I were you, I might take a break from the naps for a week or two and then see if you can get the nap to develop more organically. Or at least start with one nap--the morning nap--and only push that one for now. Once that's well-established, go for the afternoon nap. You will make yourself crazy trying to do both (or all three, if he's a 3-nap-a-dayer) at once.

    Just my two cents.



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