May 8, 2012

don’t get me wrong
on the whole, things are still good — very good. even if i feel tired occasionally, all it takes is one glance at this little image to remind myself we are lucky. after all, see all that solid blue stuff on either side? for a 1-month old, annabel is a great nighttime sleeper, all things considered.

still thoroughly obsessed with the baby connect app

but on sunday, i have to admit that i was still ready to tear my hair out on several occasions. approximately 15 failed naps [ie: clearly tired baby who will NOT settle despite multiple attempts to put her down], many crying spells, and what felt like 8 million feeding sessions which did not seem to be going well left me feeling dejected and defeated. after all, if my only purpose right now is to feed my baby and keep her happy, what’s going on if i can’t do those things?

it’s not a good feeling. combine that with feeling like a frump, crazy postpartum hormones, a husband who had to work all weekend, and not having time to work out [because it’s hard to do when naps fail to last longer than 20 minutes!] and it’s a recipe for a grumpy mom + a bad day.

i’m not sure whether it was just because it was another day, but yesterday went so much better. it seems sort of silly but one thing that i did that really seemed to help was to put music on in the apartment!


sleep station for the win!

i’m not sure whether this worked because it relaxed her — or because it relaxed me. every time she got tired, i put on the sleep station and started to rock her, and eventually she would melt into my arms and fall asleep.


rested baby = happy baby + more sleep for mom = happy mom!

 the other thing that i did was to troubleshoot some feeding issues that we were having. she was starting to get very frustrated at the breast just a few swallows into each feed, and would stop feeding effectively. though she continued making plenty of wet/dirty diapers, it seemed like she was never satiated.

 after some reading, i concluded that annabel might have been getting fussy at the breast due to slow letdown on my part [related to nipple confusion from her nightly bottle? i’ll never know . . .]. after reading some of the online suggestions, i’ve started doing some breast compression/massage while she feeds, and she seems to be doing much better without the frantic mid-feed freakout — and she is no longer acting hungry 30 minutes after a feed. hopefully i won’t have to do this forever, but i will if i have to!

2 sleep questions for you . . .

1. when did you transition from bassinet –> crib [in the nursery]? 

we attempted this for one night, but it didn’t go well and i’m thinking of waiting until 6 weeks to try again. of note, our apartment is all one floor and the nursery is just one room over with no real sound barrier [the walls don’t go to the high ceilings in our loft-like space].

wearing my brest friend. so fashionable . . .

2. anyone else struggling with “putting the baby down drowsy but awake”? 

i really want to do this because a) i trust healthy sleep habits, happy child and b) it seems to make sense that it will teach her to soothe herself to sleep for naps — but often it doesn’t actually work. as in, she pops right back up again despite clear signs that she was tired. should i just keep trying?

[although as i write this, i had put her down drowsy-but-awake and heard lots of sounds — but i just checked on her and she’s asleep! victory? we’ll see!]


  • Reply Sarah M. March 10, 2019 at 7:42 pm

    Growth spurts can throw off sleep/nursing patterns. Sounds like you’re on the right track with the compression though!

  • Reply Cecily March 10, 2019 at 7:42 pm

    Ellen slept only in her bouncy seat for her first 7 weeks (thanks to reflux), but we had her in the bouncy seat in the crib starting when she was 2 weeks old. She transitioned to her crib sans bouncy seat full time around 7 weeks. We all seemed to sleep much better after she was out of our room!

    Ellen struggled with going down drowsy but awake at Annabel’s age. It wasn’t until she was about 7 weeks old that she would fall asleep for naps at least sometimes when I put her down drowsy, and about 10-11 weeks old until she did it more consistently. Still, at 6 months, she often needs to fuss for 5-10 minutes before she’ll fall asleep for naps, but I feel okay about letting her work it out on her own at this age, while I wouldn’t have felt okay about it when she was 1 month old. I’ve found that baby sleeping patterns are always changing and can be frustrating – so don’t worry too much if it doesn’t go exactly as Healthy Sleep Habits suggests! All you can do is your best 🙂

    • Reply theSHUbox March 10, 2019 at 7:43 pm

      thank you cecily!! i will try not to worry much about drowsy but awake for now then 🙂 awesome to know that ellen ended up being able to do it at 10-11 weeks. i definitely do NOT let her do any crying it out at this age – agree it’s way too young! instead i just go back in, soothe, repeat — but sometimes it feels futile!

  • Reply oldmdgirl March 10, 2019 at 7:43 pm

    Agree with the above commenters that drowsy but awake probably won’t happen until 3 months plus. When you nurse her at night you can *try* putting her down before she conks out completely, but don’t be surprised if she wakes right back up again immediately. The problem is that drowsy but awake requires you to let them cry sometimes, and at 4 weeks she’s probably still too little for that.

    I still haven’t attempted the crib yet (baby is 15 weeks), but am thinking about it soon. I’d suggest waiting until after the fussy phase peaks (6-8 weeks) so that you’ll find yourself getting up less often at night. Most of my friends who did the transition then have been successful.

    We still use the swing for naps (we have the same one that you do — LOVE IT!). Recently we transitioned to a stationary swing, and it’s gone well. You can try reducing the amplitude over time if you find she needs the motion to sleep. Don’t worry, she won’t get addicted to it. Despite what some of the baby instruction manuals say, you CAN leave her sleeping in the swing for hours if she’s asleep.

    I like the Jodi Mindell sleep book. I will say that baby sleep books seem to be mostly geared towards slightly older children (4 months plus) because that’s when what you’re doing can really affect their sleep habits. Before then, it’s all about soothing them. Constantly.

    Hang in there. It sounds like your girl is doing great. You’ll be sleeping through the night before you know it, even though it seems like this phase will last forever.

    • Reply theSHUbox March 10, 2019 at 7:43 pm

      thank you so much for this comment – as above i definitely don’t let her cry! i just keep going back in and then soothing her and trying again. this leads to a lot of ‘nap fails’ – but i’m learning to deal with it. but it makes me feel much better to know that i don’t have to worry so much about drowsy-but-awake just yet!

      i agree, i think i’m going to wait on the crib until she’s waking up less.

      and actually we don’t have a swing – but the rock ‘n’ play sleeper looks just like the swing you are talking about. we put her in the rock ‘n’ play to sleep (we use it as a bassinet). i bet she would love a swing because she loves swinging in my arms but right now she’s done okay without it as long as i can serve as a human substitute 🙂

  • Reply Emily March 10, 2019 at 7:43 pm

    We switched to the crib around 6 weeks when he kicked his legs up to the side of the bassinet and got stuck. We also had trouble w drowsy but awake as he was and is a very alert baby. I got lazy about it as everyone, including HSHHC, said it didn’t matter at this age. Especially since he basically only woke once at night for the first 3.5 months it was no big deal to hold him or nurse back to sleep at night. Fast forward to 7.5 months and we are now seriously working on it because of a lot of sleep problems now. I wish someone had told me that while it didn’t matter for him, it mattered for me to stay in the habit of trying. It isn’t always possible but maybe aim to do it for at least 1 nap per day to see of you can start the learning when stakes are relatively low (daytime).

  • Reply Marci March 10, 2019 at 7:43 pm

    We started crib from day one and he usually goes down awake but tired and usually just at night in the crib. Also, always swaddled in crib and on his side. With sound machine on. sometimes takes going back in once or twice to soothe and then he is good.

  • Reply runnerstrials March 10, 2019 at 7:42 pm

    Hang in there, Sarah! You’re doing great. I have SO been there with thinking that I’m failing as a mother because I can’t keep him happy. Babies are so hard to figure out and chances are, she was just cranky for no reason.

    We moved W to the nursery at 7w (the nursery is on a different floor from our room), but I slept in there with him until 10w b/c he was still waking up every hour.

    I STILL struggle with putting him down drowsy but awake! It works sometimes, but not always. Good luck <3

  • Reply Hotpotatokate March 10, 2019 at 7:18 pm

    Drowsy but awake comes and goes! We can do it almost all the time at night now (since maybe 7-8 weeks??), but only rarely during the day. At the moment, my attitude to naps is "get the sleep however possible". Yesterday, that meant a day on the rocker for me, as T just would not go down.

    I was hoping to have him in the bassinet until 6 months, but I think he’s too long, so we’ll be starting to transition soon. The cot is currently filled with things we haven’t put up on his walls, so there’s that step first! I’m very nervous- love having him nearby. But I suspect we are disturbing his sleep sometimes too, and it’s got to happen eventually.

    The other thing that can cause fussiness sometimes is wind- also, I think it sometimes happens cs they’re hungry, but too tired to feed properly. But T was doing it last night, and I could see milk leaking out his mouth, so it definitely wasn’t slow let down this time! We took a chance and put him to bed with a pacifier, and although he grizzled a little, he didn’t cry or make any hunger signs, and slept til 1am (not his best night sleep, but better than continuing to try to feed a baby who’s not properly hungry and who’s totally frustrated).

    It sounds like you’re doing great, and that A is just being a baby! I have a facebook group of about 60 women, and what you’re going through is exactly what we’ve been going through too. Ignore all those things you read about how long babies sleep during the day- I’ve barely met anyone who gets that kind of sleep!

  • Reply Kath March 10, 2019 at 7:19 pm

    Love your fashion statement!!

  • Reply Alison March 10, 2019 at 7:18 pm

    We moved to crib right after 2-month appt and it was a huge turning point for sleep for us! Next time I would try even earlier just to see how it goes (Corban was probably ready at 6 weeks but I was nervous). Our ped said it’s not a big deal if he falls asleep nursing, which he usually does at night. I was concerned, but there have been recent nights where he was awake when I put him down, and as long as he has a paci and some music all is well. Whatever works is best at your early stage – don’t worry about training till at least 4 months. There is a huge difference between now and then.

  • Reply Erica March 10, 2019 at 7:18 pm

    All I can say is It Gets Better. We had a growth spurt when our little guy was 4.5 weeks old and it was just as you described – baby nursed, cried, and fought naps for almost 2 days. I was at my wits’ end, and was home alone by myself so I had no help during the worst of it. On the other side of that, though, is a happy little fellow who coos, smiles and rarely cries (well, he only cries for a reason).

    Once they make it past the 4-5 week mark, they can handle going down when drowsy but not asleep much better. When our little guy yawns, we know playtime is over and it’s time for a diaper change and a swaddle. What I love is that when we get him all swaddled up, he yawns, then kind of wiggles likes he’s super cozy and then he settles in for his naps. We’ll hear some cooing and a few little cries, and then he’ll fall asleep. I haven’t read Healthy Sleep Habits, but I read the Baby Whisperer and I think the philosophies for naps and whatnot are the same.

    I don’t have tips on transitioning to the crib because we started there the first night. We also have a little night time sleep routine. He gets his bath, then a swaddle, then husband or I will sit with him for 3-5 minutes. he sits upright, no rocking, talking, or lights. You can kind of feel his little body just let go and relax and then we know it’s time for him to go to bed for the night. He’s still awake, but receptive to sleep.

  • Reply Trenton March 10, 2019 at 7:18 pm

    Glad to see we aren’t the only ones :). Sat and sun were a bit rough around here. Maybe it’s an age thing since they are so close in age. We finally figured out the hairdryer as white noise works when nothin else will. Your music sounds much more fun! I’m definitely going to start with the compression as well. we are also doing a nightly bottle but have been for several weeks, so I don’t think that’s the problem recently.

  • Reply Trenton March 10, 2019 at 7:18 pm

    Oh, and drowsy but awake works for us sometimes, but typically I nurse her to sleep. Glad to see that’s still ok this young. Do you swaddle for naps? I just started doing that and she seems to sleep better and longer. I do let her nap in the bouncer, though, because the vibration seems to help. We had her in the crib at night from day 1. I also let her stay awake too long because if it was less than an hour/hour and half I thought she couldn’t be sleepy. Guess I will watch much more closely for the signs and put her down as soon as I see a yawn. Loving all the comments since I am searching for answers on pretty much the same stuff 🙂

  • Reply Autumn March 10, 2019 at 7:18 pm

    I think drowsy but awake works better after they are a few months old. You won’t create a bad habit if she falls asleep while nursing now and you just lay her down. Eventually she won’t fall completely asleep after eating or won’t need to eat before a nap and that’s where drowsy but awake comes into play. At least that’s how it’s gone with my kids and I have great sleepers! I love Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child!

  • Reply Jessie March 10, 2019 at 7:18 pm

    I wouldn’t worry about the drowsy but awake part until the newborn stage is over (3 months) because they get a much better handle on self soothing by that point.

    We transitioned our baby girl to her crib @ 6 weeks exactly. It was a total fluke, she fell asleep nursing and was turned the wrong way for me to easily place her in her bassinet w/o jostling her so I just placed her in her crib & she did great. We put the bassinet away the next day.

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