* * * just a heads up: you’ll be seeing a group of huggies/blogher posts over the next few weeks. it’s been so much fun writing on various baby-related topics for their program, and i want to thank you all for commenting and adding to the community aspect of the series! some of the topics have been light-hearted and others more controversial, but this is certainly one that is on the forefront of every new mother or mother-to-be’s mind:
ahhhhhhh, sleep. to sleep-train or not? to provide a super-quiet insulated environment, or teach the baby to cope with background noise? to put her down drowsy/awake/already passed out? paci or no? when to swaddle — and when to ditch the swaddle?
the only things i’ve figured out over the past 6 months about baby sleep is that:
a) babies REALLY vary — from those little magical munchkins who STTN (“sleep-through-the-night”) at 4-6 weeks* to those who want to throw a party every night at 11 pm. and 1 am. and 2, and 3, and 4, and 5.
b) everyone is really passionate about what they think is right.
i will say this: i’m guessing that most babies lie in BETWEEN the two extremes, including ours.
so i’ll just dedicate the rest of this post to describing our experiences, and saying what has worked for us. remember, BABIES ARE DIFFERENT! but i do think it could be helpful to read a few different perspectives to really see that, and to get some ideas. so here are some of our experiences . . .
consolidation of sleep: at 6.5 months old, miss a. has yet to sleep through the night. FINALLY she is getting close — last night she made it 10 hours (7 pm – 5:15am!). but that’s recent. before, nearly every night of her life has been broken into 2-3 pieces by feedings, and i truly believe that she’s been hungry and has needed to eat at those times! i chose not to try sleep training for four reasons:
a) i’m a wimp
b) she has always been very good about going RIGHT back to sleep after eating, so it hasn’t been that bad. and it’s 1-2 wakeups per night, not 6.
c) i thought it would help my breastmilk supply to keep these feedings, especially if she naturally wants to do them. and you all know how i feel about this issue 🙂
d) i really think she was hungry at those times — perhaps due to my inability to pump out 20+ oz/day, but also because she can’t handle huge feedings at once (at one pont she was spitting up so much on just 5 oz bottles that she went through MULTIPLE costume changes daily at day care).
she has naturally started to go longer as solids were introduced, so right now i’m glad i’ve just gone with the flow. will we have to train later to get her to REALLY go through the night? maybe. but i’ll worry about that when the time comes.
swaddling/sleep environment: miss a LOVED her swaddles until they just couldn’t contain her anymore! we finally gave them up at about 4 months and switched to sleep sacks. this wasn’t nearly as terrible of a transition as i was expecting. we had a harder time getting her adjusted to the crib from the rock ‘n’ play basinet — but that happened at around 5 (i think?) months and now she seems very comfortable in there. if i had any regrets, it’s that i wish i had stressed about these transitions less!
soothing to sleep: we were HUGE proponents of the 5 S’s during the early months: suck/swaddle/side/ssshhh/swing. a didn’t have colic but sometimes the bedtime hour was a struggle and it was defnitely her fussiest time. with all 5 in full gear, though, she usually succumbed to sleep. i’ve always let her breastfeed to go to sleep, and still do this every night at bedtime and for most naps. some might say i’m building a bad habit, but honestly it truly feels like a natural part of the routine, and weissbluth says it’s ok! josh sometimes does put her down for naps on the weekend without any milk involved, so she’s not 100% dependent.
daytime sleep = nighttime sleep? so i love dr. weissbluth and his ideas of sleep begetting sleep — but i honestly haven’t found this tenet to hold true for miss a. sometimes her day care naps are HORRENDOUS, and other times they are good. but her nights don’t seem to vary much, and i can’t make out any sort of pattern. clearly it would be better for her to take solid naps, but not doing so every day hasn’t been the disaster that healthy sleep habits makes it out to be. and i’m thankful for this, since i otherwise love day care and think it is a great place for a.
that about sums it up! i know i’m opening a can of worms but . . . if you have experience to share (especially if they have been unique/outside the norm) i know that other moms (and mothers to be) would love to read them. (as would i). please, no fighting over CIO though! we as mothers ALL want the same thing for our kids: health and happiness. i truly believe there are MANY ways of getting there!
* apparently both josh AND i were like this. our lucky parents!
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mother of 3 // MD // south floridian // ESFJ // upholder.
into: planners, great food, running, reading, writing, mornings, podcasting, and coffee.
My babe seems to be pretty similar to Annabel — he wakes up about once per night and then drops right back to sleep. We haven’t sleep trained either, it just doesn’t seem necessary. I feel really lucky that he sleeps as well as he does!
Funny how parents get SO passionate about their sleep choices! I feel like we have really just followed Will’s cues and it’s worked out pretty well. He’s transitioning to a steady two-nap-a-day schedule, which is a big relief for me. How does Annabel do with naps when she’s not at daycare? (I think that Will would nap terribly there too, if he were a daycare baby — so much to look at and so much to do!)
She naps much better at home though often fights the pm nap for a while. It’s amazing how different it is home vs dc!
What a timely post. I sit here at 4:45am and Clara has been UP (and I mean UP) since 1:30am. It doesn’t matter how great she naps during the day (which she does fairly well on most days) her nights are super unpredictable. It’s quite frustrating and I am turning into a sleep deprived zombie. It doesn’t seem that sleep begets sleep in her regard. She will go down for the night about 8 and then we are lucky if she sleeps 2 hours before waking up. Then she is up for 2 hours or so (just awake! so not interested in eating). Then if we get her back to sleep we are luckly (at least this week) if she makes it anywhere between 4-6am.
When she was 4 months we did some CIO sleep training but then traveled a bunch so that went out the window. During our travels she ended up in our bed so once we were back at home we continued the co sleeping. It worked for a few weeks. She would sleep a good stretch and sleep soundly. Um not anymore!! I don’t know what the deal is these days.
We are considering CIO again since she is now older and will be 6 months on Friday (maybe try a less extreme version like check and console or Ferber’s method). I just don’t know.
Sorry for the long rant. You just caught me at a bad time, ha ha. 🙂
If there are other sleep deprived mommas out there can we please start a support group??? Ha! 🙂
7-5:15 is totally sleeping through the night!! Congrats!
what a timely post. I’ve been design with sleep issues for a week and mow I even dream (if I sleep) about baby sleep issues.
I read the healthy sleep book and I’m so glad to know that not every baby sleep through the night by 6 weeks and that naps are ot correlated with night sleep. thanks for sharing, it makes me not to think that we are the exception to the rule.
You are definitely right about all babies being different! I have two and can say that they are TOTALLY different. While I put them to bed at the same time and they get up for the day at around the same time…what they do in between is a crap shoot. At 8.5 mo now, they nap about 2-3 times at DC, usually around 20 min (eeek)…occasionally they have one longer one, but these arent at the same time or anything! They have both been great sleepers, but each has gone through various times of waking once (or twice) overnight due to growth spurts, illness, etc. They definitely had issues around 4mnths and now at 8.5m, H is going through what I assume is a growth spurt, since she is gobbling down food and growing hair like Whoa. I never practiced any particular sleep practice, but did put them into their cribs early on (which I think helped all of us sleep).
Sounds like a. has gotten the sleep thing pretty well figured out! I have 5.5 month old twins (boy/girl) and they are so different when it comes to sleep! Even though they have exactly the same routine, my baby girl sleeps through the night (~6-6:30p-6a) sometimes waking up once to eat and my boy wakes 10-12 times per night, not to eat but just to cry or be awake. I ended up separating them and my girl is sleeping in the pack n play in my bedroom because her brother was waking her up! Naps are more of the same- she does well, he does not!
(the Huggies posts get written ahead of time so maybe I just jinxed myself!!)
Keep it up…..
C STTN for a month and then stopped…grrr! Now has a reliable wakeup between 2 and 3a, and if there’s fuss all that works is putting him in the swing. Daycare suggested ensuring he has some soft toys with teething parts within arms’ reach to nibble on and that seems to help. We have been offering him a smaller and smaller bottle during that wakeup, now that I know he can make it through. I admit I’ve done some CIO and will resume once the grandparents leave! 7-5 sounds delightful!
My five month old is a bad bad sleeper. He will wake up to be soothed every 1.5 hours and wakes up for feeding 2-3 times. I have mixed feelings about sleep training him too, I mean when I give him a bottle at night when we wakes up, he guzzles it down. So would it be wise to shush and soothe him only for him to wake up again in an hour?!
I am trying to transition him from the rock’n’play to the crib, that is going to be another battle.
I am a huge proponent of CIO! I waited until my daughter was 9 months before sleep training her, and before then she routinely woke up 2-3 times a night. While she nursed every time she woke, I don’t think she was waking from hunger. A friend of mine put it this way, if someone gave you an ice cream sundae at 2am, you’d eat it, right?!
We were very strict about CIO– you have to be to make it successful. It was seriously the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do!
But… it was ABSOLUTELY worth it. At 19 months my daughter takes a 2-3 hour nap during the day, and sleeps from 7pm to 7am. To the mom who’s daughter is waking up wet– try a larger size or different overnight diaper to help contain the pee. We’ve had great success with the Seventh Generation Overnight diaper in a size larger than she normally wears.
Thank you for tip on wet diapers. Was doing size up but wasn’t enough to keep pee pee monster dry enough. Will try your brand.
I guess all of us with little ones think this post is timely, huh? Well, I had planned to do CIO this weekend with my 5.5 month old little girl but I guess she caught on because she has been sleeping through the night the past 2 nights. (7p-5:30a-I totally consider this sttn). I will be so grateful if we can continue with this and not have to endure any CIO bc I am a total wimp too and not sure I can do it. I do have some questions for you-1. Does A sleep with the pacifier and does that cause any issues? My little one does and she will sometime cry for it in the middle of the night. I was thinking of taking it away but it really does soothe her at night. 2. My little girl is waking up early I think bc of an extremely wet diaper. I don’t change her after a dream feed at 10p bc she is not wet. Any ideas that you all have figured out?
I consider 7 to 5 definitely sleeping through the night! My toddler doesn’t even do that! I have 3 children, 2 are terrible sleepers and one is a great sleeper. It’s amazing how they vary so, given that my style/bedtime routines etc with all 3 have been the same.
Just had to clarify she does NOT go that long every night 🙂 lately there is a 2 or 3am wake up
(instead of the 5am). It’s still not bad though!