Baby sleep

I kind of want to give myself a super-mom award right now, to be honest. Yesterday, I managed to pick out some baby-sleep-help books at the bookstore while entertaining S strapped to my chest in his baby carrier.  Last night (when I could have been sleeping) I read one entire book. I arranged for DH to take S to his doctor’s appointment this morning and just now, while the boys are away (when I could have been sleeping), I sped-read the other book. Applause! One book is Pantley’s The No-Cry Sleep Solution and the other is Giordano’s The Baby Sleep Solution. 

A lot of friends I know used the cry-it-out method with their older babies, six months and up (I am embarrassed to say that I thought you could use the words “cry it out” as a colloquial expression and was not really all that aware of the Ferber method or what a heated topic it is!). Now that I’ve learned a bit more about the Ferber method (online only, I think I need to read the Ferber book to comment intelligently about it), I’m thinking it is not for us. No judgment of those who have used it–every woman and family and baby has their needs and ways—and I never say never, but it just doesn’t seem like it will be necessary in the future. Especially since I am stay-at-home mom right now and I have flexibility in terms of my own schedule. And besides, I can’t really imagine doing it. It doesn’t seem like it would jibe with the relationship S and I are developing. (But I also realize that detrimental-to-the-family sleep problems can crop up/go on for a long time and that the method has helped many.)

Yeah, sleep has been on our minds. Big time. But S just turned 12 weeks old (!) and it feels like just when we are starting to feel pretty desperate, our little one is changing. One thing I’ve learned so far in parenting is that there can be a lot of two steps forward one step back, so I am still holding my breath a little, hoping we keep springing forward. But the most amazing thing happened last night: S slept 7 HOURS. Um. Yeah. As in from 8:30 p.m. to 3:30 a.m. Of course, I was reading a sleep-help book a big chunk of that time and did not get to enjoy that gift (oh, the irony!), but still! Also, in the past few days, it seems like he might be falling into a somewhat more predictable nap pattern. Oh BOY oh boy oh boy. Mama is getting excited.

Our pediatrician has been telling us, when it comes to feedings, to “go with his flow.” And we have. But now that he is 12 weeks old and almost 12 pounds, I think he is actually responding quite well to a little more structure. I’ve been, this week, really practicing helping him get to at least 3 hours between feedings during the day. And—lo and behold—he started sleeping better. I think the bit of parent-guided structure plus his natural baby development are coming together to help him have more content, alert time and longer, more predictable sleep time. Fingers crossed.

Although I have read the above-mentioned books in a very sleep-deprived state and my notes look like they were scribbled by a drunk person during a particularly long bender, I think I can safely say that I recommend both. If there were a spectrum with Ferber on one end and Pantley on the other, Giordano is probably somewhere in the middle. Actually, the Pantley and Giordano books have a lot common. I find the Pantley a bit overwhelming, in terms of its logs and plans and so forth, mainly because I am so sleep-deprived. But I like where she is coming from, in terms of the intimacy and trust in the parent-child relationship and how that meshes with guiding your little one into the skill of sleeping well. I really like the simplicity of the Giordano, and respect her philosophy of thinking of the baby as not the center of the family/universe, but as a cherished and loved addition to the family, and lovingly helping your baby adapt to your family’s life and patterns. She recommends trying to feed your baby an average of about six ounces per feeding, four times a day, and weaning off nighttime feedings. I think S is heading in that direction all on his own (only one nighttime feeding last night!!! I am agog). She also recommends trying to guide baby into one morning nap and one afternoon nap, but no nap near bedtime.

Hm, I hear a Scooby “Ruh-roh.” S and I looooove snuggling in the evening. He doses in my arms, sometimes for a quite a while, while I relax.  I love to feel his warmth, feel him breathing against my neck. But both the Pantley and Giordano say napping this late, and in my arms, is detrimental to good nighttime sleep. Ruh-roh and sad frowny face. More news to come on this front. Mama will have a hard time changing that one—it just feels right. And maybe it is right in our case. We’ll have see…

Anyway, lots of stuff still to work out about where he will sleep and in what (in co-sleeper beside bed, or his own crib in the nursery) as we possibly transition away from the Rock-and-Play. (He seems to get uncomfortable in the R-and-P now that he’s bigger, but it has been such a lifesaver re: acid reflux.) The logistics I would go into, but I want to take a bath before the boys get home.

Those of you who have little ones: Would love to hear what worked for you and what didn’t, when it came to sleep. Love to hear your anecdotes.

 

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16 Comments

  1. California mom

     /  February 27, 2015

    Of course you know what is best for you. But just an FYI ferber is not as bad as it seems. Really. I was very worried and it just wasn’t so awful. As long as you do it right. Some people sort of follow it but are not consistent and then wonder why it doesn’t work. I recommend getting a cheap used copy on half.com and reading it through–he has a great explanation of why/how the method works–plus lots of details about circadian rhythms etc. I wouldn’t rely on just reading about the mechanics before dismissing it. If nothing else try to read the part about waking up without your pillow. As to Pantley, I and others have found her methods really don’t work. I rec reading the baby 411 reviews of sleep books which I found helpful and spot on. Not trying to be pushy here but my first was a horrible sleeper and I had a LOT of anxiety and spent months obsessing over this and read just about every sleep book. Literally. So it’s not like I just read ferber and said let’s do it.

    Reply
    • Well I’m not looking for advice just curious to hear others’ anecdotes! It seems like things are flowing in the right direction, as I mentioned, so at this point at least, it really isn’t seeming like that method will be necessary for us. Not dismissing it but there is no reason to pursue it at this point. Everyone has to go their own path and do what they feel is working. Glad you found something that worked for you. Right now I am basically already doing a combination of things that make sense for us, things that are echoed in these books.

      Reply
  2. I sorta fly by the seat of my pants with this parenting thing. I didn’t read any books and basically muddled my through. I really didn’t like the idea of crying it out early on, but we did end up doing it. They were 8 months though at that point and still waking up for bottles twice a night. So at that point it just felt right because it was more of just time to break a habit. I’m sure I could have done it sooner than that, but I personally wouldn’t till they’re well established on solid food. Oh and I didn’t do it the correct way or anything, I just muddled through like everything else, broke the rules about picking them up and such, but somehow it worked. And sometimes I feel like they are waking for real reasons… I think I can tell by the way they cry… So I will go hold them sometimes or give them a bottle. Last night we had world war 3 going off here. Fi’s going through a super intense clingy, separation anxiety thing and she gets worked up to the point she can barely breathe. So she ended up in my bed for the night. Maybe I’ve undone all our good sleep habits, but I guess I’ll figure it out. Hoping this phase will pass very quickly. Ok I’m really rambling now. Just trying to say – you can take bits and pieces from everywhere and see what works and don’t be afraid to change things up if something stops working.

    Reply
  3. We break all the sleep “rules.” We began cosleeping pretty early on, we got rid of the crib at about 10 months because it was unused, now he sleeps in a floor bed. He goes to bed around 7 and sleeps till around 7, with one wake-up and at that point I join him in bed. We have never done any systematic sleep training and only let him cry it out on a few desperate occasions. It just doesn’t feel right to us.
    Though I do have friends with sleep issues, I’d say we’re in an ok place with just going with the flow. In the past year, we have been through SO many iterations. There have been good nights, rough phases, and in between. He has only slept through through night once though. So I can’t claim to have learned the secrets of baby sleep. What I do know is that those boos drove me crazy. Everyone has the “answer” and all made me feel bad. My husband had to ban sleep books from our house!
    Like you said, it’s two steps forward and one step back. And it changes every few weeks! Good luck!

    Reply
  4. katie

     /  February 28, 2015

    “so at this point at least, it really isn’t seeming like that method will be necessary for us.” Famous last words. I find that statement to be equal parts naive and arrogant.

    Reply
    • Then why are you reading this blog? I invite you to stop. Why would you say something so hurtful? It is not kind or thoughtful or helpful. Please–go away and try to find something better to do with your time than read blogs and make say mean-spirited things. Why on earth would you find that arrogant? Why are you so defensive about your own choices?

      Reply
      • Honestly, I think some who Ferber their babies are given hell by other moms. So your comment on your own blog probably struck a nerve with her and her experience having to defend herself. It was mean for her to come at you like this, but I bet, like most bullies , it’s not about you but about her.
        Xoxoxoxo

        Reply
      • katie

         /  February 28, 2015

        I didn’t “Ferber” or use Cry It Out on any of my kids, thank you.

        Reply
  5. Lauren

     /  February 28, 2015

    First of all, I’m shocked at how rude people can be. They hide behind the anonyminity of the Internet and make any snide comments they want. Shame on you Katie.

    I have been following your blog for a while now and this is my first time commenting. I went through IF treatment and had my first baby last year. I just wanted to let you know how much I thoroughly enjoy reading your blog, and how much you put yourself out there. My baby is almost 10 months old, so I love getting to “re-live” the newborn experience through your blog. You are right, it goes way too fast and I can’t believe my baby is crawling, standing, walking with assistance, etc already!!

    I am currently reading the Pantley book because I don’t think I can do the cry it out. It breaks my heart every time we have tried. I’m hoping some of Pantleys methods work for us. We cosleep and our LO wakes up anywhere from 3 to 7 times a night. I put her on the Breast and we both go back to sleep pretty quickly, so it’s not too bad. I love the snuggles and am hoping I can just get her to sleep through the night even if still in our bed. I will be interested to see what works out for you guys. I’m in the middle of it and definitely don’t have any answers, just wanted to offer support and say how much you Rock!!

    Reply
  6. We used CIO with our daughter. It worked really well for her and she went from waking 5-6 times a night to sleeping for 12 hours straight (without needing a binki) in a couple of days. She was such a happier baby when she was well rested–I couldn’t believe how it changed her demeaner for the better during the day. My son never needed any help sleeping, I think maybe because he never could get the hang of a binki so he had a much easier time putting himself back to sleep when he woke up. By 4 months he was sleeping 10-12 hours a night. He’s also always been a great napper (his sister was NOT). We really lucked out the second time around.
    I hope you continue to find something that works for you and your family.

    Reply
  7. Hmmmm…I breastfed, and around 4-6 weeks, both of my kids moved to their cribs. When they cried, I got them, fed them, and put them back to sleep. I did this until around 10 or 10 1/2 months for each when I weaned them for night milk; I went in and soothed them when they woke but did not feed them or pick them up.
    I was up every 2-3 hours every night until they learned I wasn’t going to pick them up and nurse them. Probably around 1 1/2 was when I could say they both began sleeping all night long with no wakeups.

    I read all the books, but honestly, I just rolled with it. After struggling with infertility, even in my sleep deprivedness, I wanted to be there. That’s all. I figured, I’ll sleep when they go to college. :)

    They are now 21 months and 3 1/2, share a room, and unless there is illness, both sleep all night. Sometimes there is a wakeup due to bad dreams or something. I then go in, soothe , and they go back to sleep. I’m actually happy to be there !

    That’s my story.

    Reply
  8. Landia

     /  February 28, 2015

    My kids (all 3 of them) were great sleepers. But they were in their own cribs from day one and I really, really disliked having them sleep on me. So co sleeping was definitely out. I think moms like you, obviously really warm and loving and who thrive on physical contact often (but, of course, not always) have more trouble with sleep. So, I see it as kind of a package deal — a series of trade offs based on how your child’s and your personalities and preferences fit together.

    Reply
  9. I just want to say you do what is best for you and your family… you are always so honest and trying to put out your experiences so that they might help others. This is such a heated topic, but ultimately each parent will do what is right for them. I have a copy of “The Happiest Baby On The Block” in a drawer somewhere, and I have no idea if that follows any of the last name methods mentioned here, but my friends swear by it. And it works for them, but it may not work for me someday or you now. I think you are wise to do what works for now and be open to change if it’s necessary, but to trust your Momma instincts. You’ve earned that, you are wise, and you know your baby. I can’t wait to embroil myself in this topic from my own experiences someday soon! :) Love to you. Keep on puttin’ it out there, you’re amazing.

    Reply
  10. Stacey

     /  March 1, 2015

    I’ve always lived by the rule “do what works until it stops working. Then do something else.” If the snuggle naps work for you, awesome. I have 4 kiddos and every one is different. I wasn’t comfortable with crying it out, and guess what? We never used it! And I’m far from naive. But I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it. Just not my style.

    We had ours in a r-n-p or p-n-p in our room until about 6 months. Then moved to their crib. Eventually my 5yo and my 2yo came back as co sleepers around age 1. My baby girl is almost one and sleeps like a champ. So everyone is different. Find what works for you. If it’s not working, try something else.

    Reply
  11. okay, so I obviously do not have any advice, BUT can I just be selfish for a moment? I’m super excited that by the time I have a little one, you will be an AMAZING source of advice, love, support and encouragement! Love to you sugars! And since I don’t have any advice, I’ll just send you some virtual hugs! xo

    Reply

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