Welcome to my Weblog!
Welcome to 1 Mother 2 Another! To read my most recent weblog entries, scroll down. To read entries from one category, click the links at right. To read my journey from the beginning, click here. To find out more about me, click here.
Top 5s
Short on time? Click here to go to my Top 5s Page - links to my top five recommendations in every category from Breastfeeding Sites to Urban Living Solutions.

The Mother of All Sleep Blogs

At long last, I am able to step back and reflect upon the past year and
its sleep patterns – or lack thereof. It has been brutal, and as much as I
grew to hate all those well-meaning friends who joked during my pregnancy
- “Sleep now while you can!” - I find myself wistfully longing for a world
where I could have stored up all those pregnancy naps I took and withdrawn
a few hours here and there over the past twelve months.

On the
whole, as I’ve said before, Madeleine’s been a great sleeper and I know
I’ve been really fortunate. And I’m not writing this sleep diary out
because I think you guys are fascinated by every intimate detail of
Maddie’s life – though I am sure you are. I’m speaking up about this past
year’s ups and downs because when I was in the midst of a bad patch and a
girlfriend would tell me the same thing happened to her when her kid was
that age, I’d feel a bit less alone, comforted in some small measure that
this was in a weird way normal and it would end. Eventually.

here’s where Madeleine’s sleep habits fell over the last twelve months.
Keep in mind that 1) every child is different; and 2) I like to sleep late
so I’ve done everything in my power to encourage that habit in Maddie.

Maddie was born, and for the first three months she ate, she pooped, she
slept, and she cried. Sometimes, to mix it up, she’d eat, sleep, cry,
poop, and sleep some more. I kept a detailed journal over her first twelve
weeks of nursings and naps and I swear to you it kept me sane. A pattern
emerged of her nursing twelve times a day (!!!); she’d nurse an average of
every two hours with the feedings gradually growing closer and closer
together as evening came on and she tanked up for her big sleep of (gasp!)
3 hours straight. The three hours began to stretch to four hours, when
suddenly, right around three months –

She began sleeping
through the night.

Please don’t hate me.

I truly had
nothing to do with it; by 3 ½ months she was sleeping a good 6-8 hours at
a stretch, and at four months old she’d go to bed at 10 (I told you! I’m a
late riser!), get up at 7 a.m. to nurse, and go back to sleep until 10.

I had a luxurious and decadent few weeks of such nights,
until she began waking again in the middle of the night at 4 ½ months. We
felt it was simply that she was becoming more aware of her surroundings
but weren’t ready to sleep train her: we agreed as a couple to grit our
teeth and bear it until she was 5 months old and sleep-train her then.

months and two nights old, she was sleep-trained and sleeping again
through the night. By this time she had forcibly moved her bedtime forward
to 9 p.m., so she was going to sleep at 9, nursing at 6 and getting up for
good at 9, though sometimes she’d skip the nursing and get up at 8 or
8:30. For a week of vacation travel we through sleep-training away in the
interest of not ticking off the rest of the hotel guests and nursed on
demand, but once home she trained herself and was back to old habits.

cruised along until around 7 months, when she began pushing her early
feeding to 5 a.m. I’d been nursing her every four hours and, thinking she
might be hungry, I started the 5 a.m. feeding and nursed her every three
hours during the day instead. She was a much happier baby, and took to the
5 a.m. with enthusiasm.

I began to notice a restlessness about her
at night, and would sometimes hear a cry, run in, pick her up to comfort
her back to sleep, and realize she had been asleep the whole time up until
I picked her up and really made her mad. I didn’t stick to the
sleep-training because she’d been sleeping so soundly I figured there had
to be a reason she was waking up. Then I read in Dr. Brazelton’s Touchpoints
that babies begin to sit up and even rock on their hands and knees in
their sleep at this age because of all their developmental jumps; I felt
better about hearing a solo cry and would wait to go to her. A few times a
week she’d need me to pick her up for a hug but she’d promptly fall back
asleep and I reasoned this was no big deal; I wasn’t nursing her back to
sleep, just giving her a little hug!

Then began what we now refer
to as The Bad Time. She was on fast-forward developmentally, crawling and
pulling herself up to standing and cruising within the space of a few
days. Her nights became more and more restless and we were reluctant to
sleep-train, hoping she’d grow out of it. At 8 ½ months she moved into our
room in her pack ‘n play for a week while some renovations were done on
her room, and she began waking every few hours. I’d pick her up, rock her,
hug her, everything, thinking it’d calm back down when she was back in her
own room.

For the next two months, her sleep was all over the map:
she’d still go to bed at 9, but wake at 12 or 1, then 2 or 4, then 5, then
8. I was nursing at least once in the middle of the night, going back to
what amounted to round-the-clock nursings. I didn’t start out doing that;
I had a firm line of 5 a.m. and originally refused to nurse before that,
reasoning she could go 8 hours without eating! But then I got sick, my
milk supply dropped, and I knew she was hungry at night. So I fed her, and
then couldn’t stop. We thought maybe she was teething for a while, but
teeth never came in. Maybe she was cold. Or hot. Or feeling melancholy.
She began standing up in her crib and screaming at the door. What else
could you do but go in and comfort her and lie her back down? Suddenly I
looked around and had a ten-month-old who was nursing twice a night and
driving mommy crazy. One morning, after going to bed at midnight then
getting up with her at 12:30, 2, 3, 4:30, 6, and then 8, I said, “Enough
is enough. We are hard-core sleep-training her again. Soon.”

had realized that her developmental surge was evening off, I was healthy,
she was eating plenty of solid foods during the day, and frankly, I was
going to kill someone if I didn’t start getting more sleep.

my husband.

Family visits forced us to put off sleep-training for a
couple weeks, since we agreed we’d never sleep-train except on the weekend
when we could nap during the day if needed. So the first weekend we had to
give it another go, she was a week shy of 11 months. We planned who would
intervene when, wrote out the rules of engagement so we couldn’t bicker
over the fine points in the middle of it, and so forth. We agreed to go
back to the 5 a.m. hard line, with that hard line slowly moving back to 8
a.m. over a long period of time once she was trained. We steeled ourselves
and went to bed.

And of course, she slept through the night.

next night, since our guard was down and we were feeling cocky (and
rested!), she woke up and we had to sleep-train. But after two nights of
15 minutes of crying she was back to sleeping through the night. For the
record, I’d go in and if she was standing, simply lie her back down
without a hug or pick-up, which would cause excessive crying for maybe 60
seconds. With a bit of soothing, though, she’d roll over and go right to
sleep. And now, except for two weird nights last week (see previous blog)
she’s been solid at night. Yes, she’ll wake up a couple times, but she
doesn’t cry and she puts herself back to sleep. We’ve got our nursing Hard
Line at 5:30 right now and I have high hopes for 6 a.m. next weekend.

I think she needed to get up at night for a while? Yes. Did it go on too
long? Yes. Did I despair that it would never end? Damn straight. I think
we’ve had it so easy reinforcing the training partly because she’s simply
older and growing out of that developmental wakefulness. I think lots of
things line up to make it an incredibly difficult time, and then they sort
of all go away – but a little nudge helps them leave faster. For as
tightly as I clung to our sleep rules in the early stages, I look back on
the past few months and can’t believe how quickly it got so far out of
hand. We tried to do what was best for her, and we’re learning as we go. I
know I haven’t seen my last sleepless night by any stretch of the
imagination; it’s simply part of being a parent.

I can go a
really long time, though, without going through those months again.


Post a Comment

House Rules

Here are the rules for posting comments on 1mother2another.com. Posting a comment that violates these rules will result in the comment’s deletion, and you’ll probably be banned from commenting in the future.

1) Register first. If you would like to post a comment, you must create an account with us. Check out the home page to do so.

2) Constructive comments only. If you cannot maintain a respectful tone in your posting, even in disagreement, your comment will be deleted. We’re all trying to find our way in this thing and are struggling to be the best moms we can. If you disagree with something I say, feel free to politely email me. If you disagree with another reader’s posting, you’re welcome to kindly post in reply. Vitriolic diatribes will be deleted. This site is about encouraging and supporting, not tearing down and chastising.

3) Questions welcomed. If an entry raises a question, you’re welcome to email me directly or post it. Keep in mind that postings will result in public replies by strangers and not just me.

4) Don’t steal. All original writings contained within this website are under copyright protection. If you link to us, please credit us as your source and provide a link back to our website. If you're interested in using an excerpt in published material, please contact us.

5) Share your photos! We'd love to have photos from our registered readers to show on our home page under "Maddie's friends". Email us a jpeg of your little one's best photo to photos@1mother2another.com. Please, no photos from professional photographers which fall under copyright protection.