Sunday, November 21, 2010

Sleep wars

Damn, sleep training is hard. On paper, it looks so easy. And on paper, my kids are doing well. They go down without a whimper now. Mimi sometimes chats herself to sleep and Pip can whimper or cry a bit but nothing dreadful.

However, neither sleeps through the night. We are at a cross road as to which approach to take. One philosophy says if your kids go down, slowly phase out middle of the night feedings so they don't all weired out about night time hunger. The other philosphy says let 'em cry. It's only hunger/a wet nappy and they will soon get over it.
Clearly the screaming will be a bit of a nightmare! But if we get to where we need to go.. a solid 12 hours of snooze for all, then I am all for it.

What did you do?


  1. I read many of the sleep books and eventually did a bit of a modified cry it out when my son was about 5 months and still waking at 4 a.m. Our pediatrician gave us great advice which was that it was a habit for him to wake and that we needed to gently break the habit.
    So, we decided to do it over a 3 day weekend (not knowing what was in store). On night one, when he woke and whimpered/cried we went in, rubbed his back, told him he was ok and to go back to sleep, and left the room. We let him fuss for 5 minutes, then went back in, did the same thing, this time waiting 10 additional minutes. He continued to fuss (not wailing, but crying) so at the end of 10 minutes we went back in, rubbed his back and told him to go back to sleep. We were going to extend the wait time to 15 minutes the next round but he fell back to sleep during that interval and slept until 6.
    We repeated it the next night as he did wake, but this time, he fell back to sleep during the 10 min interval. On the 3rd night, he didn't wake at all and it was his first sleep through the night (from 10/11 - 6).
    My only advice is that do what you feel comfortable doing. Once they are 14 lbs or more, they no longer need the overnight feeding but still have the habit of waking.
    And, our son developed into an early morning riser (5/5:30 no matter what time we shifted his bed time to) but when I brought him in to bed with us, he'd sleep another hour to 90 mins. So, just to get the sleep that is what we did for a while.
    And, just to fast forward, our son is now 3 yrs 9 mos, has continued to sleep through the night since that weekend at 5 months and continues to take a 90 min - 2 hr nap. He wakes by 6:30 but that is far more doable that 5:30 in my book!

  2. We are just now, at six months, finally going hard core on the cry it out. Some nights it works brilliantly, but overall it's been rough. My guy doesn't give up easily when he's mad. But he's ready ... starting solids probably this week. Big as a one year old. It's not a hunger thing anymore, it's a social thing, an awareness thing. We probably should have/could have started about two months ago, but for one reason or another timing wasn't ideal. He has always been a polite night-waker ... a quick feed and a cuddle or a rock in his bouncy ... and that was it. This is actually (temporarily) so much harder on everyone. But it's for the best. Babies and kids need sleep as much as they need food and if you leave it up to them, they won't necessarily settle into a healthy pattern without a little guidance.

    I forget how old your guys are? One thing I can say is that the older they get -- by six months, for sure -- the more opinionated they get. About where they sleep and what the 'rules' and routines are. So I've always heard it's good to start the routine (NTM move them out of your room, if that is your ultimate plan) before they get too aware.

    I like Weissbluth ... he's been helpful in the past for us. Some don't care for him at all, but I've found he's cured most of what ails us and the book goes all the way up into childhood sleep issues. I've been meaning to crack his book again for guidance about the day time sleep routine (day time sleep organization is our biggest issue at the moment) ... I've just been so swamped, I'm still winging it.

    Good Luck!!

  3. Oh, EB, you are way ahead of me!

    What did I do? Fail...miserably. My boy no longer eats during the night, but he wakes up - usually around 1 am (after going to bed at 6:30-7:00 pm) and gets himself spun around in the crib, wailing for all he's worth. When I hear his head clunk against the side rails, I get up and get him. Into bed with me he comes. He IMMEDIATELY settles down and goes to sleep.

    Uh-huh. Yup. I've got him trained perfectly! To get in bed with me, anyway. We cuddle and snooze together all night until about 6 am, when he awakens and demands that the whole family get up. By then he has me all the way to the edge of the bed anyway, trying to sleep on 4 inches of bed space. But I love sleeping with him, and it won't last forever. So I indulge.