Saturday, January 22, 2011

On Sleep

At this point in parenthood, I'd say our biggest struggle is sleep. (I do realize how very lucky we are that this is our biggest concern.) Leo is an unpredictable napper and night time is hit or miss. I'm not terribly worried about it because this kid is healthy and happy overall - but on the other hand, I do want to be guiding him into good habits that will make the most of his energy and allow our family a convenient schedule.

I miss the early months when the kid could fall into a deep peaceful sleep anywhere. Under ideal circumstances (quiet, darkness, someone laying next to him or holding him, and unlimited access to nursing) he will sleep for long stretches - but it's not exactly realistic to provide this for him for all naps and overnights. We do co-sleep, so that does make night time less of a struggle for us. Barring extenuating circumstances (teething, colds, etc.), once we are all in bed we sleep pretty soundly until morning. The trick is those few hours between his bedtime and out bedtime.

We have a bedtime routine - goodnight kisses, diaper, pjs, teeth brushing, book, nurse. It usually works like a charm, but sometimes he will just not go to sleep - or he will fall asleep only to wake up again 10-20 minutes after a sneak away. We really try to aim for 7-8, but often that means that we are just up and down for a while or I end going to bed at 8 with him (I'm sure there are worse things, but I really cherish those hours from 8-11 that I get to myself).

Leo is pretty good in the mornings. Usually he is happy, but calm. If we are still sleeping when he wakes up he will usually play quietly for a little while and cuddle with us. Now that we've taken apart the bed frame and put the mattress on the floor I feel pretty safe dozing a little in the mornings while he entertains himself. On extra special days jb and Leo will go have breakfast and playtime on their own while I stretch out in our big comfy bed and sleep all alone for an hour or two.

Our days are good. Even now that the cold keeps us inside more that we prefer - we have a good time singing, dancing, playing, and doing everyday tasks.

When he begins to show signs of sleepiness (usually eye-rubbing or irritability) I put him down for a nap. Every once in a while I start to see a pattern emerge - like naps at 11 and 4 three days in a row - but as soon as I start to get used to a routine, things change again. And, just as with bedtime, he will take a nice long nap if I stay with him - but I just can't spend that kind of time in bed, so I end up putting him down again and again until he's gotten a decent stretch of rest in.

Bottom line is that I feel pretty comfortable letting the sleep dust fall where it may as long it works for our family. Some days I'm not so sure it's working for our family, though. I'm going to check out The No Cry Sleep Solution and see if there is something there that might work for us. If that doesn't help then I'll have Leo sleep with Talula for a few nights - she's the best sleeper I know.


  1. I really like this as a starting point for sleep teaching. Like you, I didn't do much until I just couldn't function anymore and I had a overtired cranky baby on my hands.

    Good luck!

  2. teehee -- the first picture on this post made me laugh! when bird got to that point, when we booted her from the bed - she'd be totally sprawled out like that, and we were both clinging to the edges!! :) good luck with the new sleep efforts!

  3. We tried No Cry. Then we tried Healthy Sleep Habits, Healthy Child. That worked for Lily but not for Henry. For Henry we tried The Sleep Lady's Good Night Sleep Tight Solution. It worked for him. Now we generally get good sleep unless croup interferes like it is currently. I know what you mean about liking the hours between Leo's bedtime and your bedtime - I'm the same way.

  4. Can't wait to get you guys to the warm weather..maybe that'll tucker him out! the hair is really growing in! keep the mohawk