Friday, September 2, 2011

Bedtime Struggles and a New Strategy

We've been having bedtime struggles withe Mae Bae and Sadie lately that basically go something like this.  At 9pm Sadie wakes up after two hours of sleep and demands to sleep: "In Mommy's Big Bed!"  Mae Bae wakes up at 10pm, sleeps in said Big Bed until 12am and then stands up and begins to try to climb the headboard.  After several times being thwarted at her headboard plan she'll then demand to go back to her crib, where she'll sleep for a few hours, or for the rest of the night (which is totally new as of this week and is rather nice).  Our strategy of letting them come over into the Big Bed clearly was not working out well for us.  So last night I decided to try something a little different.  After all, even a king sized bed can get crowded with four people in it.

When Mae cried for the first time I went over and gave her a binky and got her back to sleep and then laid down in Mae's Big Girl Bed and waited.  Fifteen minutes later when she woke up again I nursed her (before the cries could wake her sister) and after letting her lay in her big bed for a little while, put her back in her crib.

I checked the time because it felt like morning and found that it was 2am.  

I soothed Sadie back to sleep in her own bed by talking to her from across the room and going over to cuddle with her once or twice (it's all a sleepy blur) when she started to cry.  Our biggest problem is that the girls room faces the noisiest part of the apartment complex and is noisy all night long with doors slamming and people talking.

Sometime around morning Mae Bae started to cry and I brought her back into her big bed and nursed her again.  We ended up night weaning Sadie at around 18 months... so I see that day as a glimmer way off on the horizon.  I'm hoping Mae might night wean herself a little earlier since she is a better sleeper than her sister was at this age (Sadie literally nursed every hour at a year old, all night long).

When Sadie woke up and saw Mae Bae by herself in her big bed surrounded by stuffed animals, she was a proud big sister.  As we walked out into the living room she said:

"Good job Mae Bae!" and then later when Daddy came out and I told him about our sleep time adventure she said:  "Mae Bae slept in her Big Girl Bed!  Good job Mae Bae!  I am so proud of you!"

My dream is that in the next few months we get them to both sleep in their beds through the night... I wonder if it will actually happen...


  1. Cam,
    Take heart a lot of this is just normal moving behavior. My granddaughter's schedule was completely disrupted when they moved, and they only moved a couple of towns over. It takes little people awhile to adjust and there's been more than the normal sort of moving chaos going on for them because of the miscarriage. It sounds like you came up with a good temporary plan last night. Hopefully they'll both be sleeping better soon. It is perfectly normal for kids to be night waking at this age (for both of them!). That doesn't make it any easier to be the one who has to lose sleep to parent them though. Be sure you're taking good care of yourself, including a nap if that's possible. Don't make too many demands on yourself right now, and you'll feel more up to getting everything more under control a few weeks down the road. By that time the girls will probably be sleeping better.

  2. The sleep of little ones will forever be the hardest part of parenting them for me.

    Cecilia liked to suck a lot and got hooked on nursing as a crutch to sleep so she nursed every hour at a year too. Teresa is like her so I'm trying very hard to avoid repeating that. Felicity taught me that not all babies are like that. She would, literally, just go to sleep. Simple as that. Go figure.

    As far as the noise, do you have a white noise machine? It can help keep those sudden noises from disturbing sleeping ones.

    One thing I did with Cecilia when she was over a year that worked and I used as necessary for the others is that, instead of nursing her to sleep I would hold her hand. This way she knew I was there and could feel me there without needing to keep her eyes open. It was easier for me to leave her once she was asleep and easier for her to go back to sleep on her own if she would wake during the night.

    Of course, being in a new place could be making your girls' night wakings worse at the moment.

  3. When people ask me if a little one is sleeping through the night I laugh because I don't think any of them do until their something like 10 years old... between the accidental bed wetting, scary dream, fever, sniffles, itchy mosquito bite, and various other things! I have just learned that I need less sleep and have learned to sleep differently. :)

    Regarding the Big Bed: I know this shocks people but we share our bed with the babies until they are 18 months to 2 years old. I am a very light sleeper and have great trouble going back to sleep once awakened. I get WAY more sleep that Also, we enjoy natural child spacing through breastfeeding. (We've never used NFP and still have 2-3 years between the kiddos.) One key element is night nursing since estrogen levels rise at night and nursing lowers estrogen. Since I have no desire to get out of bed repeatedly at night, this arrangement is lovely. It does have it's drawbacks but it is a temporary situation and all things considered, works out pretty well. Babies grow sooo fast. :)

  4. Melody - we cosleep too :-) Our prob is that we transitioned our oldest out way too early (2 months old!!!) she's never been a good sleeper but at 2 years started coming back to our bed... Is almost 4 now and we're more than ready for her to be in hers full time, but she's not :-( The baby is a great sleeper and I think he'll transition out around 2 years like I wanted to do with her lol. Is what I get for compromising last time ;-)

    Anyways, Cam... Good luck!


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