Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child

Jan 14, 2011 | On Motherhood | 12 comments

We finally did it.
We moved Juliette out of our room, into a (undecorated) room of her own.
She will be one year old a week from yesterday… can you believe that?  
And she was nowhere near being able to sleep thru the night.  She was waking up about two times a night and coming in bed with us after the second.  Gotta love snuggling in next to a baby 1/2 the night.  It’t magical.  
Then for some freakish reason we have all had THREE colds in the last three months, add two new teeth and her trying to outgrow her morning nap to that and her schedule was just jacked up.  I could usually creep in around 10:30 without waking her but Joel would get home from work around 11 p.m.-12 a.m., she would wake up, Amélie would walk in at 2 a.m. for help doing her sleeper back up after a trip to la toilette, she would wake back up… And I was having to nurse her each time.  Which – I love to spoil my babies so I don’t mind but then she was waking up more and more and I just won’t stand for it.   So, one morning last week I woke up on a tirade, mad, tired and irritated after a horrible nights sleep… just the mood I knew I needed to be in to set my sentimental nature aside and move the kid out!
The first night she wasn’t too happy about being in the ugly red room (I would be pissed about a hot pink crib with red walls too:), she cried herself to sleep only because there was nothing I could do to get her to lay down in this bed she was so familiar with… she was so mad about the new room – it took about 20-25 minutes (which even after 3 kids I can barely handle)  and slept ’til 4:30 a.m!!!  Second night she woke around 2 and went right back to sleep (after nursing) til 6:30 a.m…. and so on and so on!!!
SUCCESS! 
I can’t believe what a difference it made for her.  And how each child has been different.  Aidan was in our bed til he was 6 months and our room ’til he was a year old and slept like a champ – in a pack and play!  LeeLee got kicked out of our bed pretty early (4 months) cause Joel did a brief 3 a.m. stint at Home Depot when he was out of work.  She was so fat too, she just did not sleep with us near as well as Aidan did.  We still mourn that she did not get more time with us…. 
But babies gotta sleep.  
Lots of people have their methods they swear by and I personally love 
“Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child” because it’s not ridiculously rigid like “Baby Wise” (I’ve got girl friends that love BW but it’s NOT for me) but HSHHC does accommodate all types of parents, SAHM’s, those who work outside the home, co-sleepers, nursers, bottle feeders and the like.  The principle is sleep begets sleep and when I stray from it’s concepts, quite frankly, the smooth running engine that is the way I try to run my household – breaks down.  I even learned about my own sleep habits… it’s a good size manual and if you read it thru once and then leave it laying around to always peruse you learn a tidbit every time you pick it up.  I don’t agree with everything he says, after all, there is Mother’s instinct too and sometimes the sleep methods these doctors want you to practice are barbaric.  But, I do also things it’s barbaric to not teach your child how to sleep, to deny them of sleep cause you’re too lazy to do what it takes to get your family on a schedule… I think it’s barbaric to let a child stay up late every night, miserable, whining and just a disaster because you don’t know what you are doing too!  It may not be perfect but I tell all new Momma’s about this book and promise them if they stick with it, even if they have to tweak things a bit to accommodate their family, the results are amazing.  (I am posting a couple reviews at the end of this post  – They briefly explain the difference between this, Baby Wise, Attachment Parenting and the Ferber Method).
I miss my little Hoolie, miss hearing her roll around and snort and make sleep sounds but I know it’s best for her health and our wellbeing for her to get a good nights sleep… AND now, after a year, I can enjoy my bedroom at night again!  
I wouldn’t mind another little one in here again soon though.
I’d have forty if I could 🙂
I’ve been saying it for a year now – but I can’t wait to decorate her bedroom.  I have almost everything gathered.  But this is what “her corner” of the room looked like when she was with us!

This was an excellent book – I cannot tell you how much this book helped our sleepless, colicky infant. But, several friends with non-colicky babies actually recommended this for any infant. This book is a wonderful middle ground for those parents who do not want a severe schedule (BABYWISE) or the opposite end of the spectrum, attachment parenting (Dr. Sears). It was the only book that I found that spoke knowledgeably about colic, and gave the only helpful advice available on the subject (believe me, we tried it all). It is not a cry-it-out book, although some may look at it in that light. What it teaches you is this: 1. watch your child. 2. put him/her down to sleep when you first see the signs of tiredness 3. most children under 6 months do not stay awake for longer than 2-3 hours at a time without needing a nap. 4. DO NOT just put your child down to nap when you feel like it – that’s just letting him/her cry, not TEACHING them to sleep. 5. Most children need to go to sleep at night earlier than you’d think. 6. Going to bed earlier promotes later sleeping (weird, but true. As the author says, it’s not logical. It’s biological – sleep promotes sleep) There’s a lot more too. I really like that the author’s data is based on studies that he has done involving the patterns of children who naturally sleep and nap well. No, it didn’t give us a perfect baby. We happen to have a very sensitive high strung girlie, who also power-naps. But we went from a cranky post-colicky baby who took no naps or 15-20min naps and got up many times per night to a sweet smiling girl who now takes 3 45min-1 hour naps per day and sleeps from 6pm-7am (waking 2 times to nurse). Oh yes. The nursing. She used to think that nursing was the only way to get to sleep. After diligently following the advice in this book, she now can get to sleep on her own, no nursing. Not that it’s perfect – she still cries 5-15 minutes at times before naps. But she is sooooooo much happier now. Gotta think something’s working.

Hurray for Dr. Weissbluth! My one year old is now going to bed at 8 and sleeping through the night (4 nights and counting) for the first time in his life. He is also beginning to nap in his crib. A cloud has lifted from our house. This book combines discussions on sleep research with practical how-to information. Weissbluth emphasizes keeping the child from becoming over tired and training the child to achieve sleep continuity. He does recommend allowing a child to cry if neccasary, but that is not the ideal or primary thrust of the approach (like Ferber). I found this approach to be more logical and research based than many popular sleep books. It is better than Sears’ “Nighttime Parenting” if you have a child with real sleep issues. It is more scientific and practical than “Babywise” (which my pediatrician says is based on poor research). It is a gentler approach than Ferber, who I feel puts too much emphasis on the act of crying. Also, this approach allows greater flexibility than Ferber’s method.

12 Comments

  1. Elizabeth Walker

    I love her hot pink crib! How precious…wish I had had one of these as a baby!

    Reply
  2. Old Centennial Farmhouse

    Ang, that is just a darling crib nook! I am passing this post on to Jamie, who is noticing that Levi isn’t prone to be a good sleeper. Jamie was the same when she was his age and I’m hoping she can avert bad sleeping and “train” him to sleep well. I often wonder if she still doesn’t sleep well, because I didn’t know enough to train her to do it. I am so glad you share your knowledge with other mommies and grammas…it truly is so nice of you to take the time to share it.
    XOXO
    Joni

    Reply
  3. sharon

    I feel for you as I read this post, I so remember those broken nights, and the anguish of getting a baby to sleep. Unsurprisingly the fourth child was the easiest here, we were definitely more relaxed and less focussed on every tiny sound or movement. Even wit the fatigue, it is a blessed time in life when you have the little ones around, just keep that routine going well, and everything sort of slots into place!
    Have a great – sleepful – weekend
    Sharon
    xx

    Reply
  4. Queen of Dreamsz

    I love that pink crib…and yes, I’d be PO’d with red walls too…hee hee…I know you’ll have fun decorating. I never had children..I enjoy reading your posts about your children..you are a good mommie.

    Have a wonderful day,
    Stephanie ♥

    Reply
  5. Genuine Lustre

    What a doll. I’ve always been an attachment parenter, and we are still enjoying snuggling with a 21 mo. old in our bed. Right now I’m about a week into getting him to nap without nursing. So far so good.

    Reply
  6. Alice

    What a sweet little sleeping nook!

    Oh I remember the days when I was so tired from work and the commute, and had to deal with bedtime issues. Our young ones slept in their own room even as babies, but still there were many, many nights we kept them with us for various reasons. Now that two are at college and the third in
    8th grade, I miss those days of cuddling a baby.

    I do think its horrible when parents don’t get their young ones on some sort of routine. I’ve seen so many let their young ones stay up to 10PM and then wonder why the kid is cranky, and doing poorly in school. Getting good sleep is so important–even for adults.

    Reply
  7. Laura Ingalls Gunn

    I am such a light sleeper that my babies had to be moved out at 2 months. But I still would nurse our preemie in the middle of the night and consequently often awoke in the am with a bebe on boob. 🙂

    I wanted to invite you over to Fabulous French Fridays at the Metis Linens blog as I know you too love the French lifestyle.

    Your presence would add a bit of oh la la. 🙂

    http://metislinens.blogspot.com

    Au Revoir!

    Reply
  8. Deanna

    Ang, I love your pictures! Especially the one of your lil one looking at you!
    How blessed you are to have such a sweet family.

    The article you wrote that can be found on the sidebar was neat to read.

    I always enjoy getting seeing what others do to decorate and to gather ideas for my memory bank.

    God bless,
    d

    ps
    if I could relive the time I was a young momma, I would. But I know I would do things different…like have more playtime with kids, sitting on the floor having tea parties, digging in the dirt, reading more bible stories…I could go on. Dressing up!

    Live well.

    Reply
  9. Theanne...

    Brought back memories…I agree…read the book and tweak to make it work for you. The “baby guru” when I was a young mother was Dr. Spock. After 45 years (my son’s age) I don’t remember a thing Spock’s book said…except he didn’t believe in spanking. Always enjoy your posts and photos!

    Reply
  10. Joannah

    I’m going to have to get that book!

    Reply
  11. Victoria

    As a new mom, I highly recommend this book! I’m proud to say Sofia is 3 months and takes 2-3 40ish min naps a day and has a bedtime of 8pm – which she loves! She nurses at 1130, 230 and gets up at 630 am, beaming from ear to ear and ready to play. She is a JOY now that she’s getting more regular sleep.

    Reply
  12. Ann at eightacresofeden

    I’m always striving for balance in how I raise my children. Sleep is one of those areas. I nursed my babies in bed but moved them into their own room before they turned one. I’m honouring my husband’s wishes here by the way. I love nursing babies! My one year old has just started waking up again once during the night after sleeping through. If it’s apparent he’s not going to fall back asleep after a few cries(no prolonged crying) I will take him into the living room and give him a feed. He doesn’t always fall back to sleep but I put him down in his cot and stay with him for a short time – place a hand on his tummy and stroke his head for a while whispering ‘sleepy time’. Remove my hand from his tummy, keep stroking his head for a few minutes. Stop but stay at his cot for a few minutes. He has been falling back to sleep by himself when I use this routine. Last night it took just 5 minutes and he did not wake until 6 am which is when our family rises. I’m calling this approach my ‘gentle departure’.
    One thing I would say about decorating children ‘s rooms is that I do believe many parents make bedrooms which are for sleeping far too stimulating. Too many bright colours, too many mobiles, toys, pictures, murals etc. It is no wonder some children don’t want to go to sleep. I believe in restful rooms – calm and serene as possible. I have never had any problems with children waking up during the night past the age of 2.

    Reply

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