Daily archives "August 18, 2014"

What I know about baby sleep…or lack there of



Peaceful, isn’t she??? Interestingly, this was the only sleeping picture I could find of Bear. Because she does not reliably sleep! My Bean is a great sleeper (or maybe I just have really rose colored glasses of her in her first year). That’s what the daddio says anyway. But this child is much harder. With Bean, we did a bit of cry it out. Not a lot, like 5 minutes for a week. And she could put herself to sleep. She also had a pacifier. Bear spit them out from day one. And if we tried to put one in her mouth, she would become more upset. And, when I try to let her cry it out for longer than 2 minutes, she vomits everywhere. It’s quite a challenge. So, what does one do when she is desperate to put her child to be in under 75 minutes without having to change the bedding every night??? Great question! Read everything ever written about baby sleep (and there is quite a lot) and hope that something changes.

So, here’s what I know…

First, start immediately when you get home from the hospital. If you start reading the Happiest Baby on the Block or any number of other books out there, they insist you start immediately.  Well, here we are, 10 months in. Might be a bit late for that.

Second, do NOT nurse your child to sleep. Both of my children were exclusively breastfed children for the first 7-8 months of their lives. And it is soothing. And they fall asleep. Again, might be a bit late for that.

Third, the recommendations by the American Pediatric Association is that a child must be put to bed on their back. And definitely should not bed share. Every time I put Bear on her back, she screams like her arm is getting cut off. And when I remove my arm, she screams. Ok, next…

We had a challenge on our hands. And I am a huge proponent of healthy sleep. In my work, I often help my patients improve their sleep behavior because we all feel better when we are rested. This was really hard for me that I have a baby who is not a great sleeper.

Over the last month, I have tried a couple of different strategies. And, lo and behold, I can get her into bed in under 15 minutes with no vomiting! Success! Well, maybe it is because she is growing and just growing changes the game. She is also eating much more in the way of food so that may have an effect as well. BUT, we have changed the game a bit.

She still nurses before bed. Then we have a story. I hold her until she is drowsy and then I put her in bed with my hand on her. She likes to be on her side, so I put her in that position (I did check with the pediatrician, he said it is fine). I sing a short song to her and she goes to sleep. I have also added a white noise machine on a higher volume, which seems to be her cue it is time to sleep. I am sure there are a number of things that have worked.  To those out there who struggle with sleep, either themselves or their children, do not despair. Just be willing to try lots of strategies until you find the right combination. And then enjoy the restful sleep that comes.