Monday, April 22, 2013

That Whole Sleep Thing

As I mentioned in my last post...Baby Jett has started sleeping better.

We didn't change anything, we didn't do anything different, we just kept doing what we had been doing since we started this whole sleep training business and one day it just clicked.

He stubbornly refused to sleep longer than 3 hours at a time for almost 2 months.  I had completely given up on him ever sleeping for longer than 3 hours, passed sleep training off as a big fat fail for Baby Jett and just decided to make the best of it ie. quit obsessing.

Our method went like this, if baby slept for longer than 3 hours then I would go in and nurse, if it had been less than 3 hours, one of us went in to soothe him with some shushing and patting, no nursing.

The only time we cheated and soothed him back to sleep with nursing was if he had woken up inside the 3 hour window and stayed awake crying for an hour and a half even with us going in and out of there at intervals to soothe...and yes that happened several times.  After an hour and a half at 3 in the morning all bets are off and you do what you gotta do to get everyone some sleep, so I would nurse him back to sleep.

We kept on like this for 2 months, with him never going longer than 3 hours and most nights waking up at least one "extra" time within a 3 hour range.  That means we were up nursing 3-4x a night every. single. night. and many nights up one more time not nursing but shushing/patting him back to sleep.

This sounds miserable but once I quit obsessing about it, quit trying to change it and just sort of accepted it as the way things were, that this was just how my kid was, I felt better about it. More relaxed if not better rested.

Then one night without warning he slept 7 hours, then again the next night and the next...for 3 nights he slept for 7 hours...I was in shock, but just like everything with babies I assumed it was just a phase.

Then he promptly went back to every 3 hours.  But it was enough for me to have hope.  Hope that one day this could be the norm.

Just a week or two later...he slept for 7 hours straight...again.

And since then he does it almost every night.

The new norm is for him to sleep 6-8 hours, nurse once at 2:00-3:00am followed by another 3-4 hour stretch of sleep and then up for the day around 6:30-7:00am.

It is now the rare night that I'm in there at 10:30pm and even if that happens he'll sleep for 5-6 hours after I nurse him at 10:30pm (almost better that way as I can actually get to bed and sleep for that 5-6 hours!)

Only downside to this new sleeping pattern is that he's a bit of an early riser now.  6-6:30 is the normal wake up time and 7:00 or 7:30 is sleeping in =)

I have no idea what changed.

But obviously Baby Jett was not ready to sleep in long stretches when we first started sleep training...and now he is.  I think it's that simple.

They say you can't force your child to eat, sleep or true.

You can't force them to sleep longer if they're not ready. 

As to the naps, I had completely given up on nap training because sleep training had been so hard and honestly hadn't worked very well.  I was basically laying down with him twice a day for naps, not the end of the world as I wasn't getting great sleep at night and it helped me at least have some down time and the baby would sleep longer if I was with him (boob in mouth!)

But one day while we were both sick and the hubs was traveling I NEEDED to lay down when his morning nap was supposed to be and he was refusing to lay down with me.  So I sang a little song, read a little story and I put him in his crib, awake.  Then I went to go lie down assuming I'd be in there at 5 min, 10 min, etc etc but at least I could lay down while he screamed and refused to nap.

To my utter shock, he cried for a minute or two AND THEN WENT TO SLEEP.  He slept for an hour, woke up briefly to cry a bit more AND THEN PUT HIMSELF BACK TO SLEEP for another 40 minutes.

What, what?!

With absolutely zero nap training Baby Jett started napping better.

Every morning he has a nap in his crib now, some days it's still only 30 minutes, some days it's an hour and 15 minutes, sometimes he wakes up and puts himself back to sleep, sometimes he doesn't.  

But we've quit fighting at the beginning of the nap which was what I was struggling with.  I found it so unbelievably demoralizing when you'd fight to get the baby to sleep for an hour and then he'd only sleep for 30 minutes.  HUGE WASTE OF TIME FOR EVERYONE.

Now if he only sleeps for 30 minutes it doesn't really matter as I wasted no time to get him to sleep.  We sing a little song, read a little story, nurse for 5 minutes and baby goes in the crib.  SO SIMPLE.

Afternoon naps I still like to lay down with him, but that's my choice and something I still really enjoy and it works for us.  The day it quits working I'll try putting him in the crib in the afternoons as well and see what happens.

So for all you mamas struggling out there with baby sleep problems, IT DOES GET BETTER!  Even the shittiest of sleepers start sleeping more at some point.

Motherhood is nothing if not a giant lesson in patience.


  1. Yay for getting on a great sleep schedule on his own! Roo sleeps from 6:30/7pm, with one wake up to nurse and then gets up around the same time 6:30/7am. I hate the morning wake up but I'll take it over up every three hours :)

    Hope he can keep it up!

  2. Oh I am so happy for you. This is amazing news! Go Jett!!

  3. Your last line "Motherhood is nothing if not a giant lesson in patience."


    Talk about hit the nail on the head. :-) and a lesson in not getting annoyed that everything takes multiple attempts and repetition on top of the patience. :-)

    I'm glad Jett is sleeping better!

  4. LOL, so true about you can't make them eat/sleep/poop. When I lay Stella down nowdays, she goes to sleep 100% easier if I lay her down, cover her with her favorite blankie, pat her butt and tell her I love her, and just WALK OUT. If I hover and pat and rub and can be an hour long fight every time. SO weird.

  5. I whole heartedly agree that you can't train a baby to eat. sleep. or poop. Yes - you can try to change things so sleep is more enticing..but they need to be ready. It is HARD to wait it out...but your success goes to show it is worth it! So glad you are getting more sleep!

  6. Yes! As soon as I accepted the duration of sleep we get at night is Paxlet's reality, it became much less of an issue for me. I am so glad to hear sleep is much better for you! I'm excited for the day (night) when we'll be able to get more sleep and Paxlet will sleep in his own bed all night, but for now, I'm just trying to enjoy what I have.