Thursday, August 13, 2009

Sleep Advice Please

Okay, I need some help. If you know me, you know I don't like to ask for help:) Koen, our wild & wonderful 7 month old, does not sleep. He sleeps about 2 hours in the day time and 8-10 hours at night (and no, not in a row. Last night I fed him at 12:30pm and 5am). That's less than 12 hours a day. I don't think this is healthy for him. Admittedly, he is a very happy boy. The main concern is him not going to bed before 9:30pm EVER. I am concerned because I am exhausted. If we lay him down, he stands up and cries and cries. He will cry for an hour straight and I haven't let him go beyond that. If we keep him up til 10pm, he generally goes to sleep within 10 minutes.
Gary and I need our evenings back. I am well aware of the Pick Up Put Down method and will instigate it if you can tell me that it worked for you and your child that did not need a lot of sleep. We cannot cut out his daytime naps because he gets grumpy and tired during the day and needs a nap. He usually naps 30-45 minutes two times a day (9am and 1pm).
WE ARE TIRED. I AM TIRED. Please don't tell me to let him cry for 2 hours because I won't:) Please don't tell me to feed him to sleep because he won't. Please don't tell me what you've read. Tell me what you have done which has worked. I just want a couple hours to myself each evening and I think at this stage in the game, it isn't asking for too much.
Maybe I was spoiled with Kai sleeping 7pm-7am. I think he just fell asleep. 9:30pm...not bad.
By the way, today he was cruising along furniture and he went from one piece of furniture to another. He is one crazy, sweet kid. I think he will be keeping us very busy for many years to come. That's my new workout routine...take care of 2 energetic boys all day long.


  1. Anonymous4:47 AM

    The Baby Whisperer (which includes pick up/put down) is working for guy (5 months)would not sleep much during the day--just a nap in the early afternoon while in a stroller/car--and had me up at least once in the night to feed. In the past month, things have improved greatly. He has two 45-60 minute naps, and one (his middle one) is about 2 hours. He's also in bed 11-12 hours....I just have to keep my eyes open for the dream feed (which I do at 10:30) but it does mean I get a few hours to myself in the evening (down 7-8:00). He's usually up at 7 a.m., but will cry for a few minutes around 4ish.
    One thing with the baby whisperer--she differentiates between a "mantra" (almost a whining) cry and a real cry, which helped me know when to go in to comfort him. My doctor also said he should be able to go 6-8 hours between feeds, so basically I've refused to feed him in the middle of the night now, and he's learning to put himself back to sleep without a feed.
    One thing worth considering....I also use cloth during the day and he always seems to pee himself and wake up within an hour. For the longer nap i have him in a disposable.

  2. Anonymous5:44 AM

    i won't tell you what i read, what others told me....

    my first child didn't go to bed in a decent time untill she was one year old.
    before that i tried everything, but what seemed to help her (AND US!!), was to go for a walk as a nighttime-routine. she stayed in the stroller the whole time, sucking on her paci and we had time to actually talk a bit....
    i know that you're having two kids, but maybe you could go for a walk every now and then and koen might be happy?

    wish you luck!!


  3. oh, i so wish i had a suggestion for you. it's so different with your second - there just isn't as much time to spend developing their sleep habits as their is for your first.
    i just know you have to do what you're comfortable with; by that I'm encouraging you to stay firm on those things you're against (and i TOTALLY agree on them).
    i've heard that some kids need less sleep, and while it's great that he's happy, i can totally see where you're coming from...he probably does need more than 12 hours of sleep a day.

    so sadly, no suggestion, but you've got a lot of my empathy and i so hope that his sleep habits improve.

  4. Unfortunately I can't offer any advice because we struggled with sleep with both our kids. I can tell you I understand from personal experience just how hard it is. I felt 'bleak despair' more than once. I was a zombie for months. I too worried if Eva was getting an unhealthy amount of sleep. In March 2008 I blogged, "Is it possible that our 17 month old child [Micah] only needs 9 hours of nighttime sleep? He only sleeps about an hour in the day."

    Things are much better now. There is light at the end of the tunnel. It was a longer haul than I would have liked, but things are MUCH better now. Be encouraged. hugs

  5. Although Kelly & I differ greatly in our approach to the whole sleep thing, I totally agree with her! She's right about how different it is from your first, as you just don't have the time or energy to really sleep train the second as much. Also, about doing what works for you. If you won't do certain things, stick to that, of course. BUT (and here's where you and I - and probably Kelly too - will likely disagree) I'm also a firm believer that we're in this stage of life for a certain time and sometimes it really sucks being so tired and not having all the time to ourselves that we want ... but it's not always realistic to "demand" that, AT THIS STAGE. I think we sometimes expect too much of our little ones. My last (Yes!) baby is not even one year old and I'm already saying that *it goes by so quickly!* Yes, we do need to nurture our relationships with our men and other kids, and take time for ourselves. I totally agree. I just think that at the same time, our job is to nurture our babies "in the way that they should go". With teething, colds, vacations, life ... babies' sleep habits are constantly changing. While the predictability of a baby who sleeps all night and takes two 2-hour daytime naps would be really nice, I think it's rare. (And yes, I agree that some kids just don't need as much sleep, either in the day or the night.) If Koen was miserable all day, I'd say perhaps he's not getting enough. But if he's happy? Perhaps he doesn't need as much as Kai did. Personally, I'm waiting till the fall to implement some sleep training for Jax. The non-schedule, the heat, the bright evenings ... not working so good for getting everyone to bed and nap as they should. Does this mean I'm a lazy mom who lets my baby rule the roost? I don't think so. I'm not at the point where I'm willing to let him cry it out or do the pick-up/put down thing, so I have to accept that his sleep will be unpredictable. And when I'm ready to take more drastic measures, I will. THIS IS NOT FOR EVERYONE ... but I don't count on my baby sleeping all night until at least a year old. (And yes, I have heard that the pick-up/put down thing is effective if you choose to implement it.) So, that's way more than my two bits. You asked for it ... :)

  6. I don't think I have much advice for you. Livi has always been a good sleeper. She used to have a 9pm bed time, I didn't mind it though. We are night owls and don't have a toddler. Around 6 or 7 months she naturally started going to bed earlier. My nephew was a horrible sleeper... until he turned one. He is a completely different kid now that he is one. Sleeps through the night, eats better, happier, much easier to be his parent (and his aunt) now. Can you hold out until then? I know, not what you wanted to hear.

    I know you said no books, but Pam and I both used/read "Healthy Sleeping Habits, Happy Child." Lyra and Livi are both better sleepers because of it. It isn't a directive method but normalizes sleep habits and problems and gives possible solutions. I think it was recommended to Pam from Sean and Leanne E. Maybe you could borrow it and browse through it from them.

  7. Koen sounds a lot like my first son Aiden. He napped twice a day for 45min and he nursed every 2 hours until he was a year old. At this point I was 4 months pregnant with his sister and was exhausted and at my reaching point to do something about it. I did the pick-up/put down. It was absolutely exhausting (more than just feeding him) but it did work and he started sleeping through the night. The only downfall is that he would wake around 5am and did that for roughly 6 months. With my second, I decided to not even worry about her sleep until she was a year. She had one nap (1 1/2 hours) by 8 months. She also nursed several times a night and once she was a year I helped her sleep longer by doing pick up/put down. This time Mikayla has been nursing at least 4 times a night and I am just waiting until she is a year, also because she will be moving rooms shortly. All this said, this is my comfort level. All kids are so different. I think that no matter what you try, it will work if you stick to it. The worst thing you could do is give up 1/2 way through a new technique. I hope that Koen does start to sleep better and that you feel more rested. Just remember, this too shall pass!!

  8. Okay, this is an issue I always have an opinion on... but, it's just my opinion... take it or leave it, I don't care, but for your sanity and your marriage, you need to get this baby to bed earlier... In my experience, good naps = good nights sleep. I had to let Autumn cry it out a few times... when she was four months old, healthy and fat (she weighed lots so I knew she didn't need the feed), I let her cry it out... was telling Ali today that the first night she cried for 1 1/2 hours! But the second was only 1/2 hour, and the third 10 minutes... and she's slept through the night ever since. I completely agree that you have to do whatever you are comfortable with but I also know that at some point you probably will have to "teach" Koen to sleep through the night and go to bed earlier... you can choose to do that now, or wait until he understands reason... For me, all my kids were sleeping 12 hour nights by that age and had regular mostly good naps... it sometimes took some tough love, but we were ALL better for it. So that's my opinion... and remember... it's just that... an opinion... Let us know how it goes!

  9. I don't really have a lot of advice either, since I let my babies cry to sleep from a very early age and they all are great sleepers now. For me, it was the only way to survive having 3 kids under the age of 3. What I do want to say though is that the summertime is always a rough time for sleep. The sun comes up early and goes down late, making it impossible for kids to "want" to sleep. All 3 of my kids sleep better and for longer periods in the winter. Shaylah is always saying to me when I get her ready for bed "But it's still light out!", which in her minds means it is still daytime. I am only hoping (for your sake) that once the weather changes, sleep will be easier to achieve. Hang in there!