My Thoughts on Baby Schedules and Sleep Training

posted by Andrea | 03/4/2014

snuggles

Recently, I’ve been noticing a lot of chatter about “sleep training” in my social media feeds. And while I honestly have nothing against sleep training (I actually think it can be VERY helpful for many families), I know for a fact that it doesn’t work for everyone — even if you follow every single rule in those books :)

So since I know there are other frustrated parents out there thinking, “what is wrong with me? why don’t these books work?” I thought I’d share some of my thoughts on baby schedules and sleep training.

Keep in mind that this post is NOT written from someone who thinks schedules and sleep training are awful or cruel for babies (which is usually the stance of these types of posts), but as someone who is PRO schedules and sleep training… and who really REALLY wanted them to work.

I hope this post offers some encouragement for sleepless parents out there — because it’s honestly NOT YOUR FAULT!

Before Nora was born, I knew exactly how things were SUPPOSED to go. Dave and I had read the books, I had done research on the internet, I had read all the mom blogs, we had taken the classes at the hospital, and we even watched a parenting DVD.

Dave and I both decided that we really REALLY wanted to get our new baby into a good, solid, predictable daily routine; and more importantly, on a good sleeping schedule.

The books made this all sound super simple (which makes me wonder if any of the authors ever actually had children of their own). And if you’re a Type-A person like me who thrives on rules, a book saying something is super simple is all you need to boost your confidence that you can, in fact, do whatever that book says.

After all, I’m a fast learner and extremely competent in following relatively simple step-by-step instructions — and that’s what these sleep training and other parenting books gave me.

I honestly can’t remember many times in my life when following instructions didn’t get me the results I wanted; so certainly, following step-by-step instructions to get our baby on a daily schedule and nightly sleeping routine would be a PIECE. OF. CAKE!

Right? 

Then Nora was born, real life began, and almost NOTHING in those the books actually worked for us!

The Ingenious “Eat, Play, Sleep” Routine:

Dave and I were 100% gung-ho about implementing the “eat, play, sleep” routine one of the books talked about. We knew many friends who had successfully implemented this routine with their children, and we just knew it was going to be a fabulous way to get our baby on a schedule of taking nice long naps and eating conveniently every 3-4 hours.

The books say to start the baby on this eat, play, sleep routine from the very beginning — and I took that “from the very beginning” extremely literally (because I follow the rules!)

NOTE: the following story is unfortunately very true  :)

I can vividly remember sitting in my hospital bed on the 2nd day… the nurse brought Nora into me and said she had just woken up and it was probably time for a feeding — perfect, she just slept, now she can eat — these books are awesome!

So I fed her — 15 minutes per side like they instructed me — and then it was time to “play”. But Nora just wanted to fall back to sleep. I couldn’t do anything to keep her eyes open.

Dave and I were honestly BOTH sitting there trying to come up with ways to keep our 24-hour old baby awake so we could follow the “eat, play, sleep” routine these books suggested.

Seriously friends — can we say “Type A”!

Thankfully a good friend gently suggested that we didn’t really have to start from the VERY beginning, and that Nora’s life would not be ruined forever if we waited at least a week or two to start the “eat, play, sleep” schedule.

OK, so that was a relief —  but as you know by reading many of my other posts, the “eat, play, sleep” routine never ever worked for us (and not due to lack of effort).

.

Next up: Sleep Training!

I can remember how excited I was around 5-6 months because we could finally start introducing some baby foods AND start the sleep training.

Life was going to be good — no more nursing every 2 hours round-the-clock (I eventually gave up on the book’s 3-4-hour recommendation as that obviously didn’t work for us either) and no more waking up 18 times each night.

As I mentioned in this post, the baby food part didn’t work… and unfortunately, neither did the sleep training part.

We followed the book’s instructions and it was easy… for me. I had no trouble listening to Nora cry it out because I knew I was following the rules and doing what I was supposed to do to help her learn how to sleep.

The only problem was, she never ever stopped crying. We would go in her room every 20-30 minutes like one of the books suggested, give her a hug, wipe her tears, put her pacifier in, lay her down, rub her back, and say goodnight… only to have her start screaming uncontrollably the second we turned towards the door.

But we kept at it… for a long time.

I don’t feel bad about what we did because we were just so desperate to sleep — and I honestly think Nora would have been a much happier baby if we could have gotten her to sleep better, but that just wasn’t going to happen.

Slowly, we started to realize that although we were following ALL the rules, this just wasn’t working for our family — especially since I knew I could get Nora back to sleep in about 5 minutes if I just held her and rocked her (yes, this still works two years later!)

sleeping with nora

We actually started getting MORE sleep when we dropped the sleep training rules because even though Nora still woke up all the time, I knew exactly what to do to get her sleeping again ASAP (instead of everyone laying awake listening to her cry).

So we figured out what worked best for us. It definitely wasn’t ideal, and it definitely made me feel like a complete failure since I apparently couldn’t follow the super simple rules laid out in the parenting and sleep training books.

SIGH… 

But life goes on… I promise!

The last 27 months of our lives have been very sleep-deprived — but things are definitely starting to get better.

Starting right around Christmas break something changed.

We didn’t have to sleep IN Nora’s bed with her all night long (this was the only way we could keep her sleeping for about 14 months!)

She was only waking up once or twice each night.

She almost always took a nap after lunch — sometimes it was only 20-30 minutes, but there were several days when she slept for well over an hour!!!!!!

We officially experienced what it’s like to sleep through the night — more than once!

We thought we had hit the jackpot and finally figured Nora out… and then things got worse again

About two weeks ago, things got REALLY bad — like waking up every hour on the hour for several days in a row and taking 2-3 hours to fall asleep every night.

Yes, we were frustrated!

But then the past few days, things have started to turn around again.

She started napping again (and even told me she wanted to take a nap yesterday.)

She slept through the night 2 nights in a row and in has been sleeping in much longer intervals.

The bedtime process has not been as big of a struggle.

Dave and I have tried looking back to see if there was ANYTHING we did we did differently to get her to sleep better (or to cause her not to sleep)… but we can’t come up with ANYTHING! 

None of the books, doctors, chiropractors, medicines, natural remedies, therapies, brushing, massaging, essential oils, music, sound machines, special blankets, diets, heating pads, pillows, etc. had any overwhelmingly positive or negative effect… NONE OF THEM.

Many of them offered SOME help for a few days or a short period of time, but to this day, there has been absolutely no cure — or one thing that was “the solution” for us.

We have no idea why Nora magically slept really well for 2 whole months… or why in one day, she just completely reversed and went back to her old sleepless ways.

It would have been nice to say, “we finally found the solution” and announce the winning sleep remedy here on the blog — but that’s just not the case.

I realize we’re not even close to “out of the woods” when it comes to dealing with Nora’s sleeping issues — AND that we’ll be adding a new baby to the mix any day — but it’s OK.

I’m not writing this post for tips or suggestions on how to get Nora to sleep… I just know how helpful it would have been for ME to read something like this post 2 years ago.

I haven’t found much on the internet from the a PRO sleep training perspective that also freely admits that it definitely did NOT work. Everyone either says, “sleep training is amazing and it’s your fault if it doesn’t work” or, “sleep training is cruel and an awful way to get a baby to sleep”

Well, I’m here to say that I personally think sleep training is a decent idea that often works but not always. I KNOW our family would have benefited from it IF we could have gotten it to work.

At this point, we plan to try some form of sleep training and baby scheduling with baby #2 — just not when we’re still in the hospital!!

If you’re trying to sleep-train your precious baby and get him or her on a schedule with little to no success, it’s not your fault!

The books and the rules are good tools to use — but parental instincts are better (and this is coming from someone who didn’t have many parental instincts starting out!) If the books aren’t working, it’s probably because you have a special baby like Nora :)

Don’t beat yourself up, don’t let yourself feel like a failure, and certainly don’t let other “sleep training experts” make you feel like less of a parent. All kids are different and there’s no way the suggestions of one book could possibly work for every single baby out there.

From this type-A mama who desperately tried to “follow all the rules” please know IT’S NOT YOUR FAULT! 

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29 comments

  1. Stephanie

    03/04/2014

    I gave up on all the rules because like you it was a whole lot easier to just spend the time getting them to sleep then fighting with them. Just this week I thought I would be done nursing but my youngest got sick and it was the ONLY way to get her to stop crying and settle down.
    I’m far from Type A, and I know many type A’s who struggle with nursing because it isn’t scheduled enough. There are definitely some suggestions that work but each baby parent is different, like you said. For me, that meant nursing almost constantly from 6-9 at night with my first two, but they were the ones who slept through the night for 12 hours by 10 weeks old. My youngest ate quicker and didn’t cluster feed as often and didn’t sleep until 8 months old.
    No easy answers. I am glad she has improved, and by the grace of God you will continue on as a parent. Only His grace gets us through, what a great blessing from him!

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  2. Organize 365

    03/04/2014

    YEP, I tried all the books too. :)

    Learning to trust your MAMA gut over the advice of others is key in being a happy parent. I am still trying to learn that one 14 years later.

    And YES! I would have LOVED to have read this 14 years ago!

    :)
    Lisa

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  3. Paulette Smith

    03/04/2014

    God bless your heart! None of my children slept through the night, though none of them had issues like Nora. I was so discouraged and felt like such a failure at times because some mothers seemed to have it all worked out. It just was what it was. I’m following you on Facebook and I am amazed at the things Nora says!!

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  4. Jen

    03/04/2014

    I took “that” book to the hospital with me (probably the same hospital you took it to in GR!) and I started “at the beginning” as well. I had four babies that did amazingly well with that routine and I’m very grateful for that. But, I’m not so rigid that I can’t realize that everything doesn’t work for everyone!

    Are you planning to try implementing a schedule with this baby or just waiting to see how it goes? (NOT wanting to start a riot here-just being curious!) And still hoping and praying that Baby boy Dekker is a calm, peaceful soul!

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  5. Jen

    03/04/2014

    Our boy (who is about three months older than Nora) does that “sleep well for awhile, then regress” thing, too. We finally figured out why HE was doing it—growth spurts. It always coincides with his growth spurts. So while we can’t do anything about it, it was comforting to discover that correlation and know that once the spurt passed, the sleep problems would, too.

    But that’s just what ours does. I definitely cannot speak for anyone else’s babes. Babies are weird. We all need shirts that say that. ;)

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    Lea Stormhammer Reply:

    Our twins are 8 1/2 (closer to 9) and they STILL do this – sleep really well for a while and then have a more restless night when they’re in a growth spurt, especially our son. Our daughter grows more “smoothly” but when she hits a real spurt she has a restless night too. Thankfully, they’re past the real wake up at night and need a parent stage, but they will thrash around trying to get comfortable, wake up to use the bathroom a few times, or have nightmares (or all three!).

    Glad to know it’s not just our kids who do this!
    Lea

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    Diana Reply:

    And there’s always the mental growth spurts too (see the Wonder Weeks website). You might not notice pants getting shorter, but their brains are learning to relate to their environment in new ways–my little guy was a great sleeper except during those wonder weeks! I’d do what it took to help him sleep (i.e., wear him in the Moby for naps and walk him to sleep at nights) and after a week or three he’d get himself back to normal with no tears from me (except the tears of “I don’t want to walk outside with you at 10:30 pm one more night!”)

    Now he’s two and in a stage where his naps don’t happen every day–I’m wondering if it’s a toddler version of the wonder weeks. We’ll see I guess!

    And Andrea, I am so glad you posted this! It’s so freeing to follow your gut about baby sleep instead of thinking you have to follow rules (although if the rules work, they are great, like you said.)

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  6. Julie

    03/04/2014

    A well-meaning friend loaned me her sleep book after the birth of my first daughter and i read it cover-to-cover, however, similar to your experience, things didn’t go by-the-book. I felt like a huge failure! Eventually, she worked her way into a great routine, but it wasn’t until she was well over six months old — and even then, growth spurts and the occasional illness were enough to derail her for weeks at a time.

    With my second daughter my motto was “just ride the wave.” Having no expectations freed up valuable mental energy and i was much more relaxed about the whole experience. Sure, now that my girls are 5 and 6, i feel as though we have more control, but as much as i hate to admit it, they are also steering the ship. For my husband and i now it’s all about making them want to participate in the structure of a schedule and thinking it was their idea all along :)

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  7. Rebecca

    03/04/2014

    With our oldest daughter, we sleep trained and it worked out great. However, she would still sometimes climb into our bed in the middle of the night, but I was so tired half the time I didn’t realize she was in our bed until I woke up in the morning! With our second daughter, I was sure that sleep training would work because it worked with our oldest. However, my second daughter had her own plans and she just slept with us and nursed at night whenever she wanted. Sometimes, it’s easier to give in and keep your sanity, than to keep trying the same thing over and over and it not working. Eventually, I weaned her (around 16 months) and that’s when she started sleeping with her older sister. She eventually started sleeping in her own bed and now she is the most independent kid I know. Those girls are now 6 & 4 years old and we just had another daughter who is 5 weeks old. I haven’t even tried to start a schedule yet with her, though she pretty much started one on her own. So far she’s a great eater, napper, and sleeper. So we’ll see how long that continues.

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  8. Kayla H

    03/04/2014

    Just passed this post on to a friend that has a daughter that only sleeps a few hours a night. I know this will encourage her! :)

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  9. Jennifer Gregory

    03/04/2014

    Andrea, I know the book you are talking about. Hen our oldest son was born I had that book. After following the book and never following my heart, my husband through it in the garbage, literally!

    I can happily report that my son is 21, in college and engaged to be married. He’s a wonderful, respectful and hard working man.

    We have to ask God how to raise our kids instead of other “men”.

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    kathy jay Reply:

    Amen to that!!

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  10. Rebecca C

    03/04/2014

    I tried very hard to get my oldest daughter sleeping through the night with the help of sleep training. At age 2 she would still wake up several times a night and I felt like a failure. I cried almost every night at bedtime. After several doctors visits (and one even suggesting I give her Benadryl to get her to sleep!) one finally ordered a sleep study. Turns out my little angel had sleep apnea which according to my research not only caused her to wake up a lot but causes nightmares in children. She had surgery to remove her tonsils and adenoids to correct it and almost immediately began sleeping better. She still didn’t sleep completely through the night but we went from 4 times a night waking up to 1 or 2. She is now 5 and does a great job sleeping in her own bed. Always trust your instincts and know in time it gets easier.

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  11. Jen

    03/04/2014

    I don’t have anything against sleep training if it works well for your baby and I have many friends with contented babies and perhaps easier schedules than mine. However, I sleep with my babies about 18 months and have had not too much trouble transitioning them to independent sleep in their own full size bed and staying in bed until their toddler clock shows green. It does take a few months for the transition and they do sometimes wake up in the night for help with toileting or if they are sick or scared, but I still think this was EASIER and resulted in MORE SLEEP for us than sleep training would have given our babies personalities and needs.

    Personally, I HATE getting up during the night with a baby, so my family found what worked for us. My point is basically to encourage everyone to do what works for them. There is a lot to be learned from books, but when real babies collide with parenting books, you got to go with your gut. Here’s hoping your second baby is a better sleeper but sounds like you have a lot more tools to cope with him weather he’s ideal sleep training material or not.

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  12. Amy O

    03/04/2014

    When my first baby was born, I learned quickly to stop reading the parenting books – they just made me feel like a failure. We didn’t have sleep issues – we had breastfeeding issues. A lot of well meaning people also contributed to the feeling of failure (because if you haven’t had the problem yourself, you assume the mom is not doing things “right.”) My first baby (now 17) would have literally starved to death before he would have nursed. My second baby nursed without a problem – proving that it wasn’t me not doing it “right” but that I had a more difficult baby the first time around.

    Babies are very different and Nora has been a higher maintenance baby than most. Here’s hoping Baby Boy Dekker is much easier!

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  13. Sarah

    03/04/2014

    Your experience is so much more common I think Andrea, than all the “success” stories. I am working on a post about my experience, which is similar to yours with Nora with a few of my children. Once again Andrea, you help so many moms-(and Nora too-we MUST give credit to Nora-see I told you she was just really really smart-she knew what she was doing all along! :)

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  14. Nicole Church

    03/04/2014

    Andrea,
    I am in tears right now because your post has made my day! Thank you for sharing so open and honestly. I can relate at a certain level.

    I struggle with nap time and have tried so many different things that ‘the books say’. What is most frustrating for me is that my 2 year old, Zoe, will nap for others (2 days a week at daycare, 1 day a week for her grandma, and for my husband when he’s home to help). Quite honestly, I am stubborn, determined perfectionist, and I feel like a failure when I can’t get her to nap. It has been this way since she was an infant. The only way I was most successful getting her to take a nap was by nursing her to sleep and I stopped that over a year ago.

    I’ve come to the conclusion, with my husband’s help, that I just need to put her in her bed and let her be. She doesn’t usually cry, unless I keep coming in and getting upset with her. I’m going to try to just leave her in her crib for 30 minutes and see what happens this Friday. If she doesn’t fall asleep, I’m going to bring her some books (she loves to read!) and let her entertain herself as long as possible (maybe another 15–30 min). We’ll see how this goes.

    I pray that you will continue to share your journey with us! What a blessing it is when we share from the heart. Thank you, Andrea. <

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  15. seem

    03/04/2014

    i have to say everytime i read your posts- there are more than 1 or 2 things i can relate too and i truly wonder the same- why dint anyone tell me about this or this??? no matter how trivial it is??
    It may not be important to them but it is to me…Having truly gone through a struggle myself with my 16mth old…i can relate to many things that you have written…my son is sleep trained but just when i figured out all is good- he is crying in his bed every 2 hrs!!….has happened many many nights…
    Also i wanted to add this from my experience- forget about wat anyone says- its good to hear them but implement accordingly or mayb not. This is what helped me a lot many a times- i wouldnt say always! but most of the times
    you are the best observer of your child especially the moms since we can hear them nonverbally too with all the clues tht they give…so i used to observe my son a lot rather than reading a book and make a schedule around that pattern . Also i would what would get him to sleep or eat and work around it- so lets say if he woke up in the middle of the night- many a times playing his fav music would put him back to sleep..ofcourse thr are times when nothing works!!LITERALLY!!…
    hang in gal…we are all in the same boat and yet none of us want to be the first one!

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  16. Kathy

    03/04/2014

    Having been through what you have been through with Nora you might feel more relaxed giving these things a go again. Not exactly sure about when to begin the sleep training but a just born baby I would think does not really play. I do remember my first born stayed awake all day long and I couldn’t get him to sleep and when we went to the parenting group they would say just that. Your baby should sleep, eat play in that order and I thought “What on earth”…mine is awake all day long. I couldn’t him to sleep at night either and I was just exhausted. I did go to the “sleep school” (which is run by the govt health service) for a “day stay” and doing that day saved my life and my sanity. I came home that evening and put my son to bed in 10 minutes flat. Now to be honest, I wasn’t really doing anything that much different to what I did at sleep school for the day but the difference was there was a trained professional there supervising and I had someone to guide me and there were other mothers there all exhausted and frustrated as well and we would burst into tears but after spending the day there I came home and it was amazing.
    What I can’t understand is with having a baby is there is so much focus on your pregnancy and breast feeding and that’s it you are basically on your own after that. I feel that all mothers should have the opportunity of the “day stay” maybe 2 weeks after giving birth to give them the confidence and tools to be able to be able to be confident in getting your little one to sleep. It’s the sleep deprivation that is torture (hey…that’s what they used in the war). If there is anything in your community health like a day stay try and book yourself in (check with your doctor). I know that you know what the books say etc. but hands down doing that one day with professionals was worth nights of good sleep. My son woke up for his feed but mostly it was only twice a night and then eventually he slept all the way through.
    Also just one thing you mentioned that you were leaving it 30 mins before you went in when she was crying….(not judging of course) but I would have thought that was too long….5 mins, pat on the back, walk out etc. and short time periods. 30 seems like a long time.
    Here’s hoping you have a great time with your 2nd one…. Regards Kathy A, Brisbane, Australia

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  17. Dorothy

    03/04/2014

    I am happy to hear that so many of you are throwing out those rigid baby training books. Everything works better when the parents are calm and are not sending out anxiety messages. I hated listening to my grandson standing in his bed crying because “the book” said that was the way to do it. Each child is an individual and will find their own way. Just like a dog (not to exactly compare children to dogs–but infants do have to rely heavily on their senses to live in their world). Parental emotions move back and forth between the parent and child. The child knows instantly when you are anxious, frustrated or angry, or happy and relaxed. If you want to read good reliable books about child rearing find something by Rudolph Dreikurs and his mentor Alfred Adler. Adler died in 1937 and Dreikurs in 1972,They worked as social scientists with oodles of scientific research. Dreikurs materials are probably easier to find. Adler had a wonderful theory of “Why children misbehave,” Dreikurs expanded on this and gave a lot of helpful ways to implement. This is probably of a little more value to parents in the pre-school and up (all the way through teens). It is one of the best explanations for children’s behavior. Don Dinkmeyer and Jane Nelson are two current authors you will see using these philosophies. You may find them referred to as the STEP program and “positive discipline.” A third author I would recommend particularly for school age children is Lee Cantor. Most of his work is with teachers, but it certainly has home uses. Although Adler and Dreikurs worked many years ago studying children’s behavior they had excellent philosophies. All it takes to write a child behavior book is a PhD behind your name and some experience in the field. Don’t depend on these types of books, They are far from accurate. Look up the author and see what their philosophical views are. Some of the sleep training ideas sound like they are based on B.F. Skinner–famous for training rats in mazes and then trying to apply that to people. Use your own best trusted resources–your parents, your siblings, your best friends. They’ll give you good advice because they have been through all this before and they love you enough that they “really” want to help you. Not everyone will be helpful, but give it a try. Some of them will be right on. Phrase your question so it is okay to ignore their advice, “Mom, I was wondering if you had any thoughts about babies sleeping? It seems like it is really hard to get….” If you get helpful ideas that’s great,but if you get judgement or criticism, you can back away without straining the relationship. Sorry to ramble on so long, but with easy access to the internet and social networks, it is easy to forget some of the best resources we have. The references to authors and theories of child development come from 40 years of studying and working in the field. Hope some of this is helpful.

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  18. Heart and Haven

    03/04/2014

    I think it’s important to parent our “individual children”, and not merely “by the book”. I think many parenting books can provide some good advice or guidelines to try, but as you experienced with Nora – it was as if she said, “Mom, see that book? Yeah, you can throw that away cause I need you to parent me as “I” need you to.”

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  19. Ariana

    03/04/2014

    Baby #1 got same memo as your Nora – nothing worked but sleepig w mama those first months. but our lil girl started sleeping through/sleep training started working around 9-10mo. Baby #2 has been such a different story. While she’s still cuddling w mama for at least part of the night, she naps alone in the day and starts her nights alone – an amazing amount of freedom compared to what baby 1 gave me!!

    I guess my point is, some of it is just the baby’s personality! Maybe your #2 baby will be more gentle on your sleep cycles!!!

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  20. Abbey

    03/04/2014

    Great post! None of that stuff worked for our Kayley either, not for lack of trying! She will be two in May, and I’ve just successfully finished nursing as of last week, still rock her if I ever want her to sleep, still hear from her many nights … Always nice to hear the affirmation you’re not alone! :)

    Just saw your news on Facebook that the little man has arrived! Congrats!! Will pray for this transition in your house.

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  21. Heidi

    03/04/2014

    Thanks for posting this. I think that you have been really doing a great job at being a mother. It is so refreshing to read something that does not come down pushing either agenda. I get so tired of people militantly proclaiming that their way is the only way and everything else is cruel or irresponsible or some other ridiculous thing. I have to say, I really appreciated “all those books”. There are so many things that we can learn from both sides of the argument, and I needed that. Even with baby #3, I was so sleep-deprived that I could not remember some of the tools or methods or things to try to make things better. Having said that, each baby has his/her own needs, and a book cannot tell us everything. Some things will work and others won’t, and it is no big deal. The key for me was being able to be flexible while attempting to provide some sort of structure for my children. And honestly, if sleep training (or scheduling or whatever) works for your child, by all means, do it! I wish it had worked with all of mine.

    With regards to sleep training, my first son was putting himself to sleep by 5-6 months, sleeping through the night by 10-11 months, etc. He was the easy one. However, he went through a couple of months just before he turned 2 when he would just cry incessantly. We resorted to rocking and singing to him, and then slowly transitioned him back to putting himself to sleep. He was a great sleeper, but now at 5 1/2 he seems to think he can stay awake later than us and get up with the birds. I wish I could figure out a way to help him sleep more. My second son would not put himself to sleep. He would not stop crying at all and just made us all miserable. I tried it all! The only way that I could get him to sleep was to rock him (and he’d usually be sound asleep in less than 5 minutes). And I did this for every time he slept until he turned 2. Then suddenly one day, he decided that he would go to sleep at night by himself. But, if I wanted him to have a nap, I would still need to rock him. At 3 1/2, I will still occasionally rock him to sleep if he desperately needs the extra sleep. My daughter is somewhere in between. She is an extremely light sleeper. For months, I would struggle and struggle and struggle to get her to go to sleep at any time. She also wanted to nurse all the time. I remember sitting in my room, holding her and crying. My whole life seemed to be hijacked. Somehow, I finally was able to help her figure out how to go to sleep around 11 mo, but then it all changed a couple months later and she’d cry and cry endlessly again. I am just now getting her to lay down and go to sleep without screaming every time, but I don’t know how long that will last. I don’t know where exactly we’re going to end up with her, but she is doing better now.

    I hope that your little man will fit right in to the structures and rhythms that you have in your life and that he does not prove to have the same challenges that Nora did. All the best with labour, delivery and those first few weeks.

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  22. Carle

    03/06/2014

    Our son too had a hard time sleeping, sounds like you did a great job by just letting go and doing what you had to do. The “two steps forward, one step back” routine is pretty common, as long as you keep moving forward at all, that’s gotta be good, right! ;)

    Good luck with little Simon – hope he “sleeps like a baby”!

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  23. JJ

    03/06/2014

    Sleep deprivation is no joke. You have been amazing with your unconditional love to Nora. I was a colicky baby, and my brother was born 15 months later. My mom left us when I was 33 months and my brother was 18 months. My poor dad! However, my dad focused on the joys of our childhood, and that has always been so sweet. He didn’t sugar coat the rough days, but I have always appreciated his unconditional love. You remind me of him with your posts. Keep up the great work!

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    Andrea Reply:

    Wow — what a dad you must have! That’s really special, thanks for sharing JJ!

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  24. Katherine

    03/07/2014

    I am so glad you posted this! I am definitely a Type A, stick-to-a-schedule kind of a person. That worked really well with my two boys. Even though they woke up during the night for about the first 2 years, it was easy to say “go back to sleep” and that was that. And then my daughter. The only way to get her back to sleep most nights is to bring her into our bed and snuggle her. I don’t mind doing this (I’m not sure my husband would agree, but I try to keep her from kicking him too much), but it makes me feel like such a parenting failure sometimes. She is 9 months old, and we have been doing this for the past 3 months or so (before that I could feed her and usually get her to go back to bed, but she doesn’t eat at night any more, and that’s not the reason she wakes up – we tried adding a bit of food back in just to be sure).

    I keep reminding myself that getting sleep is more important than doing things in the way that I’ve always perceived as “right”, and realizing that there are many versions of “right”. It does kind of throw you off a little bit when your perceptions change that much though. I am glad that I have the parenting experience of having 2 kids before her to trust my gut on this. Kudos to you for being able to accept the unexpected with your first! I imagine that made it even more difficult. Hopefully Simon will be a better sleeper!

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  25. Elle

    03/07/2014

    I have had a rough time with putting my little girl (13 months now) down to sleep and I felt like family members just thought I was an inexperienced mother. It has been pretty frustrating, but talking with many of my friends and reading post like yours make me realize that I’m not crazy! I’m a good Mom because I want my baby to sleep well and I want to be well rested to be the best mom I can be. So…do whatever it takes (with the exception of Benadryl…yuck) to get them back to sleep and get yourself some rest…rock them, bounce them, sing to them, nurse them, walk away and plug your ears for 10 min and start all over…whatever it takes. I just wish that people would tell you these things before you have a baby so you don’t go crazy trying to figure out what you are doing wrong…some babies/toddlers are just difficult sleepers! No ones fault!

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