Saturday, March 15, 2008

She can't handle the tears

Sleep as always been hard won in my household. For about the first 4 months of Porgie's life, I was unable to get her to nap. As soon as her little head hit the mattress, she was wide awake and ready to play. Eventually I got her on a schedule by napping with her in our bed. Yes, I took three naps per day. At about 7 or 8 months of age, Porgie started napping independently in her crib. Porgie slept horribly at night too. She got up 3 or 4 times per night until she was a year old. Although I hate to admit this, the only thing that really produced effective results in the nighttime sleep department was crying. I know, I am a horrible mommy. But after enduring a year of sleep deprivation, I was willing to give anything a try. And crying worked for us.

But now Porgie is a great sleeper. She goes to bed at 7:30 pm and sleeps until 7:30 am. And she takes an afternoon nap for an hour or two. I really have no complaints about her current sleeping habits, which is WONDERFUL.

However, my friend K is having lots of sleep trouble with her two year old little boy. He goes to bed around 6:00 pm, wakes up and plays for an hour or two in the middle of the night, and is up for the day by 5:30 am. Also, he will no longer take his afternoon nap (hence the reason he has such an early bedtime). K is adamant about not letting him cry, so I have no real advice to offer her. When she tells me that he was up running around their house for THREE hours in the middle of the night, I just want to say, "Put him in his crib, shut the door, and turn down the baby monitor." I am not a huge cry-it-out advocate, but for some babies it really does work. Obviously, I am of little help to her.

This is where you come in, dear internet friends. Do you have any advice for my poor friend. She is exhuasted. I think she is getting less sleep than me - a woman with a newborn who wakes up every TWO hours all night long. Please share any tips or advice that might let K and her little boy get more rest. Thanks!


Anonymous said...

I'm a CIO parent as well, it worked WONDERS for my first son...second son well I'm not as strong but I'm getting there.
My thoughts - maybe trying everything she can to keep him up until 7ish & see if that helps him make it past that middle of the night wake up...
I just don't know what else to do if CIO is out.
SO SO SO SAD for your friend...sleep issues should come w/ a sleep switch!!!

Marni Tiani Self said...

I swear by the Baby Whisperer. She does a shush pat, where she holds them enough to calm them and then shush's and pats their chest while they lay in bed. Apparently focusing on two things means they can't think to focus on crying too and go to sleep. Whatever... their whole routine and stuff worked for my two kids and they are on AMAZING routines!

Good luck to you and your friend!

Mary said...

"Put him in his crib, shut the door, and turn down the baby monitor."

Seriously, if she's not willing to CIO then I suggest moving the bedtime back an hour or so. That might help him stay asleep a little longer.

Some kids just grow out of naps and just don't need as much sleep as others. Good luck to her.

Eva said...

Wow, yeah. If my two-year-old did that, I'd be like, sucks you can't sleep, doesn't mean I can't. I'd let him work it out on his own in a crib or baby-proofed space. But if she'd rather not, then I'd say put him to bed later, and when he wants to be up at night, not let him out of the crib, just give him some toys. He'll get bored.

Rachel said...

I tried the CIO method for a few weeks and his crying only got worse and then he threw up on himself a few times. BUT I am convinced that Max's constant ear infections are tough for him. I wish it did work for us and your not a bad mommy-you did what was right for your family.

Max was doing that wake up in the middle of the night thing as well. It stunk. I am not sure why he did it but I would get up with him and I knew it would not last. But at 2, I would think that the little on would have grown out of it.

I wish I was more help.

S said...

We are a CIO household, but we didn't follow it to a tee. We changed it up to what we could tolerate. So we'd check in on him every 10 minutes instead of lengthing the time. It worked for us very well.

I'd suggest either that or moving the bedtime to a later time.

Dooneybug said...

I'm not going to be able to help your friend because I'm in the same line of thinking as you. The reason she's having issues is because his sleep habits are a vicious cycle: to bed too early, up in the middle of the night, no nap, rinse, repeat. In order to fix it, she's going to have to try and adjust something. My first thought is to try and keep him up for a little bit longer each night, like in 15 minute increments longer night after night until she reaches a more reasonable bed time, say 7:30. As he goes to bed later, the thought is he will sleep longer and possibly cut out the waking up in the middle of the night deal since he went to bed later. Then when he does wake up, say around 7:00 am, he will be up for the day and therefore by 1:00 pm, he will hopefully take an afternoon nap.

See, when he goes to bed as early as he does and then wakes up in the middle of the night and goes back to sleep after a few hours....that going back to sleep time has become his nap. So he DOES take a nap, it's just all out of whack.

Hope she figures it out!

Lainey-Paney said...

Our son is 2 1/2.
His bedtime is 8:30.
He wakes between 6am & 8:30. Yes, it varies. But, he takes a 2-4 hour nap every day. Yes, the nap length varies as well...but, he takes a good long nap every day!

If he wakes during the night, he gets a diaper change, and sometimes we rock a little---no books. 5 minutes of rocking at the most. And then---back in the bed. And the crying....the crying only lasts for a few minutes....and really, with the crying, that was in the beginning---way back when we started this process. He will learn that "middle of the night" means that it's sleepy-time if you stick to the routine.

Letting a 2 year old get up & play during the middle of the night only affirms poor sleep habits, and that he's the one running that house.'s hard. It's hard to let your kiddo just cry. It's hard to be the parents at times when you just want to make them happy. But---I recently read something from a mom: it's not our job to keep our kids happy all the time. It's our job to raise them to function independently in society. In my opinion, helping your child learn to self-soothe is part of that.

Jennifer said...

I don't have any words of wisdom; however, I'm reading all the comments so I can learn for myself when this baby comes! Good luck to your friend.

Mama Kalila said...

Is there a reason she puts him to bed so early? If not try movign the bedtime back.. He may not be tired & just be taking a late nap (throwing off his sleep later) when she puts him down.