Thursday, February 11, 2010

Sleep Training (by Rachel)

***Disclaimer - I am not writing this post to be incredibly witty like my husband...
I am writing to document a success story six months in the making***

I used to be THE BEST sleeper. I could be watching my absolute favorite show at 7:30 on a Friday night... and fall asleep on the couch. Billy used to hate watching movies with me because it was inevitable that within minutes, I would fall asleep and then wake up grumpy without knowing what was going on. Usually I would just go back to bed and watch it without him in the morning.

I never knew what a wonderful skill I had. Being able to sleep well is truly an ability, almost a talent. (One of which I am lacking in right now, but that is a whole other Blog.) Before these babies came Billy and I were DETERMINED to make them good sleepers. Once we made that decision, I became obsessed. As I have referenced before, we decided to follow the "rules" of a book called BabyWise which basically indicates that parents are in control of the baby's eating and sleeping patterns. It taught us to feed them FULL meals throughout the day (no snacks!!!) , and to keep them awake for appropriate amounts of time during the day, so that they learn how to distinguish day and night, and in turn, sleep at night. We followed an eat, wake, sleep cycle so that our little ones would know how to go to sleep on their own.

It sounds great, right? So many of our friends had tried it with such success, we wanted to do it too. My friend Jenna's daughter, Layna, was my inspiration. That little girl was "the perfect baby". Never spit up, always happy, and slept through the night at like 5 days, and napped wonderfully!!! Who wouldn't want that?

Well, Micah was my BabyWise baby at about 2 and a half months. He was sleeping "through the night" first with about 8 to 9 hours and now, I am proud to announce that Micah sleeps through the night for about 12 to 13 hours! CRAZY! However, we all know there are bumps in the road. His bumps have always been... the dreaded... NAPS! Since his birth, I loathed laying him down for a nap because he ALWAYS cried himself to sleep. Now, Thank God, he has found his thumb and is able to quickly sooth himself to sleep. However, the bumps come when his nap ends after only about 30 minutes!!! Not even enough time to shower and check my e-mail. For three months I have fought, and fought, and fought my little man with these short naps. Forcing him to "cry it out" in hopes that he would fall back to sleep. Sometimes it worked, and often times, it didn't. It's been hard on me, and hard on him, but I swear I only wanted what is best for him and I thought he needed more nap time. It wasn't until just recently that the light bulb came on... HELLO!!! The child sleeps a butt load during the night, of course he isn't going to sleep much during the day!

After millions of dollars were spent on books like "sleeping babies are happy babies" or "how to stop the 30 minute nap intruder" things started to make sense. I felt I was doing things right... Both babies followed a "healthy" sleep cycle napping at 9ish, 1ish, and 5ish. Then, another light bulb, the 5ish nap needed to go. It was always short, and coincidentally, probably interfered with the stamina of their other naps. Billy and I liked it because, if timed perfectly, we could eat dinner together... but that is okay. Now we are giving "family dinner time" a try.

I realize that up until this point I have not really talked about Mal. Mal and Micah have always been completely different babies. I love when people ask me if they are identical... first of all it's kind of obvious when one is a boy and one is a girl, but really, they are poles apart. Mal was a much slower learner when it came to sleeping at night. However, I'd say these last few weeks will be marked in the books... Mal has officially been "BabyWised". She finally sleeps through the night without needing food, or comfort. Napping hadn't been an issue for her really, except for when Micah would wake her as he "cried it out".

To make this long story even longer, I just wanted to announce as a proud mom... that finally at 6 months (on Saturday) BOTH babies sleep from about 6:45 at night to 7:15 in the morning... (HEAVEN) and nap from 9:30 to 10:30ish and 1:00 to 3:00ish. It is amazing and only took half a year! Hopefully both babies will continue with these wonderful sleeping patterns and grow up to be as good of sleepers as me (before kids). As for me now... it is time for me to take an Ambien and go to sleep. :)

Addendum: This might be the first time this phrase has ever been written, but it looks like Paula Abdul has got it right - Two steps forward, one step back. Rachel wrote this post yesterday. Then, last night Mal woke up at 2, 5 and 5:15 before I spent the rest of the night on the couch with her. At least it was just one night.... right Mal?


  1. Remember when I said there's nothing more perfect than a sleeping baby? Double perfection! And doubly wise!

  2. It is always a risky business to brag on your baby. They tend to do something to make you humble in response. :)