Monday, May 05, 2008

Mama Mondays: Sleep!

This week's Mama Monday topic is sleep. (Not, unfortunately, for the mamas--just for the babies.) You can check out Erin's original post and some buddy posts at Princess Pigbear and Her Buddy-Ro.

The one thing that we started when Anna was a baby that TOTALLY worked for us was the BabyWise method. The book, On Becoming Babywise, is the "secular" version of what was originally "Growing Kids God's Way," and is now called something different... You can buy the book at - it is the third item on the list. I prefer this book (rather than BabyWise) because it gives you scripture and Biblical reasoning behind each parenting method. As Anna has grown, we have continued to use these parenting resources. Of course, we don't adhere to everything they advise, but we have found them incredibly helpful.

OK, back to sleeping! One of the things we aimed for when Anna was an infant was the routine of eat, play, sleep. It was not always easy--a full tummy makes for a sleepy baby!--but this allowed us to have time with her when she was perfectly content and happy. I honestly think this routine was one of the main reasons that she slept through the night at 9 weeks. One of the other things I think has made her a good sleeper (and such a happy baby) is that she knows what to expect. They say children need boundaries...I think babies need routine.

We also let her 'cry it out' (for lack of better terms.) Sometimes it was super hard to hear her cry, but it worked. I had to always remind myself that I, as the mama, knew what was good for her better than she did, and if I had to have my heart ripped out by her crying for a few minutes, it was worth it for her well-being. Now, at 21 months, she very, very rarely cries at naptime and never at bedtime.

One thing that never worked for us was swaddling. From the start, she's been a very active baby and something about being restrained upset her. I guess after her last few months crammed in the womb, all she wanted was some wiggle room.

Now, there are a few things Anna cannot go to sleep without:

1) Her blankie. Our friends, Ricky and Jenn, gave her this for her first Christmas. I admit, I did encourage her attachment to it--at first. Since then, she has latched onto it, and eventually I bought a second one and just recently, a third and fourth. Those things can get so smelly! And she is inconsolable if she doesn't have one to cuddle with.

2) The humidifier/noise machine. In all honesty, I am totally against this. But, I want my child to sleep (and I want to sleep!) so I continue to use these things. In the winter, the humidifier is totally necessary, but now that spring is upon us, we have switched to the noise machine. We (ok, I) took it from our room and moved it to Anna's room. Brandon wasn't thrilled with this arrangement. :) I hate to think that she is dependent on the noise to go to sleep, but I'm sticking with what works. For now.

3) To add to the noise, she cannot go to sleep without her music. (I talked about this on the Mama Mondays: Music post.)

4) Her thumb. Thank God it's attached!

Our bedtime routine rarely varries (unless Daddy is putting her to bed, which means Mommy is not home). Some nights it starts with a bath. Not every night b/c she tends to get dry patches and the doctor recommended we not bathe her every day. So, bath, jammies, brush teeth, close the blinds, read a Bible story, turn on the noise machine and music, turn off the lights (she loves to do this herself), sit in the glider, rock, cuddle, pray, go to bed. Some nights, if she's especially tired, she asks to go to bed before we've had much time to cuddle and rock. Naptime is the same minus the bath, jammies, and teeth brushing.

Her naps are usually 1 1/2 to 2 hours long (2 1/2 if I'm really lucky) and she sleeps about 11 hours at night. She used to go to bed around 8, but since we live on the western edge of the Eastern time zone, it stays light here REALLY late. In the dead of the summer until almost 10 pm. (I promise I am not kidding!) So with the time change, we moved her bedtime back to around 9. Even so, she still sometimes asks me to "fix" the blinds. (Because there's too much light coming in.)

One thing I stick to--naptime is not an option. She needs the rest and I need the break. So, even if she doesn't sleep (and every once in a while she doesn't) she still spends at least and hour and a half in her crib resting. She has lots of stuffed animals and baby dolls to entertain her and at the very least her body is having a little down time. Because God knows that she doesn't have any other down time!

If anyone has any ideas about weaning her from the music or noise machine, I would love to hear them!


Faydra said...

Our boys sleep with music on too - I did it more to muffle noise that's going on outside their rooms.

Jana Swartwood said...

Hmmm. Well, I don't have any experience at all, but if I were to think about what I would do to myself, I would start the music just one volume notch lower each night (or each week, or whatever). Eventually I'd get to a point where it would be so soft that I wouldn't be as used to hearing it. I have no idea if that would work, but it's what I've got.