Sleep… It’s All The Rage!

October 7, 2009

So why isn’t Penny doing it?

Months ago, Penny evened herself out during the day. Our days went a little something like this:

  • 9:30 – wake up
  • 11:30 – 1/1.5 hour nap
  • 3:00 – 1/1.5 hour nap
  • 7:00 – 1/1.5 hour nap
  • 11:00-midnight – bedtime

This varied a little each day, meaning I didn’t go put her in her crib at 11:31 every day. Some naps she slept for 45 minutes. Some she slept for 2 hours. Occasionally she slept for 3 or 4 hours. But this was generally the routine we followed.

Now a couple of weeks ago we had 2 very busy days in a row. It seemed like every time Penny fell asleep, I woke her up. You know… doctor appointments, grocery shopping, etc. I TRIED not to wake her up when transferring between car and stroller or into the house. Or if she did wake, I really tried to get her back to sleep – usually unsuccessfully.

Since those 2 days, we’ve had nothing but problems. There was the day she wouldn’t sleep. Literally! Between 1:30 pm and 1:00 am she slept for a grand total of 1.5 hours. She was miserable, crying at everything and everyone. I was at my wit’s end and didn’t know what to do. Court was on-call for work and had a number of phone calls to deal with that evening (due to some moron rolling out a software upgrade and leaving on holidays the next day). He couldn’t help, on the day when I needed it the most.

Now she’s changed up the game plan again, and if nothing else she’s staying consistent. She won’t go to bed before 2 am! She still naps around 11:30 (unless we sleep until then because of being up so late). She still seems to get a nap in around 3 and around 7, just like she normally would. But come bedtime, we start fighting. After a shower with daddy, a new diaper and sleepy-time outfit, and a book or two, we try to put her to bed. Bedtime may or may not correspond with feeding time, but in the end I try to feed Penny to get her to sleep too. Sometimes swaddling her helps, sometimes she fights as soon as you start wrapping her. We figured out that she automatically cries if we close her door all the way, so it stays open a bit now. Sometimes she likes having the light on (it’s a dimmer light), but it’s overhead and then she fixates on it. So I bought her a blue glowing night light. I’ve tried walking her, and rocking her, singing too. She fights sleep like it would be the death of her to close her damn eyes. She’s SO obviously tired! She rubs her eyes. She cries if you put her down. She cries if you pick her up and hold her too tight. She cries if you give her the wrong toy. She cries if you take away whatever ‘toy’ she did find. And mommy cries.

It feels like a never-ending battle the last 2 weeks. Penny won’t sleep, and that means I can’t sleep. Court can’t be expected to get up in the middle of the night when she can’t sleep. He needs to get up at 6:30 to go to work. That’s sort of important… we’re building a house and get possession in November. So nevermind bills to pay now, we need to pay down a bit of debt and not dig ourselves further because we have a mortgage to sign next month. So when people suggest that he help, between him and I, that’s not an option. I’d love the help – really I would. I’d love to sleep while he stays up with her, in all her fickleness. But financial stability means more to us right now.

So, after describing my battlefield, I’d like to ask you, my fellow moms and friends, for advice. First, how can I get Penny to sleep before midnight? I’d like to get her to sleep earlier than that, like 9pm. But right now I’d be happy with before midnight. How can I transition her to sleeping earlier? With an adult you’d normally progressively move bedtime back half an hour or an hour a night (or over a longer period of time) until the desired bedtime is reached. I did read to do that with an infant too, but um hello? If she doesn’t want to go to sleep half an hour earlier how do you enforce it, how do you make it work? It was suggested last night that I tweak her nap schedule, but I’m unclear on what to change. This is the schedule she’s been following for months and it’s worked until now. And before you say it, I realize most babies get up before 9:30 and go to bed before midnight. We are night owls, these are the times that work for us. At the moment I simply don’t want to be getting up at 7:00 in the morning.

Please, for my sanity, leave your thoughts, comments, suggestions and links to resources here! Keep in mind that letting her cry is not an option. I think I’ll be buying that Baby Whisperer book later but have read that it takes time to work. I’m thinking more immediately right now, or we won’t make it to the long term!



  1. Hmmmm, it’s possible that she’s transitioning to one or two naps a day. It’s always a rough couple weeks when you are trying to figure that out. I’d suggest maybe combining her 2nd and 3rd naps. Maybe try to keep her up until 4 or 5 and then if she’s UP by 7, she should be ready for bed by 11:00.

  2. We ave been trying a few new things tat are working. My husband lothes it because now Joe gets up around 6 and goes to bed at 6:30. But I have a better sleeper now and I get to eat dinner w/o baby.

    The books say to move bedtime earlier about 30 min at a time, but I am not sure you need to do that. I think you might be missing her bedtime and she is getting to the 2nd wind stage, hyper not interested in sleep and eventually super fussy. So whatever time, before her last burst of energy, that she looks relaxed that might be her bedtime. Unfortunately it might be a really inconvenient time for you. I am guessing that her last nap might actually be bedtime. Joe wakes up about an hour after going to bed and I just give him one more feed in his room and lay him back down asleep.

    If Penny wakes up after about 6 AM and then goes back to sleep that might be a nap.

    We aren’t perfect but are getting better. I started nursing Joe in his room at bedtime and during the night. Boring but faster. I am also taking him off the breast as soon as he stops really eating. If he fusses I put him back on and take him off again. The first night was no fun, but it is so much faster than before now. It also keeps him from getting too awake most of the time. Got this from “The No Cry Sleep Solution”.

    Also I start the betime routine before he gets tired and if at any time he starts yawning and rubbing his eyes, the sleepsack goes on and we skip to nursing in his room. DH gave me the silent treatment last night because he didn’t get to cuddle enough, but I am sick of dealing with that 2nd wind. When DH can nurse the baby, then he can keep him up.

    Also from the book is to establish a song and phrase that indicate it is night time. We are using “twinkle twinkle” and the popular soothing “shhhhhhh”. Also use the shhhhh when he wakes up at night and sometimes I don’t have to nurse him back to sleep now.

    Let everyone know what works for you, because we can all use more help.

    How do you train your baby not to need to poop in the middle of the night, would be nice to know.

    Still working on not nursing to sleep. I’m not sure how to or if I want to tackle that one.

  3. I’ve always been against those props that some babies needs to be able to fall asleep, like rocking or nursing. But right now, if it takes nursing her to sleep, great! ANYTHING to get her to sleep.

    Her sleep patterns used to be bad because I wasn’t paying attention to her cues. As soon as I figured that out, everything was great. As soon as she starts rubbing her eyes, I’d put her to bed (whether for a nap or bedtime). This is the schedule that came from that. Maybe I’ll go back to that for a few days and see what happens.

    I really hate that I need to ‘sleep train’ her when she always slept so well. I don’t mind getting up during the night, so sleeping through the night isn’t an issue. I just wish it was easier to get her to sleep in the first place.

    Will keep you updated. Thanks!

  4. I think what I said to Brookleen works for your idea too. For a few days I’m just going to pay close attention to Penny’s tired cues and see what pattern results from them. It could be that she’s trying to drop the 3rd nap and I’m not catching on. We’ll see what happens in a few days.

    Thanks =)

  5. Joe was a great sleeper too. Used to sleep for 4 and 6 hour stretches and had 3 good naps. Now I am happy to get 3 or 4 hour stretches. Naps are transitioning to 2 but not every day yet. You are right just watch for those tired signs and log her sleep times so you can start predicting them. Here is a pretty good tracking site I used for a while. http://www.bobohelper.com/app/welcome

  6. I’m not a fan of the baby whisperer but soon as I get the kitchen cleaned up I’ll go see what the No-cry sleep solution might have to offer for a solution & I’ll get back to you. :)

  7. I know it must be so frustrating, I find you are never in a routine for a too long and then it changes again. I would probably suggest that 3 naps is too much, and would cut out the 7pm, that is too late. She probably just needs one in the am and then one mid afternoon, she should probably be back up by 5:30 around there could stretch to 6pm since you mentioned you don’t mind being putting her bed late so she will sleep later. Each nap should be 2-3 hrs max and also during the day do not make her room dark (this is what differentiates a “nap” vs. night time sleep) Keep us posted on what worked and what didn’t

  8. Baby whisperer isn’t very helpful for nursing moms, but No-Cry is writen for nursing and even co-sleeping moms. Hope you guys don’t hate the book after I have talked it up so much.

  9. I just bought No-Cry Sleep Solution. Started reading already, so we’ll see how that goes.

  10. I say that the 7pm nap has to go. Gradually, kids go to 2, then 1, then no naps a day. And each transition is a total pain, because they’re grumpy without the nap, but they won’t go to sleep at a decent time with it. But if you could keep Penny awake until, say, 8:30pm, that might do the trick.

    Good luck, I know that staying up until all hours with a baby can’t be fun.

  11. On days when Peanut doesn’t nap well it is a NIGHTMARE. I try not to go antwhere if Peanut is napping. It’s inconvenient at times but I’d rather be late than have a pissed off baby.

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