Changing Penny’s Sleep Patterns

October 13, 2009

I bought the no-cry sleep solution by Elizabeth Pantley, with the goal of changing Penny’s sleep patterns. Of course the first step it lists is to have the desire to change them. The author asks you to really look at yourself and the situation and decide if you want to change how your baby is sleeping. I had already decided this well before I bought the book.

Most people who read this book will be looking for ways to get their child to sleep through the night. I honestly don’t care whether Penny sleeps through the night or not. I don’t mind getting up to feed her. Now if we were getting up and it took an hour to get her back to sleep, I might have a problem. Luckily when Penny cries when she wakes up, I grab her from her crib and take her to our bed, and nurse her – all while she’s not quite eyes-open awake. When she’s done, I simply re-wrap her, shove a soother in her mouth, and put her back in her crib. I want to change how she gets to sleep in the first place, and at what time this happens.


After reading the book and implementing what is in it, I’d like Penny to go to sleep at 9, theoretically sleep till between 7 and 9 am, and wake up twice. She should be down to 2 naps during the day, so I’d like her to go down twice. She should be getting 2.5-4 hours of sleep from her naps, but because we get up so late, there’s no way she’ll have a long nap in the morning. I think an hour in the late morning, and a two hour (or more) nap in the late afternoon would be good. But as I’ve heard, the mistake most parents make with children is that they “plan.” My goal is not unreasonable – Penny just may not conform to what I want. That’s fine, and I get that. But it’s still my goal, it’s something to work toward.


According to the book, for Penny’s age she should be getting two naps for 2.5-4 hours total, and 11-12 hours of sleep at night. In the 24 hours that I logged, Penny had 3 naps for a total of 4 hours, and slept for 9.25 hours at night. Her naps should be mid-morning and early afternoon. Yesterday they were late morning, early evening and late evening. The late evening nap wasn’t intended as a nap – I had hoped when she woke that I could convince her to go back to sleep after feeding her, but it didn’t work. Luckily she was only awake for 2 hours after waking, instead of 4 or 5.


One of the first things to be done is to track the hour before Penny goes to bed. What kind of activities are being done? How loud are they? How bright are they? For the 2 hours before Penny went to sleep last night, we rocked her and played music for her in her dark bedroom. I nursed her (twice) in our dim bedroom. We gave her a shower, which was the brightest and loudest activity we did – although our bathroom light is on a dimmer so we had the light turned down. And I read to her about Nutkin the Squirrel. Normally the time before bed wouldn’t be so dark and quiet for her, but we’ve been making a conscious effort to help Penny get to sleep. Court had started a bedtime routine with her last week, consisting of a shower, pyjamas, reading a book, and music. We will continue with that routine for now.

Night Wakings

Next was to log Penny’s night wakings. Too many… Penny still wakes up almost every 2 hours. Again, I don’t mind feeding her at night, but I would like to see the number of night wakings reduced. Last night she woke up 3 times (I think. I forgot to right everything down till this morning and I vaguely recall. But it seems like there was one more wake-up in there where I convinced her to go back to sleep right away). I can’t really say how long she was awake at each one because she barely opens her eyes as I move her and nurse her. Then she falls back asleep while nursing. I am learning that if I go to her while she’s still in the whimpering and grunting stage, I can potentially get her back to sleep without getting her up. The first time she woke up last night I managed to do that. She’d scooched herself up in the crib so her head was against the bars and she was grunting and getting upset. I went in and slid her back down away from the bars, put her soother back in, and folded her blanket back over her. And she went back to sleep for almost another 2 hours. 4 hours is about her limit though, then she needs to feed. Up until now if she made any noise I would just get her and feed her. Now I will make the effort to see if her soother and her blanket will help get her back to sleep. Also, I know I need to feed Penny more calories during the day so she doesn’t need them at night. We’re working on that a little at a time and it’s VERY slowly progressing.

What I’ve Learned So Far

Now that I’ve paid attention to when and how Penny sleeps (or doesn’t as the case may be), I can continue reading the book and start implementing some of the ideas and suggestions. From what I understand, the author will outline a number of different steps to help your child sleep longer at night, and you take what you want to implement and make a game plan from those. Then it will take a few weeks to a few months to get your plan to work. While I’m still reading and until I come up with my plan, we’ll focus on a few things:

  • quiet time in the hour or 2 before bed
  • dropping her early evening nap or discouraging it
  • getting her naps under control – putting her down around the same time every day, and not being out running around all the time
  • eating more during the day


  1. Great post! You just saved people $15! HAHA I love that book. Good luck with Penny. It takes patience!

  2. Oh I am glad it is already helping. It was helping us for a while but then Joe got sick and now I realize that he was still teething badly, because he has a new tooth today. I would love to get 4 hours of sleep in a row. I am reading the No-Cry Nap Solution, and I am finding great information in that book as well. Some of the same, but also things not covered in the Sleep Solution. My favorite part of the book is that it doesn’t make you feel like what you are doing is wrong as long as it doesn’t bother you.

  3. I just picked up my copy of No-Cry Sleep Solutions at the library. I’ve had it on order for a while and am glad to hear it is helping you & Penny. We’ve been trying to get our little guy to sleep for longer stretches too. I also don’t mind getting up to breastfeed during the night but twice is my new limit. Thanks for sharing and good luck!

  4. My son was a horrible sleeper. Horrible! Out of desperation I think I bought practically every book I could on sleeping. I hope this book works for you. I found the erratic sleeping the most difficult part of having a baby. Once we got it sorted (it took us a few months using different methods taken from a variety of books) I was a much happier mama. Good luck!

  5. From experience I can safely say, the first two years of a baby’s life their sleep patterns change every 2-3 months. You may just get it all figured out and then they grow, require more food or less naps during the day and wham! their sleep patterns change. I found it easiest to just “go with it” with my second child after having such a hard time with my first. My first child is now a great sleeper from about the age of 2.5. I would agree that if she’s waking every 2-3 hours to nurse, she needs more food during the day but that she’s also using nursing to soothe herself to sleep. Will daddy get up with her and hold her once a night so you can get some extra sleep? That’s what my brother and his wife did when she was weaning her son from his night-time feedings. It took about a week but once baby realized he wasn’t getting nursed he stopped waking for that feeding. All the best! Do whatever works for YOU!

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