Tuesday, March 7, 2006


Our focus for the past couple of weeks has been improving the duration of Harper's sleep. I bought The No-Cry Sleep Solution and we've been keeping record of Harper's naps and night-wakings for the past ten days while trying to implement some of the book's suggestions for helping babies sleep. Though I am commited to avoiding it, I can see why many parents do resort to the "cry-it-out" method... it does (supposedly) yield quick results and exhaustion can make crazy ideas sound sane. I bought this book as an alternative to said crazy idea, and most of its suggestions were already things I'd figured out through the months of sleeplessness. Things are only slightly better; the main problem is night-waking. (She woke up five times last night.) We're trying to focus on the positive, so here are the improvements we can celebrate thus far:

Harper is now sleeping most of her naps in her crib.

Harper is now starting the night in her crib rather than her swing, which she will soon outgrow, and her sleep stretch is longest in the first part of the night (about 3 1/2 hours).

Ethan's been helping me comfort Harper back to sleep when her waking is not due to hunger, and that helps the tired Mama fall back asleep faster.

When she wakes at night, the time spent awake before resuming sleep is shortening.

Her total hours of sleep in a 24 hour period is nearing the range experts say babies her age require due to our efforts to establish an earlier bedtime (asleep by around 8:30) and regular naps during the day.

While I used to walk and sing to Harper for a half hour to get her to fall asleep for a nap, it usually takes me about five minutes these days.

And here is the negative (and it's a biggie):

Harper still wakes up often in the middle of the night. Last night, for example: she was asleep at 8:48, woke at 12:09, 1:00, 2:18, 3;15, 5;35, and then woke for the day at 6:50AM.

The book says a few weeks of consistency should help this. Readers, please cross your fingers and send us some of your sleepiest vibes!


Ruthie said...


I feel liberated. No more sleep logs. After 12 days of logging every minute of sleep and wakefulness and finding no apparent pattern (longer naps= more night-waking? nope! earlier bedtime= more cumulative hours sleep? nope! regular nap and bedtime routines= longer sleep duration? nope!), I've thrown in the towel with this whole sleep strategy. Crying it out is probably the ONLY way to get a solid night's sleep, but a solid night's sleep is not worth hearing my baby cry during the "learning" process. So, here we are. Sleep deprived, attached parents and just accepting that makes a huge difference. There is no longer a feeling of failure when her nap is only 45 minutes or at a different time than the preceding day, or when the only way to get her back asleep at night is to nurse her. Focusing so intently on "solving the sleep problem" placed such judgment on me and the baby that I wasn't enjoying my girl like I should've. I was constantly comparing us to what the text book says we should be, and we never matched up.

After making the choice to abandon the sleep logs, I initially felt guilty for allowing it to steal some of the joy out of my days and my relationship with Harper. But I've forgiven myself because I needed to go through that process to come to the conclusion that I have: Harper's still a bitty baby and I get to enjoy her needing me for only a few more months. I know I'll look back and miss those night nursings someday.

Free at last! Sleepy, yes. But looking at Harper in this new, unencumbered, judgment-free light... what an amazing, beautiful, smart, fun baby she is! And how lucky I am to be loved by her!

Ethan said...