Monday, May 3, 2010

A New Dawn, A New Day

...and I'm feeling good.

Zephyr's sleepytime "oh no you di'int" face

So we ordered a copy of Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child (after reading as much of it as Amazon allows in the preview, which is surprising lot). It came highly recommended by several well-rested non-child abusers, and I figured we needed to try something, anything different. But during the two days while we waited for the book to arrive, I ended up finally hitting my limit (the night I wrote last week's blog post, I think). It was 3:00am, and Zephyr was waking up for the third time, only 30 minutes after being nursed. "That's it. That's it." I brusquely scooped him up and marched him into his room and put him down in his crib. I closed his door behind me and got back into bed, trembling justifications under my breath. "I just can't do this anymore. I don't know what to do." Scott sleepily mumbled something supportive, as I lay there, ears wide open.

Zephyr was quiet. He stayed quiet. I eventually fell back asleep. Cut to 6:00am, Scott's alarm going off. Suddenly remembering, I panic: "go check on the baby!"

Zephyr was still asleep. He stirred a moment later and I rushed to retrieve him, planting apologetic kisses all over his tiny head. He was perfectly fine; in fact, he even appeared well-rested and happy to see me.

The book arrived the next day and I speed-read it, then started implementing the techniques that night. I followed Weissbluth's recommendations to the letter that day, moving all of Zephyr's naps to an earlier time, even running him home in the stroller (almost a mile) from a quick coffee date with Beth to make the 1:00pm nap time slot. We got Zephyr into bed at around 6:30pm (an hour earlier than we had been), and after about an hour of minor fussing he quieted down and went to sleep. He slept four hours before waking to eat, and I gladly nursed him and settled him back into his crib. It was almost too easy.

Four more hours go by, and he wakes again. Weissbluth assures us that babies his age don't need to eat that much, and to let him fuss for a bit so he can learn to settle himself back down. Everything else was going so well that Scott and I decided to stick with the program.

Cut to 40 minutes later, when I finally cave because Zephyr has still not stopped crying.

After that 3:00 waking/feeding, Zeph slept the rest of the night. Scott and I decided we could live with two wakings (abandoning the pointless cry-it-out bullshit) and haven't fucked with it since. We're all back to sleeping in 3-4 hour chunks (the last chunk sometimes goes almost 5 hours) and we're okay with that. Zephyr sleeps 12 hours or so before waking up for the day at around 7:30am, and coos to himself quietly for awhile in the morning until we come to greet him (and he wakes from naps babbling and smiling instead of crying). We're still streamlining the bedtime routine so Scott can be more involved (Daddy is Zeph's #1 Funniest Person right now, not Mr. Soothing Bedtime Man), but otherwise we're just pleased as punch.

So basically, the kid just needed some space. We were the ones responsible for his frequent wakings, simply by being too close, making all of those tossy-turny night noises. Once I figured out that this is what he needs, I got over my guilt about not co-sleeping. We gave it the old college try, but the family bed (including the sidecar) just isn't a long-term sleep situation for us. I am glad, though, that we ignored so many of the warnings and did it while Zephyr was a newborn. It was so great while it lasted. (I still like to bring him into bed in the morning for a snuggle and a nurse, and he still goes down for naps this way.)

Another plus, we get our bedroom back.

After much vigilance, his eczema has finally cleared up (twice-daily applications of Triamcinolone cream and four daily applications of Weleda Calendula Baby Cream finally worked after a couple weeks), further helping his sleep situation. No more "scritch scritch scritch" of tiny fingernails to keep him awake.

Oh, also, we started giving him rice cereal recently (mixed with warm breast milk), and he seems to like real food! He takes after his mom, I guess. He also likes mushed banana and avocado, delivered to his eager maw via my fingertip. I picked up one of those baby teether-feeder things and will probably start stuffing it with cold apple chunks for him to gnaw on (still no teeth!). I guess we'll need to start eating dinner at the table soon, instead of in front of the TV. Yet another good habit having a baby has forced upon us.

Let the messy-face photos begin.


  1. Hooray! Although I totally hate that book - could it be any more repetitive? They should sell a Cliff Notes version: "nap at these times at these ages, and only fools rush in."

    You really must ask me for things like the "stuff apple into it so he can maw on it" gizmo - I have one...unused. (See a pattern here?) :)

    Another good book to flip through is The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems (even those you didn't know you had). Maybe at the library.

    Finally, I nurse(+d) both my children to naps and bedtime. Some books say don't do it, but it certainly works most reliably and is a nice bonding moment.

    Cheers! N

  2. Oh good. We can't be far from spaghetti-on-top-of-the-head photos.

  3. Yay! Glad you guys are getting more sleep (any more sleep.)

    Zeph is one edible child. Egads woman, those cheeks.

  4. Awwww-right! Sounds like project sleepy baby is a success!

  5. I think it's funny that you and I independently arrived at the same moment at the same time: time for the baby to sleep in the nursery crib. We started doing that this week, and without any other adjustments, we're back to 3 - 6 hour chunks of sleep. He wakes up about twice a night. I think the co-sleeping mattress is going to be recycled into patio furniture. Which makes me a little sad. But not as sad as not sleeping! The denial part of me says maybe we'll go back to co-sleeping when he's older, but that seems unlikely, unless it's his idea.


Yay! Thanks for saying nice stuff about my baby.