Thursday 3 September 2009

morphing into sleep talk

mother's group birthday party

my list of things to get done today:
• photograph things to list on ebay
• sand + spray paint thrifted frames
• apples + bananas + milk + bread
• put clothes away
• baste quilt

well, i did sand the frames and i did get some groceries and i managed to get mae's clothes away... it looked like such a reasonable list this morning but when you have a 13 month old (today!) who only wants to nap for one hour and then is super cranky and VERY high maintenance by 4pm, it's amazing how little you can get done. i feel like i have spent a ridiculous amount of time over the last year thinking about sleep. mae's sleep. or lack thereof. or her sleep patterns. or lack thereof. things aren't too bad lately but there is absolutely no consistency as to when she wants to go to bed, when she wakes up in the night or in the morning, or when, and for how long, she wants to nap. which makes it very hard for me to plan much during the day. if she falls alseep in the car, she wakes up when i try to transfer her so only has a short nap which = crazy, tired baby. and if i put her down to nap too late she wants to stay up until 9pm (her normal bed time is 6:30 or 7pm). it's slightly doing my head in*. but she has been having longer naps, a couple of good three hour ones so i have hope that we're moving towards some sort of normality soon. oh and yes, she's just on the one nap a day now, which would be just fine if it was a decent nap that left her and i both refreshed and happy. i know this is just opening up a bazillion recommendation comments on how to get her to sleep but i don't think that's really what i need right now (unless you have some miracle solution). we've tried a lot of different things and these days if she's not ready to sleep, she won't sleep. she will stand in her cot and wail her head off for a good. long. time (three hours was our last attempt until we finally got her up for another hour). when she is ready to go to bed, she goes to bed. she might talk for a bit or sometimes even do some feeble crying for 10 minutes but usually she'll just go to sleep, on her own, in her cot, with no help from us. it's just so frustrating to not have any idea each day as to when and for how long this sleeping will take place. i guess what i want are your baby sleep stories, to hear what your one year olds do/did with sleeping. maybe make me feel like she's not the worst sleeper in the world : )

* it's really not that bad, certainly not as bad as it was when she was 4 months old and waking up every 45 minutes all night long (really). i'm getting a good amount of sleep at night as she only wakes up once and goes straight back to sleep after a little bottle. i just want her to be rested and in a better mood more often, the glimpses of temper tantrums that i'm witnessing lately are making me very afraid of the year ahead!


  1. "sleep right sleep tight" by tweddle I think? was our saviour book... Daisy still has a 2 hour sleep 3-4 times a week and she'll be 3 in a few weeks ~ but when we were in the coal-face peppermint chocolate & many teary phone calls to Cam was what got me through all that crying :: good luck! and hugs : )

  2. No answers here but some sympathy for just how hard it is to cope with months and months of interrupted sleep. And the feeling of having a seemingly realistic to do list which turns out to be totally UNrealistic. It can be really hard. Really great too, but really hard. I think all the stuff you *do* get done is amazing! And Mae's cardie in the pic is super cute :)

  3. No answers for you either, but it would be tough call who is the worst sleeper Mae or Evie. We have had 2 ok nights, but she will still wake at night and stay up for 3 hours. She is slowly getting better. So Mae will too, it will get better. I just wish they were a little more predictable.

  4. it is tough and hard, and even when people say that their baby is a great sleeper, it's probably not true. I've always been careful to say that my little one (19 months old) is a pretty good sleeper, but he's certainly had his moments. Unfortunately, just when things seem like they're getting into a routine, it changes due to circumstances WAY beyond your control (like turning 1, and dropping sleeps and generally just wanting to party!). Just as Felix starting sleeping through the night at two months of age, he got a cold that lasted for six weeks. Then that cleared up, and he got another infection that lasted another six weeks, and he ended up co-sleeping for about a month in our bed. He mostly sleeps through the night now, but I've just had him up on the couch watching telly because he wouldn't sleep, and we were up for some unknown reason at 12.30 last night.

    Don't be hard on yourself, find something that works for you (Save our Sleep worked for me, but I have to admit I didn't end up with a perfect baby that slept from 7pm to 7am, but it was a good enough compromise for me), and then just stick to your guns. Generally, whatever technique you use, it seems to be true that the 'persevering for 5 days' thing does work (but can send you insane as it feels like 5 years).

    Just remember that Mae's sleeping patterns aren't a reflection on you.

    When it seems as though they're going to drop their daytime sleep, it's the most devastating feeling in the world. I think around 13-14 months it seemed as though Felix was going to, but once he started walking at 14 months, he started wearing himself out a whole lot more (I used to take him for runs around the oval so he'd sleep, lol!).

    you will both survive this!

  5. oh I soooo relate! I have a 15 month, and most days we get a 1-3hr sleep after 3-4 hours after waking. I dont bother trying to get him to sleep untill i see the signs, there is nothing more frustrating than trying to "make" or "wish" he would go to sleep. I dont go running around a shopping mall or anything but I do just carry on and go about things untill he is ready. Boring him, by sitting and reading a book in bed usually coerces him to come over and join me( and if he doesnt, then I get to read, while he empties out all the draws!)

  6. Doesn't your baby girl have the mosty amazing eyes and eyebrows!

  7. Reading this reminded me so much of what ella has been going through over the past year - we were spoiled at first, she was a good sleeper and a good eater, but when she figured out how to move around it was all over! At seven months, she would practice crawling in her crib, while asleep, bump her head and wake up wailing then after finally getting her back to sleep she'd wake up 20 minutes later, starving and drinking 8 oz. of milk. This happened several times a night for months. When she could finally walk and crawl, it was then her teeth that kept her up - she would be teething for several weeks and then two or three teeth would come in all at the same time. She needed so much comfort during this time and by morning I was so tired that I would flop into bed with her, hoping to get even just an hour of sleep. Then she became terrified of being alone and although she would go to sleep okay, she would wake up an hour later and cry for most of the night. It was like the first hour was a restorative power-nap. We bought black-out blinds and that helped a little bit. At 18 months, jet-lag collided with not needing quite so much milk and somehow, on our first night in Scotland, she slept through the night. And she has slept through the night ever since, even after another time change. This week she's been having what seems to be nightmares, but she goes right back to sleep until 8 am...which is amazing, in comparison to what it was like before! Even if she only naps for 20 minutes during the day, I know she will sleep well at night, and that is a huge comfort to me. I still get very little done, which can be so frustrating - in Ella's eyes Mummy isn't allowed to do anything but LOVE and CUDDLE and READ and PLAY - but I love this time with her so much that I'm trying to embrace the mess and lack of time for myself, knowing that there will be a day when I'll miss all of this so much. I guess what I'm trying to say is that sleep patterns seem to constantly evolve, they definitely aren't a reflection on you - there are so many factors that just can't be predicted or controlled - it might not seem like it at the time, but it does get easier.
    Your little Mae is so beautiful, what a sweet face and such gorgeous eyes :) And I love seeing her in the jacket :) I've been planning to email you and find out how it fit, but you know how it is trying to get laundry done never mind sending an email! [As I type this, Ella is fascinated with Mae's photo, that's the only reason I've been able to finish writing this comment!]

  8. main thing is try not to stress about it, my son (now 4) didn't sleep through till he was about 17 months, & we found the dropping down to one nap a day quite stressfull, with my almost 13 month daughter we just didn't get stressed about sleep & it's quite rare i check the clock, some days i will get one long nap, sometimes two short, others its only about 40 mins, so i just bring bathtime forward and she goes to bed a little early, she still wakes every night for milk at least once, i have found being more relaxed about it helps me, (but maybe it's just because we're used to so little sleep second time round), it really is for such a short time, oh and it helped when i read somewhere that the offical definition of sleeping though for a baby is 'five hours unbroken sleep'!

  9. JacRan8:56 am

    Hi Leslie!
    My little girl is a couple days older than Mae. The first month or two were a complete nightmare. No sleep at all. When she would wake up every hour or so I thought it was for milk. Turns out most of the time she just needed to be resettled back to sleep.
    ANYWAY. They showed us a Ch7 video at Mothers Group about settling and sleeping routines. It's the one hosted by Jennifer Keyte. That was the moment that changed everything as I realised we didn't have a routine at all and the "Eat, play sleep" routine worked for us.

    I think for now, we just have to realise that WE are the parents and if they are showing behaviour that you don't want, then tell them and teach them. They actually learn pretty fast (consider all the cute things they learn like clap hands and pointing to the body part). The past couple months my bubba would wake up in the morning and cry and scream until we'd go in to get her up and she would stop straight away. Waking up to that isn't fun. Finally I got sick of it and told her that she needs to wake up quietly, happy and wait for us to come get her.(I'd tell her that when I put her to bed at night). Took a few days but she does that now. Also another good thing is to praise them when they DO the right thing... like when she woke up and was playing quietly in her cot til I went in, I would tell her how she did such a good job to wake up quietly and wait. If she does a good day time sleep I praise her for that too.
    Maybe it is the teacher in me but just remember you are the mum. You set behaviour and if she is throwing a tantrum in the cot then teach her what she needs to do instead.
    Kids need routine. They need to know boundaries.
    But in spite of that all, you know your baby better than any of us. You do get so much done (sewing related at least hehe) with Mae so you're probably pretty lucky compared to those who can't do anything til bubs is in bed at night.
    Do the best you can and you learn as you go. Be flexible too.
    Good luck and thanks for listening to my ramblings!

  10. Just like everyone else my pearls of wisdom are about looking after yourself, accepting the compromise, getting what you can when you can and knowing that over time it will change regardless of anything you do or don't do. In the end I think it is the expectation that things should be different that gives the greatest stress. I mean I agree, it SHOULD be different, but if you can't make it different then you gotta try and be OK with how it is. But it does suck, there's no question. And it will get better. I promise.

  11. Gah! No advice from me, but lots of sympathy because Ali was a shocker when it came to sleep too. I just decided not to let it bug me, but that's easier some days than others. He finally started (mostly) sleeping through at about 14 months, although he still ends up in bed with us quite often. And his day naps got MUCH better when he started daycare, he was really unpredictable but then the peer pressure at daycare made him start having a proper nap and then he started doing it at home too.
    I think what people have said already about routine is very true - we never really had one, but once I started doing dinner - bath - story - bottle - bed every night at about the same time the evenings got so much easier.
    Anyway, the sleep thing will get better soon, and once they start talking it's so much easier (now if Ali wakes up in the night he can ask for water or a dry nappy which is so much better than all the guessing!) Do try to be kind to yourself with the to-do list & remember looking after a small person really is a full time job all by itself.

  12. Anonymous1:21 pm

    Just wanted to say this sounds a lot like what my daughter went through at 13 months. She's 18 months now and things are MUCH better. Her afternoon nap isn't a battle anymore - she just goes down and sleeps for up to 3 hours. And bedtime (6:30pm) doesn't have tears anymore either. She still wakes up in the night sometimes and wants to come into our bed but there are quite a lot of nights where she'll sleep through for 12 hours. I don't do anything differently now - I think it just takes time - they grow out of it and start to realise that a nap is a good idea. Sometimes she'll even tell me she's tired and needs to sleep (I still find that a little shocking!!!). Hang in there - it will get better soon - I know that's hard to hear when you're in a rough patch. I really don't think there is a miracle 'cure'. Good Luck!

  13. No advice here, but I just wanted to say that I remember feeling much the same when Audrey was small. She didn't sleep through the night until she was about 3, and patchily through the day until then too. She ended up in our bed mostly - it was the only way we could make it work and we could still function vaguely normally. Henry stated off as a wonderful sleeper. Now, not so much (he's roughly the same age as Mae, I think?). He's ending up in our bed more nights than not these days. When I was going through the insanity of sleep deprivation with Audrey, trying everything, reading everything and just generally feeling defeated by it a lot of the time, it seemed that everyone else's children were better sleepers than my own. But, I think when you look closely at the sleep behaviors of most kids, you find that a 'good' sleeper may be a bugger to get to bed, or may wake ritually at 5am, or never nap at all, etc, etc - I reckon the small child that goes to bed at 7 and wakes at 7 with a hearty 3 hour nap every day is an absolute rarity. Of course you know all of this! Sorry if I've crapped on - it's a subject close to my heart. ;) And it really does improve. Take care. xo

  14. Anonymous3:20 pm

    its tough when babies get over tired but still wont sleep!

    I have read in some of your previous posts that you can let mae cry from any where between 1-3 hours perhaps this is where the problem lies. It sounds like mae is getting quite distressed and considering she is still a little baby this could be leaving her quite traumatized? So for her going to bed doesn't sound like a very nice time...maybe if going to bed was a nicer experience for her she might enjoy being in cot...she is a baby after all and if she is left to cry for hours on end its no wonder she doesn't want to go to bed would you?

    ...sorry I couldn't help but comment perhaps you would be better off seeking advice from a processional rather then posting about such delicate matters on a public forum, as you are bound to get people that don't quite agree with leaving children cry for so long. And they might just have some answers for you.

  15. Anonymous7:08 pm

    I have just 'sorted out' my 14 month old grand-daughter who had not slept through the night at all.

    Put her down to sleep awake, if she cries and gets up in the cot go back in and gently say 'cuddle in'. nothing else. Leave for 5 minutes and if still crying repeat. after 4/5 times of this, stop speaking, just lay her down. Do the same in the middle of the night, do not give bottles in the middle of the night, a child of that age should be able to sleep right through.

    After 3/4 times at putting her back down you will hear a different cry, the cry of surrender. Keep this up for posiibly two nights and I am sure she will go down to sleep whilst awake and after 2 nights won't even cry if she wakens in the middle of the night.

    Children learn very quickly how to manipulate their parents, you must show them that you are in charge.

    Good Luck, let us know how things go, try this it has worked every time for me. My son and daughter were reluctant for me to have her because she was such a bad sleeper, she sleeps now from 7 to 7 and has a 2 hour nap about 11 am just before lunch.

    Another thing just occurred to me, raise her intake of protein, this aids restful sleep.

  16. i have no advice, but we have been there & we now have an almost 3 year old who sleeps well at night...

    why is it that when people have something negative to say, they always do so anonymously? this is your blog & mae (& her sleep) are HUGE part of your life, I think it is fine to blog about it & I doubt that mae is 'traumatised' in any way, if anything you are BOTH just super, super tired

  17. just found your blog! wow I really sympathize with how you are feeling, you must be exhausted, and worried about your little girl.

    I am not at all criticizing your approach, but want to let you know what my approach has been. My daughter is 12 mos. and we have been through many different sleep routines, all of them based on what my daughter was asking for that week/ month. I don't believe there are any 'shoulds and/or shouldn'ts' with children, especially babies. They are so young and vulnerable. To be honest I don't agree with some of the previous comments that babies become adept at manipulating parents, they are just looking for love and security like all people, adults included. and our job is not to show them how to follow rules, but to show them how to be loving and secure individuals.

    For us, we have had a balance of time with crib sleeping and co-sleeping. A few months ago I tried getting my daughter from our bed to her crib without crying. I had read about the cry-it-out method, and personally don't agree with it. She cried for 10 minutes max and finally was sleeping on her own, and after a week or two didn't cry at all, I thought I had it made, and was so proud of her.

    Then after about 2 months she wouldn't go near her crib, and cried and cried, a terrified cry, one that didn't sit right within myself as a mother. So now she is happily sleeping with us again. I have tried her in the crib a few times, but I keep getting the same reaction, so she is still sleeping with us.

    I have had my mom, my mother-law-law all over me about this co-sleeping situation. Lots of little comments etc, driving me nuts and making me doubt my parenting. However, my daughter, which everyone agrees is the most happy easy going baby who never has meltdowns, happily plays, socializes well, thrives on learning. So I don't really need any other proof to tell me what I am doing is helping her. My mom's have also finally let off me a bit, and while they don't agree on co-sleeping they do agree that my daughter is happy and feels loved, and in return expresses love.

    The common argument for co-sleeping is well do you really want them in your bed when they are 16? HA! I don't know any 16 year old that wants to hang around with their parents let alone sleep in the same bed. However for some cultures, this is perfectly normal due to small living spaces/ large families. When your daughter wants to be independent from you, she'll just do it, when she is ready.

    I just think how I feel when my husband is away, how empty the bed feels without him there, and I am 38 years old. Babies are just discovering this world and their moms (primary caregiver, the person they trust) need to pick up on what they are asking for, what they need. Listen to your daughter, and your intuition, and you'll find the right solution for both of you.

    Also, how does your daughter play/ socialize in the day? Does she stick close to you in groups? Is she adventurous, and not looking for you? Some things to consider when evaluating what her night time needs might be.

    Good luck!

  18. andrea, thanks for your comment but mae won't sleep with us, hasn't since she was about 3 weeks old. she's super independent and very active, when she's in our bed she doesn't want to cuddle or sleep, she wants to play with the everything on the bedside table and stick her fingers up my nose. and, honestly, my husband and i don't even like to sleep in the same room as her as we don't get anywhere near a decent night sleep with all of her wakeups and sleep babbles. i'm glad you've found something that works for you!


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