Friday, March 20, 2009

Sleep Routines

We don't let Margaret cry-it-out. She's only done that once- in the car, with the sun in her eyes and I was in traffic so bad that pulling over was impossible. If I could have pulled over, I would have; we were both in tears by the end of that. Never again. If my mom-sense is going off that badly, then there's a reason. I kind of feel like my mom-sense is like the Spirit- and if I start ignoring it, then I'll lose my ability to sense it. I also don't want to ignore her cries because I don't want her to learn that I don't care to communicate with her. Right now crying is all she's got (except for "hi!") and ignoring her primary form of communication doesn't sound kind.

So what do our sleep routines look like? I thought I'd share. We have 3 basic routines: 2 nap ones and a night one.

Basic Nap Routine
When it's about time for her nap, I turn out all the lights, close the blinds. Sometimes I put on music: our iPod has a "baby" playlist with instrumental primary songs and such. I'll stand up, put her to the breast and rock her. If I don't have music playing, I sing. Sometimes she's so very tired that she tenses up and starts throwing herself back- I have found that holding her upright on my shoulder in a burping position relaxes her when she's throwing herself like that. I'll pat her on her back- and lately, she'll pat my (or McKay's) shoulder in return. Sometimes after being patted on the back, she'll turn down towards my breast and I give her more of that. She'll flip flop between breast and shoulder a few times before she falls asleep. The whole routine takes somewhere between 10 and 15 minutes. If it goes to 20 or more and she's not falling asleep, I put her down and play with her for another 20-30 minutes and try again. Usually trying twice is enough. Once she's asleep I transfer her to the bed- sometimes a little more breast is needed, but not much and not always. McKay can successfully get her to sleep like this (minus the breast) at church or other places, which is helpful.

Nap Starting in the Car
Sometimes we go out in the morning and she misses her morning nap. On the way home, she'll either fall asleep in the car or simply get very drowsy. This nap is the easiest. When we get home, I'll transfer her from the car to the sling. Then I grab everything else (laundry, groceries) and bring everything in the house. I drop everything at the door, except Margaret, of course. I take Margaret to the bed. About half the time, she's still so asleep that a small amount of breast is needed. The other half of the time, she's awake, but wants to sleep badly. When I put her on the bed, she starts making "Ah ah!" sounds. That means she wants to nurse. As I get my breast out, sometimes the "Ah ah!" sounds turn into little giggles: "I know what's coming and it's so so yummy!" I love those giggles. Then I give her the breast and she'll fall asleep in like 2 minutes. I can then return to the stuff I dumped at the door.

Night time
Margaret is usually naked-butt all day for ECing except when we go out, so diapering her is our first part of our routine. We also all get undressed and get into bed. We say our prayers and Margaret goes to the breast and we turn the light out. Sometimes she'll want to play and she'll try that for a little while, but after a couple of minutes playing in the dark, she goes back to the breast and falls asleep there. When she gets to the point where she unlatches on her own and turns onto her back, we know she's asleep. If it's early and we still have things to do (homework, dishes, blogging), we'll turn on a small light. Once she's down for the night, she's good. Sometimes the light or noise will wake her up, and a little bit of nursing puts her back to sleep. She usually goes to bed somewhere between 8:30 and 10:30 depending on our evening plans and sleeps until 8 or so.

That's what we do. It helps that I'm a stay-at-home mom . I don't have any pressing matters so I don't feel rushed in getting her to sleep- if she needs an hour of cuddling and rocking, then I can give her that hour. Usually, though, it's 10/15 minutes. She gets about 3 hours of naps in a day- either in one big nap or 2 smaller ones. I figure if it takes 15 minutes to get her to sleep for two naps- that's 30 minutes. And what's 30 minutes? A sitcom?

I know our routines might seem involved, but I know it won't last forever. I'm sure by the age of 15 she's not going to need to be rocked to sleep- she'll simply grow out of it at some point. And since I have the time- why not? Plus, who REALLY wants to do dishes when you can rock your baby? Not me!


  1. Besides, rocking your baby is so sweet and lovely...I'd rather do that than just about anything else.

    Hey, I nominated you for a Lemonade Award on my blog! Check it out if you want to accept!

  2. love your blog! i have to pimp this thing i wrote for new beginnings a couple of years ago about our nap "routine":

  3. My Eve still does the giggling.. "I know what's coming and it's gooood"... at 2yo... perfect way to help her drop off for a nap, even if she doesn't need it!! I love your parenting philosophy. I feel the same - I am a SAHM (I tutor in the evenings) and myself and DH have always agreed that putting her to bed gently (etc) is worth the time... they are only small for such a short time. Completely agree about the "mom-sense"... kinda like a "spidey sense" I like the way you liken it to the spirit... as I am sure it is related, if not the same thing, and definately possible to lose... you only have to look around to see that.

    I always feel sad for some of my friends who let their kids cry to sleep (I childminded for one for a while) They miss out on such a sweet experience... I just couldn't do it knowing what I know now.


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