March 19, 2007

please sleep little baby

ben_furry_hat_boa.jpg
getting him ready for Burning Man, Canon Digital Rebel XTi

Okay. So I guess I had a wee little fantasy that maybe this nap training thing wouldn't be so hard. When I spoke to the supenanny sleep lady she said that she didn't believe in letting them cry it out. I guess I thought that meant that he wouldn't be crying at all. Ha!

Teaching a baby to sleep is not an easy task no matter how you do it. The method was gentle and involved sitting with your babe until they fall asleep, maintaining eye contact and using comforting touch (no picking up) when they fussed and cried. Can you imagine the torture of sitting and staring in you baby's eyes while they plead with you to pick them up? Oy.

And get this. They cry for over an hour sometimes. I thought sitting on a cushion was hard! This is the most intense meditation I can imagine. It's hard not to question yourself the whole way through... am I torturing him? maybe I should just pick him up... looking at him seems to be agitating him... but she said to look at him.... touching him seems to really agitate him... but she said to use touch... Ack!!! Then I would get really sweaty and nauseated. Then I would cry. Then, just when I couldn't stand it anymore, he would fall asleep.

For 20 minutes.
If I was lucky, 45.
I couldn't bear to start the process over again. So we'd try later.

I did have a little breakthrough yesterday. As I sat next to his bassinet, I placed a cushion there and pretended that I was actually meditating. It helped calm me down. When I looked at him something amazing happened. I suddenly understood what I was doing. I was teaching my baby to sleep. I sent him telepathic messages, "You are doing so well Ben! You are learning to put yourself to sleep. Some adults can't even do that! And you are doing so great. I know it's hard now, but this skill will serve you for the rest of your life..." In that moment I understood what a privilege it was to be the person who can teach him. Somehow this thought moved me to tears.

We're still in the throes of it. I think it's more difficult because we're working with a deficit of sleep
to begin with (his and mine) but he's doing great. I look forward to seeing that smile (in above photo) more often in the coming days.. Go Ben! You little sleep machine!

p.s. The hat Ben is wearing was made by my friend Jay. She makes really amazing stuff.

Posted on March 19, 2007 08:54 AM
Comments

my nephew jack some times dose not listen to me what should i do? super nanny ineed
help

Posted by: alison bush at April 6, 2007 11:41 PM

bank sucks chase

Posted by: banking bank chase at April 4, 2007 01:47 AM

Andrea,
I wandered over here from Another Girl AT Play>
Congrats on the beautiful baby. We have 4 sons, they are older now, but if you are going to sit and teach sleeping, I suggest ear plugs.. they don't block the crying, but they can muffle it. I used to rock my crying babies with ear plugs in just so my sleep deprived self wasn't so frazzled.
Good luck.
Love your jewelry!!

Posted by: Laura at March 26, 2007 07:30 PM

Gosh, I don't know how you do it. I was babysitting my nephew one night, and he was just screaming and screaming. This kid only cries when he's tired, so I knew it was time for bed. I put him in his crib and stood there for what seemed like an eternity, and he just kept screaming and screaming. I tried everything i could think of..but he just kept screaming. I was on the verge of tears myself..feeling like a failure and just hurting because he was so upset and i couldn't figure it out...so I stepped out of the room for about 5 minutes, sitting on the stairs, crying...and he finally fell asleep.

It's soooo hard to hear them crying so hard and for so long. I hope you guys can both get some sleep soon. *hugs*

btw, he's absolutely adorable :)

Posted by: TALI at March 26, 2007 04:07 PM

This is completely unrelated to this post (which I love by the way), but just now, i thought about the inspiration of your story (which i have read for 4 years now). I was thinking how MAGIC follows you around. You see it. You describe it. You share it. I had to tell you that i am glad to know people like you are bouncing brightly on a distant horizon line, living sunrise and sunset, and all the stars inbetween. I thank YOU ANDREA, matt and ben * for all the ways you've inspired me : )

Posted by: amy at March 24, 2007 07:28 PM

Sometimes I stop by just to see this cute little baby picture...so beautiful!

Posted by: Julia at March 24, 2007 01:30 PM

I'm sending a little prayer that the sleep bank gets some deposits soon - for all of you!!!

Posted by: Becky at March 24, 2007 09:00 AM

What a gorgeous little person! I haven't been here for several months. Nice to see how well your story turned out!

Posted by: justme at March 24, 2007 06:12 AM

A big generalization...but it was true for me...boys give you grief in the beginning and then breeze through the rest of the years without much attitude. Girls tend to be "good" babies but come the teenage years...yowza!

Posted by: Leslie at March 23, 2007 12:24 PM

I love that your learning is about teaching. It's quite profound, really. I'm loving the Ben photos so very much Andrea!

Posted by: Andrea at March 23, 2007 10:29 AM

Hi Andrea. I feel your pain, girl! The hardest part about being a parent is knowing when to trust yourself versus listening to all the free advice you get. Parenting DOES NOT always come naturally and there's a huge learning curve with it. At a time when I needed the most support in my life, what I got a lot of was criticism. It seemed that everyone had an opinion but no one ever seemed to be there to really help me.

By the time my second one came along, (my girls are 11 and 4), I had learned a lot more about life and listening to my inner voice. I learned to trust my own and my baby's natural rhythms, to let myself do what FELT right and to take care of myself. I learned to let people help and say YES to myself when I needed to to maintain my sanity.

Just like everyone learns their alphabet in their own time, we all learn what we need to learn when the moment is right, including sleep and including letting go of doing it all "perfectly". What's great is that the learning is shared by all.

The best thing about parenting is that it teaches us a lot about surrender, finding our own truth and LOVE. The hardest thing is the pain but it's completely worth it.

Thank you for sharing your story and what's not so easy about parenting. You are brave and precious beyond measure. Being a new mother is truly a trial-by-fire. I honor your journey, dear sister, and I send you LOVE, SELF-CARE, PATIENCE (especially with yourself), and SLEEP.

*HUGS to your tender, beautiful self*

Posted by: Kymberlee della Luce at March 23, 2007 09:26 AM

Hi Andrea, a few months ago I discovered your blog and I have been reading your updates ever since. You are a truly inspiring, uplifting person who somehow finds beauty and postivity in everything...you have actually inspired me to make changes in my own life. I feel very privileged that I have been able to see the gorgeous photos of your son! He looks like a mischievous little angel!

I know you may be very sick of advice, and as I don't have children I can't speak from experience, but I was wondering if you have heard of the Dunstan Baby Language? Priscilla Dunstan is an Australian woman (like me!) who discovered that babies have a "language" expressed through their crying - for example if you hear the sound "neh" in their crying, it means they are hungry, whereas "heh" means they are physically uncomfortable. It's all very scientific, and the sounds are a result of the baby's reflexes. You can find info about it on www.dunstanbaby.com and on www.oprah.com.

Andrea, I wish you all the best for you and your little bubba Ben!

Posted by: amy j at March 22, 2007 05:38 PM

I hate that I am leaving a comment so late-I read through about half and my head is swimming.

I can't tell you how much I tried with my son (now 2). Crying it out with me leaving the room never worked, but here are some things that did:

They are a bit desperate but they worked:

1. put tin foil over the windows in his room and then blinds and then a curtain. Made it very dark in his room. This did make it a bit challenging when we brought him other places to sleep but it worked at hme and that was where I was most of the time for naps.

2. The five s's from Happiest- sound machine on ocean-swaddled him tightly-so he couldn't get out-this was VERY hard to learn how to do because he hated getting swaddled the first few times-I thought I was doing it too tight but I wasn't. We swaddled him until he could roll over-every time he slept.

3. Started a 3 hour cycle- feed-activity (changing diaper-play)-sleep did this for first few months. Around 12 weeks I think started the hours suggested from good sleep happy baby book.

4. used a pacifier and a wedge with sides (he spit up a bit and we think had acid reflux.)

Hope you keep gettig more and more sleep sweetheart.

Sending you love across the miles.

Posted by: colorsonmymind at March 22, 2007 11:57 AM

I commend your patience! Good luck with the nap training...

Posted by: MuslimADay at March 22, 2007 11:46 AM

There's something about your baby, Andrea, at least the way you captured him in the last couple photos. He looks like he has a secret, like he knows more than me. Do you think he's an old soul or does he just appear wise for his age?

Posted by: Megan at March 22, 2007 07:22 AM

I hate that I am leaving a comment so late-I read through about half and my head is swimming.

I can't tell you how much I tried with my son (now 2). Crying it out with me leaving the room never worked, but here are some things that did:

They are a bit desperate but they worked:

1. put tin foil over the windows in his room and then blinds and then a curtain. Made it very dark in his room. This did make it a bit challenging when we brought him other places to sleep but it worked at hme and that was where I was most of the time for naps.

2. The five s's from Happiest- sound machine on ocean-swaddled him tightly-so he couldn't get out-this was VERY hard to learn how to do because he hated getting swaddled the first few times-I thought I was doing it too tight but I wasn't. We swaddled him until he could roll over-every time he slept.

3. Started a 3 hour cycle- feed-activity (changing diaper-play)-sleep did this for first few months. Around 12 weeks I think started the hours suggested from good sleep happy baby book.

4. used a pacifier and a wedge with sides (he spit up a bit and we think had acid reflux.)

Hope you keep gettig more and more sleep sweetheart.

Sending you love across the miles.

Posted by: colorsonmymind at March 22, 2007 04:26 AM

I hate that I am leaving a comment so late-I read through about half and my head is swimming.

I can't tell you how much I tried with my son (now 2). Crying it out with me leaving the room never worked, but here are some things that did:

They are a bit desperate but they worked:

1. put tin foil over the windows in his room and then blinds and then a curtain. Made it very dark in his room. This did make it a bit challenging when we brought him other places to sleep but it worked at hme and that was where I was most of the time for naps.

2. The five s's from Happiest- sound machine on ocean-swaddled him tightly-so he couldn't get out-this was VERY hard to learn how to do because he hated getting swaddled the first few times-I thought I was doing it too tight but I wasn't. We swaddled him until he could roll over-every time he slept.

3. Started a 3 hour cycle- feed-activity (changing diaper-play)-sleep did this for first few months. Around 12 weeks I think started the hours suggested from good sleep happy baby book.

4. used a pacifier and a wedge with sides (he spit up a bit and we think had acid reflux.)

Hope you keep gettig more and more sleep sweetheart.

Sending you love across the miles.

Posted by: colorsonmymind at March 22, 2007 04:25 AM

The cutest, smartest, cheekiest little fellow I ever saw!

Posted by: Shelley Noble at March 21, 2007 09:18 PM

It's incredibly difficult to deal with this every day. And it makes you feel totally inadequate. But you are doing great. You're little baby is doing great. And this is just temporary.

Posted by: Surcie at March 21, 2007 08:00 PM

(((Hugs))) Hope you are both able to sleep soon.

Posted by: Brianna at March 21, 2007 07:40 PM

Hi, I don't actually know you but a friend sent me a link to your journal because I'm going through something similar with my five month old baby. I hope it's getting better for you now. I wanted to tell you that I was inspired by your sleep consultant and tried something similar with my baby - I lay beside her on my bed and just whispered to her and shh'd and gave her a soother and special blanket and let her hold my finger. It seems to be working, and working quickly. Please thank your sleep expert for me! I think it's true that it gets worse before it gets better, but it does seem to be turning around for my little one and I hope you and your baby are sleeping soon too. I'll send sleepy thoughts your way.

Posted by: D'Arcy Terpstra at March 21, 2007 06:57 PM

Brava, mama! You're doing a great job. I read something once that said when you're up at all hours with your crying baby, think of all the other mamas also awake with their babies at the exact same time. There are MANY. A whole worldwide community of unwitting insomniacs, rocking back and forth in service of another. Night after night. Now that's LOVE! Rock on, baby!

Posted by: Teri at March 21, 2007 03:47 PM

I can't read all the comments (for some reason they come up on my screen truncated and i can't enlarge the screen and it's just tortuous to read back and forth, so apologies to everyone re: that)...

I'm writing to say I remember these days. We eventually decided to try co-sleeping and I have to say it did the trick. (Of course, he's now 4 and still with me... OY!)

Posted by: Lucille at March 21, 2007 03:11 PM

We all do it differently...but one day we all look back and say "Ugh! remember when little Jack/Molly?whoever wouldn't sleep and kept us up for hours with the screaming?!" And hopefully when that is happening they won't be giving us anyother reasons to lose sleep ;)

Posted by: monique at March 21, 2007 10:40 AM

I too love your spirit as it shines through your journal and, honestly, was very surprised you were moving so far away from attachment parenting (I go to kellymom for inspiration). Attachment parenting is very hard to do in this culture and we do it to the best of our ability. We wore our babies, co-slept, and nursed on demand, still do when I am home and at night. The younger the baby, the more wonderful for him (not always us). An anthropologist/lalecheleague leader explained to me the biological basis for this: humans are continuous-contact nursers, she said. Human milk is not like cat milk, where mom leaves the little ones and goes out to hunt--human infants would be in great danger if they were left, or even set down, so human milk digests very quickly and so babies are hardwired to hate being set down and left alone. Our culture has changed more quickly than their biology.

As they get older, it gets better. Their tummies get bigger and they sleep longer. Sleep deprivation is very hard and I don't blame anyone who chooses parenting methods that alleviate it. I'm just not making that choice for my children this time around, and wanted to share my reasons...I hope this is okay.

Posted by: jen at March 21, 2007 09:54 AM

Andrea, Cathy and all...

I was laying in bed last night thinking that it was likely inappropriate to post anything here other than support to Andrea and for this I apologize to all. I enjoy discussions about child development issues and enjoy talking with other moms. I get easily engaged in conversations.

Having said that, I should not have used the comment section to do anything else but give my own opinion and offer support. I should not have commented on anyone else's efforts.

Andrea, I'm sorry. I should have stuck to helpful comments and used my own blog to discuss my own thoughts.

Cathy, thank you for replying to me. And thank you for doing it in such a calm, respectful manner. (I do actually live in a country where we get a year paid maternity leave and appreciate our government very much.) I also agree that moms need to support each other and am very, very sorry that I used your efforts at supporting Andrea as a vehicle for my own discussion.

I will keep my discussions to a more appropriate place in the future.

Thanks for understanding and my apologies again.

Posted by: Rebecca F. at March 21, 2007 09:42 AM

I completely agree with you, Rebecca, "I understand the point Cathy is trying to make but I think that under a year old, a baby's wants and needs are the *same* thing. He doesn't know the difference." Babies do not know the difference, but we do - and I truly believe it's our job to teach them the difference. An 8 month old might want to pull himself up on the oven door, but that doesn't mean we need to let him, even if he thinks he needs to do that.
And as far as being the only society that feels we need to teach our kids to sleep alone - yes, it sucks. As part of one of my graduate classes we compared the roles of mothers and families in different cultures and wouldn't it be nice if we lived in a society that gave mothers at least 1 (sometimes up to 2) years of leave (usually with at least half pay) and then fathers six months! And wouldn't it be nice if us, as mothers weren't trying to show everyone we can Do It All by not excepting the help that is offered. Or, if it was just expected that there would be people there, at your house, every day to cook, clean, and keep things going while the mom just feed the baby and slept??? Unfortunately, most moms in the U.S. are lucky to get 6-8 weeks off of work (and that's with a doctors note, in most cases) and you're really lucky if your company lets you take a leave of absence (unpaid). And most moms, at least the ones I know, will lie through their teeth and say they don't really need any help, but thanks for asking.
So we do live in a different culture, and as such, our children grow up differently. I'm not sure if this different is better or worse, but it seems to be working for most of us. (at least from the outside looking in.)

Posted by: Cathy at March 21, 2007 08:00 AM

you'll get through it, mama! sounds like you're doing great, even though it's totally suckiesuck.

Posted by: nina at March 21, 2007 07:28 AM

You are wise. :)

Wishing you much success in the sleep department - for everyone - in the days and weeks to come. Nobody tells you how mind-numbing lack of sleep is with a new baby. I promise you it does get better. ♥

Posted by: french toast girl at March 21, 2007 06:58 AM

Oh Hun,

If I could, I would be there in a flash to give you the biggest of hugs. You are amazing woman (and Mother) Andrea, don't let anyone tell you other wise. I don't have any wise words or advice, but I do wish you both the very best in this little "hurdle". Sending you all the biggest "Virtual" hugs I can through cyber space,

Love Toni

Posted by: Toni at March 20, 2007 07:09 PM

hug
hug
hug!

Posted by: Jennifer at March 20, 2007 06:37 PM

I DID do the cry it out method. I think it hurt me more than it hurt him, though he tried to convice me otherwise. Took me two nights, and he began to sleep through the night perfectly, and so did I.

In every picture you've taken where Ben is smiling, he has this look on his face, that of an inside joke. I think he knows more than all of us.

Posted by: Crissi at March 20, 2007 05:57 PM

I hestitated to post a comment as I am sure you are overwhelmed with advice. But this is not advice...just my story. I personally believe that each mother needs to do what works best for them. My daughter (now 16 mos. old) barely slept during the day or night (and neither did I). She cried much of the time and I felt horrible. By 11 weeks, I was out of my mind from lack of sleep and all the crying. I felt like I was going to get in an accident if I drove because I was sooo tired. Out of desperation I bought the book by Dr. Ferber and decided to try the gradual cry it out method. It took three days and was sheer torture at times, BUT it worked. She started sleeping for longer and longer stretches and I decided that I would get up 2 times a night to breastfeed and that was it. Then I took that down to one feeding as the success continued. What happened was nothing short of a miracle. The more she slept the less she cried and it was like we had a new baby. She was finally happy!!! I never thought I would try something like the Ferber method but I'm glad I put aside my preconceived notions and tried it. She is now a fantastic sleeper. I will say that some people gave me grief for using this method and at times I felt bad because of their comments but I knew I was doing what was best for my daughter (and for me). And that's what's most important. Good Luck!!

Posted by: Kristen Kramer at March 20, 2007 05:37 PM

Oy indeed.
How quickly we forget.
Goodluck Andrea... I think you are doing amazingly well and I am sure Ben will be used to his new routine in a matter of no time (or it will seem that once it happens)!
Best wishes.
Bek

Posted by: Rebecca Geach at March 20, 2007 04:35 PM

I totally feel for you -- sleep deprivation with my daughter was so bad that I started hallucinating at one point. I really think so much of PPD is actually related to sleep deprivation. Even if you understand this intellectually, it's small comfort when you can't even think coherently from lack of sleep.

Someone up thread mentioned the Happiest Baby on the Block. The 5 S theory did work for us. I think it breaks down as sucking, swinging/jiggling, shushing (white noise) and .... I can't remember the two others! But they were really a sanity saver. Within twenty minutes we'd have Thea sleeping.

The other thing that helped was recognizing when I needed a night to recover, and doing what I could to have one. (I don't know if you have Ben on the bottle yet, so maybe this wouldn't work for you.) I'd pump enough milk for my husband to feed my daughter during the night. I'd then go sleep anywhere out of sound's reach, and let him get up with her during the night. Usually I'd wake up in five hours drenched with milk, but the important thing was I'd have enough sleep so I could cope again without feeling deranged.

Posted by: kris at March 20, 2007 04:28 PM

"....that he just WANTS you to pick him up..."

I understand the point Cathy is trying to make but I think that under a year old, a baby's wants and needs are the *same* thing. He doesn't know the difference. Only that he wants his mom and she isn't picking him up.

He is trying to learn the reassurance that when he cries someone will meet his needs/wants, even if it is just to comfort him. We are one of the few societies that thinks our babies "need" to sleep by themselves. That they should "learn" to sleep alone and to fall asleep independently. I simply don't agree.

I do totally agree with the jennifergg when she said that it is the work and effort that you do that makes motherhood. Cheers to that!

Posted by: Rebecca F. at March 20, 2007 04:18 PM

no advice...just a thought: no mother has all the answers, ever. It's the work you're doing, the love you show in your efforst to find answers, that is the true mark of motherhood. My hat is off to you, and good luck in your journey!

Posted by: jennifergg at March 20, 2007 12:51 PM

I understand lack of sleep because we have a 12 week old. He sleeps in his sling during the day. When he really falls asleep we can put him in his bassinet. We co sleep woth him at night and now he sleeps mostly during the night. If he wakes I can nurse him in bed and we both fall back asleep. If he was to sleep in his bassinet or crib he would never sleep! There is a great article/editorial bt Peggy O mara on babys and sleep in the newest edition of mothering magazine. It normalizes how we feel as mothers when our babies are not slee[ing through the night and gives suggestions. Good luck.

Posted by: Rochelle at March 20, 2007 11:53 AM

Please, please, please...don't let those that are saying it's horrible to let your child cry change your decision. Children and babies will cry - yes, when they're hungry, tired, cold, etc. But they will also cry when they are mad. When they are not getting what they want. It's so hard to listen to your baby cry, but if you know he's not hungry or sick, then you need to remind yourself that he just WANTS you to pick him up. Of course, he'd prefer to sleep in your arms...who wouldn't?? But, really, that's not what's best for him (or you). It took me having to go see my doctor with a mix of post pardem depression and sleep deprivation and having him tell me I need to teach my son to sleep and THEN going to my son's doctor and having her say, "There's no reason he can't sleep by himself now. He's big enough not to need to eat all the time and he's just using the nursing to be close to you." And so we began TEACHING him how to sleep and it was so hard. But so worth it 2.5 years later he's still a great sleeper. I just don't want you to give up - anyone who's done it knows it's hard, but we also know the rewards that come with - a happy baby, who turns into a happy toddler - with good sleep habits. AND a happy mom. =) Please just hang in there...it sounds like you are doing good.

Posted by: Cathy at March 20, 2007 11:52 AM

I think it's important to make the distinction that the CIO approach includes leaving the infant alone to cry. There is a big difference between a baby left to cry unattended in another room and having his mom or dad with him, touching him and looking at him. Even Dr. Sears admits there are times when you can't stop the crying and can simply offer your presence as a comfort.

Posted by: shannon at March 20, 2007 11:45 AM

you're a freaking champion in my book, darlin'. keep doing what you're doing, and what WORKS FOR YOU. i've no doubts that it's all gonna fall into place. as always, i love your heart and idea that you're teaching him an important skill---because you are, and that's the essence of motherhood. what a lucky baby to have such an extraordinary teacher of how to live and enjoy life.

keep it up, girl.

Posted by: amy at March 20, 2007 10:44 AM

Oh dear, sweet Andrea...I remember those sleepless baby days. Insanity laced with the purest maternal love. I am sending you Reiki... and a virtual hug... it's the best I can offer.
Fern

Posted by: switchsky at March 20, 2007 10:11 AM

In the "whatever works" vein, my 8 week old sleeps in the sling during the day and on my chest at night. Anywhere else is hopeless.

Posted by: jes at March 20, 2007 09:38 AM

Lately I've been writing a lot about lack of sleep, too. Try lying on the floor with your legs up the wall (and baby on your chest) - it's very restorative.

Double Whammy

A double whammy
Mastitis is a bummer
The baby's sick, too

A few syllables at a time
All I can handle
Let rhyme and smile drop

Body needs more rest
It's trying to tell me this
Cold sore was last week

They say health is wealth
A penny saved, a penny earned
I'm rich with daughters

Longer lines will come
Trust this and listen for them
Now is just that: Now

The acorn, the oak
Everything has its season
Even the ebb flows

Posted by: Jena Strong at March 20, 2007 09:30 AM

Hi Andrea,

First...that picture of Ben is adorable! I love it!

Second, I was a bit surprised at your recent entry. Surprised in that I would have thought that you and Matt would have been into Attachment Parenting. Maybe I misread your entry...but it sounds like this sleep counselor is encouraging CIO? Even though she says she doesn't? Again, maybe I'm not reading it correctly.

Please reconsider letting Ben cry himself to sleep. It gets better I promise!

http://drbenkim.com/articles-attachment-parenting.html

Posted by: Susan at March 20, 2007 08:47 AM

Sounds like you two are really doing great. I love your idea of meditation, telepathy and speaking to him from your heart. You are a champ - really!

And never ever forget...he will sleep for 8+ hours some day. I promise!!!

Love you!!!
Besos,
Your Sleep Deprived Sister

Posted by: Michelle Andre at March 20, 2007 08:40 AM

I know you are having troubles with everyone's sleep patterns and habits right now, but honestly most of the sleep training stuff isn't really recommended until 5 or 6 months. I know because I tried with my first and had a lot of frustration until she was about 5 1/2 months old when I could do Ferber. She didn't nap regularly until she was around 8 months old. I just don't want you to have too high expectations. Just make sure you have lots of help so you can have regular breaks.

Posted by: Lola at March 20, 2007 08:37 AM

Know that somewhere across the continent, I too am pacing the floor with a wee gal about the same age...we've even put tape on the creaky floorboards so that we have a safe route back to the crib...then I drag myself to work and teach art to 75 teenagers. You will survive this- and sleep deprivation will seem like a piece of cake someday when the more complicated things come along. I love your writing and your art- Ben the Buddhah makes me smile (a slight bit)when the 3 am "dead zone" comes around...

Posted by: Rebecca at March 20, 2007 08:32 AM

I have a 2 month old son who has never been able to nap. He falls asleep (limp limbs and all), but wakes within 2 minutes of being put down. We tried swaddling, swings, sleep positioners, heartbeat sounds, etc.

So last night I tried your new approach...and it worked!!! I tried it again for his morning nap, and it worked again and easier (2 hours..a new personal best for Lucas!). We must be very lucky...he only fussed for about 5 minutes. We have a co-sleeper, so I laid on the bed next to him with my hand on his tummy til he nodded off (swaddled and with the heart beat machine working).

Thank you for sharing this. I wish you and your family all the best as you learn and grow together!

Posted by: Shannon at March 20, 2007 08:22 AM

I know when we start having our family, I will be returning to your blog for posts like this, which provide both comfort and advice.

Posted by: Andrea at March 20, 2007 07:36 AM

Oh, god -- this brings back some agonizing memories. The carrot on the stick is that "it's a phase". They grow out of it, you grow out of (and with) it, you turn the corner, and there's new stuff to deal with... but it really does get easier (especially once you are no longer sleep-deprived). This is where you earn your big parenting learning curve points!

Posted by: janharp at March 20, 2007 07:23 AM

Oh you poor dear! I remember those miserable days like it was yesterday! My 13-year-old was my non-sleeper! Only catnaps. From the day she was born.

We finally resorted to the "just bring her into the bed" approach, which seemed to be to her liking. She did sleep longer, though still with wake-ups, but when she wanted to nurse I could just nurse her without a lot of fanfare & nod back off...

I think she just wanted to be close to us.

Did some of that in the beginning with my 7-year-old, but he was our sleep, which came as a great relief!

But even he woke up at least once nightly. That is until he was a year old & I finally hung the curtains in his room that I sewed the night before he was born. And guess what?! He slept through the night from that night on!

Boy, I sure was kicking myself for being a procrastinator majoris & not hanging those damn curtains months earlier!

Sending thoughts of sleep your way!

Warmly,
Andrea

Posted by: Andrea at March 20, 2007 06:56 AM

Coming out of lurkdom ....I love reading your blog, Andrea. I got my first Superhero necklace shortly/days before baby Ben was born. I love it and it keeps me strong during the sleepless nights with my babe and the difficult days that seem to follow.

Yeesh ... all this advice you've been given in the comments has me entirely overwhelmed and emotional. I'm sure people mean well but not everyone's road is the same one. Don't loose courage.

The hardest thing for me in becoming a parent was the judgement, good and bad that I felt oozing from other parents. Every parent had a solution and if anyone else's solution was different it seemed it was wrong. But realitiy is that it's not. And that was a lesson I am still learning.

I wish *you* love, compassion, strength, forgiveness and hope as you journey this long road of parenthood. Give yourself the biggest dose of all these things. This will not last forever.

Posted by: Monica at March 20, 2007 06:53 AM

Your final realization about how miraculous it is to be his teacher is awesome. It is the most valuable and most rewarding thing knowing that you have been given all the gifts, strengths, and intuition necessary to guide another human being through the lessons of life. I remember how hard those moments were when my son was learning the patterns, and it really tests you when you are sleep deprived and raw. My son is now nineteen, and is an amazing human being, talented artist, and a source of pride for me. Keep up the good work, you are already an awesome mother!

Posted by: blair at March 20, 2007 06:41 AM

I'm not going to leave you any words of wisdom, because honestly, I don't have any on this subject. Sean is sleeping through the night which apparently is rare for an 11 week old baby. He's been doing it for just over a week now.

I will say that you're doing a good job and you've got to be strong! You gave me encouragement on breastfeeding, so now is my turn to encourage you with Ben's sleeping. I am sure in due time everything will work itself out. He won't even fall asleep in your arms? Sean is very good at falling asleep on his own, but sometimes he wants to fall asleep in my arms or laying on my chest for that comfort of "mommy".

Anyhow, I wish you continued success on this endever.

Oh - and what an adorable pic of Ben! As always!

Posted by: Robyn at March 20, 2007 05:43 AM

I just re-read your post and noted the line "Ben is doing great". Tell us more about that. Do you think it is working?? Is he going to sleep better? Without so much crying?

Hugs to you.

PS. Another great picture!!

Posted by: Rebecca. at March 20, 2007 05:21 AM

An hour? He cried for an hour? Oh poor Ben.

Of course he is going to sleep eventually. Not because of the training but because he is so exhausted from crying.

That doesn't sound like a positive experience for anyone.

I hope it is what YOU want to be doing Andrea, and not just a decision based out of desperation.

Posted by: Rebecca. at March 20, 2007 05:17 AM

Well, I agree with the woman from India. I think that sitting there while your baby cries is against instinct and sort of mean.

Babies cry to communicate. He could be saying I'm hungry, tired, scared, overstimulated, understimulated, uncomfortable, or just plain lonely. Many, many societies sleep with their babies. Most mammal species sleep with their babies. I never understand the concept of trying to "teach" your baby to sleep by him/herself. All I think it teaches them is no matter how hard or how long you cry, I won't pick you up. When you are in that bed, you stay there until you sleep. Just give up. Don't cry for me. Go to sleep.

To me, whether you are there beside his crib or not, you are letting him "cry it out". I read a child development study in college that said babies who are left to cry it out, cry sooner and longer than babies who are responded to immediately. It really struck a chord with me.

So, there is my opinionated view for today. I know it is opinionated and apologize ahead of time.

If you can stand his crying so be it, but I think the situation would get better on its own without the sleep training. Wrap Ben in a blanket and snuggle in bed. You'll both sleep so much better.

Posted by: Blog fan at March 20, 2007 05:12 AM

ack! sleep deprivation is so hard. we had our first sleep in our bed for quite a while. the second was so wiggly and so hard to train to sleep. i used to stand over her crib and slowly inch away as she drifted off. crazy. but then she became an excellent sleeper. so hang in there. it'll all come together for you. different kids need different things.

Posted by: marci lambert at March 19, 2007 09:31 PM

I too believe that you and Ben can do this.

Posted by: Dr. S at March 19, 2007 09:31 PM

you are doing great, mama. it gets better. hang in there!

xoxo p

Posted by: pixie at March 19, 2007 09:30 PM

It will work.

It will get better.

You are a great mom.

Posted by: lisa at March 19, 2007 07:29 PM

I've been reading your journal obsessively for months:) You say things in just the way I would if I could! My favorite thing you've said recently is 'prenatal yoga saved my ass'!

I just wanted to say that I have a 2 year old and a 5 month old and I FEEL YOUR PAIN! But you're so right--you have the awesome privelege of teaching Ben HOW to sleep and how to soothe himself. It does take a little crying, but once they figure it out and know the routine and are actually able to go to sleep on their own it's awesome! When my 5 month old starts fussing and it's time for a nap and I get out his blanket he actually SMILES at me like 'thanks for knowing what I need mom!' He woke at 45 minutes into his naps too for months, but that has finally disappeared for the most part and he sleeps for an hour and a half, is up for an hour and half to two hours and then we do it all over again. Sleeping all night?? Now that's another story!! It's so exhausting, but hang in there! You feel like it never will, but it will eventually happen. I'm waiting for it too:)

Posted by: Stephanie at March 19, 2007 05:26 PM

Oh, boy. We all can't help but give advice, and you have probably had that up to your ears :~)

Just keep in mind that it's human nature to want to help and sharing what has worked for us is sometimes the only way we know how to do that. So, take or leave the advice, but I think it is all given from good hearts.

Um, maybe I'll just shut up now so you can get some damn sleep :~) Good luck! I'm rooting for you guys.

Posted by: otter at March 19, 2007 04:46 PM

I, too, was the victim of the 45 minute naps with both of my girls. After much research I learned that many babies have a hard time getting through the first sleep cycle which happens around the 45 minute point. It is exhausting because you know they wake up still tired and grumpy. It will pass at around 4 months. I have found that a schedule doesn't really exist until around that time. Then count on 3 naps a day until around 9 months. Then 2 naps a day until 14-18 months. Then 1 nap a day until 3-4 years. Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Weissbluth gives all that good info - whether you use his methods or not. I found it to be the only helpful book. Good luck!

Posted by: b at March 19, 2007 04:30 PM

his future as a janis joplin impersonator looks bright!!!

he's beautiful, and so is your love for him.

Posted by: seth at March 19, 2007 03:19 PM

You can do it, Superhero!

Posted by: Tiff at March 19, 2007 02:53 PM

My "babies" are all grown up. My two cents has always been, don't listen to everyones two cents, lol. Use your motherly/womanly/gut instincts. I adopted the "what ever works" theory when mine would not go to sleep. They eventually sleep ... and you need yours too! Best wishes to you.

Posted by: Nancy at March 19, 2007 02:23 PM

Hi Andrea,

I've been reading your blog for the past six months or so..I don't remember how I stumbled on it, but I really appreciate your words, photos and spirit. I've been thinking about babies alot because my best friend just had one. Your title for this post made me think of a great Wilco song. Also, do you know Mark Erelli? I think if you like the weepies and deb talan, you would really love him. He has a new album of lullabies including this song. Thought I'd pass it along. Good luck getting some rest!

peace,

Lisa


My Darlin'

Go back to sleep now
My darlin
And I'll keep all the bad dreams away
Breathe now, think sweet things
And I'll think of all the right words to say

Because we made you
My darlin
With the love in each of our hearts
We were a family, my darlin
Right from the start

Grow up now
My darlin
Please don't you grow up too fast
And be sure, darlin
To make all the good times last

Because we made you
My darlin
With the love in each of our hearts
We were a family, my darlin
Right from the start

Posted by: lisa at March 19, 2007 02:01 PM

By the way, what is the black background you are using on your photos?

Posted by: farrah at March 19, 2007 01:44 PM

I found your site through a friends.

I just wanted to second the Baby Whisperer book. My 4 month old is now sleeping 8-10 hour stretches at night. I wish I had read this book with my first, as he was a horrible sleeper and didn't sleep through the night until he was 1 year old.

I know what it is like to be sleep deprived. Good luck and hand in there. This too shall pass.

Posted by: farrah at March 19, 2007 01:39 PM

he is too cute for words.

i think i cried more the 1st year of my son's life than i did all my life before that put together. seriously. it is so challenging. but you can do it mama! you ARE doing it!

Posted by: la vie en rose at March 19, 2007 12:42 PM

Dearest,
Hugs! I never had such problems because I did not care what the world told me. The baby cries, I pick him up and he is in my bed within seconds and we both sleep well through the night. End of story. I know Americans don't subscribe to this method, but that is my experience. I grew up in India and never heard of letting the baby cry... bah...

I actually like to take my kids into my bed..so that is it.

I hope you get some sleep soon dear.
BEn is soooo adorable. XO!

Posted by: thodarumm at March 19, 2007 12:32 PM

This DVD is awesome. My 20 month son sleeps from 6:30pm to 5:30am. Love your blog.
Peace
http://www.amazon.com/Happiest-Baby-Block-Crying-Longer/dp/B0006J021C/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/103-8663367-3042255?ie=UTF8&s=dvd&qid=1174332490&sr=8-1

Posted by: jim nellis at March 19, 2007 12:30 PM

O and once you think you have a sleep pattern down it all changes. we co-sleep with our son and that enables us to get some sleep! maybe try that.

it's really hard this parenting stuff, no one really tells you the truth till you have your own. and once you have one issue figured out another one will surely arise and throw you right off track!

but they sure are beautiful and grow ever so fast,enjoy.

Posted by: michele at March 19, 2007 12:11 PM

Hi Andrea -- my first baby slept only 2 hrs. at a stretch, day or night for the first three months - yikes! Gradually over the first year, he slept for longer periods. We did however have to cut out the night feeds when he was a year old because he would just feed all night long. I slept on the couch downstairs while he screamed upstairs with his dad -- not much fun but it only took a night or two and boy did I ever feel great when I woke up the next moring after having finally, a decent sleep.

Helpful hints: I would stay far far away from anything that has caffeine in it as it will make it's way to Ben through your milk, (yeah....doesn't that sound like fun when you're exhausted to begin with- pass the coffee!) There may be some good polarity massage moves (such as the Tummy rock) to help babies to sleep. Just hang in there girl, as time passes he will sleep for longer stretches. In the mean time, get help so that YOU can get some quality sleep -- that is very important.

You're doing a great job.

Caroline

Posted by: Caroline at March 19, 2007 11:04 AM

Hurray for you. Sending you good luck sleep vibes! That has just reminded me of what I used to do when my (now 13yr old) was at that difficult stage of still needing a nap but fighting it. I would lie on the bed next to him and pretend my eyes were so heavy that I couldn't keep them open. I would slow blink and snuggle down as though ready to go to sleep (i didn't have to pretend that much lol!) His eyes would start to close and though he tried to keep watching me he did eventually succumb to sleep. Fast forward 10yrs or so and in a funny way I am doing a similar thing now that the boy is going through another funny sleep stage. He wants to stay up late but actually needs a lot of sleep. I sit with him yawning and finally say something like 'Well I'm not going to sleep yet either but how about we go to bed early and read for a while?' He likes the idea that he's not being sent to bed and inevitably gets cosy and turns off his lamp. What I'll do when he is an older teen and wants to party all night though I do not know!!

Posted by: karen t at March 19, 2007 10:38 AM

Dealing wit the sleep issue was without question the hardest phase. Learning that we are not at fault or responsible for every time our child is unhappy...big lesson. I try to remember that my son has his own path of learning, and try as I may, I will never be able to make that a pain-free process. (hard mama lesson!)

Posted by: deezee at March 19, 2007 10:04 AM

yay! it sounds like you have a breakthrough on your hands. the book i mentioned talks a lot about what we teach our children, it sounds like your super sleep nanny ascribes to the same techniques. hang in there, and if you do pick up the baby whisperer book it will only reinforce the path you are already on. ben looks lovely in feathers, that smile...

Posted by: mamie at March 19, 2007 09:46 AM