Schedule? What schedule?

If you've been reading for awhile you know this: when Z was a baby, I read many, many baby books. My favorite was "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Baby". While not well edited (read: painfully repetitive and disorganized), the concrete information about how to help your baby sleep better was a great, great help. Z was, for the most part, a great, easy sleeper and I really believe it was half her and half that book.

The biggest take home messages for me: put the baby down drowsy but BEFORE they are truly tired ("Perfect timing produces no crying."), promote motionless sleep (ie. Try not to let them nap while in a car, stroller, bouncer etc.) and keep a consistent, natural (tuned into their biorhythms) schedule.

These proved to be HUGELY helpful and frankly EASY to enforce when I had only one kid. I lived my life according to Z's nap schedule and bedtime. Because she went down easily, stayed asleep and woke up happy, these seemed like they were well worth the effort and occasional inconvenience (Anytime someone gave me an issue about my strict naptime adherence I would say - in my head, of course, PASSIVE AGGRESSIVE IN THE HIZOUSE- "You know what's really inconvenient? A SCREAMING BABY.") She took her first nap at home at 9am, her second nap at home at 1pm and her bedtime was 7 pm. For, like, A YEAR.

Keeping my current baby on this, or any other, schedule? IMPOSSIBLE.

Because, of course, E has a natural schedule and Z still has HER own natural schedule. And never the twain shall meet.

Okay, not never just infrequently.

Mornings are ... fine. Early. But fine.

E's first nap? Usually happens... sometime in the morning. And it often looks like this:

(I love her eyelash hat and her miracle blanket that I plan on swaddling her in until she's 25.)

Due to Z's schedule, E often gets put down for her nap in her carseat and then carted around town. This will not work for much longer.

Lunch time is a blur of a tired, preschooled Z eating or NOT, me desperately trying to stuff something resembling actual food into my mouth while nursing E and getting her down for her nap sometime in there. It's a new roulette-wheel-spin-of-CRAZY each and every day.

Dinner is the same BUT WORSE, with E sort of needing a third nap because she didn't get her full two naps because of Z's schedule so E needs a super early bedtime but I'm also cooking dinner and trying to keep Z busy/happy/NOT DRIVING ME CRAZY. I feel like an octupus who's missing several necessary limbs. There are only so many things I'm capable of doing at once.

And now we've started this insanity (where's my ninth limb??):
Feeding E rice cereal is supposed to help with her current night waking (read: MOMMY'S TIRED LET'S TRY STUFFING FOOD IN HER MOUTH). She started waking at night after her cold/ear infection a few weeks back and now she's decided that daytime is for .... anything but nursing and nighttime? IS CHOW TIME.

This happened with Z too (that would be the "good sleeper, for the most part" part in the first paragraph). She got a cold when she was around 7 months and stopped sleeping through the night and we suffered for a few months and we tried everything and it got worse and we finally.... let her cry it out. It was awful for two nights and then we were wondering what took us so long because it worked! And she was so happy! And we were so happy! SUCCESS!

And I thought to myself at the time: I will not let the next one go down this path and get to a point when we need to let her cry it out. I will be more careful about nursing at night if the baby's been sleeping through for months and months and I will NOT let it get to a point where we contemplate crying it out and .......

Here we are. Wondering when and if we are going to need to let her cry it out.

For now I am clear: I think she's way too young. At only 5 months, in my opinion, she still needs to know that her cries matter, that we hear them. That her needs will be met.

So I'm trying to wean her from night feedings a bit. Which is a long, tedious, tiring process which, frankly, annoys both of us. And I'm working on being a bit more scheduled in her daytime naps.

I seriously hope the night waking ends soon. Because I'm not ready to let her cry it out but I am so ready for some SLEEP.


Jenni said...

I've also not found Weissbluth to be nearly as helpful/effective with baby #2. And CIO doesn't really work for him either because he cries so hard he VOMITS. Yeah. Not. Good. I need a new baby of tricks.

Fran said...

All of my kids were terrible sleepers as babies (not "sleeping through the night" until they were about 3) Unfortunately for me, my youngest is only 2. She DID sleep all night from about 2 months until 7 months when, like yours, she got a cold. Then it was teeth, and other colds and then just being used to it and now I have not had a decent night's sleep in recent memory and last night alone she woke up 3!!!! times. So I can commiserate, but I am the LAST person to give you any tips. Just like Jenni said, CIO with my youngest will not work, a-because she cries unto vomiting and b-she is in a toddler bed, not a safe, secure crib and usually lets me know she's awake by poking me in the eye :(

Erica said...

Oh. Em. Gee. This gives me such Nervous Tummy. In 6.5 months I'm going to have to figure out a new way to do EVERYTHING. Halp me!

Hillary said...

Can I second Erica's nervous tummy?

Anonymous said...

Man, crying it out. Breaks the heart. My quandry is that my baby apparently prefers to cry it out in your arms. We'll feed him, cuddle him, love on him, then he wants to cry a while til he tires himself out to sleep. I have no choice on the cry it out thing, unless the choice is "in arms or in bed". Babies, what wierdos.

Grateful Twin Mom said...

I totally agree with your instinct that she's way too young at 5 1/2 months. I also admire you for your willingness to try a schedule with a preschooler and a baby. I really send major kudos to all you moms who have a second baby. Having mine both at once meant that we had two who were good sleepers on a schedule (schedule was imperative on all fronts with twins)like Z. You're navigating the "second child" waters like a champ.

KG said...

Oh, honey! You turned me on to swistle, and I will just remind you of her sage words on sleeping:



Sorry for not smallify-ing the links. Am at work. Need to rush. Now dropping pronouns. Luck!

Marie Green said...

We've always gone the night-weaning route instead of the cry-it-out route (not that I have any judgement for anyone in the latter camp, just fyi). For us nightweaning meant the DADDY got up with the baby for a few nights and tried to resettle, reswaddle, rock, walk or whatever it took to get baby back down besides nursing. It always resulted in much less night-nursing, though sometimes I would give in around 4am and nurse because he was wore out and sick of trying to soothe the baby.

I really hope that whatever method you use works for you! Sleep is so important to mama-sanity!

Marie Green said...

Oh, I should've also mentioned that it also resulted, after a few nights, of less night waking. Because daddy didn't have BREASTS, there was no tempting food source nearby and baby would start to sleep longer because of it.

Existential Waitress said...

I have sooo been down this road. My first born was sleeping through the night by 4 or 5 months and took to a daily routine wonderfully - therefore I assumed that of course this would be easy as pie when my daughter came along. But I soon realized that not only did the schedules of an infant and a two year old vary GREATLY, but that my daughter had a temperament that did not LIKE schedules one bit. When she was pushing a year I remember desperately wondering when, if
EVER, she would sleep through the night. I too read every book about sleep that I could get my hands on - worked for my son and not my daughter. I could put my son down drowsy from a young age, but never my daughter. I too contemplated crying it out, but never had the heart.

Kathi McCracken Dente said...

If it makes you feel any better T is up at least 3 times a night and we did minor amounts of CIO to even get to that point. Do what you need to do. I am also trying to give T some quality naps during the day and it is tough. T won't sleep out and about anymore. She falls asleep in the car and then wakes up as soon as we stop moving. I am also finding Weissbluth very unhelpful at this point. His suggestion of just staying home with the older kid is just not possible. Good Luck!

Michelle said...

I waited until Peanut was 6 months before we began the process of CIO. I only did it for bed and nap time and it took a day to work. One day. I still nursed once or twice a night until she was a year and then it was all over and everyone sleeps through the night - mostly. I hated CIO until it worked and then I was on my knees thanking everything holy and pure.
By the way, love, love, love the little hat. That has to be the cutest thing EVER.

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