the sleep saga

Posted on: 7 February 2013

The dream: Ashelyn sleeps in the crib from 9PM to 9AM.

The reality: Ashelyn sleeps with me. She has a penchant for nighttime snacking and is up 2-3 times … I think. I don’t keep count or check the time anymore, because I only half wake up. Bedtime is around 10-11PM and she’s up anywhere from 9-11AM.

This is progress because Ashelyn used to keep herself awake till 2AM. And because she nurses right back to sleep, instead of waking up OH HAI CAN WE PLAY NOW? at 5AM. And because she’s content to sleep beside me, not on me like the early weeks (although sometimes there is cuddling).


The dream: Ashelyn naps for 1-2 hours at a time, in her crib. Twice a day. Regular enough to maintain a loose schedule; not so tied to it that a departure would throw her off.

The reality: Ashelyn generally takes two naps a day, one in late morning or early afternoon and one in late afternoon or early evening. She seems to nap in half-hour increments – either half an hour, or an hour, or an hour and a half. She naps in the spare bed in the spare room. We usually hold her for naps when we aren’t at home. If the timing is right, she naps in her carseat while we’re on the road. I’m trying to avoid “dream feed” naps – where she breastfeeds to sleep but continues to suck – because (aside from reducing me to a human binky) I’m never sure if they count.

This is huge progress! I worked hard to get here. We’re seeing some semblance of predictability, and Ashelyn can nap by herself, as opposed to on our shoulders every time. I get breaks! It’s glorious!


The dream: Ashelyn self-soothes.

The reality: HA! In the evening, breastfeeding usually settles her down for the night. For naps, I lie down with her, read: force her to lie down with me. Otherwise she will not lie still, which means she will clamber about and keep herself awake forever. FOREVER. Ashelyn hates lying still, even for diaper changes. It’s clearly the worst conceivable thing in the known universe. So she’ll fuss – sometimes more, sometimes less – but gradually she nods off. And then I extricate myself and quietly leave.

This is progress because just a short while ago I feared Ashelyn was incapable of falling asleep from a horizontal position (unless she was on the boob). She would only fall asleep on my shoulder, and only when I walked her around for half an hour. (You see why I succumbed to dream-feed naps.) I finally put my foot down and cut the walking requirement. I replaced it with rocking in the glider. Not ideal, but at least my body got a break! Eventually I cut the rocking and took her to bed awake. Both transitions were met with fierce resistance, of course; there were days it took two hours to get Ashelyn to nap for twenty minutes. Seemed a waste of time and energy, but I pick my battles and this one was worth fighting. Now, I can expect the naps to be longer than the nodding-offs, so those pains have paid a huge dividend. Hallelujah!


So, baby steps. We’re still some distance from utopia, but at least things are heading in the right direction.


3 Responses to "the sleep saga"

Sending the sleep fairy your way. Glad things are improving. I was a zombie until 6 months when I had enough and decided to change things. Now my lil guy sleeps well enough that I actually feel human again!

Ah thanks; I need all the magic sleep fairy dust I can get!

Sounds like my kid’s sleep pattern, except that now she has also decided to drop to one nap some of the time.

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