How Do You Keep Your Non-Self-Settling Baby on Any Sort of Routine? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 12 Old 04-16-2012, 10:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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'Cause nothing's working for me.  Geez, all I do on MDC is start threads about my baby's sleep. :(

 

Anyhow, my 9-month-old co-sleeping, always-parented-down DD is fighting sleep SO much that the parenting down isn't super effective anymore...so she's often not succumbing to sleep 'til she's overtired.  Her own preferred schedule at the moment seems to be to take two naps (sometimes really long, sometimes really short) and then a third nap that's really part of her sleep 'for the night' (currently starting after sunrise)--and that 'night' sleep has thus been getting cut short to a max of nine hours.  Whenever we do seem to get her on a sort of good, non-nocturnal routine, we see it precariously, sort of start to slip over a few days until...some huge developmental change happens, or we have to go see family for a few days, and everything falls apart again.  She always seems to revert to a 28-hour schedule.

 

Now that she's fighting sleep so much, I really haven't a CLUE how to help her get on a reasonable routine without teaching her to self-settle...and since she's fighting us so much, that would definitely involve a lot of crying.  I'm sure others of you have dealt with this and didn't want to use any sort of CIO techniques, so I'd appreciate any advice!  TIA! :)

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#2 of 12 Old 04-16-2012, 11:36 PM
 
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How do we deal with our non-settling sleeper? You really just keep at it. Forever. Cause the little dude needs to sleep, no matter what he/she think!

 

DS is almost 20 months and STILL helped to sleep by either DH or me for one 3 hour nap and a 10 hour night. We help him fall back to sleep during those naps/night each and every day. We try oh so very hard to teach him how to do this on his own but dang, the kid sure is resistant! There's still a good deal of whining and missing bedtimes around here but never any CIO. (CIO would make it even worse imo!!) We couldn't even get DS on a sleep routine until 1 yo when he finally seemed to settle easier. I kept thinking: Hey, we do the SAME thing every night, when will he get the "go to sleep" clue? Yep, that routine we'd been doing for months and months took a very long time to sink in but NOW he gets it.

 

The best way to get through (mentally) is just give up and accept that your kid is a crazy sleeper. Always has been, always will be. Sleep phases may last a week or two; cherish the good ones while they are around. Just accept it! When we did that, it became easier. 

 

I have to say, since 18 months, DS has started sleeping MUCH better. Not through the night, not settling easier, he just sleeps for longer stretches and can be settled back to sleep easily by DH or me.

 

Keep at it, your daughter DOES need her sleep, it's just that YOU may have to help her for some time longer. Don't try to explain it to people IRL cause they won't understand. It's her normal and needs to be accepted as that! I'm hoping when DS is 3 yo, he'll fall asleep easy peasy! orngbiggrin.gif And that the next baby will be one of those magical sleeping children that will fall asleep in the middle of playing. DS has never fallen asleep in a crazy funny position unless we put him there!

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#3 of 12 Old 04-16-2012, 11:49 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for your reply!  Good to hear from someone who didn't have her babe on a routine at this age.  I'm not worried that she's not getting enough sleep and I don't actually mind the parenting down right now...but I am starting to mind how hard she's fighting.  She's just started to make very indignant angry squawks instead of just crying when she's upset, which are somewhat amusing, but also no fun to hear when she's overtired.  I did mean to mention in my thread...I don't actually mind so much the crazy schedule, either.  I am a night owl as well.  It is kind of strange living life on a 28-hour schedule, though, and I think it is making me more of a homebody because I can't have 'regular' available times to see anyone because that time fluctuates greatly in a two or three week span.  But...I just figured non-CIO parents were managing to get their babies on a better routine than I, because I don't know of anyone else who is often keeping nocturnal hours like I am! :)

I also hope your DS will fall asleep easy peasy when he's 3 (or even sooner). :D

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Originally Posted by sere234 View Post

How do we deal with our non-settling sleeper? You really just keep at it. Forever. Cause the little dude needs to sleep, no matter what he/she think!

 

DS is almost 20 months and STILL helped to sleep by either DH or me for one 3 hour nap and a 10 hour night. We help him fall back to sleep during those naps/night each and every day. We try oh so very hard to teach him how to do this on his own but dang, the kid sure is resistant! There's still a good deal of whining and missing bedtimes around here but never any CIO. (CIO would make it even worse imo!!) We couldn't even get DS on a sleep routine until 1 yo when he finally seemed to settle easier. I kept thinking: Hey, we do the SAME thing every night, when will he get the "go to sleep" clue? Yep, that routine we'd been doing for months and months took a very long time to sink in but NOW he gets it.

 

The best way to get through (mentally) is just give up and accept that your kid is a crazy sleeper. Always has been, always will be. Sleep phases may last a week or two; cherish the good ones while they are around. Just accept it! When we did that, it became easier. 

 

I have to say, since 18 months, DS has started sleeping MUCH better. Not through the night, not settling easier, he just sleeps for longer stretches and can be settled back to sleep easily by DH or me.

 

Keep at it, your daughter DOES need her sleep, it's just that YOU may have to help her for some time longer. Don't try to explain it to people IRL cause they won't understand. It's her normal and needs to be accepted as that! I'm hoping when DS is 3 yo, he'll fall asleep easy peasy! orngbiggrin.gif And that the next baby will be one of those magical sleeping children that will fall asleep in the middle of playing. DS has never fallen asleep in a crazy funny position unless we put him there!



 

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#4 of 12 Old 04-17-2012, 03:25 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I would like to add that I just don't understand how routines work if a babe doesn't know how to re-settle...so are most parents teaching their babies to self-settle, at least a bit?  Advice I've been given in the past is just to wake DD at whatever time I want her to start a day and follow a two hours up, two hours down pattern (or some similar pattern...obviously it would differ now that she's 9 mos old and 'should be' down to two naps a day).  I've tried this on days she's happened to wake up earlier than usual just to see what would happen...and it's always been too hard for us to go through a day like that!  She's tired and cranky five minutes after waking up.  If I force her and I to stay up a couple of hours before a nap, she wants to nap for a really long time.  Waking her up earlier than she wants to be woken is a nightmare.  You get the point.  I understand that after a few days of that, she'd adjust to the schedule, but then I wonder what people do if their non-self-settling kid ends up sleeping an hour or two late one night.  Do they wake the child up at the normal time and proceed through the day crankily???  Wouldn't they have to be 'readjusting' their schedules like this constantly because a non-self-settling kid would go down at such varying times...meaning, wouldn't everyone always be cranky???

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#5 of 12 Old 04-17-2012, 05:17 AM
 
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You can't teach a 9mo to re-settle themsemves even if you wanted to - they just aren't old enough and don't have the ability. BUT - something that worked for my sleep-hating child (he's 3yo and STILL hates sleep, only now naps are a BIG no-no because then he won't go to sleep at night), was baths. If she can sit in the tub independently (ie, without being supported, do NOT leave her alone in the tub!!!), then something that really relaxes my ds is to take a plastic pitcher and use it to pour water down his back. You could use a cup or anything really, but he has almost fallen asleep in the tub a few times when I've done this. Getting him into the tub can be tricky, but once he's in he usually sits right down and asks for it.

 

But really, just stick with it, and change it up often. My sleep hater doesn't seem to be growing out of it, so I don't have a whole lot of advice.

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#6 of 12 Old 04-17-2012, 12:59 PM
 
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Routine would be putting it a bit strongly, but I kept a journal of when my girls got tired and when they went to sleep and when they woke up. And then I looked for patterns. If I can help my girls to sleep 15-20 minutes before they get overtired (when they first start eye rubbing and yawning), then the settling works a whole lot better. When they get overtired, it's a whole lot harder to get them down. (they're 10 months now) We have a lot of days that are misses, but following their patterns means they sleep better and I have some hope of being schedulable. (right now it's a nap 2-3 hours after first wake up, then another nap about 3 hours after that wake up. Ish, then bed time at 8, sometimes after a bath)

 

The other thing I would suggest, if she tries to go nocturnal, is getting her as much daylight as you can. And warm baths to calm toward sleep. And trying to start the parenting to sleep before she's overtired, even if she resists.

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#7 of 12 Old 04-20-2012, 12:58 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Forgot to ask, sere...how did it work for you, doing the routine if your DS didn't "get the 'go to sleep' clue" (i.e. didn't always go to sleep after the routine)? I am uncertain about incorporating a specific routine right now if she's going to fight sleep afterward and NOT go down...that seems like it would be confusing to her. Am I wrong?
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Originally Posted by sere234 View Post

We couldn't even get DS on a sleep routine until 1 yo when he finally seemed to settle easier. I kept thinking: Hey, we do the SAME thing every night, when will he get the "go to sleep" clue? Yep, that routine we'd been doing for months and months took a very long time to sink in but NOW he gets it.


Super~Single~Mama, I will try the bath thing, but baths so far (and the whole rigamarole of getting dried and hair getting brushed [she has a TON of hair] and putting on new clothes) have just seemed to get my DD riled up.
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something that really relaxes my ds is to take a plastic pitcher and use it to pour water down his back. You could use a cup or anything really, but he has almost fallen asleep in the tub a few times when I've done this. Getting him into the tub can be tricky, but once he's in he usually sits right down and asks for it.



Thanks so much for the advice, rinap! I'm really trying to figure out my DD's schedule so I can put her down BEFORE she gives the tired, rubbing-the-eyes signs...but it seems like she's ALWAYS rubbing her eyes! Sigh! I hope that doesn't mean she's *always* fatigued on her wacky routine. The only thing I can think to do is to try to put her down sort of randomly (i.e. when she seems perfectly happy playing on her own?)...which seems silly...what to do, what to do?
Quote:
Originally Posted by rinap View Post

Routine would be putting it a bit strongly, but I kept a journal of when my girls got tired and when they went to sleep and when they woke up. And then I looked for patterns. If I can help my girls to sleep 15-20 minutes before they get overtired (when they first start eye rubbing and yawning), then the settling works a whole lot better. When they get overtired, it's a whole lot harder to get them down. (they're 10 months now) We have a lot of days that are misses, but following their patterns means they sleep better and I have some hope of being schedulable. (right now it's a nap 2-3 hours after first wake up, then another nap about 3 hours after that wake up. Ish, then bed time at 8, sometimes after a bath)

 

The other thing I would suggest, if she tries to go nocturnal, is getting her as much daylight as you can. And warm baths to calm toward sleep. And trying to start the parenting to sleep before she's overtired, even if she resists.

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#8 of 12 Old 04-20-2012, 05:43 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dulcette View Post

Forgot to ask, sere...how did it work for you, doing the routine if your DS didn't "get the 'go to sleep' clue" (i.e. didn't always go to sleep after the routine)? I am uncertain about incorporating a specific routine right now if she's going to fight sleep afterward and NOT go down...that seems like it would be confusing to her. Am I wrong?

 

Yeah, we thought DS would start associating the routine with fighting sleep so we stopped trying for a while. I think we officially got the routine going around 1 yo. Until then we just put him to bed based on rubbing eyes, getting fussier, as staring off. To make matters worse DS has very vague sleep signals so we had to keep a very close eye on him. 

 

Something that helps DS get sleepy now ( don't remember if it did then!) is to keep the lights in the house following the light outside. We start turning off the lights and settle on the couch for reading, snuggling, and nursing if we reeeealy want DS to go to bed on time. About 1 hour fo this gets him sleepy early some nights!

 

Don't worry. It gets easier! Then it might get harder again (that's where we are now!). But then the next month you hit another easy sleeping phase again! Hang in there :)


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#9 of 12 Old 04-20-2012, 08:24 AM
 
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I wholeheartedly agree with sere!!!  Forget other people's kids - your babe is unique and marches to the beat of her own drummer. winky.gif  You are a great mama to be riding the roller coaster with her!

 

DS is JUST starting to get into a bedtime routine, and he just turned 1 this month.  Prior to that, we still did the same bedtime routine, in theory like this...1.) get everything together for bed, lock doors, etc.,  2.) brush teeth, 3.) go potty, 4.) get diaper on (with distraction song - he's fiesty!), 5.) family snuggles in bed, 6.) read book, 7.) turn off light and listen to glo-worm music, 8.) tell him everyone was going to sleep (and name mama, daddy, pets, etc.), 9.) nurse down to sleep (sometimes with me humming or singing).

 

That is only just now beginning to go according to plan, haha (and believe me - it's still very novel - I don't really know what to do with myself when there isn't a battle now!).  Prior to, hmm, this week, we had to deal with alot of baby wrangling - when he was younger, fussing and flipping, then crawling off the bed, yelling/babbling loudly, now he tries to jump off the bed, etc.

 

Here are a few things that I learned or helped me - hope something here helps you, too!

 

  • Energy - My son is very energetic and has trouble slowing his body down.  The calmer we can make things for him (turning off TV, speaking quietly/minimally) early on the better - sometimes it still takes a while to mellow.
  • Bathtime - a bath before bed is NOT calming for him - it just riles him up!  He wants to play in the bath, run around afterward and he is wired.  I could NOT understand this until I read Raising Your Spirited Child - she points out that bathtime raises core body temperature, and for some kids, that energizes them instead.  Now we do baths way earlier, before dinner - much better! thumb.gif
  • Transitions - DS also has trouble with transitions - so the more I explain ahead of time, the smoother things go ("In ten minutes/after we complete this activity/etc. we will do x, y, z and go to bed" - then repeat as we accomplish each step - you will feel silly, but babies understand alot more than we give them credit for, and really do appreciate the heads up!  We've done this since he was tiny - and when I forget, boy does he let me know it!)
  • Timing - There is a very small window of sleepiness to capitalize on before he gets overtired and fussy or overtired and wired.  In the book I mentioned, she says it's usually about 15 minutes long.  Some other signs (beside eye rubbing or glassy stare) are slowed/clumsy movements, falling down, etc.  DS has a distinct "sleepy cry."
  • Pottying/EC - we started doing this when DS was 9 months old.  Prior to our most recent break-throughs, offering him the potty before bed was THE BIGGEST game changer!!!  Alot of his hyperactivity and bedtime gymnastics was simply due to the fact that he had to pee, and probably was afraid of having to sleep in a wet dipe all night.  EC (especially part-time or occasional) is really not as crazy or labor intensive as it sounds - it's definitely worth a shot!  DS took to it like a fish to water - I actually just put him on a potty on a lark, and he went immediately.  We were hooked after that.
  • Babywearing - if, after the entire routine and offering potty a couple times, DS still refused to sleep, I would put him in the carrier, take him into our dark living room, and sing/hum to him while dancing.  Sometimes this took a few minutes for him to fall asleep - sometimes, it took nearly an hour.  But it usually worked...eventually. 2whistle.gif  That way, at least the routine still signified sleep.  Babywearing on walks was good for naps.
  • Irregularity - Raising Your Spirited Child covers this alot - and how to frame it positively (would be great support for you!)  She also has a sort-of sleep training method to get your kid on a schedule, but think it would work best with older children.

 

Sending you lots of hugs! hug.gif  DS still needs my help going down for naps, but just recently started doing that easier, too (used to be a similar battle - when he was a babe, I would say it was like wrestling a lil alligator!!!). 

 

 

 


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#10 of 12 Old 04-20-2012, 08:33 AM
 
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Couple links..

 

Raising Your Spirited Child - http://www.parentchildhelp.com/SpiritedChild/tabid/59/Default.aspx

 

Dr. Sears - http://www.askdrsears.com/topics/sleep-problems/5-reasons-why-high-need-infants-sleep-differently

 

 

 

 


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#11 of 12 Old 05-20-2012, 01:56 AM - Thread Starter
 
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pickle18, thanks so much for your perspective and your tips!  Sorry I did not reply sooner.  I think babywearing is the best way (and the literal way) to 'wear her down,' and it was one of your tips.

Anyhow...I'm back, y'all!  DD is 10 months old now, and she doesn't struggle now when she's tired...but I'm resurrecting this to ask more of a logistical/timing related question:

When your babies decide to sleep, say, two hours later than their usual bedtime, do you let them sleep as long as they want, or do you wake them up at their usual wake-up time/the wake-up time at which you'd like to keep them?  What about if they sleep 'too long' (and I don't really know what that means) for a nap?

I ask because I know waking her up like this would be the only way I could keep her on a sort of schedule, but I just haven't been able to bring myself to do it!  But as she slept from 9 am-8:30 pm yesterday, waking her like this once she's back on a non-nocturnal schedule seems pretty tempting...

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#12 of 12 Old 05-20-2012, 08:09 AM
 
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It just depends on the kid. Some will reset themselves if woken, there's just don't. I generally do not wake my kids unless we have some place to be. For the first year or maybe more like first 1.5 years all my kids sleeping habits have been all over the place. Eventually it settles own but they can not self soothe until much, much older.
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