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Stacy: Wow, you got me thinking, I had a plan too, about the type of mother I’d be, what I didn’t plan on was the effect of years sleep deprivation would have on me. I didn’t plan on yelling at my children, I didn’t plan on being grumpy & cranky & I most certainly didn’t plan on being THAT sort of mother….I know I’m not always THAT mother but SHE is around way too often these days!

Maureen: I know what you mean about THAT mother, Stacey. I didn’t like her when she showed up through me at my sleep-deprived worst. What do you find helps to be the mommy you want to be? I’m trying to get back to yoga, but it’s hard to find (make?) the time.

~The Best Laid Plans

The Parent I Don’t Want to Be

If you have kids, you know who THAT mom is. She’s short-tempered, snappy, and she can’t string five words together to make a logical sentence. Her most defining characteristic? Chronic sleep deprivation.

There is a reason Guantanamo detainees were moved from cell to cell every 2-3 hours. Sleep deprivation is torture. Literally.

But that’s what we co-sleeping, attachment parenting, “cry it out” naysayers signed up for, right?

RIGHT! Wait . . . what?

I embraced attachment parenting because I want my kids to feel loved, safe, and connected to me. As a new mom to Katie, that meant my precious girl never cried it out. She was comforted to sleep on endless occasions . . . nursed, rocked, carried, driven in the car . . . WHATEVER IT TOOK.

And she paid dearly for it. This is where the truth gets a little inconvenient, because the truth is about me and it’s not pretty.

Chronic sleep deprivation seriously affects my parenting abilities. At my worst I am snappy and impatient. No, that’s not true. At my absolute worst I am nuclear meltdown crazy. Seriously, I would let ravenous dogs gnaw a limb off if it would buy me ten more minutes of sleep. On milder days I am simply incoherent and zombie-like. Either way, on those days I doubt my kids are having the “loved, safe, and connected” experience my heart desires for them. The things those “cry it out” moms say start to ring pretty darn true on those dark days. Things like:

You say we’re traumatizing our babies, but at least we are well-rested and able to interact with them throughout the day! We don’t want our babies to cry themselves to sleep, but if we let ourselves end up like you we can’t be good parents. Happy parents= Happy babies.

Ugh. Is this really an either/or proposition? I don’t think so. Pretty much the moment Micah was born I began hatching ( I am so fertile! Hatching and birthing, birthing and hatching :)) a plan to avoid both sleep deprivation and letting my baby boy cry it out. In this series I’ll be sharing my plan along with the results in real-time. No secrets or fake solutions, I promise!

In the meantime, help me refine my tactics. Share your best sleep solutions below!

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70 Responses to THAT Mom

  1. Russell Hemati says:

    We let both kids cry it out – but once they were old enough that we were sure it would be best for them as well as us. Learning to fall asleep well is quite an art – one that Christi and I are still mastering for ourselves. Getting our kids started on that skill is just one part of educating them. Its turning out that teaching Claire to sleep was easier than it is teaching her to read! :-)

    But anyway – a lot depends on the child and parent. Everyone has to find a solution that works for both parties. I’m curious about what you come up with for the second child. Keep us updated!

  2. Kate C, says:

    I don’t have much advice, but I do know that I would not let my dog cry while trapped in her cage so I’m certainly not going to do it to my very sensitive son…
    I’m curious to hear your plans! :)

  3. latisha says:

    cant wait for details. we are still trying to figure out this tight rope walk almost four months later. im lucky my newborn is a sleeper. the toddler, still not so much. hoping it goes well for you!

  4. caitlin says:

    i’m excited to hear how this journey goes for you. my son is just one month old, so i always rock him to sleep, all hours of the day, because i’m told he can’t yet soothe himself. however, once he is a few months old, i do plan to try the “cry it out” method. i’ve been told that it sometimes only takes 3 nights, and then the baby can put themselves to sleep. if this is true, it would be well worth it for my sanity :)

  5. Mae says:

    This is something that I struggled with for months. As an “attachment parent” how do I get sleep?
    For months, our bed was peaceful, Lily and I only waking to nurse, but around 6 months…I started to see some signs of Lily becoming demanding.
    At month seven we moved Lily into her own crib. She would sleep there for a few hours and then demand to be back in our bed. It was pretty exhausting, only because Lily was not SLEEPING when she came to bed with us. She would roll, play, crawl around, play patty-cake with our limp bodies, but she would NOT sleep.
    At nine months we put her in her own room so that when we came to bed we wouldn’t disturb her [Eamon was still coming home at 1030-1230 at night at the time] And still, I was adamant that I would not let my kid cry like the dog stuck in it’s cage that Kate mentioned above. I loved my baby, only mothers who don’t love their babies don’t give them exactly what they want, when they want it. “It makes me more Christ-like” I heard my friends say “learning this sacrifice will teach me and them to be more like Christ” I had no idea that babies could understand sacrifice and appreciated my inability to do day to day activities because of sleep deprivation, nor that my loving God approved of it, so I quickly made this my motto as well.
    By 12 months, Lily was well aware that I was willing to sacrifice ANYTHING for her, and she took advantage. Lily was waking up 6-8 times a night after 12am. At every whimper I grabbed her from her torturous crib, nursed and rocked her, put her back in her bed peacefully, only to be woken [if I ever actually got back to sleep] again 30 minutes later…just to do it all over again. We tried EVERYTHING to make Lily feel safe in her room, and I mean EVERYTHING. At one point, I took the crib rail off of her crib because I read that some babies feel confined and unsafe. Because somehow falling off said crib and cracking her neck would be a safer option, but hey, sacrificial sleep deprivation, RIGHT?!? All that lead to was her bringing her blanket and pillow into our room [once during our…ummm….mommy and daddy grown up time, BLUSH!!!] just to start her slumber party in there.

    By 13 months she was nursing round the clock, similar to a newborn [every 30 minutes to and hour and a half] getting me to wake up 6-8 times a night, and our home was falling apart. I didn’t know that I was pregnant just yet, so I’m assuming that she was trying to keep my milk supply up. I know that part of my exhaustion was just pregnancy hormones. But at the point that I was yelling and crying all day every day I had to admit something to myself that I had denied for six months.

    *What I’m doing is NOT working. My family is suffering. SOMETHING isn’t right.*

    I sat for three days, nursed, cried, yelled, and in between prayed without pause to ask God what I was doing wrong. I got a very clear answer.

    “You’re letting your child demand from you. When was the last time our relationship worked where YOU demanded of ME?”

    I wept at my blindness. I shared what I thought with my husband and he said that he received the same answer.
    We took one week to wean Lily [again, something only mothers who don’t know what’s good for their children do] and to teach her that I wasn’t going to let her in my room. Not ONCE did she have to cry it out. After about three days she realized that I was not going to nurse her back to sleep, and that I WOULD be there if she needed me.
    With an exception of about once a week [teething] Lily has slept through the night ever since. Now, I do have insomnia issues while pregnant, and it did take me a while to adjust to not being awake and active that much [weird, right?] I have been floored by what God has revealed to me and how He’s taken care of me.

    THIS MAY NOT BE THE PLAN FOR YOUR FAMILY. But I URGE you, pray deeply about it. Pray until you are positive without a doubt that you have the answer specific for your family. Pray that your preconceived notions of what a “good mother” and a “rested mother” are- are shattered and that God gives you fresh eyes to see yourself and your family, regardless if it makes you the exact opposite of what you aimed to be, even days before.

    I applaud you for sticking it out this long, and for coming to the realization that SOMETHING isn’t working. It’s the first step. I can’t wait to read where you go from here.

  6. Des says:

    I never let my kids cry it out longer than a few minutes at a time (In full disclosure we did with Lyric a few times and quickly realized for her personality, it was counter productive b/c she just got MORE worked up) and both my kids were sleeping 12 hours a night by the time they were 3 months old. I don’t think it needs to be either/or, I think there can be a healthy balance. That said, I don’t believe either method is wrong depending on how it is done. However, I do believe in an attachment parenting “no-no” which is teaching them how to self soothe in a healthy way. With both my kids it was in the form of a paci, And hey, my 1 and 3 year old both sleep 12+ hours a night and I STILL get to be THAT mom sometimes. We’re human!

  7. Pippi says:

    I have so been, there! My older daughter is not a good sleeper. A lot of that is her personality. Leaving her alone to cry was never an option because she would just get more and more worked up. It was torture for everyone the few times we tried. When she was 14 months, after walking her to sleep while she cried and tried to bite me, I laid down next to her and let her cry until she fell asleep by herself. I physically couldn’t carry her anymore and she was crying to sleep anyway. Sleep improved a lot but still, at a few weeks shy of three years old, it’s still something we struggle with.

    My second daughter (who was born about an hour after Micah) is already showing signs of being a better sleeper. Last night she stayed asleep in bed for two hours by herself. My older daughter was 4 months old before she would do that. We have a plan, though, just in case. This one will have to learn to fall asleep herself around 4 months. We’re going to get a bedtime routine started in the next two weeks. After she’s used to the routine we’re going to do the put-down pick-up method. I’ll set her down to go to sleep after the routine and pick her up if she starts to cry. Then I’ll put her back down to try again. If she doesn’t learn that way I’ll lie down and let her cry next to me. I don’t like doing it but she needs to learn for the sanity of the family as a whole.

    I keep reminding myself that though I believe in many of the attachment parenting ideals, we do not live in a tribal society. I don’t have numerous people living a stone’s throw away to help me with daily tasks. It’s just me and my husband. Our families live far away and we can only ask so much of our friends. We have to adjust to our situation the best we can.

  8. shannon says:

    We never really did the “cry it out” thing with Axel. He is just now sleeping through the night and that only came when he stopped nursing. He now goes to sleep happily and talks himself to sleep and occasionally will cry for 1-2 minutes at most (and it’s not a wailing cry, it’s a tired sleepy kind of cry) We let him nurse to sleep the whole time or took him on drives. now he understands the routine and knows when bed time is approaching and is ready for bed. my “that Mom” days are much fewer now that i get a whole night’s sleep and I’m very happy about that. :) I think we all do what is best for our families. Each child is different and each parent is different in what they can handle and what they feel is ok for their child. :) For us, it was waiting until he was ready for sleeping all night and understood the meaning of bedtime. if we had tried earlier it would have been a disaster but now (at 15 months) it worked great and we’re all happy! :)

  9. Whittney says:

    I know we’ve chatted about this a bit here and there in person, but I’ll share my thoughts for you (and your readers) here. First, as Avery moved into her second year of life, I became grumpy with the labels of AP & CIO. There must be some healthy balance between extremes, right? I noticed that some mothers who called themselves AP parents had what I call a “martyr attitude.” On the flip side, I knew mothers who began “sleep training” where a 6-week-old baby was left to cry to sleep in a crib. Didn’t seem right either. Secondly, I am bent toward control issues. I want and think I NEED a plan for everything. I like to read 10 books about every subject known to man. Nothing wrong with creating a plan and a love of learning, but one must be careful not to stifle God’s voice and common sense.

    I believe sleep patterns have a lot to do with a child’s temperament. Avery was sensitive at birth. I had to sing to her when she nursed for the first month to relax her. She loved her swing. She woke hourly at night. She nursed anytime, anywhere just for the comfort. She was nursed, swaddled and bounced to sleep in my husband’s arms until she was well over a year old. I had to hold her during her naps or she wouldn’t sleep. I put her to the breast at the first sign of a whimper. I held her all the time. She slept with us until she was 9 months old and still sleep with her Dad. Did she need these things? Or was she conditioned to expect these things? Could it have been different? Who knows. She is still very sensitive in all aspects.

    Let’s go to Henry. If he isn’t starving, he absolutely won’t take the breast. He prefers his thumb and sucks it all the time. He sleeps 5-6 hour stretches at night without a peep. We decided not to use a swaddle b/c he doesn’t need one. I put him in bed drowsy and he often puts himself to sleep. He hates the swing. He rarely cries. He is super low-maintenance.

    Here’s what I know for my family:

    -My babies become dependent on sleep tools like rocking, bouncing, swaddling, nursing to sleep. I put Henry in all three rooms of the house to sleep and like to alternate rocking and just laying him down to sleep. If I had to change something about Avery’s first year, it would be to wean her off the swaddle by 3 months of age and put her on her belly to sleep. We forced her to back sleep and I found it unnatural.

    -I co-sleep for the first 6-9 months and then transition to a crib gently. I co-sleep for the first little bit because I believe it is healthy and promotes bonding in the early days, but the truth is that I don’t like the family bed for our family. At my most sleep-deprived point with Avery, we tried to let her cry to sleep and it was a total nightmare. I think a baby at around 6 months of age can handle gentle techniques that might include some whimpering, but all out screaming just isn’t an option for my family. I must remind myself to allow my babies to try to work it out on their own, so I don’t rush in at the first squeak. I think there is something to the whole “teaching your baby how to sleep” thing….but always gently.

    -I believe in listening to a baby’s cry and interpreting it to respond appropriately. I strive to find a balance between allowing slow independence and being attentive and nurturing.

    Most of all, I am learning not to subscribe to any “plan” or “tribe” fully. I have been guilty of judging others and preaching a certain course of action without knowing the child or anything about the family. All of these things are just tools. I had to learn that it’s not “all-or-none.”

    Here’s a tidbit I love from “The Attachment Parenting Book”: In your zeal to give so much to your baby, it’s easy to neglect your own needs and those of your marriage. …..the key to putting balance in your parenting is being appropriately responsive to your baby – knowing when to say yes and when to say no, and having the wisdom to say yes to yourself when you need help.

    There’s my .2 cents! I can’t wait to read about your journey to balanced motherhood. Love!

    • Kirsten says:

      Ooh! That was good! Thanks for your thoughts…you put them down so eloquently! I am going to remember what you said. :)

  10. Kirsten says:

    First off, I’d like to say that I believe sleeping solutions, like all other aspects of parenting, are extremely personal, and finding what is best for your family, your child, and yourself, at a particular time, is the way to go. :)

    Our daughter (now 13 months) was a pretty good sleeper right from the get-go. Though we didn’t co-sleep, she was in a bassinet right by my bed until she was about 6 months old, at which time we moved her into her crib in her own room. I was adamantly opposed to “crying-it-out” from day one, so several times a night I would wake up to nurse her and lull her back to sleep. It was totally do-able for me when she was only waking 2 times a night, and I felt good that I was able to meet her emotional needs in the night as well as in the day time. We are quite attached. :)

    She got her first cold at about 9 months, and 2-3 wakings per night turned into 6-8 wakings per night, and “that mom” showed up at our house! Yikes! When the cold was gone, the crazy nights continued. Most of my dramatic melt-downs happened at 2 or 3 a.m. when I would just get her back to sleep and crawl into bed exhausted only to hear her wake up again with no idea how to go back to sleep without me. I would moan and cry to my husband, “I just can’t do this again! I’m too tired! I’m going to do something crazy! Can you go take care of her?” He helped me out so much during that time. After a month or so of hoping that what had become a sleep issue would just resolve itself, I realized that I had to actually DO something if I wanted our nighttime habits to change. I recently read a quote from Dr. Sears that said something like, “If you begin to dread going to sleep because of your nighttime routine, something probably needs to change.” (Not a direct quotation, sorry, but that was the gist of it.)

    My husband and I read, prayed, cried, talked, cried some more (me), talked, prayed, researched, read, and so on, until we finally settled on a solution we were willing to try. Our daughter was 10 months by now, and at last I felt confident (due to her age and understanding) that she would not feel deserted if we helped her learn to fall asleep on her own. The trouble was not that she wouldn’t sleep without me, she just didn’t know how to GO to sleep without me, so every time she went through a little wake-time between sleep cycles, she needed help to get back to sleep.

    Our solution was a modified “cry-it-out”, I guess you could call it. We did our little bedtime routine, nursed her, put her in her bed and said “goodnight”, and then left the room. If she cried we went back after 5 minutes to hug and kiss her, and tell her “goodnight” once again. We repeated this, making the intervals a little longer each time, until she fell asleep. I was ok with this because I wasn’t just shutting the door and leaving her to cry all by herself for long periods of time. Was this hard? Absolutely! SO hard! Fortunately, by night 3, she was asleep by the first time we went to check on her. (We started this on a weekend, so my husband and I could take turns going in to check on her whenever she woke up, and he didn’t have to work the next day.)

    My biggest concern in all of this was that my daughter’s happy, cheerful personality would be damaged, or that she would lose trust in me if I didn’t run to her every time she fussed in the night. I actually discovered that the opposite was true in our case: I was worried because I wasn’t sleeping much at night, and in reality neither was she! “That mom” and “that kid” disappeared about the same time. I also found that getting her good naps in the day time and having her in bed at a reasonable hour (8:30ish for us) really helps her be able to sleep better, as she’s not getting so over-tired she can’t sleep.

    Now we are expecting a new baby in January, and I have no idea how that is going to change things around here (besides the obvious of caring for a newborn all night). I am actually hoping to get my act together and be more proactive about gently teaching the baby how to sleep on its own without having to go through our version of “crying-it-out” again. My favorite resources on baby sleep are: “The No-Cry Sleep Solution” by Elizabeth Pantley,, and “Secrets of the Baby Whisperer” by Tracy Hogg.

    Heather, I can’t wait to hear your plans in this area!

  11. Hannah Tallo says:

    You are brave Heather! This can be a very touchy subject to get Mom’s talking about! I don’t have much advice because well we are still learning and know what has worked for us so far but also know that will probably be much different with #2! My biggest thing with this and why I don’t openly talk about how we have handled sleep unless asked is because the terms really bother me. AP in concept has some great ideas, but if I choose not to follow them am I a detached parent? I am a bit of a rebal anyway and don’t like labeling. Also the child centered home, I don’t agree with that biblically but I also don’t agree that we should have a parent centered home either. A blance is what we all seem to be striving for! I think with maturity in this Mom thing I am learning that my decisions need to be right for my husband and I. We had lots of issues in the beginning because we were not in agreement on how we were doing sleeping and I felt pressure to do things a certain way. I was suffering as a Mom and wasn’t being the wife I needed to be for my husband. He saw that and stepped in, it was hard for me but looking back it was the best thing he could have done for us. I needed a voice of reason! We have done crying it out with Ava and it has worked great. We didn’t do it at 3 months old but once she reached 9-12 months and was very in tune with how this all worked we did. She responded great and I don’t believe it has damaged her as a child at all.

    We as parent’s I believe know what is best for our kids and I am learning to be secure in that and not let other’s convitions make me feel guilty. I am blessed to have a Mom also who I believe has raised 11 kids wonderfully, yes there are thing I will do different but the older I get the more I see why she did things the way she did. I think we all turned out ok! 😉 It’s also hard for me to not make choices out of fear but to trust what we feel God shows us is best for our family. Hope that wasn’t just rambling but made some sense! Thank’s for opening this topic up, I’m interested to hear what you are doing with Micah and how it works!

  12. Kate C, says:

    I think I sounded harsh before. I do not believe that there is one way for all children and parents. At this point in my child’s life, we are comfortable with a certain way of doing things, but that doesn’t mean that it will be the same in a month or with the next child. I respect everyone’s decisions that they make for the betterment of their family unit.

    • Mae says:

      Hey, I didn’t mean to use your words wrongly, just that at one point, I totally had a mentality that THOUGHT exactly that, whether you were being literal or not.

  13. Jolee Burger says:

    I believe there is room for moderation. I have 3 young sons, but as a first-time parent, I think I was interested in labels – am I an “attachment parent”? am I a “Baby Wise parent”? am I a spanker? But the bottom line is that we are different parents at different times, depending on what our children need. I think labels, in this instance in particular, do more harm than good. Hopefully we are all kind parents allowing our children to take the lead on what they need from us and how they need us to respond. And there is a place for us to have our boundaries as well. Moderation, compromise, middle-ground – the places that are so difficult to get to… but it is worth the struggle.

  14. Leah says:

    I am really loving this conversation and am SO impressed by the women responding. This is a topic right up there with breastfeeding, co-sleeping, and circumcision that seems to bring out the most polarized, militant opinions. This is one of the rare times I have actually seen an honest, civil discussion. How refreshing and delightful!
    I second all that has been said with regards to different children having different needs but have a couple of things to add based on our experience with three little ones. First, it was important to me that I waited until I actually got to know said little person before I began implementing a policy. Each child’s needs are different and although you and Daniel are still the same parents, your family dynamic and needs have changed. Listen to that.
    Secondly, I did not intentionally nurse my babies to sleep. I strongly believed that what they began needing to fall asleep, they would continue to need. I wanted my children to have the security to fall asleep without my breast. We mixed it up – rocking, snuggling, walking, nursing to a sleepy, cozy place but not sound asleep, etc.
    Thirdly, I did not (do not) believe that the nursing relationship is exclusively about Mom and baby. Once my little one had slept “through the night” a couple of times (and this age varied with all three), my husband took over the night care. The fact that they were sleeping for 6+ hour stretches at a time communicated to me that they did not need that middle of the night feeding. With Dad there, all it took was a bit of rocking and they just went back to sleep.
    All that said, I am not and have never been a militant parent. If the baby had previously been sleeping “through the night” and was on their third or fourth waking, I assumed that they genuinely were hungry and would gladly nurse them. And if there happened to be a time when h/she fell asleep at the breast, I wouldn’t wake him before I put him down. It was simply a general guideline.
    On the other end of things, all three of my children (ages 8,6, and 4) stay in their bed until 7:00. They are free to play, read, sing, etc. but they may not get out of their bed until the digital dial reads that magic number.
    I loved Pippi’s response in that she became aware that she was not part of a tribal system and did not have a huge extended family to hold her children while she napped and made food. This is SO true for us as well. And there are things that I have had to say, “In the ideal world, I would…..but in light of my present reality, this is the decision that is best for all of us”.
    Trust your instinct, trust your God, and, as much as you are able, allow your husband to speak HIS truth into the situation as well.

  15. Lesley says:

    Oh Man…such great topic! I was not gonna comment since so many people have said so many things so eloquently…but since I am smack dab on the middle of this too..I am gonna speak!! I had to laugh at the fact that many of us so called “AP-ers” hate be called AP!! I honestly have gone through a love/hate relationship with the AP label and AP community at times. Mainly because I did all the so called “AP” things with my son…and it just made me a very sleep deprived, neglected, and frustrated mommy. What I learned through that was I need to meet the needs of my kids…but I also need to meet the needs of myself and my family. I never planned to co-sleep, but out of shear necessity to get some sleep–we did for 11 months…and then my husband began co-sleeping with him so that I could actually get some sleep. A little unconventional but it worked for us. We then moved him to a toddler bed in our room and eventually into his own room. ( he still wakes at least 1 time a night and needs US to help him go back to sleep.) So I wonder….did our co-sleeping help or hinder how he sleeps now??

    When we had our second one–I didnt even buy a crib…since I had the whole ensemble with the first baby and he never slept in it ONCE!! I got a great pack-n-play
    in the hope she might one day sleep in it. On day 12 of her life I put her in the bassinet and she slept like 6 hours—-aaghh!!! Many around me assume I am co-sleeping but I am here to say that I think if your baby sleeps well by them self early on—then by all means do it!! I am also trying to teach her to fall asleep when she is just sleepy but not asleep, and to fall asleep AFTER she is done eating…not while eating. I do still rock her or bounce her….but honestly, thats more about me and what I enjoy and love about getting her to sleep. The whole sleep thing is such a challenge…and just like anything else with parenting…if someone else is not walking in your shoes and living your life…they have no right to judge or comment. What the “right” is for one family may not right be for another…we all have to find our own peace with the way we choose to handle it!
    The one things about the CIO community versus the AP community unfortunately is –they seem less quick to judge and make harsh accusations towards those who dont do it their way…sad, sad, sad.
    I love what Dr Sears says…you do things a certain way as long as they are working for EVERYONE in the home. Once they are not–its time to change them.

  16. dianthe says:

    when it comes to sleep training (and about 99% of everything else in regards to parenting), i’m of the belief that everything works and nothing works – even with the hard and fast rules, it seems like everyone does everything differently

    we tried CIO once with Sydney – it was horrific (for me) and i knew it wasn’t for us – listening to her cry was (and still is) painful for me and it did nothing but tick her off – she knows how to self-soothe but even at 2 1/2, she still won’t cry herself to sleep – i had no intention of co-sleeping – in fact, i had excellent plans of her in the bassinet for 3 months (maybe 6) and in her room in the crib after that – she never slept in her crib and went straight from our bed to her toddler bed – she still ends up in our room half the time and i’m (for the most part) okay with that

    i also think that all kids are different and what works for one doesn’t always work for another – Sydney is just like me – she doesn’t require much sleep and she turns into a monster when she doesn’t get that small amount – she will fight sleep (just like me) and is usually doing something else when she does finally fall asleep – Myles is completely different – he’s like his daddy – when he’s sleepy, he goes to sleep – he doesn’t try to fight it, he just closes his eyes – sometimes he wants to be nursed, sometimes he wants to be held and sometimes he just wants to lie in bed – but it’s always different – regardless, he’s a much better sleeper than Sydney and we haven’t done anything differently other than follow his cues

    as far as what is AP and what isn’t – when i started this whole parenting thing, i’d never even heard of AP – i just did what came naturally and what i thought worked best for us – and if you ask me, that’s as “natural” and “gentle” as you can get!!

  17. Angela Aitken says:

    Hey, Heather! Congrats on the birth of Micah by the way…and actually, I think I’ve found the holy grail of sleep solutions. Or at least it’s working for us with our second baby (almost 7 wks old) who has been consistently sleeping 5-7 hr stretches during the night since he was about 3 wks old. I am an unbeliever in “cry it out” and am an attachment parent. We are not co-sleeping per se, but have the Arm’s Reach Co-sleeper attached to our bed. All that being said, I’ll get on with what I’ve found that is working. I got this book by Polly Moore, PhD who is a sleep expert…think it’s called The 90 Minute Baby Sleep Program. Anyway, it’s super easy and almost a no-brainer to follow. Basically she says that babies develop their sleep patterns starting at 2 wks old and have a 90 minute wake cycle….so at the end of 90 minutes of awake time, they will be ready to sleep again. All you do is note the time when the baby awakened and add 90 minutes to it. That’s the prime time they will go to sleep again….no matter how long the previous sleep period was. It’s pretty amazing to see it at work. During the day Cash, our son, will fall asleep within 5 minutes of the 90 minute mark without fail, even if I don’t think he looks tired when I start our soothing time (I try to start 10 minutes before the mark). But then miraculously his eyes close on the mark. Now, I will say, he doesn’t always sleep long in the day…sometimes only 45 minute naps, but again, he does go down easily, without crying. This helps our nighttime sleep because it ensures he’s developing his rhythms and not sleep-deprived, which can make for worse night sleep. It also helps decrease the evening meltdowns because he’s not overtired…although Dr. Moore theorizes the evening fussiness may in fact be the development of circadian rhythms which forces a baby to stay awake when tired in the evening so as not to interfere with nighttime sleep.
    It all makes sense and really does seem to be working without the “cry it out.” Wish I’d had this book with my daughter, but I found it too late. Oh well, we’ll take it this time around! I’d highly recommend it.

    • Heather says:

      HI Angela – After reading your comment I read Dr. Moore’s book review on Amazon. Two things stood out to me. First, she is a neuroscientist specializing in sleep. I am always interested in the biological factors that affect how we function, so I was intrigued. Second, the book review are (for the most part) very favorable.

      I decided I had to experiment with Micah and the 90 minute thing. So, for the past two days I have been noting when he wakes up and watching him around the 80 minute mark. Wow, I think you’re onto something! During the times I start to soothe him about 10 minutes before the 90 minutes are up he falls asleep almost on the dot. It takes about 3 minutes to get him settled. Unbelievable!

      At other times, like today when I rushed home from running errands to try to make the deadline, he did indeed fall asleep right on “schedule” but then woke back up five minutes later because he was hungry (I hadn’t nursed him before bed because we were out). It then took me almost an hour to get him sleepy again!

      While I know what traditional wisdom says about wake times for babies, I went ahead and ordered Dr. Moore’s book to learn more about her theory. It seems she addresses how the 90 minute cycle changes as a baby grows from the newborn stage up to one year.

      • Heather says:

        Oh, and I forgot to mention that at this point Micah doesn’t seem overtired at 90 minutes. We haven’t been having meltdowns and he’s very peaceful, but I’m watching for signs just in case.

      • Angela Aitken says:

        Oh, so cool, Heather! I can’t wait to hear how it goes for you. I really love how easily mine goes down too. No struggle at all. And I agree, mine doesn’t look overtired by then either. However, in the book Dr. Moore says not to try to keep them up for the 90 minutes if they are acting tired before that. We really haven’t had much evening fussiness either, she just mentions what the cause may be if they are acting fussy in the evenings.
        The only issue I have is the short naps…kinda kills any time for me to get household chores done or have a solid stretch alone with my 2 yr old. However, I don’t know if I can blame that on the program or the fact that a couple weeks ago we had to leave our house for a few days due to having construction done on it. The week of the construction was the week the naps went from 2-3 hr stretches down to 45 minute ones. Thinking that’s the culprit and we just need to get back on track, but if things don’t change soon, I may try tweaking things a bit. Although, with the consistency at night, I almost hate to mess with things at all. He even slept a 9.5 hr stretch the other night! Truly amazing!
        Dr. Moore does say that several short naps that add up to enough sleep are as good as long naps, so since he’s sleeping the total recommended amount, I’m really trying not to stress too much about it, but hey, that’s what I do. :)
        Again, can’t wait to compare notes with you. You’ll definitely have to keep me posted and I’ll do the same. Good luck!!

        • Cyndi says:

          You mentioned, “…mine doesn’t look overtired by then either.”

          When people are with me and my infants, they always think it’s funny that I’ll scoop up a happily playing baby, waive “night-night” and swoop them off to bed. Then my babies will lie down and drift off to sleep w/out a peep. Moms will say to me, “That baby sure didn’t LOOK tired to me!!”

          IMO the one thing about “looking tired” is that babies’ insides become tired before they start showing outward signs of tiredness. The optimum window to put them down/to sleep is in the moments before they’re showing signs of tiredness… (looking away/refusing eye-contact, rubbing eyes, sucking hands, yawning…) I encourage moms to begin the sleep process before this takes place – about 5-10 minutes before. IMO if you watch for signs of tiredness, baby is often over-spent by then and the struggle to sleep – and stay asleep – will begin at that point. You’ve kind of missed the “window” once the signs are showing.

          So how do you know what is 5-10 minutes before tiredness if you can’t wait for signs of tiredness? 😉 LOL! Knowing ages w/corresponding waketimes helps (as I listed in the other post). And if you see a pattern – ie: your baby is always rubbing his eyes after 60mintues of wake – then you’ll want to catch him about 10min before that to put him to nap next time.

          Hope that helps! :)

  18. Cyndi says:

    What a blessing the internet is where we can have such conversations and share our vast experiences with so many women at once! I have enjoyed reading your Mommy hearts in each post – I firmly believe we’re all trying to best love our children. I have 5 children (hoping to have many more) and Heather, the honest cry of your post is one that I hear from hundreds of moms on a weekly basis, year after year… Moms very often ask me: How did this beautiful, researched-based, loved-drenched plan go so exhaustedly wrong?

    In my respectful opinion choosing to sleep with or without your child – (and choosing to be AP or CIO for that matter) – is (for the most part) not a moral decision. For the most part these are choices of “preference” – usually based what a family thinks/reads/hears is best and what will work for them. And therefore IMO there is not a “right” or a “wrong” way. However, it is wise to take honest assessment of how your “plan” is working for all the members of your family (including baby, siblings, mommy & hubby), and to pose such a question as yours to find out how it’s honestly working for other families.

    When I talk with young mommies my 1st advice is (1) find a few families who have what you’re looking for both now and long-term, (2) ask them how they got it, (3) filter that through your own belief system, making sure it lines up with your values, (4) discuss this in depth with your husband –don’t leave him out – and (5) ask the Lord what He would say to you about it. (Sometimes what we read in the most well-researched magazines just isn’t all that and we need to do our own research and evaluation.)

    Having 5 children, you can imagine that we have a vast array of personalities in our house… but our 5 children have all been marvelous sleepers, sleeping on *exactly the same routine* beautifully from week 1. (Hubby and I have also helped thousands of families do the same with their children.) It is my opinion that personality does not need to play a part in how well an infant sleeps (although it will if the direction of eating and sleeping is left up to the infant). But infants have the same basic needs and they can be met very similarly & with loads of healthy rest. We are not AP (all thought we’re very strongly “attached” to all of our children, and they’re strongly attached to us!) and we do not CIO. We do, however, start our newborns off on a nursing rhythm that promotes sleep –what we consider to be very healthy sleep, and we continue to keep them on this nursing rhythm for at least the 1st year. By 6 weeks of age all of our (nursing) kids sleept 6hrs at night plus 12hrs of naps in the day. By 12 weeks of age they sleep 12hrs of sleep at night plus 8+hrs of naps in the day. And even our teen and pre-teen children still sleep 12hrs at night!

    We find all this sleep to be very healthy to our children’s bodies, plus rest has so many other benifits – making them ready to learn academic and moral lessons throughout the day all with a smile. Not to mention: Mom, Dad & siblings are all well-rested and enjoyable!!

    While how you feed and sleep infants may not be a moral choice from the beginning, it soon becomes one, as many of you have stated. Feeding and sleeping choices can quickly create well-rested soil for fertile learning and a pleasant family atmosphere… or exhausted, demanding soil for disagreeable toddlers. Thanks Heather! Bless each of you on this journey!

    • Des says:

      Totally agree with this! My mom did the nursing rhythm from a few weeks old with all 5 of us kids, my sister did it with all 4 of her kids and I did it with my 2 and will do it with my 3rd starting April when it makes its debut :-) It’s sort of like what you said and also Angela A. said. It’s getting them on a sleeping/eating pattern early on during the day and that HUGELY changes the way their sleep patterns are at night. I don’t like to call it a “schedule” because I’m not anal about it by any means. Rhythm is a much more apt description. Great comment!

    • Angela Aitken says:

      Wow, great answer! Would love to know more about the “nursing rhythm” and your routine. Sounds awesome. I’m always up for new and improved strategies if it means more sleep. :)

      • Cyndi says:

        Angela, you asked for more info about what I do w/my kids – about my “nursing rhythm” so I’ll comment here + refer back to your posting above re: 90min waketimes…
        Disclaimer: I have not read the book you mentioned in your post – so I’m only commenting on your description above. 😉

        I agree that babies set their sleep patterns around 2 weeks old! That’s great info & I’m glad she’s publishing it!
        The fact that your son is developing a rhythm is indeed what is helping his nighttime sleep. You’re right about sleep deprivation making night sleep worse: Day naps benefit nighttime sleep immensely! Hurray for your family.

        However, in my opinion, while a 90 minute waketime is great for a baby around 5 months old, it is way too much wake for a newborn or younger infant. (I don’t know the age of your son.) Growing babies change in the amount of waketime they are able to handle, and they need to transition the length of waketime as the baby’s nervous system matures. For example, in the first month, a newborn can handle about 45min of waketime before they need sleep. (You can see this easily in the way they quit making eye-contact with you after having been awake about 40-45min.) During months 2-3 they can handle about 60min of waketime before they need sleep. During months 4-5 they can handle about 70-90 min of waketime before they need sleep. Around months 6-8 they can handle about 2hrs of waketime before they need sleep. (…and so on as their bodies grow.) As their nervous system matures, they can take in and assimilate more outside stimulation – growing to the point where eventually children don’t need naps, can handle long trips to the zoo… etc…

        Of course, this is opposite of what culture tells us: We’re told that if you want them to sleep better, keep them up longer. This is completely untrue and works against good sleep.

        If you keep a little one up longer than what they can handle, it is true that they will fall asleep (given the right environment) yet, they will only sleep for 1 sleep cycle (ie: 45 min). I venture to guess that his is why Cash is waking up after 35-45min each nap. If kept awake too long, baby become so over-tired that he “crashes” and goes to sleep, but when it’s time to transition into the next sleep cycle (around 35-45min) he wakes up and can’t stay asleep longer. This is because he had too much awake time before going to sleep. (There are a couple of other factors here, but since the topic here is waketimes, I’ll stick with that factor for now.) IMO, babies under 18months old should be taking multiple 2hr naps in a day… and when his body’s patterns are stabilized, this happens naturally. Just like day sleep helps nights, these 2hr naps during the day actually keep the baby from having a fussy time in the evening. Right now the fussy time that you are seeing in Cash is actually caused by the 45min naps not being quite long enough… and by the evening he is “over-spent” and fussy.

        As for the “nursing rhythm” I was speaking of, it all ties together… it’s a matter of looking at these age-appropriate waketime as I’ve mentioned, and then fitting nursing into that pattern in such a way that the metabolism is also set – just as you’re learning to set a pattern of sleep. If you manage feedings and day sleep to meet an infant’s needs, the baby’s body easily slips into both an eating and sleeping pattern which promotes over-all health!

        Love it!! :) And I’m always happy to talk more about it.

        • Angela Aitken says:

          Thanks Cyndi! I was thinking I must be getting him down midcycle, hence the half-nap. Decided to try not watching the clock so closely and see what happens. Cash is 7 wks old BTW. I’ll admit I’m a little gun-shy about change b/c I had such a hard time getting sleep with my daughter and sort of hate to rock the boat since we are getting great nighttime sleep…but I’m willing to give it a shot so I’m not spending my whole day getting him down for short bursts of sleep. Hasn’t been fair to my 2 yr old either. Would love to chat more with you though. Regarding nursing…do you go by certain times or just have a general routine/pattern that hits roughly the same time each day? I’m thinking what you’ve described sounds much like the Waldorf philosophy…are you familiar? Something I recently found out about. Also, any tips about how to promote sleep during the day when my 2 yr old wants attention would be great! Feel free to contact me directly via my blog or e-mail AngelaA.DPT (at gmail) if it would be easier. Thanks so much…oh, you mentioned you’ve helped a lot of people with this…is this a business endeavor or just something you do “for fun?”

    • Genevieve says:

      Hi Cyndi and Angela,

      I’m really interested in the “nursing rhythm” but can’t find anything online on this. My 6 week old is also having 45 minute naps OR he wants to take longer naps but I wake him to feed him even though he is exhausted so that he’s not up so much at night.

      I’m curious how newborns can get 2 hour naps in when they need to eat, play and get changed.

      Would love to learn more!


      • Angela A. says:

        Hi Genevieve,
        I couldn’t find anything on the “nursing rhythm” either…but the book I originally mentioned “90-minute baby sleep program” by Polly Moore, PhD (and I believe she has a website also) is what I’ve been following with my second baby. He’s now 2 months old and I’ve followed it since approx 2 wks old…except for a small amount of time after reading these comments actually, in which I tried to get him down before the 90 minute mark and it was a disaster. :) Anyway, I note wake times and am just aware that in 90 minutes from his wake time, he’ll be primed to go back to sleep…not to say he ALWAYS goes back down, but it’s pretty accurate for the most part.

        He was doing 45 minute naps all day long and wearing me out. He’s now consolidated and will do a few 45 minute naps and at least one long (2-3 hr) nap each day. Then sleeps 7ish hour stretches at night.

        As far as waking, I never wake him even if it’s “time” to feed him. Dr. Moore also recommends to never wake a sleeping baby (unless they are gaining wt. poorly or have other health problems) because they are developing their rhythms naturally. If we wake them, it throws off the rhythm.

        Hope that helps! I’d be happy to answer any other q’s you have.

      • Cyndi says:

        Sorry for the length of this, but I’ll try and answer the questions. I don’t intend to hold this blog hostage. :)

        The rhythm I use:
        I (1) feed them… (2) manage the waketime (length varies based on age –see below or the other post)… (3) put them down for a 2hr nap… then repeat all day for the 12hr day. After a few months they sleep all night all by themselves (as below), without CIO because their body falls into a predictable rhythm and all needs are met and they just don’t get up. They rarely if ever have fussy evenings after the first few weeks because by that point their bodies are settled into a rhythm and not too over-tired.

        (Disclaimer: below I’m referring to full-term infants. It works for premi’s too – but the amount of wake needs changes a little.)

        Genevieve – At 6 weeks in my home it would look like this: I would have Sweetie awake 1hr (awake = includes feeding, burping, diapering & eventually playing) and napping 2hrs. Every 3hrs this cycle would repeat in the day, with the exception of one long stretch of sleep at night. I note the needs of the child, not the clock (although needs and clock often correspond nicely and become friends.) If the child is extra tired or the recent nap was cut short, that waketime might be shorter, but never longer than 1hr! (Of course, we’re flexible and meeting the needs of all family members, which occasionally means it’s longer when we’re out to dinner or something like that – but as a “norm”, not going longer is key.) At night my 6 week-olds sleep 6hrs at night.

        Angela- At 8 weeks in my home it would look like this: I would have Sweetie awake 1hr (includes feeding & playing) and napping 2hrs. Every 3hrs this cycle would repeat in the day, with the exception of one long stretch of sleep at night. At night my 8 week-olds sleep 8hrs at night.

        In weeks 1-4 the wake is shorter. I keep this same 1hr up/2hrs down rhythm from 4-16 weeks. They sleep 6hrs at night at 6 weeks… 7hrs at 7weeks… 8hrs at 8weeks… 9/9… 10/10… 11/11… maxing out at 12hrs of sleep at night at 12 weeks. (My teen still sleeps 12hrs at night – so this healthy practice continues for years to come.)

        While watching the needs of the child (as noted by sleepy cues, solid 2hr naps –vs– early waking, etc…) between 3.5-4 months old I feed… increase the waketime from 1hr awake to 1.5hrs awake… 2hr naps. Repeat every 3.5hrs in the 12hr day. (3.5 messes up the 12hr day slightly, but I’ll spare those details.)

        Around 6 months they’re fed… up 2hrs of waketime (includes feeding) and down 2hrs = repeat every 4hrs in the 12hr day.
        By 8 months the waketimes falls between 2.5-4hrs depending on the business of the “season”. We keep this pattern until they are 18-20 months old.

        Notice the rhythm here: full tummy + wakefulness + sleep. The rhythm stays the same, but the cycle extends by the length of the waketime, based on how much they can handle (ie: age.) I am listing common ages here, and all the kids I’ve worked with have fallen pretty darn close to those zones – but please hear this – I am not giving a FORMULA for certain ages! It is a pretty good guide, but ultimately it’s the child’s cues: wakes and naps that show you where you are in increasing/decreasing waketimes. It’s not that I watch the clock, but as the child’s body clicks into this pattern, I can almost set my clock by the child – not the child by the clock. :) Our bodies are set to like predictable patterns, and metabolism and sleep are both easily patterned when a child is young. Mom just has to mold it; baby quickly settles in to it.

        As I mentioned before, the length of waketime varies based on age. The amount of “input” they can handle correlates quite predictably with age – although other factors like premie, poor health… make a difference. The goal is to be able to watch your child and respond to his/her needs – although it may not always be what seems obvious. Ex: a mom may say “my child does not ‘look’ tired”, but you can see that their wake is too long b/c they’re waking after only 1 sleep cycle – or 30-45 min of sleep. The baby is giving you a cue – but it isn’t the rubbing of the eyes – but in the end failure of the nap or crying in the night as a result of daytime over-tiredness. Does that make sense?

        One other important thing: This pattern is based on 3 important things – obviously a baby’s most important needs – eating, interacting & sleeping. Therefore the baby getting a full feeding in just as important as the wake/sleep mentioned above. When we set this rhythm, our kids don’t snack feed. They fill up (and we make sure they stay awake to eat big when they’re learning) and then they’re full and happy to play and full and happy to sleep. If any part of this is missing, it won’t work. A hungry baby won’t nap well. A hungry baby won’t play happily. An over-tired baby won’t nap well. An over-tired baby won’t play well. And over-tired baby won’t eat well (will fall asleep.) A baby who interacts/plays not enough won’t nap well. A baby who interacts/plays too much won’t sleep well. Each part of this rhythm depends on the other parts. :)

        Finally, we are flexible to do anything the family needs or the baby needs, however, to the best of our ability we don’t set up any patterns we don’t want to take hold long-term. We would rather avoid a habit then break one later. Ex: If we don’t want them to nurse to sleep long-term, then we nurse them just after a nap so that they learn to nurse alertly. If we don’t want to rock our babies to sleep long-term, then we save rocking for times when their wide awake. We love to cuddle them and hold them and walk around with them strapped on – but we do those things during their most alert times – like going for a nice walk while they’re awake – as opposed to going for a walk to soothe them to sleep, Etc…

        Well, I’m sure that’s clear as mud.
        I’m going on vacation tomorrow, so forgive me if you send a question that I don’t answer for a while. :)

        • Genevieve says:

          Oh my goodness, this information is invaluable! Thank you so much for sharing so generously… you are a gem! Thank you too, Angela, for sharing your experience as I can relate to the 45 minute naps wearing you out! The funny thing, it was I who was waking Griffin up at 45-1 hour time intervals as I was trying to keep him on a schedule and get his feedings in.

          That’s my big question… I nurse and it seems that with this schedule, I would dry up! LOL! It looks like I would feed a little under every 3 hours which would be fine but 6 hours at night makes me nervous. Cyndi, you mentioned that you nursed, how long? I hope to do so long-term (over 1 year).

          What happens too if my baby wants to sleep longer than 2 hours during the day? Then, do I wake him? Perhaps it all falls into place if I don’t get in there and mess it up! LOL! But, early on, he’d take 4 hour naps during the day (probably around 3-4 weeks) and then be up feeding 3-4 times at night because he didn’t ge enough feedings in during the day. Today is a perfect example, I decided not to

          I also remember reading from Cyndi that by 12 weeks, her babies are sleeping 12 hours at night (do you pump during that time?) and then have 8 hours of naps during the day! That means they are up even less than newborns? Perhaps, I miscalculating… That would only give you 4 hours to see your baby a day to nurse, play, etc. during the day. Later, you broke it out with 1.5 hour of wakefulness and 2 hour naps which is more wake time so maybe I”m understanding wrong.

          Curious on the 2 hour nap time… funny as Griffin normally takes these kind of naps if left to his timetable but I would think they would sleep 90 minutes if 45 minutes is a sleep cycle.

          • Genevieve says:

            Opps! I cut myself off. I was just going to say that today’s a perfect example of how things go. I decided NOT to wake up Griffin when he went down for his naps. He took a 45 minute nap this morning (must have kept him up too long :)!). He then took a 2 hour nap early afternoon and now he’s been down for 2 hours and 15 minutes. As a result, he’s only had 4 feedings today. I have a feeling tonight will be a long night of lots of wakings to get his food in! He’s thriving and gaining weight but I’d prefer he ate in the day. I totally want to wake him right now as he’s past 2 hours and my breast are getting engorged! LOL! Would love any thoughts…

          • Cyndi says:

            NURSING: Good questions – I meant to address the nursing issue…

            I do nurse all my 5 kids to the 1st bday or beyond (exclusively 8-9 months, and nursing w/solids after that), and I encourage moms to nurse. Nursing moms obviously do need a certain amount of stimulation (demand to affect the supply). But part of the demand/supply is not just the number of times you bring baby to breast, but also the QUALITY of the nursing session – the quality of the demand. For example, a baby who sleep-nurses is not putting the same demand on mom as a baby who is vigorously chowing down. Keeping your baby alert and awake and draining your breast by taking full feedings is a big part of the production picture that many moms miss. The emphasis on full feedings is valuable for the milk supply! Once they’re sleeping at night, 5-6x FULL feeds/day can keep your milk up. (Some moms can maintain their milk at 5x/day. Some need 6x/day.) For me, I nurse 4-5x/day, and I pump once before bed to store away breastmilk for times baby needs a bottle. If I slip down to 4 feeds, my milk suffers though a few can do it.

            If you are feeding in approx 3hr increments and baby is going 12hrs between meals at night it might look something like this: Nurse at approx 7am/10am/1pm/4pm/7pm = 5 stimulations, plus for me I would pump once more at 10 or 11pm before I go to bed = 6 stimulations. Some moms choose to wake the baby one more time for Mom’s milk’s sake… ex: between 9-10pm and not pump at all. (But sometimes baby is so content he won’t wake.  LOL)

            As to “full feedings” – Peds say baby needs 24-32oz of milk in a 24hr period. Ex: If you nurse baby 5x as above then 5 feeds x 6oz = 30oz of milk. So a full feeding for this child would fall between 5-7oz of milk at each nursing. Of course, we don’t come with gages (LOL) but there are signs that the baby is getting enough: satisfied eating on both sides, happy play, long naps, night sleep, wet diapers, weight/length gain, etc… Also, if you are feeding on a routine, you can actually pump w/a good quality pump and get an accurate reading. (Some say you can pump accurately, but you can! If your body is on a pattern and baby eats on a pattern, your body will produce a patterned amount of milk. So if you were to be on the above routine for example, your body would produce appox 6oz of milk every 3 day hrs, and a good pump would prove it. Pumping all the time is not emotionally stimulating and can cause milk to wane; however, pumping an occasional feeding will not be affected by the lack of touch and can show the true amount produced.)

          • Cyndi says:

            Baby will do one long stretch, and I prefer that stretch at night. 
            There is a balancing act between harmonizing the input and resting. I have found the wake and naps that I listed to be great balance for babies. If they sleep longer than 2hrs, then you will knock all the other components out of balance. (Ex: they won’t be sleepy soon enough – yet need to eat at certain intervals so the nap needs to happen now.) Of course, if we take baby off this rhythm, then we might choose to compensate by having an extended nap. Ex: if we go to the zoo or a long trip to Target, we might have a longer next nap. There’s no legalism to the day. Yet, the goal is to make baby most successful, and I can do that best by balancing each cycle. So most of the time, I do wake baby so that all the parts of the day land in the most beneficial places. This sounds crazy to a mom who is struggling to get baby to sleep – but remember, napping is the norm around here, so I’m not afraid of loosing sleep or waking a baby, knowing they’ll go down again soon. However, after a very short season of setting this pattern, what you’ll find is that you won’t be waking your baby – baby will be popping up right around that expected feeding interval.

            Remember, if you have a 4week old who is taking a 4hr nap, that will likely be the only one he/she takes in the day if she’s healthy. So I would prefer to have that land at night, and I can do that by waking after 2hrs in the day. (Not 2 legalistic hrs by the alarm clock – but generally 2hrs.)

            My newborns are sleep about 18-19hrs in a day. My 3month old sleeps 19-20hrs in a day. The only difference is the 3mo old tummy can go longer. By 8 months it’s 16hrs of sleep. By 18 months it’s 15hrs of sleep. Yes, that’s lots of sleep and little play – but it’s what their bodies desire and need. And the season is short. Of course they need touch and interaction – but most of that sweet awake time (4-6hrs they are in my arms nursing or cuddling – or in Daddy’s. And occasionally they might even take a nap in my arms or in my sling or beside me on the bed – just to enjoy each other or get them used to napping in a variety of places and ways.)

            Sleep cycles range from 30-45”, so 90-120 min is a good solid nap. There’s something about 120 min… it’s like baby does 45”+45”+30” and it’s ideal.

        • Heather says:

          Cyndi – It seems you avoid many of the methods that parents typically use to help their babies fall asleep (feeding, carrying in sling, etc). So now I’m curious, what methods DO you use to help baby fall asleep?

          • Cyndi says:

            Actually we just avoid relying on them. At one point or another I have nursed all of my babies to sleep, I have rocked them all to sleep, and I have worn them or strolled them to sleep as well – but our successful strategy has been that most often we try and feed them fully and organize their waketime so that they are *sleep-ready* when their waketime is winding down. And as you indicated with watching your son at the 90″ mark – that eliminates many of the variables and makes napping much less complicated.

            When I have a newborn, they’re such sleepy-heads that just a full, purposeful feeding is enough to put them out like a light after just the right amount of wake. So I’m careful at the beginning to get a full feeding and limit the wake, then as they’re eyes are getting droopy, I lie them down. Of course, there are times they need some rocking to soothe, and I enjoy doing that or letting Grammy enjoy them in the rocking chair :) -but if I’m careful to give full feedings just after a nap & limit their wake, they quickly set a pattern of just being ready to shut their eyes.

            I don’t mind lying them down with heavy eye-lids in the beginning – maybe patting them and/or rocking them or holding them… and after a few weeks I lie them down wide-eyed after an appropriate wakefulness and they will lie down and go to sleep for the 2hr nap. 😉

          • Genevieve says:

            Heather, I was thinking the same thing! I tried the last 2 times to put Griffin down drowsy but not eyes closed and it actually worked! Wow!

            Cyndi thank you, thank you on all of the nursing info! Looks like I need to work on getting my guy to do FULL feedings! He’s a one breast kind of guy and has always been. In fact, when he does try 2 breasts, he often spits up. I think he’s getting about 3 oz per breast so he’s not getting the 5-7 oz recommended. Any strategies to get babies to drink from both breasts without spitting up or too much gassiness?

          • Cyndi says:

            If a little one needs a certain amount of calories per 24hr day, then it make sense that he’ll need to eat how ever many times necessary to take in enough food. For a newborn, that’s about 2.5-3hrs around the clock. But as time grows as they’re able to go longer and longer once a day – and this = night. If he eats small meals or snacks, he’ll need to wake more often in the night to eat. (Some say that infants must eat in the night the whole time they’re nursing. I disagree.) I never push or recommend pushing an infant to sleep through the night (or CIO) – but when the day is lining up right to meet needs, the baby will stop asking for food at night on his own, like I mentioned.

            Remember, it’s not always that 6oz amount, but the oz is based on the number of feedings. So if the daily need is around 30oz, divide that by number of feedings. So the oz will increase at each meal as feedings are dropped.

            If you’ve been feeding smaller meals then it will take an adjustment period to change that. Encourage your child to eat more – maybe even by taking a small break in between breasts of 5 min while you change a diaper. If they’re dozing at the breast, then that’s a different issue – as we order their day differently, they’re wide awake and engaging w/eye contact, etc… at the breast.

            As to spitting up – do make sure they’re latched properly (no air) and well burped both between breasts and after! But a baby at that age can drink 5oz of milk. We taught all of our kids to eat full meals from the time they were little, and boy are they hearty eaters! (And you’d never guess, as they’re quite small for their ages.)

            I’ll have to share more when I get back. :)

          • Heather says:

            Thank you for the clarification, Cyndi.

      • Cyndi says:

        You said, “I’m curious how newborns can get 2 hour naps in when they need to eat, play and get changed.”

        You’re right – that’s hard! But IMO a newborn’s “play” is that sweet cuddletime with Mommy while nursing and some great getcha-getchas from Dad while burping/diapering.

        With only 45min – 1hr of wake, we nurse 30min (15/side), plus burps, plus diapering, then some quick love or strokes from big siblings and back to bed. It’s quick, but they’re soon nursing faster (full feed in 15-20 min) and staying awake longer – so it’s a short season. It’s so facinating to me – As their ability to focus further than Mom’s face grows, so does their playtime. Neato!

        • Genevieve says:

          LOL! That is amazing… I feel like so many moms are suffering out there because they are keeping their babies up too long and they don’t even know it! It does feel kind of weird to be putting the baby down all the time but my baby is SO much happier when he’s well rested. It’s like a different child! So he must need it. Cyndi, would love to learn more about what you and your husband do in terms of teaching this stuff. We could do something like this at our church! Feel free to email me at mamanaturalblog at gmail dot com.

          Thanks again for everyone’s input! Have a great vacation, Cyndi

        • Genevieve says:

          Hello everyone,

          I’ve been experimenting with all of the different ideas here and it’s been interesting, frustrating, enlightening, etc.

          Yesterday was an absolute disaster. I tried putting Griffin down closer to the 45 minute mark (started soothing at 35 minutes) and he’d have nothing to do with it! In fact, the only place he slept yesterday was in a swing in the a.m. (8:45 to 10 a.m.) and p.m. (8:00 to 10:30 p.m.) The middle of the day he was completely wired and wouldn’t go down. I’d rock him, his eyes would close, I’d set him down and his eyes popped back open. LOL! It was so sad as he was so tired looking but he just couldn’t embrace the sleep. He DID however sleep from 8:30 pm till 12:30 a.m. (we transferred him to crib at 10:30 p.m.) and then fed. He then slept till 6:30 a.m. YIPPEE! 6 hours straight at 6 weeks, such a big boy!

          Today with naps is a different story. I started soothing him 1 hour after wake time and he went right down at bout 75 minutes after he got up in his crib. Now, he’s been down for 1 hour and 20 minutes and I literally have to wake him up to feed so it doesn’t go past 3 hours. So confusing all of this :)! So it seems that the 60 min-75 min window works well for him and with that he only takes 1-1.5 hour naps so that we keep his feedings up during the day. But it then means I’m waking him up which doesn’t feel great. UGH. No easy answers.

          Grateful I’m not alone. LOVE hearing how other moms do this :).


  19. And the Winner of the Blog For Mommypotamus and Win Your Own Blog Contest Is…. « The Mommypotamus says:

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  20. Ang says:

    Hurray for this conversation Heather! I wish someone had initiated it with me years ago – before I learned the hard, sleepless way!

    I want to chime in and say that we have tried both AP and the use of a routine (purposefully patterned feedings & naps) with two very different results. We have 4 precious girls– a 20yo, a 4yo and 2yo twins. When our 4yo was born, after much research, my husband & I (wrongly) decided that AP (co-sleeping, breast feeding on demand, baby wearing and NEVER letting her CIO) was more loving and gentle and would give us a secure, happy child. At first it felt so good to carry her constantly, have her nap on my chest daily, sleep beside me, nursing frequently, all night long. BUT by age two, we had a child who cried hysterically if we tried to lay her down by herself (or leave her in the care of others for that matter). She had to be nursed and/or held until she fell asleep and then nursed every 2-3 hours throughout the night. My husband and I were both **exhausted** and **frustrated** with our hopeless situation. And we knew that the lack of sleep wasn’t benefiting her either. Having a 20yo we know that they grow up quickly and this season is “short” – but nothing feels short about years of sleeplessness and grouchiness! On top of this, we were seeing some terrible behavior patterns beginning despite the love and attention we were pouring in. We realized that she was “attached” to us (ME specifically) but not in a healthy way. For all the praying and reading we did, we were at a loss.

    Add to this, twins on the way and we knew we needed to make changes for the benefit of our WHOLE family.

    When the twins arrived, I knew that I could never let them CIO. But I also knew that much of what we had done with our 2 year old had created a very child-centered family (and child!), and I don’t believe that this is good for anyone (or biblical, for that matter). You see, w/our 20yo daughter we used many of the same responses (never letting her cry, always rushing to meet her needs/wants first, putting her before everyone else in the family), and we created the same result, a child-centered family and worse: a SELF-CENTERED child. (And I can tell you from experience that this only gets more difficult as they get older!) Everything was and still is a battle with her! (We’re talking sleep now with those of you with little ones, but as they grow you realize that sleep becomes the least of it! Sleep isn’t the main point; yet it is all connected to the whole parenting philosophy!!)

    Just before our twins were born we met a couple of families, both with children of many different ages, whose results were the most beautiful we had ever seen. We got to know their families well and got to know their well-behaved, peaceful, happy children and the family cohesiveness was obvious. (Everyone is beautifully “attached”!!) I immediately asked the moms what they had done and they taught me about how the negative results I was getting were directly related to parenting choices. My husband and I jointly decided to make some major changes in our home.

    With our twins, we followed a routine that met both of our babies needs, nursing every 2 hours for the first few weeks, and then every 3 hours… and so on, transitioning as they grow in the way that we had learned (all with the help of other moms walking ahead of us.) One key I learned is to make sure that they always get a full feed (instead of falling asleep at the breast). We learned to feed them when they woke, instead of right before they nap, and this led to beautiful sound sleep. They would eat, then play, then go to bed sleepy (but not asleep). From very early on, we had two babies who ate and slept well and were so pleasant during their play times! I never allowed either of them to CIO. The few times that either of them cried, I soothed them from the side of the crib, patting backs, speaking softly, and then backing off when they calmed down. They learned very early that mommy (or daddy) was always there, and could be trusted, but that their protests were not demands to be met and didn’t make them the center of the family. They were never left alone to cry hysterically (although there were times when there was a little light crying, which faded pretty quickly).

    Today – thanks to what we’ve learned and changed – our 4yo finally sleeps well, though the battle we had with her from age 2-3 was agonizing. I truly would not want to walk through that again, and I’ve realized that postponing good sleep habits until they’re older does NOT make it easier – only HARDER! And the work that we have had to do (and are doing) to correct her NEGATIVE BEHAVIOR, has been more difficult than I ever imagined. We have spent the last 2 years undoing the “damage” that we did by rushing to her every whimper for those first 2 years. (And boy are we thankful that these negative self-centered behaviors were not established in our 2yo twins.)

    On the other end of the spectrum, our twins were both sleeping 12 hour nights at just a few months of age. And now, at age 2, they still sleep 12 hours at night and take a 3 hour nap during the day. And as we have learned, well-rested babies are also happier during the day, easier to teach and certainly more enjoyable to spend our lives with. This goes for well-rested mommies too!

    Thanks for letting me share what I’ve learned. If I can spare another family from where our family has been, I’m always thankful for the opportunity!

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  22. Tiffany says:

    With our daughter, Zoey (who is now 5), we did a refined cry it out that worked well for us. We started by putting her to bed and once she started crying we waited 1 full minute before going in and comforting her, put her back to bed and then waited 2 full minutes the next time. We increased the the time by 1 full minute each time until she went to sleep. We only had to do this for about a week before she started going to sleep easily. And I am happy to say she is the EASIEST kid to get to bed. We have NEVER had a problem with her getting up or fighting sleep.

    I don’t believe in letting your kid cry until they go to sleep. But crying is good to a point. I believe that Zoey gained independence at bed time because she knows we are there, but that we were NOT going to just come running at every little cry. Every child is different and you have to figure out what is right for each kid.

  23. Mae Annette Burke via Facebook says:

    I’m very surprised you haven’t responded to any comments yet, Heather

    • Heather says:

      I’ll get there! It’s been a busy week. Plus I’m saving some responses for future blogs in this series :)

      • Mae says:

        Ok, GOOD! I was thinking…whoa, Heather’s not commenting. Either we’ve all blown her away into speechlessness…or she’s more sleep deprived than she’s leading on, LOL!

  24. Joanna Moore says:

    what a bunch of great ideas!

    just reading all these responses confirms that every kid is different and no method is one-size-fits-all. that can be both encouraging and frustrating! it would be so nice if everybody knew the fail-proof solution that works for every child at x age by doing x at x o’clock, and so forth. while every child has the same needs, what works for one family might not work for the next.

    for example, i have a few friends who swear by the babywise method. one of them gave me the book and i read it shortly after julia was born. i had no idea there was any other way, and soon became frustrated because it wasn’t good for our family. since my pregnancy with julia was spent working full time in a very stressful environment, fighting and reconciling with my now-husband, planning our wedding, getting married, moving, and her being born 2 weeks later, i could never take the time to research and figure out what kind of parenting i wanted to practice. all i knew was that i was going to breastfeed and julia would have an intact family.

    she started out in a bassinet in our room, which she hated. my husband didn’t want her in bed with us for fear of hurting her, so at 3 weeks she was in her own crib in her room (i know, *gasp* so young! but at least we had a video monitor) and sleeping through the night by 6 or 8 weeks. if she didn’t fall asleep nursing, she would just go to sleep after putting her down. it was glorious. until 7 months when she just stopped for some reason. we dreaded bedtime, and i was up with her several times a night. for several months i was a zombie. it’s been a battle with her, a rollercoaster of good months and bad weeks, but overall it’s improving, and she’s 3 now.

    we tried CIO for about an hour (with the intervals) one night and we were both like, yeah, NO, not for us. we found some improvement with “no cry sleep solution” which we refer back to on occasion, and now have the toddler version.

    with josiah, he was in a pack-n-play from birth, slept through the night from 2-4 mos, then we moved him to julia’s room (when we lived in an apt before), and had weeks where he was up all night, and weeks where he slept 10-12 hours. currently at almost 15 mos, he’s sleeping through the night. usually nurses to sleep, but when he doesn’t fall asleep, we have to find another solution. this is where we’re at. my husband either holds him until he falls asleep, rocks him, or sometimes he’ll just play in the same room and fall asleep on the floor (in my dreams right?!) if daddy’s not around to help, i put my game face on and do the following: put him in his crib, talk to him in a soothing voice, pat his back, and if he starts screaming, pick him up till he’s calm… and repeat. i’ve only had to do this two or three times so far. sometimes he falls asleep on my shoulder, once he actually laid down in his crib and fell asleep with me patting his back. i keep reminding myself that it will get better. i’m perfectly okay with nursing him to sleep but when that doesn’t work i certainly can’t just stay up all night and play with him, so we have to do something and this is the best thing i’ve found to do. of course sometimes one or both kids falls asleep in the car on the way home if we’re out running errands after dinner, or eating out. which is a nice break.

    sometimes one or both kids ends up in bed with us, and that’s ok. although we prefer to have it to ourselves, we understand that there are nights where they just have a greater need to be close to feel secure. it won’t last forever, so we just choose to embrace it and make the most of it. some days we’re exhausted from a hard night, some nights one parent does all the work so the other can get some rest, some nights we all get a full night’s rest. and the more time that passes by, the more i know that the hard nights WILL pass, and to enjoy the good nights.

    these friends of mine that are all about strict feed-wake-sleep schedules and getting your baby to fall asleep on their own, and sleep all night, from just a few weeks old, well that’s great for them! while i don’t have the heart to let my children cry for more than a couple minutes, i know these friends of mine are great parents who love their kids, so i try not to judge! if josiah wakes up crying in the middle of the night, he will sometimes go back to sleep after a couple minutes, but i don’t let him go more than 3 or 4 before going in there, because i know at that point it’s just going to escalate and i don’t want him crying himself to sleep. the one or two times i’ve tried to just let him CIO it forces me to harden my heart and ignore my maternal instinct that says, “go to him, he needs you, you are his source of comfort, someday he’ll be able to soothe himself to sleep, and you can teach him gradually, but you can’t force him.” so, that’s out. as exhausted as i am when i have to go in there and help him get back to sleep, i’d much rather do that than leave him feeling alone and afraid.

    when my babies were new, i couldn’t keep them awake after nursing, they naturally fell asleep and i was ok with that. but then there came a time where they NEEDED to nurse to fall asleep, and i just haven’t found the exact age where that transition takes place. maybe with the next one i’ll be able to seize the opportunity to help them go to sleep in other ways before they get too used to it. and until all my kids are great sleepers, i’ll just be thankful for the nights when i have help!

    • Cyndi says:

      I really liked how you said “that’s great for them… I don’t judge” — I think it’s important to remember that we’re all on the same team here! :) We may have differing approaches, but we’re good parents, trying to do what’s best for our families. We need to love and support one-another, maybe offer help and advice if it’s asked for, but all the while supporting one another with love and joy! :) Thanks!!

  25. Leila says:

    Greg and I have been very blessed to have easy going babies, and I think that a lot of it has to do with the fact that we don’t “label” ourselves with anything (AP/ whatever). With Turner he slept in a cosleeper next to our bed for the first 3 months only waking to nurse. At 4 months we put him in his crib in his room and he began sleeping all night (except the 4am feeding, my personal favorite time of the day, b/c it is so quiet and precious!) I would nurse and rock him to sleep or he was almost asleep, and lay him down. He never had any issues, and we were all getting our rest.
    With Tripp, we co-slept for the first 2 months and he was in the cosleeper until he was 6 months old. Now he is sleeping in his crib in his room and sleeps all night (at least until 4 or 5am!) When he nurses and goes back down. It IS normal for babies to sleep long periods of time once they get past the newborn stage.
    For Greg and I the sleeping issue was easy, because we both believe that our bed is OUR marriage bed. Our relationship comes FIRST, because without it, we would not have our boys. When people label themselves as AP or whatever, they set themselves up to have to meet ceratin expectations. Once you have the 2nd baby, it ALL changes. You pray and ask the Lord to guide you in your decisions. All said and done happy parents=happy babies!!!!!!!

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  29. Angela A. says:

    So basically what I’ve gleaned from all of this is that the key to having a well-rested baby (and Mama) is to follow a pattern/rhythm and stick with it! When I try to manipulate things to fit my schedule, we always pay for it. I respectfully disagree with waking a sleeping baby (unless for health reasons). I have awakened mine in the past and it almost always was a hard awakening and threw off our pattern for the day. I believe in having a pattern but then being able to adapt around it based on the baby’s needs on any given day. If I’ve learned anything in being a mom, it’s that babies are constantly changing, and I have to change with them to keep up. It’s definitely a challenge, as the number of comments on this post has been testament to. The less I stress about sticking to a schedule and worrying about too much/little sleep has been had, the better our days and nights go. This has been a fun conversation! Thanks again, Heather, for getting this one going. :)

    • Cyndi says:

      Angela, I did read that you said Dr Moore says not to wake a sleeping baby. (And I appreciate the respectful conversation. :) ) I agree w/Dr Moore that babies are developing their body systems’ rhythms from the beginning – however, I don’t agree that they always develop them correctly “naturally”. While I do think they’re pre-wired for it, I believe that these natural rhythms can be interrupted by many different things, and IMO it is beneficial to help the baby establish these patterns in both their metabolism and sleep, when needed. (I would suggest that there are many moms out there who would say they tried to allow baby to establish regularity “naturally” for himself, and it did not happen!) Sometimes we need to facilitate these forming patterns– to the benefit of the child. To that loving end, I am willing to wake a little one and bring them to nurse while these patterns are still forming. (I believe that’s part of my Mommy role – to help my child’s body do what it was made to do.) For example, although a baby might naturally settle into a longer period of sleep at one point in the 24hr day, thanks to artificial lighting and other factors, like parents who stay up late and make noise 😉 etc… a baby can easily get nights and days mixed up. However, this is simply reset by managing wake and limiting baby’s day naps to approx 2hrs each (hear “approx” – not exact) and allowing baby to go longer as he wills during the dark night.

      Sometimes the idea of waking a baby sounds unkind to baby or exhausting for Mom – but remember, my babies are getting 19hrs of sleep! LOL! So if I wake them for one nap, remember that the next long nap is only 1hr away. I don’t understand “routines” imposed merely to serve mom, or without greater purpose. But if my greater purpose is to help my baby establish the rhythms that are already wired inside of him, then IMO I’m doing him a long-term favor by setting him up for good eating, content playing and long, solid resting by occasionally waking him!  I don’t advocate waking a baby without reason, but it’s because of my greater purpose to support the baby’s body that I would wake when needed during this establishment phase to promote better feedings, better waketime all throughout the day and better rest over-all.

      Some babies will fall into it naturally, but IMO just as many don’t. Of course, once this rhythm gets set there is no waking necessary because his body will take over. Baby’s body quickly falls into a predictable pattern and just as you’re thinking “I should get him up soon” he will wake just before you get there.  And if the body systems are set into motion, then if he seems extra tired this nap, no problem allowing him to sleep that extra 15-20 minutes… etc… Once you’ve removed the chaos and the natural rhythms are established, then the variables are gone and you can see better what he needs – ex: when a little more sleep this nap would be beneficial. But I disagree that waking them disturbs the establishment of these patterns.

      The other day my 4yr old dozed off at 6:30pm. She had a long day and had missed her nap –which was not her fault. But the best thing I could do for her was to not let her sleep – to wake her, feed her dinner and put her back to bed a little early that night so that she could get 12hrs of uninterrupted sleep. If I had allowed her to take a nap “naturally” from 6:30-8:30pm, then she would have been awake late into the night – and that wouldn’t have been good for her… it would have caused an on-going problem tomorrow when she woke having less night sleep that needed… possibly even effecting how she would eat, play and nap the next day… (Not really b/c her body is well established, but you get the picture if it was not.) How well a little one eats, plays and naps will have a ripple-effect on their next nap… their evening… their night sleep… their tomorrow… Sometimes the best way to stop an on-going perpetuating issue is to manage it for your little one who is not yet ready to manage it himself – or in the case of my 4yr old, to “reset” it by giving her what she really needs in the big picture. :)

      Good night – and good rest to ALL!

  30. Kate C, says:

    I think it’s important to also remember that you cannot apply a formula to every situation and force every child to adhere to it. All babies are unique individuals with their own personalities, just like adults. Some babies fight sleep SO hard from day one and will not go to sleep peacefully any other way than to be rocked or nursed. God has also given every mother a specific intuition for HER child- I think it’s unnatural for a mother to go against that and what she feels in her gut is the best for her child (whether it be feeding on demand, keeping her baby close for nap times, or promptly responding to his cues) just to have him on a schedule and fit into a set out method.
    It is also worth noting that countless lactation consultants, as well as many health organizations strongly advise against feeding schedules for young babies. It can be detrimental to the mother’s milk supply and the child’s ability to thrive emotionally and physically. It has also been shown to cause dehydration and early weaning. Feeding on demand will ensure proper bonding and hormone regulation for mommy and baby.
    The American Academy of Pedeatirics has also issued strong critisism against Babywise (which, in case you were unaware, is what is being discussed and advised in this thread of comments) and recommends against following it’s methods.

    • Angela A. says:

      Oh, good call Kate. You said it much better than I did. I didn’t catch that that is the BabyWise method…I had actually started to read that book after I had my first baby and couldn’t finish it because I didn’t agree with the methodology. Like you said, it felt “unnatural” to me. Anyway, to each her own. If one thing worked for everyone, this wouldn’t be up for discussion. Guess it’s important to remember that no matter the “method,” we’ll make it past these rough sleep-deprived days…and probably find something new to worry about. Still, it’s interesting to hear others’ stories. :)

  31. Leah says:

    Yes. It is important to realize that what is being advocated during these last several messages is the Baby Wise, Growing Kids God’s Way, Gary Ezzo method of baby training. While there are those that love it, it is important to note that there are many medical professionals, pastors, and teachers that have significant concerns about these methods of scheduled baby feeding and requirements for questionably age-appropriate expectations of child obedience among other things. A quick Google search will give a litany of concerns and questions to be a fully discerning reader.
    As a new parent I read both GCGW books cover to cover as well as a litany of other parenting books across the spectrum. There were aspects of it that worked very well for my family (the idea behind a nurse-play-sleep rhythm for example) but other that did not sit well with my intuitive desire to respond to my child’s cries. For me, there was a time and a place for my child to learn how to self-soothe but the first 6 months were not the time for us.
    However, I do appreciate the respectful tone of this conversation.

  32. Cyndi says:

    I use credible organizations such as the American Association of Pediatrics as a resource, but have some reservations about endorsing all of their positions. While the AAP is surely full of wisdom, I certainly don’t agree with all of their recommendations, such as:

    1. Early childhood immunizations, the first only 12 hours after birth
    2. Emphasis the importance of infant circumcision
    3. Promote early weaning of babies
    4. Endorse fractionated foods such as rice cereal
    5. Early introduction of said “food”

    While their research and guidelines can be a handy tool for me as a mom, it isn’t the only one in my toolbox. I try to fully investigate all opportunities to grow in wisdom and understanding.

    I do not focus on Babywise or Attachment Parenting, but on my thriving, healthy, happy babies. I read a diverse variety of parenting literature, as nothing is more important to me than my 5 children. While you may think my beliefs sound like Babywise, I know quite a few people who think I believe in Attachment Parenting because I am a long-term nurser, usually have my kids along-side me, and am FULLY ATTACHED to each of them….especially with heart-strings!! :)

    When I help my babies to organize their natural rhythm, it is beautiful and peaceful. I’ve seen it work so beautifully with hundreds of my friends. No two families are alike, but every family has a natural rhythm to their day. I just work to organize my baby’s rhythms so that I can optimally serve my family.

    Here are some of my core beliefs:

    …..I ALWAYS feed a hungry baby
    …..I consider baby’s cues, where we are in our day, and my intuition (and dad’s too!) to determine what is the best choice for baby at any given moment.
    ….While there are many qualified, satisfactory care givers, mom and dad are primarily connected to the overall well-being of baby. With an organized day, I have a greater capacity to serve each member of my family.
    …..While I love, love, love taking care of all my children, I also love, love, love getting occasional time alone with my hubby, knowing that my baby’s needs for food, love, and rest are easily translatable to grandma’s house. :)

    I regularly experience (and see others experience) this value system leading to an incredibly peaceful, enjoyable family bonding experience. The attachment and contentment is priceless! It isn’t dependent on any “method”. I sometimes rock my baby to sleep, but generally my baby just knows that a happy nap-time comes at the end of a happy play-time. I regularly nurse my babies, often into their second year, but baby is content to take a bottle from the childcare worker at church. Baby grows in flexibility rather than becoming increasingly dependent on what I can provide, so dad and grandma can share in the sweet moments of feeding, burping, and putting baby down for a peaceful nap.

    I do believe that strict nursing schedules can dry up a mother’s milk….this is where baby’s cues, common sense and flexibility come in. But, likewise, I have also known many demand-feeding moms who have lost their milk due to irregularity. There are few bigger tragedies in a newborn’s life than for mama to loose such a rich, nutrient-dense, God-created food supply. I am 100% committed to helping a mom achieve her nursing goals, and I’ve seen time and again how a nursing rhythm is incredibly beneficial. Mom not only has a reasonable amount of time to tend to other responsibilities; but also mom’s hormone regulation is benefited by regular, predictable nursing sessions and extended, predictable sleep sessions. :)

    But again, the original question from Heather was, “Is this really an either/or proposition?” Is it possibly to have both a healthy, content, well-rested baby (and mama!) WITHOUT resorting to drastic measures such as CIO? I think so. I have seen it happen with my five kids and in hundreds of other families. My 5 kids were some of the most happy, bonded, healthy, joyful infants, which carried forth into their toddler, youngster, and now teen years. I have made my share of mistakes, yet God continually blesses me with opportunities to grow in wisdom and understanding. I love to help people that ask for my help. But, equally, I fully respect each parents’ right to prayerfully consider all options and choose the ones that work for them.

    I pray big blessing for each-and-every committed, fabulous mom following this discussion! And over each of your families too! :)

  33. THAT Mom: Creating My Tribe « The Mommypotamus says:

    […] Tribe Posted Oct 27 2010 by Heather in Co-Sleeping with 0 Comments As discussion continues on the original post in this series, I’ll admit I am more than a little intimidated to share my strategy with you. […]

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    […] This sleep miracle was brought to you by Angela Aitken, who first shared this book with me on THAT Mom. Angela is just one of the many women here that have inspired, taught, and encouraged me. Thank […]

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