a new sleep routine

for the past four nights, river has woken up around midnight, and is all, "hey mom and dad. that was just a nap. don't worry. now we can play for two hours. i'll just crawl around and do hard core face-plants into your stomach while you try to sleep, pull your hair and pinch your neck and try to put your nose in my mouth. it'll be fun."

nights with river have always been interesting. when he was about 4 months old, he put himself into a routine that lasted for one glorious month. since then, our days and nights have been a guessing game. it the day time, it works to our advantage; because he's not really on any kind of schedule...at all... we don't have to plan around anything. but nights aren't what you'd necessarily call restful. i don't know who coined the term "sleeping like a baby," but they had obviously never consistently cared for a sleeping baby.

river will go a few weeks sleeping really well, and then a few weeks waking up every hour to nurse, and now, i suppose his new thing is night-sleeping in intervals. fun stuff. of course, there are nights like last night when he wakes up and want to be up, and it is a pain to get him back to sleep. we've tried many different things, but not with much commitment. i've tried giving him bottles of water, but i hate to see him devastated because he can't nurse, so i don't push it. i would rather nurse him frequently at night that have a sad, stressed-out, confused baby. we've tried a crib, we've tried a playpen, and we have been using the montessori method of a bed on the floor, which seems to work best. john can get him back to sleep sometimes, and we've switched back and forth between his own bed, exclusively co-sleeping, or both -- whatever feels right. we have let him fuss a bit to see if he will fall back to sleep on his own, but that rarely happens. obviously, we need something new. cry-it-out is completely out of the question. i will not even consider it for a child of river's age. call me a sucker.

some of these things have helped temporarily, but they have not made river a happy sleeper at night. i don't mind nursing him two or three times in the night -- i just don't like nursing him every hour. some women can do it, but i am very sensitive and often, after nights like that, in pain by the morning. but besides the constant nursing, i would like river to go to sleep around the same time every night, and not wake up at midnight to play. yeah, that would be great.

river napping on his montessori bed: the way we've found works best for him.

so i have a plan.
it's nothing we've ever done before.
it's new. it's foreign.
and it's probably going to feel totally weird.

i'm going to try to be organized and set a routine for river, for two weeks, and see if it makes any difference in his sleeping.  i won't try to be too strict with nap times, because i see that as kind of pointless. he naps well in the day and there's really no way to force him to nap if he doesn't want to. but we'll be up at the same time every day - regardless of how much sleep we got the night before [um, maybe unless i got less than three] -  and i will start wearing him down at the same time every night. low lights, a quiet bath, read some books, and then nurse in our room with the fan on and the lights off. i'm hoping this will work. i'll keep you updated -- not just for the sake of this being an interesting experiment to share, but also to keep myself on top of it. i will for sure get lazy on day two or three if i don't have someone to report to -- being you, my lovely blog readers. ;)

starting tonight, bath at 9:30. wish me luck... a lot of it.


  1. that routine is really similar to what we do, and it has helped a lot! henry is 14 months and still not sleeping through the night, but atleast his pattern is consistent. we do bathtime, pjs, read 3 books while nursing, and then i rock him to sleep. if he wakes up before i go to bed i'll rock him back to sleep, if he wakes up later, then he comes to bed with us.
    for a while henry was waking up every hour or less to nurse, when i coudn't take it anymore (& i knew he didn't NEED to nurse) i started rocking him instead. once i'd hear him start to wake up over the moniter, i'd quickly go into his room (before he had enough time to fully wake up) and rock him back to sleep...if i didn't do it fast enough he would insist to nurse. a few days of that routine and he stopped waking up every hour!

    good luck mama..your plan sounds good :)

  2. aaand i meant to post that as cecily, not jonny my husband :P

  3. River is a lot more determined then Peter is but I know that if we don't do the SAME thing every night with Peter he has a harder time falling asleep. Just recently we made a new rule for the bed. No playing. Not in the morning when you get up and he's so cute and cuddly and just wants to play. Because we did that. A lot. All of a sudden Peter decided that bedtime was actually play time. oops. So even if i'm half dead in the morning as soon as the little turd starts kicking and squealing i drag my butt out of bed to get up and take him to the other room. Plop him on the floor and then I embrace the coffee



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