Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Shhh - Baby Sleeping!

We've been seeing / making some changes in Peeper's sleep habits lately, but I've been scared to write about them, for fear of jinxing it.

It's been almost a month now, so I'm going to take my chances.

We've never really had big "problems" with Peeper's sleep, other than the nights that she's napped too late and then stayed up way later than we wanted.

That was mostly my fault, for allowing the nap (knowing damn well that I'd be sorry a few hours later) so I can't really complain too much.

Once she's down for the night, though, she will wake a few times to nurse (which just requires rolling over and flopping a boob in her general direction) and that's it until morning - which is usually about ten hours later.

(When I told BabyBro that, he (the father of then-six-week-old twins) said, in awe, "Ten hours?! In a row?!")

Only very, very rarely have we actually had to get up with her in the night - and that's only been when she's sick and feeling crappy and having trouble breathing while laying down (and while nursing).

Yes, we do realize how lucky we are.

The one catch to her nighttime sleep, though, has been when it happens. Because of Shrike's second-shift schedule, we've always waited up for her and then slept from like 2 am (or later, at times) to noon.

Which is fine and dandy, except that everything in the world that you can go and do with a baby - from MOMS Club activities, to story time at the library, to The Little Gym toddler time - happens at 10 am.

Evidently, normal babies sleep all afternoon, and then their big brothers and sisters come home from school, and then there's dinner and bedtime and for some reason nobody wants to play with me and Peeper at 9 pm! Or even 3 pm.

So, for quiet a while, we've been trying to figure out how to get her on an earlier schedule, so that we can go and do in the mornings, but without a lot of luck.

Then, we fell back.

I think we are the only parents of young children in the entire world who were actually happy about what the time change did to their kid!

On Halloween, Peeper just happened to get an early and short first nap, then she fell asleep while trick-or-treating, and had an early and short second nap, which set her up to go to bed about an hour early.

And the time changed that night - which added up to a two-hour shift in her bed time and wake up time.

Somehow, I managed to maintain that shift over the next week or so. We bathed around 11 pm, and were at least ready for bed when Shrike got home. Some night, she was even asleep in my lap, and actually stayed that way through the dogs greeting Shrike, and the transfer to bed.

When we went to Texas, we didn't have Shrike's schedule to work against, so we continued to keep it up, even going to bed and getting up "earlier" some nights, because of the timezone difference.

Then, we made another big shift while we were in Texas.

As I've mentioned before, Peeper has always taken her naps in my lap, usually nursing the whole time.

A few months ago, we switched to getting her to sleep for the night in bed, rather than nursing in front of the computer then moving to bed, but the naps hadn't changed.

Also, it was very difficult to leave her alone in the bed while sleeping, either at night or during the day, because she'd wake up so easily. She would get a much longer nap in my lap, so it was hard to get motivated to do anything different.

Mostly, I really like her sleeping in my lap, but sometimes I do suppose it would be handy to be able to "do things" while she's alseep, somewhere other than in front of the computer.

When we were in Texas, though, she was often in dire need of a nap, but not settling down while other people were around, so I'd take her in the bedroom and nurse her to sleep in the bed.

Sometimes, I fell asleep with her, but other times, I snuck out and left her alone with a baby monitor, and - wonder of wonders - she slept!

Maybe not as long as she would have if I could just pop a boob in her mouth when she stirred, but long enough to get the job done.

Then at night, I also snuck out of bed for a while - to get a snack, or start some laundry, or blog and check email / facebook / twitter, or just to have a bit of time to "myself."

I guess that was the thing that made it different there - although my family was around all the time, I was still 100% "on duty" with Peeper 24/7. At home, I hand her off to Shrike and can relax, knowing that she's perfectly happy, but when we're travelling, I can't leave the room to go potty without worrying that she's going to be upset about it, so those few minutes of "freedom" while she slept on her own were very welcome.

The other thing that I think really helped was the music. I started playing music while we were napping to drown out the noisy neighbors, but I've kept it up and made it part of our nap/bedtime routine.

Since we've been home, I've stuck with this new routine, and have tried to do one nap a day in bed (usually the second one; for example she's in my lap right now, having her first nap), and then we've bathed and gotten in bed by around eleven most nights.

I leave the music playing for her, and turn on the monitor and go about my business.

Yes, I would hear her cry without the monitor, but it makes me more comfortable with going to the other end of the house - where the kitchen and laundry room are. Also, I'll hear her more quickly, and can get in there and settle her before she gets good and awake.

Most nights, she's not stirred or woken enough to cry until well after Shrike's gotten home. I think the music helps a lot by drowning out the other sounds in the house - like me doing dishes (on occassion) and, especially, the dogs greeting Shrike when she gets in.

So far, we're thrilled with this arrangement.

Peeper doesn't seem to mind too much (As long as we get to her pretty quickly when she does wake up - I do still feel awful about her waking up in there alone, even if it's only for a few seconds, really.), I get some free time (maybe I'll even work my way up to cooking while she naps, or something crazy like that) and Shrike and I actually have a few minutes alone together, which is pretty novel, and rather nice.

On a semi-related note, now that we're getting up earlier, I'm trying to get out to more MOMS Club activities - sometimes even all by myself.

As hard as it is (and I do still hate walking out the door and leaving Peeper behind) I do enjoy myself while I'm there and the baby-free time is rather refreshing.

Also, I know that it's very good for Mommy and Peeper to have some time alone together, without Mama checking up on them, or poised to swoop in to the rescue.

Yesterday, I went to book club for about three hours. Things went pretty well at home, and I didn't even cry!

Shrike tells me that Peeper did have one "episode" during which she was crying and was signing "milk" at her (Knife in my heart! But also, so proud of her!) but then she settled down, and when I got home, they were both asleep in the bed!

It seems that they were reading books in Peeper's room, when Shrike noticed Peep's head bobbing up and down. She put her in the bed, and she was out.

This morning, I went to a MOMS-only coffeed (At Starbucks! In Target!) and they stayed home again. This trip was much shorter, because I had to get home from Shrike to go into work early (early deadline tonight, because of all the Black Friday inserts going in tomorrow's paper).

This time, when I picked Peeper up to say goodbye, she just waved at me like, "Yeah, whatever, Mama. Check ya later," and Shrike said she was just fine the whole time I was gone.

If this goes well another time or two, we might even have - gasp! - someone else watch her, so we can have - gasp! - a datenight or something.


  1. I can completely relate to this post. BB has always been held while napping and rarely will stay asleep if he is put down in bed. Even his Nana who watched him on fridays would hold him most of the time. Now we have to find a new sitter and that is my biggest worry, how is he going to nap in a pack-in-play or crib! Good luck with the new hours! I am sure as a SAHM it is even nicer to get out a bit!

  2. It's a weird transition. It's so nice to have a few minutes of "freedom" while she naps alone, but I also love it when she sleeps in my lap.

    Thus, my attempt to do one bed nap and one lap nap per day.

    Today, she did two bed naps, one while we finished getting ready to go to Thanksgiving and one at Shrike's parents' house, after dinner.

    It was strange.

    It's one of those "can't win for losing things," you know.

    On the one hand, I feel (because "everyone" tells me) that she "shouldn't" nap in my lap all the time (I was SO happy when you told me that B does that, too!) so I feel guilty for doing it, but then I feel guilty when I go off and leave her in the bed ALLLLL ALOOOOONE!

    But, I think that she is ready for it now, because she stays asleep for an hour or more (did NOT do that the few times we left her in bed up until now), and sometimes I hear her stir or even cry out once and go back to sleep, and when she does wake up, she's "talking" more than crying, so I guess she's getting used to it and knows that we've not disappeared, we will be there very soon.

    I'm just so ambivalent about it!

    Same with leaving and letting her and Shrike hang out alone. She's handling it well - better and better each time - but it just still feels so wrong.

  3. My mom is all about getting him in the crib and tries whenever she is here. She tried twice to day and he just woke up so when we came home from shopping, she was holding him on the couch. L and I just love the time with him and yes I cannot get much done but he is going to be out of my arms and on his own soon enought. I will always remember the little face of his and his sweet puppy breath. He is very attached to me so I don't get much done when he is awake. All that happens when he and L go to bed and I cram everything in before it is late. I know what works for us and it is not what works for everyone else. I am glad to know there are other moms out there living with their babies the same way!


What say you?