16. sleep balancing

chickpea asleep in jorinde while i cook

some kids are born as sleepers. these kids shock and amaze me. i was reading a note written by a non-sleep training friend of mine that said that her 7 month old daughter falls asleep laying down holding her husbands hand each night. my eyes practically fell out of my head. what?!?

my kids seem to require sleep gymnastics. they are sleep fighters and they tend to wake at the end of each cycle. i wish i had the other kind often and i am really green with envy. but i do not. with the bean i killed myself obsessing about his sleep. he fought sleep, he woke every hour or two at night, and i bounced, held, wore, nursed him through all his naps trying to eek out five more minutes of sleep. because i was so worried about him being underslept.

when flash and i agreed to have a second child we said, "this one will be a sleeper" so many times it was like a prayer/obsession. guess what. she is not. i mean, she is a little but less sensitive to every little thing then my first was and she will sleep on her own for a few hours at the beginning of the night. but, she still usually requires sucking and movement to fall asleep, will really only go to sleep for mama, and does not nap more then 20 minutes or so if i put her down. i can't control the situation like i could with ds because i have him in the house with us. often i wear her for her naps and eventually his exuberance wakes her and she has, once again, napped for less then an hour.

with the bean i read the sears sleep book, the no cry sleep solution for babies and toddlers, and posted on several attachment parenting boards seeking advice. with the chick pea i am determined not to get obsessive about because that only leads to The Big Sleep Wars, which i still have with the bean. i want to just follow her lead and assume that if she is tired she will sleep. but, i also know she is not a "natural" sleeper and she needs some help to get enough sleep to be healthy and happy. so, i am seeking balance.

my dream, i rock and nurse her to sleep then put her down and she takes a two hour nap while i get stuff done around the house and play with the bean one on one. my reality...so far from that. i am thinking of trying the no cry nap solution. i also feel like i have a lot of ideas already from reading her other books but i am not sure if i am dependable enough to implement them.

there are benefits to her being able to sleep on me. i am mobile, i do not have to be home for naps, we are bonding, i LOVE babywearing.

there would be benefits to her napping on her own. i wouldn't worry that she is woken by her brother and that is unfair. i could get more done during the day.

i mostly feel lost and confused and unsure how to deal with things. there are so many sleep things i would like to be different i do not know where to begin and i also don't have the energy at that time of night to work on any of them.

bean: i wish he would do bedtime with someone besides me. like, his dad. that would be nice. i wish he would accept comfort from flash in the middle of the night. then i wouldn't be nighttime parenting two kids.

chickpea: i wish she would go to sleep for her dad too. i would like her to be a little more flexible in who comforts her eventually when she does not need to nurse for nourishment. i would like her to nap better.

which kid to focus on? how hard to work on it? how much to trust in time? how to focus without getting to the point of obsession and anger/frustration?

if any of you out there have this all figured out i'd love for you to come up with my plan.


  1. Well, I don't have any answers, just my experience to share. My 20 month old was a cat napper when she was an infant. A 30 minute nap was normal. I talked to the pediatrician, and he said that some babies are just like that.

    I was eventually able to get her to take an hour nap, but only if I was holding her. Finally when she went down to one nap (around 13 months old), I determined that she needed to be in bed for naps. Sometimes that requires me laying there with her for a long while. And her naps are still not all that long (or predictable).

    The good things is that, because we co-sleep, she is a great sleeper at night. I'll take that!

    The best advice i can give you is to have a predictable, calming routine for naps and bedtime. We do the same routine, every time. It helps the child know what is coming next.

    Good luck!

  2. My lo who is 21 months old was never a good napper or sleeper. He still doesn't "sleep through" but co-sleeping is a godsend. However, his nap times have gotten longer and less interrupted, simply with time. I stopped wearing him for naps when he was about a year old and started putting him upstairs for naps.

    No idea what it must be like balancing the two though.