Honor is a high-maintenance girl. She loves Mama. In fact, her entire life seems to be Mama, Mama, Mama, Mama! She always wants to be in-arms. I have always kept my babies in carriers and with me throughout the day, but I will admit that Honor's intensity can get overwhelming.
She does nap all during the day, but when she's napping I'm up and about doing other things — things for the big kids, making snacks and meals, cleaning house, and working on my websites. I'm BUSY. I know you can understand 😉
So by the time evening hits and we put the other kids to bed, I'm ready to have some time to myself. Honor wasn't having any of that. I decided that, for my own sanity, I needed her to go to bed at least a little while before I did.
Back to the Sleep Solution
I hit this point a little later with Galen — he was just over a year old when I felt like I really needed to help him form the habit of going to sleep well before me. I decided to use a method from The Baby Sleep Solution.
I chose this method because I felt (and still feel) that it's very balanced. There's no “cry it out” required, yet it does emphasize gently helping your baby establish a routine that meshes well with the rest of the family.
I think that this respectful, “child inclusive” but not “child centered” approach is healthiest for the family. Once a baby moves beyond the newborn stage, breastfeeding is well-established, and the baby is thriving, helping your baby join into the overall family rhythm is a good idea. Life would obviously be more baby-centered for a baby who was not thriving.
Honor is 6 months old now (almost 7 months old) and growing well. She also naps very well during the day, so I decided to revisit her schedule and The Baby Sleep Solution techniques.
Honor naps in the morning for about an hour, but as I've mentioned before, she would happily snooze for far more than that. It was easy to let her sleep so I could just “get a little more done.” That was problematic, though, because then she didn't want to sleep later — when I really needed the break.
I've had to discipline myself to get her up after an hour.
I also worked a little on the afternoon nap time, though it really sorted itself out well once I started getting her up in the mornings. I've found that she is definitely ready for the afternoon nap when I put her down, and as of right now she's napping about 2 hours in the afternoon.
She has two and a half hours (2.5) between her morning nap wakeup time and going back down for the afternoon nap.
I've been putting her down for bed at around 7:30pm. Scott and I go to bed just after 9pm, so by the time I've gotten her settled that leaves me around an hour or so to unwind a little and let go of the “touched out” feeling.
The Sleep Solution
Though Honor has never had a problem napping on her own during the day (though I do lie for the last part of her afternoon nap with her), she does not like being put down for bedtime. This, as I have said, was beginning to stress both of us out because by the time 7:30 rolled around and we were getting the rest of the kids ready for bed I was hitting a seriously “touched out” point. I was almost desperate for a few minutes where I wasn't tending a child!
I reviewed the various techniques in the Baby Sleep Solution and settled on the same one I used with Galen. Things are a little different, though. Galen was older and I felt comfortable putting him in his bed (in our bedroom). I don't feel comfortable putting Honor in that bed yet. I like having her downstairs, where Scott and I are, then carrying her up to bed.
I did move her from being in the office with us to being out in the den, where it's darker and quieter.
The technique that I chose to use involves me sitting very close to her, but not holding her or picking her up.
I do not know why this seems to work — it worked with Galen, too. When I put her down and leave the room, she cries. But if I put her down (we are using a baby swing right now) and sit very close, she is fine.
Just like with Galen, she fusses a little. I would call it “grumping” or “complaining.” She's not crying though.
We're about a week into me being very consistent with this and some nights she fusses for a few minutes, then stops. A couple of nights she has just gone on to sleep.
My next steps are to work on her regular bedtime routine again. This is something the Baby Sleep Solution feels is vital (you can download a free guide on this by clicking here) — I was being really consistent with the routine for awhile, then got out of the habit. I need to get back into it. Sometimes bedtime with five kids gets hectic and I forget… but I need to give her that time because I do feel that it eases the transition to sleep.
Honor is going off to sleep in her swing with me right beside her, and I am getting a little bit of time in the evenings to unwind, review for the next day, etc. For that, I'm thankful. I'm also thankful I can help her discover peaceful sleep in a gentle manner with The Baby Sleep Solution.
I will update again in a couple of weeks, hopefully with more progress!