Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Sleeping Like A Baby?

Whoever invented the phrase "sleeping like a baby" to describe someone sleeping soundly must have never had a baby! I know there are those rare babies out there who can sleep through anything. I get slightly jealous whenever I see a baby in a public place who's just snoozing blissfully through everything, because Kirsten never was like that. But those babies might wake up all night long, so I know I can't get too jealous. Kirsten sleeps pretty good at night... depending on the night.

When she was really tiny, she did fall asleep once in awhile in her bouncy seat. It was rare, but here's proof that it happened!

For the first six months or so of her life, I definitely felt like getting Kirsten to fall asleep and stay asleep was my full-time job. It was very difficult to get her to relax. I'm sure parenting books might call it "accidental parenting" or something like that, but we did what worked! And what worked was rocking her to sleep. There were many days that I hardly left our rocking recliner chair. I'd rock her to sleep for her morning nap and she'd be sleeping soundly in my arms. I'd carefully sit up, tiptoe into her bedroom, set her down in the crib with as little motion as possible, hold my breath... and her eyes would pop right open and she'd start to cry. I'd repeat this whole scene sometimes four or five times before she would finally stay asleep. The most frustrating days were when I'd spend all that time rocking her to sleep only to have her wake up fifteen or twenty minutes later. I felt like I was super-glued to the rocking chair for months.
She also liked falling asleep on our shoulders, but would still wake up when we set her down. Here she is with my mom, who is especially good at rocking her to sleep.

She slept in a bassinet for about two months, and we swaddled her for five months! Swaddle Blankets by Kiddopotamus were the best, because they had velcro tabs to hold the sides together and she couldn't get out of them very easily. If we didn't swaddle her, her arms and legs would flail around and keep herself awake. She still kicked out of the swaddle blankets when she got a little older, and it was a nice change when we stopped swaddling her.

Anybody who's ever had a sleep-over with me will find it no surprise that I have a baby who struggles with falling asleep. I've had sleep problems for my entire life, and I was always the last one awake at any slumber party. I'd talk and talk until everyone else was asleep, and then I'd still lie there for a long time trying to fall asleep and failing. It mystifies me that Stephen can fall asleep just a couple of minutes after his head hits the pillow. How does he do that??!! I wish I knew his secret. Even when I'm dead tired, I still can't fall asleep quickly. It seems Kirsten inherited that from me. Although the first time we took her to the beach, she slept the whole time. I don't recall ever doing that!

I can't complain too much because compared to other babies Kirsten is a very good nighttime sleeper. At a very young age she was sleeping longer stretches at night than normal, and I used to worry if I should wake her up to feed her. I've mostly struggled with her naps. When we stayed in California my mom would put her down for naps on her tummy. She said it worked better, but I was always too nervous to do it myself. I like this picture though. Now that she can roll around, she never puts herself on her tummy. She's always on her back or slightly on her side.

The great news is, it's gotten SO much better! In her sixth month she stopped crying the second we put her down, and it was the biggest relief. We still rocked her to sleep, but I wasn't spending nearly as much time in the rocking chair. Now that she's 8 months old, she still needs help relaxing and sometimes falls asleep in my arms, but we can also put her down in her crib, let her fuss for just a couple of minutes, and then hear the blissful silence that means she's asleep at last. Every night is different and waking up once in the middle of the night is still common, but it's getting better by leaps and bounds. If anyone reading this is still in the earlier stages, just keep going and remember that it won't last forever.


  1. Kirsten is just so adorable! I am happy to hear that it is getting better. Good for you to stick with it. I never realized how much hair Kirsten has! How beautiful!

  2. I commiserate! All that you described about the first few months with Kirsten was Savanna to a T. My favorite quote comes from "Greatest Game Ever Played" where the question was asked,
    Varden-"How'd you sleep?
    Ted Ray-"Like a baby. Woke up every two hours and cried." Now *that* is how a baby sleeps!!!


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