Sleeping through the night

by isil on April 6, 2009

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Back in November I had written about night-time parenting. I had asked how the situation is in other AP homes. Well, things have changed quite a lot since and I thought it would be nice to give feedback.

Between October and December my daughter had a major sleep regression where she would wake up in the middle of the night and wanted to play for endless hours. Very tough days…I tried giving up naps, moving her bed time, but nothing seemed to help.

In January we went to a short holiday and when we returned back, things began to change slowly. She was not fighting against sleep any more. When I told her it was bed time, instead of running away from me, she began to choose the books she wanted me to read to her. Gradually, she started sleeping for longer stretches, like 3-4 hours.

In the last 3-4 weeks, she has even technically slept through the night (that is five or more hours without waking up for a feed). Once she slept from 9pm to 5am which was just unbelievable for me!

I have always nursed her to sleep, for many months in our Ergo, but one day she said she wanted to sleep on my lap. This shortened the time I had to spend every evening trying to put her to sleep. Since a week or so, I nurse her until she gets very sleepy and then lie next to her, and say “close your eyes, it’s sleepy time” and it works wonderfully. Last night she told me that she wanted to “look at me,” so sweet! I gave her a big hug and she was happy to close her eyes.

I am so glad that our daughter came to this stage with no pushing from us. She does not sleep through every night yet, but I saw the light at the end of the tunnel. If you are a sleep-deprived mama, just hang in there. It does get better.

Isil writes about attachment parenting and vegan cooking at Veggie Way.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

R April 10, 2009 at 9:43 am

How old is your daughter now?

My oldest, who will be 3 in June, has begun to regress in night-time sleep. Naps are fine, but at night, she fights it. I welcome her in my bed but wonder if something is going on. She’s very attached to her father and he has been absent for several weeks. Last night, her younger sister began doing the same thing, only she didn’t want to sleep in the bed with me — she wanted to sleep on my lap.

I know the problem must be b/c of there father’s problems, as they are such secure, sweet children during the day but at bed time, they cry and cling.

I’m glad you’re having a better time with your daughter. I understand sleep problems seem to only last a while before things change, but your story gave me reassurance all the same.

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Moira May 2, 2009 at 7:46 pm

I have always done “whatever works”. Now on the fifth baby (exclusively breastfeeding 3 month old), we have a very comfortable way with sleep. When someone wants mom, I give a snuggle, hugs, kisses, nursing and tuck them in awake. Some nights we do this 3 or 4 times, but none of my babies has ever complained at bedtime, and they prefer to sleep in their own beds except on rare occasions. They will come in for a visit if they have a bad dream or wake in the night, but they snuggle then go back to their bed on their own- no prompting from mom who usually just snuggles up and goes right back to sleep! When they wake up in the morning they come in for a snuggle. It is common to have seven of us stuffed in my little double bed on a Sunday morning (even the teenagers jump on this bandwagon!) I think our ease at bedtime has to do with the fact that we view our beds as our private, special places- they’re decorated by their owners and are the place where lots of special memories are made- stories, snuggles, games, etc. We don’t think of nighttime as “scary” or “lonely”. If your children love their beds, it’s much easier!

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Julie September 3, 2009 at 7:04 pm

I am a mother of 4 boys. I have co-slept with all of my sons. However, now I have a 8 year old who can’t sleep alone without feeling anxious, a 5 year old who just started coming into my bed again at night and an 18 month old who is nursing several times a night in my bed. Thank goodness the 14 year old, is able to sleep through the night in his own room! I feel exhausted and overwhelmed. I question whether I have done the right thing. They do not know how to comfort themselves to sleep. I don’t expect the baby to do that yet, but my 8 and 5 year old, I would imagine would be able to sleep independently at this point. We even have tried them sleeping together so they have a snuggle buddy, but they only want mommy or daddy. My husband eventually ends up leaving the bedroom to “find” a place to sleep. Help, I am fried an my kids don’t wake don’t sleep well, they end up tired by morning too!

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Gen May 13, 2010 at 7:55 pm

We’ve coslept with all our 5 children. They’ve always gone to bed quite peacefully when not being forced into a bed on their own. The oldest two now sleep in bunks in the same room. They weren’t forced. They had the freedom to choose those for quite a while before they did. The 8 year old and 5 year old girls sleep in a king size bed together. There’s enough room for all the family to come in for reading and prayers before bed and enough room for a parent and the baby to snuggle and sleep there sometimes. We have a QS bed and small bed next to it in our room, so there’s also room for children to come in and snuggle and/or sleep if they wish to during the night. Because the little bed is in the corner with ours right against it, on the rare occasions when the baby has been playful in the middle of the night, I can still doze next to her. The girls are in an adjoining room, so we can have the door open to hear them, speak to them or take them to the toilet.

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