Wednesday, September 9, 2009

asher walks (once) and a plea for help

Asher took his first independent steps yesterday. He took one step after he pushed his walker truck too far away from him, and I coaxed another one out of him later to show Daddy. But that has been the end of that. No more walking yet. He is a stubborn one.

Now I need a little advice on what to do about Asher's sleeping. So here's the deal. Before we moved, Asher was sleeping really well. Usually 8-10 hours without waking. Then he started teething. Then we moved. Then there were suddenly 3 older siblings in the house that made lots of noise. And it was summer so there was traveling and staying up late for everyone. All this equals sleep issues.

Now that school is back in session and we are all on a better schedule, Asher is starting to get on a better schedule too. We just had five days without the kids and we were able to get Asher to go sleep by 8 regularly. He even slept 12 1/2 hours straight the other night. It was glorious... minus the exploding boobs the next morning.

The issue I'd like some advice on is that Asher is a really light sleeper. He didn't have older siblings around for the majority of his first 10 months and didn't get used to sleeping in a noisy house. So now, whenever the kids are home and make any noise, which kids always do, he wakes up from his naps and early bedtime. It's really frustrating. We've tried putting a fan in his room but that didn't help.

Our only solution so far is to have the kids go bed early and just have quiet time for an hour. We tried it tonight and it seemed to work pretty well. I'm encouraged. But I don't know what to do about naps when they are here. Any suggestions?

And while you're at it, any tips on getting little ones to sleep during teething? We are on a break from it at the moment, but I'm sure another one will begin working its way out soon enough.


  1. Try an actual white noise machine instead of just a fan maybe? My sisters all use this one and swear by it (besides one baby that doesn't love it I think). I always use it for newborn shoots to drown out any outside noise and after photographing my nephew we came downstairs surprised that my grandma was there (they even yelled up to us but we just didn't hear anything). But you have to have it as loud as possible and before you get used to it it sounds like an airplane landing in your room.

    Or make the kids have "outdoor time" away from his window when he's napping :).

    Good luck!

  2. I would suggest a noise machine as well... and unfortunately you may have to do some sleep training which stinks for a couple days, but they tend to catch on pretty quickly. Like, if he wakes up from nap before he should, don't go in immediately and get him, give him 15 mins to see if he'll settle back down on his own. It's a matter of teaching him when it's OK to be awake and when it's time for sleep. Obviously not giving him attention when he's awake and not supposed to be will teach him it's time for sleep. A book I haven't read, but heard is great is "Healthy sleep habits, happy child" or something like that.

    As for sleeping while teething, I'm not sure. So far, I haven't had much issue with teething - my son never had much teething issues and my daughter still only has 6 teeth, which came through without much issue. I would just say try to keep a super consistent schedule and use tylenol. :)

    Good luck!!

  3. "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child" it sister!

  4. Yes, that is the best book! We had to use the "cry it out" method for about an hour one night when Charlotte was teething at about seven months old and she has slept through the night ever since, even though teething.

    I read that after a baby weighs 11 pounds they don't need to be fed to make it through the night anymore for nutrition reasons, so Asher may not be eating at night because he is hungry but rather because he is in the habit of waking up for food or being fed to sleep again. I had a good friend whose baby had this issue until she spent one painful night letting him cry it out when he was a year old. You may want to stop feeding him when he wakes up at night, even if you still rock him back to sleep, and you may find that when he figures out he isn't going to get a snack he doesn't bother waking up.

    If you don't want to spring for a noise machine, I have heard of people using static on the radio as white noise for their kids. I went to Walmart and got the cheapest, noisiest box fan I could find for Charlotte and I keep in on full blast facing a corner in the room and that has worked well for her, but we don't usually have the challenge of other kids in the house.

  5. Hmm...I guess "tough love" is the phrase that comes to mind here? At least at my house, it's virtually impossible to keep the noise down while the baby is sleeping, so I figure they just adapt to it. Obviously, it's easiest to do that from the beginning, so poor Asher is going to have the adjustment phase, but I think you'll be better served by having him adjust to the noise rather than making the other three be very quiet ("more quiet," however, is totally reasonable!)

    With that said, I FIRMLY believe in quiet time every afternoon, no matter what the age. I think it's good for everyone to have a down time period--even when kids give up their naps, it's still a good time to have at least an hour of quiet with books, puzzles, crayons, etc. That may help Asher to rest more comfortably, and be a nice break for you as well. :-)

    And like someone else said, I agree that you might want to think about eliminating the night feedings. Nutritionally, he doesn't need those at this point, so they're more for comfort, and while you DO want to comfort him, you also don't want a kid who is up several times a night as toddler. Those feedings are probably working to disrupt the solid sleep that he needs both at night and during the day; you may also find that when he sleeps more soundly during the night he'll give up a morning nap, so then you'll only need to worry about having the house quiet for an afternoon nap. Both of my girls dropped their morning nap entirely by 14 months, at 2 months Isaac is nursing once during the night (by his own choice. :-) So that's kind of how things run at our house, and there's my two cents.

  6. Thanks for the tips. I think I'll look into the sound machine. For the record, I do realize that Asher won't starve if he doesn't nurse at night. He very young started only waking up once at night and was sleeping through the night prior to teething. With all the craziness of summer and traveling and teething, I've been letting him sleep with me more and he's been nursing at night again. Which I have not minded. I like cuddling him. Plus I practically sleep through it. But its probably time to get him sleeping on his own again. We'll see how things go.

  7. we run a tight ship with military precision around here when it comes to sleep. we also use a sound machine. i used to use a fan, but a friend told me about using a sound machine and we have loved it. especially with a small house and random children playing throughout the day. it is so worth it to have well rested children...and parents!

  8. do you nurse asher to sleep? once i stopped nursing george all the way to sleep and he learned to just fall asleep on his own, our lives got so much easier as far as waking up was concerned. if he did wake up (due to noise or needing a drink or whatever) he quickly put himself right back to sleep. it has made our lives so much better because i am not constantly stressed about him getting woken up-- i know that if he does wake, he will go right back to sleep. i don't know if that's helpful at all, but it's all i've got :).

  9. also, we use radio static for some background noise and in the winter a little space heater that totally drowns out all sound. a noise machine might be a good investment for you.

  10. box fans are pretty loud when turned up to the highest level... but now that i think about it, they might not have them in stock since the season is changing! and my next piece of advice... everything passes and they seem to catch on someday!

  11. We use a fan for the Boy, but I also run the bathroom fan to further drown out the sounds of the apartment--that seems to help too. But I've also seen the White Noise Machine in action and it works marvelously.

    And we do tylenol when the teething is really bad, but I know that not everyone agrees with that. It works for us, and there's nothing I can do to make it any easier on him, the least I can do is help him to be comfortable to sleep. The molars are particularly bad though and tylenol doesn't help much...he sleeps, but he sleeps lighter and he whimpers and whines and it's SAD. Just so you know what's coming. Bummer.

  12. Our little guy is a light sleeper no matter what we try, so I think some babies just are wired that way.

    As for the teething....I am in love with Hyland's homeopathic teething tablets. Our baby has NEVER slept well, and now that he is dealing with a cold and teething, it was even worse. But then came those tablets. I'm a skeptic when it comes to homeopathy, but for the first time in his entire eight month old life, he is sleeping for 12 hours at a time. I really think the tablets are doing something. He likes taking them too, so there's no issue with getting him to suck on them long enough to have them dissolve. It only takes seconds to dissolve, and then I start seeing a difference in him within 30 minutes.

    I hope you find a good solution that works for you! Blessings.