Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A sleep question

I was going to post this as a status on Facebook for my tribe there to chime in, but it would've been way too long. I hope they/you will still comment here or there so everyone can get the benefit of my awesome readers' collective wisdom.

First, before my question, a little about Ayla's sleep habits.

She's typically a good sleeper. I put her down awake, but sleepy and she goes to sleep on her own. She doesn't need any type of swing, vibration, blanky, stuffed animal, just her pacifier. She sleeps for about 10-11 hours at night (I'm working with her to get it to 12, but I'm happy with 11!), and takes three naps a day, usually for an hour or longer. So, pretty easy as that goes.

Lately, though, it takes her no less than 40 minutes to actually go to sleep from when I put her down. She plays (throws her pacifier around and crawls around to get it, pulls up, rolls/crawls around, does yoga, whatever), talks and just minimally fusses for that time, and when she finally falls asleep it's like she's just run out of batteries. The only time I go in to intervene is when her distressed cry tells me she's thrown the pacifier outside of the crib and I go replace it with no interaction. If she sees me, she thinks it's time to get up and play.

I thought I could read her signs of sleepiness to even start putting her down; yawning, rubbing eyes, getting still and quiet, and so on. I've started a pre-nap ritual to signal it's time to sleep, not play. It doesn't matter if she nurses or not.  I can't find any factors to change anymore than I have. It's pretty consistently 40 minutes.

So, what do you think?
-Is this 40 minutes excessive, normal, just a phase?
-Am I putting her down too soon or too late in the sleepiness window?
-Is this one of those things where every baby is different and I should just roll with it?

Before you answer, please consider:
-I don't need recommendations for a book to read, just your experience-based advice! (thanks!)
-I've read and am reading Healthy Sleep Habits, Healthy Child and basically agree with the philosophies therein.
-She does not sleep in my arms as a general rule. I wish she would. Very rarely she'll fall asleep after nursing, but only for a few minutes, then it still takes 40 minutes to go to sleep.

This is her right now. Run right out of steam!


  1. Each of our kids were different but it sounds pretty normal from our experience. The biggest thing is that she learns how to put herself to sleep (as opposed to needing to be rocked, etc) and it sure seems like she doing that...just takes her awhile. Our kids do best if we put them down near the same time for naps and nighttime. If we get outside of the window (7:30-8:00 for the two oldest) it seems to mess with them. Even if they are tired we try to put them down around the same time (unless they are sick or something).

    Sounds like she just takes a bit to wind down. You're doing great! kiss that beautiful baby girl for us.

  2. If she's not terribly unhappy it could just be part of her routine for this season. You can try going a little later to see if that helps. She also might be getting ready to drop a nap or do something new. Their motor skills always mess with their sleep for some reason.
    You can also try what we did with our first two: put about four pacifiers in the crib so that if she chucks one, you don't have to go in. :) Of course there's a chance she'll chuck all four, but it's less likely.
    Is the room dark? That seemed to help Bailey once she reached this fickle stage. I had to make it as dark as possible and put a noise machine on.
    I think mostly she's just missing her friends in CA and you need to bring her back out here :) Love you friend!!

  3. This is normal! My children do the same. Sometimes they're up an hour before they fall asleep.

  4. Hiya. I agree w the facebook answer that said she is probably ready for 2 naps vs 3. Ian did this switch to 2 naps at about 9 months, and then to 1 nap at 18 months.

    Not sure what her times are, but Ian used to be up for 2 hours in the morning, (then nap for 2 hrs) up for 3 hours at midday (then nap for 2 or 3 hrs), and up 4 hours before bed (approx 10-11 hrs). This lasted from about 9-18 months.

    The 4-hour stretch was really a little too long for a couple months there, but it seems there's always a bit of a gap when they are too big for one thing, but too little for the next. And nothing can really speed that up, which is a drag!

    Good luck! You're a great mom, and I love how well you know your baby. That says worlds about you.

  5. Sounds like you've got a pretty good sleeper there!! I remember my kids often took a long time to get to sleep at night. It sounds like it's all just a part of her growing and development! She may just need that time to wind down. Anyway, it all sounds normal really, and she just may be one of those kids who likes to lay there for awhile or play before falling asleep. The world is too interesting now to just ignore it!


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