26 Jan
Need a Break from the Night Shift

Dear Mouthy Housewives,

Why the crap won’t my kids sleep at night? This is effing ridiculous.   Son is 2-years-old, daughter is 7 months and they’re both messing with me from 2 am to 6 am.

Signed,

Sleepless in San Diego

__________________________________________________________

Dear Sleepless,

Why won’t they sleep? For the same reason you stayed up until 3 am doing Sex on the Beach shots with Johnny the drop-out bartender at the local dive bar in college when you knew you had to be at class at 8 am. Because it’s fun to be awake!

Your kids are thinking – “Hey I’m up. Let me cry a little bit and see if I can get my pushover mom to come in here and pick me up. I bet if I cry hard enough, she’ll even bring me some milk! Don’t forget the Oreos, SUCKER!!”

Here is the best way to get your kids to sleep through the night. Before you go bed, check on them to make sure they are snuggled comfortably and safely in their cribs. Go into your own bedroom, shut the door and turn off the monitor. Sleep peacefully until morning! Get woken up by sunshine and birds chirping!!

In all seriousness, if you stop going into their rooms, they’ll most likely stop waking up. My 8-month-old daughter was a regular on the infant party girl circuit. She loved to wake up through the night. I tried feeding her, rocking her, singing to her, bringing her into my bed and praying to God himself that she would JUST SLEEP. And then one day I just moved her into a crib downstairs and let her work it out for herself. And you know what? One person parties aren’t that fun. She now sleeps through the night pretty regularly.

My advice is to get tough before your kids can bound out of bed on their own. Because I have a 4-year-old who consistently comes into my room. And it’s just not as fun to be awake in the middle of the night without Johnny the bartender around.

Good luck.

Signed,

Kelcey, TMH

14 Responses to “Need a Break from the Night Shift”

01.26.11#1

Comment by Beth.

Fantastic advice. I read secrets of a baby whisperer and baby wise and my baby slept through the night at seven weeks old (please don’t hate me) after I followed the advice from those books. I can count on one hand the number of times he has woken me up during the night since then and he is now 22 months. I’m sure he wakes up, he just entertains himself until he falls back to sleep.

HealthyGirlGuiltyPast Reply:

Completely agree with the Baby Whisperer… just read the part about sleeping. Get the routine down and be done.

And Kelcey makes a great point. One person parties are no fun.

Karin Reply:

My girls were sleeping thru the night at 6 and 8 weeks, my son FINALLY started sleeping thru the night just before he turned 3 and the put him in his crib and let him cry thing totally didn’t work – he just learned how to get out of his crib really early – like before he could walk and then would either scream panicky b/c he couldn’t figure out how to get down or would fall on the floor and scream. What works for one child doesn’t always work for every child.

So, I needed sleep to be reasonable and well, not mean, and you know what I did? made a bed on my floor for him. It looked like a dog bed – folded up quilt in a corner with an unfinished piece of fleece laying there. he’d come in, talk to me for a minute (I would have no idea what he was saying), I’d give him a hug and he’d go lay in his dog bed and cover himself up. I no longer had to fully wake up and be coordinated enough to walk. Besides the sleep, the benefit of this is that as soon as he woke up, I’d put him on the potty so he figured out really early what to do with that (well, when he wanted to).

01.26.11#2

Comment by Old Lady In a Shoe.

Both my kids (14m & 2) are great sleepers because I let them cry it out. Even now, if they wake up in the middle of the night, I let them figure it out on their own. I constantly hear complaints from other moms about how their 2,3,4 year olds refuse to sleep, but they refuse to let them cry it out or figure it out on their own because it’s “mean”. Sorry, but kids will be much happier with a happy well-rested momma who can focus her attention and energy on them during waking hours, than with a tired cranky momma who can barely keep her eyes open!

01.26.11#3

Comment by Bean.

Excellent advice, as always. My only caveat would be if there are health issues like sleep apnea, in which case talk to your pediatrician.

01.26.11#4

Comment by skchord.

If, unfortunately, you are too whimpy (*lowers her head in guilty admittance*) to let them cry it out, there are other methods, such as the Ferber method, which worked well for us. It does involve some crying and takes some patience, but does work. The trick is to not pick them up. My daughter knows that if we pick her up it’s her game so my husband is now banned from checking on her in the middle of the night. Good luck!

JubanMama Reply:

We were too wimpy to do what we thought of as Mean, Cruel, Bad Parent Cry-It-Out (CIO), too. Instead what we did was this. Our son would cry; one of us would go in to make sure he wasn’t in pain or cold or whatever. No talking. No picking up. No lights. Then leave. If he continued to cry we’d ignore him for longer and longer stretches until finally he’d be so worn out from crying that he’d just go back to sleep as soon as we left the room.

After two nights of this, he slept through the night. Now he only wakes up if he’s sick.

And then one day a friend told me: oh, by the way, what we did? That’s CIO.

What I’m saying is that you don’t have to neglect your children in order to sleep train them – just be firm that “this is sleep time, not play time” and they’ll learn.

Rojopaul Reply:

This is exactly what the Super Nanny does: “No talking. No picking up. No lights. Then leave.” It can be hard for the first few hours, but eventually they learn and they sleep until they know the drill.

Or maybe you can try the wig approach. It worked for this guy (skip to 1 min. 30 for just the clip): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pKv4mG5E5qo

skchord Reply:

That is basically the Ferber method. It worked well for us…the child knows you are still there if they REALLY need you , but that now is not the appropriate time for cuddles or playing (unless they are sick and then all bets are off and I cannot be responsible for any hugging and rocking consequences). 🙂

01.26.11#5

Comment by dusty earth mother.

Great advice, Kelcey. It was agonizing to do, but I let my kids cry it out and they are good sleepers now. Except for the 5 year old son who occasionally sneaks into my bed because he “likes me”.

01.26.11#6

Comment by Plano Mom.

One other advantage to this is they learn early on that parents have far more patience than they do.

01.26.11#7

Comment by Average Jane.

Bill Cosby always said his kids could not get a good nights rest until they’d had a proper beating. I agree with the heartless bitches that let their kids cry it out. Being a heartless bitch myself, I have excellent sleepers. (Ages 4yrs and 6 mo.s)Somebody’s got to be in charge around here–and it sure as heck aint gonna be them!

01.26.11#8

Comment by Jason.

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01.31.11#9

Comment by Jennifer June.

I agree,
they only wake up if there is something to wake up for.

My oldest used to wake up repeatedly in the night to nurse. I stopped nursing her after bedtime and it took her about 3 nights to realize there was no point in waking up before 6am

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