Sleep Chronicles: Kristen’s Story

Today I’m happy to continue my Sleep Chronicles series with Kristen, another working mama like myself!  Her little girl is just a little bit younger than Abbie, and her personality reminds me SO much of my little girl.  Take it away, Kristen!

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My name is Kristen and I am mom to almost-one-year-old, Miss A. I am also a high school teacher, wanna be runner, and am on a quest to conquer clean eating. I blog at The Tale of Three P’s.  I truly believe that hearing/reading about other moms and their experiences is one of the most helpful things a new parent can do! I’m happy to share our share our story with Jess.
Currently, I am sitting on the couch, listening to the sweet voice of my one year old. She has a lot to say and she loves to talk and it makes my heart happy to hear her. The problem is that she is supposed to be napping. I put her in her crib almost a half hour ago. She hasn’t cried at all. Instead, she is playing with her socks, singing to herself, and talking to her toes. Sometimes, she breaks out in to a chorus of giggles. Adorable, yes. Conducive to sleep? No.
This has always been our struggle with sleep. From the very beginning, Miss A has been way too busy to sleep. She is a curious, inquisitive little girl who is always on the move. She has believed, since the beginning, that sleep is for the weak. Her father and I vehemently disagree. We like sleep. A lot.

Miss A was born a happy, healthy baby. Before she was born, we decided that nursing was really important to us and she was nursed exclusively for the first five months. For the first few weeks, she was up frequently in the night to eat. We struggled with nursing for the first few weeks but we got the hang of it eventually and that helped a little bit. It’s amazing what a full tummy will do; however, even with nursing figured out, Miss A decided that she hated her pack n play and didn’t really like her cradle, either.  She liked to sleep on people. We spent the first month or so taking shifts so that she could sleep on our chest. I watch the entire show of Psych beginning to end while I laid on the couch and she slept on me.

We figured out that this wasn’t sustainable and moved her to her cradle. We used a Sleep Sheep (which we love) and swaddled her (love Aden and Anais blankets, can’t say enough good things about those). She was ok at night (she still got up a lot) but we could NOT figure out naps. She feel asleep every time she was in the car or in her stroller. We couldn’t figure out a schedule at all. I also didn’t feel all that comfortable letting her cry it out.  Basically, we ended up taking naps in her swing.
At the end of the summer, we moved to a new house and the nursery was right across the hall from our Master. We used our move as the impetus to put Miss A in her own nursery. The first nights were really hard, especially because she could roll over. I sat outside of the nursery door and watched her flip herself over. I’d go in, put her back on her back, and go sit outside again. And she’d flip herself over. Finally, I gave up. To this day, she sleeps on her stomach (this was really hard for me, too, because I am/was terrified of SIDS and I greatly advocate safe sleep). It was also around this time that I headed back to work. When I was at work, there was much more of a routine and we worked out an actual nap schedule. We figured out that she sleeps MUCH better at night when she takes two solid naps during the day. We also let her self soothe starting at about six months. This was hard for me but she really only cries for about five minutes before she falls asleep. We never let her cry too much longer than that.
A year later, we have a schedule that we stick to. She takes two naps a day with a cat nap on the way home after school. She take a long morning nap. The afternoon nap is still a struggle. That can last anywhere from 45 minutes to two hours and there are definitely days that it doesn’t happen at all. She wants to play and climb and be outside.  I get it. There’s a big, exciting world out there but she really needs that nap! She is also FINALLY sleeping through the night.  She might wake up once here and there but she’s great at putting herself back to sleep. We have a really specific bedtime routine (bath, book, bed) that I think makes a difference, too. Routine helped us a lot but my advice would be not to worry about it too much. I read a lot of books about sleep that were, I felt, very over the top. They insisted that the baby take a nap at the EXACT same time in the EXACT same way every day. That’s just not feasible.
Again, I love hearing about other moms and their experiences. Every kid is so different and so much of parenting is deciding what works best for you and your family, regardless of what other people think. I also think that we are so inundated with advice that this can all be really overwhelming and I think it’s really important to emphasis that whatever you choose, it’s what is best.
Thanks to Jess for letting me share our story!
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If you’re a mom who’s interested in sharing her child’s sleep story, please let me know – I’m always looking for stories!  Email me at [email protected]

 

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1 Comment

  1. March 21, 2014 / 7:32 am

    What a cutie! I LOL’ed that she thinks sleep is for the weak and you and Dad disagree. haha By the time our kids realize how amazing sleep is, we’ll WANT them up and awake, as teenagers to do chores, right? Annoying irony. 🙂
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