Sleep Chronicles: Kate’s Story

Today I have the pleasure of introducing another mom to you in the sleep chronicles – Kate from Life with Noah.  Kate’s a Canadian mom (she lives on Prince Edward Island…where Anne of Green Gables took place.  So cool!) to 17 month old Noah with baby number 2 due in June.  I think you’ll need to update that blog title soon, Kate!  Read her story below!

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Hi there Sleep Chronicles readers. My name is Kate and I occasionally blog over at Life with Noah, formerly Awaiting Baby O’Brien. I am a full-time working Mama from up north in Canada, am Mommy to my adorable 17 month old son Noah, and am currently 29 weeks pregnant with baby#2 due to arrive in mid-June. Yes, my husband and I are just a little crazy..but feel we really hit the jackpot the first time around and are so excited to give Noah a little brother or sister so close in age.

Leading up to Noah’s birth, I read every darn book about babies, breastfeeding, and parenting in general. Being a total Type-A, I figured you could never be too prepared. Well nothing prepared me for the life of a newborn…and their sleeping habits. I am happy to be here today to share our story with you all. Thanks so much for having me Jess!

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Noah was born 11 days overdue, at 8 lbs 7 oz on November 14, 2012. He was a go-getter right from the start, as big babies normally are. Overall, labour and delivery went perfectly for us (other than being overdue). We planned on breastfeeding, and shortly after he was born he latched on like a trooper and we successfully breastfed to a year.

It took Noah exactly 9 months to the day since he was born for me to say I felt confident he was consistently sleeping through the night. Nine very long months. The journey to getting to that point has not been easy. We’ve had many ups and downs along the way. But I never lost hope, and knew that eventually he would get the hang of things.

Let me do a little recap of our journey to a full-nights sleep:

First 6 Weeks – the first 6 weeks of Noah’s life he spent in the napper of the pack n play. We swaddled him and tried just about every swaddle blanket on the market, but he hated being confined and also hated sleeping on his back. He never really slept well in the pack’n’play, he was very hard to settle and was always grunting and moving around in his sleep. It was super frustrating and hard for me to sleep as I was constantly peering over at him to be sure he was ok. He woke every 2-2.5 hours to eat overnight and tended to use me as a human pacifier for many nights those first few weeks.

1 to 3 months – When Noah was 5 weeks we took a family ski trip to the States. We brought the pack n play with us, but he never spent a night in the thing. He still was having a hard time settling at night and we were exhausted.We had brought our Fisher Price Snuggabunny cradle swing with us in the back seat of my Jetta (hilarious first-time parent move), and thank goodness we did. We started putting him in the swing at night, and miraculously he started sleeping better. After the trip we returned home and started using it at home as well and he started sleeping in stretches of 5+ hours at night. We had found our temporary solution. Everyone kept telling us, do whatever you need to do to get some sleep. I had immense Mommy guilt that I was doing something horribly wrong to my child by leaving him in the swing overnight, but at the time we were so sleep deprived, we really didn’t give it a second thought.

First ever nap in his crib…it lasted 10 whole minutes.

3 to 6 months- A week after Noah turned 3 months, I was talking to some Mommy friends with babes around the same age, and from our conversation I realized the time had come to move Noah out of the swing and into his own room. It was time to start some good sleep habits and break the bad ones. Up until this point he was spending half the night in the swing, the other half in the pack’n’play next to our bed. Also around this time, our swing motor broke. So it was now or never.

These few months were rough months in the sleep department. Noah hated to be swaddled and fought it like crazy, but couldn’t sleep unswaddled either. We ended up buying a transitional swaddle, the zipadeezip and it was a lifesaver for us. I was determined to get Noah out of the swing at night and for naps, but it was difficult. We started a bedtime routine at the same time every night…which included bathtime, sleep sheep, zippy and rocking chair. At night he would start out in the crib, but was still waking frequently. So in my dazed state, he’d finish off the wee hours of the am in the swing. We started off putting him in the crib for one nap a day, but he wouldn’t nap long. Then I’d cave and put him in the swing for nap #2 just to get a nice long nap out of him so that I could nap too.
At 4 months, still loving his cradle swing.

Around this time he also became dependent on his soother, his wubbanub. He would wake in between sleep cycles (every 45 mins or so) and not be able to get back to sleep without his soother. I think this dependency was a result of the swing, he was so used to the swing putting him back to sleep that he couldn’t get back to sleep on his own without some mechanism…we had created a monster! He was not yet old enough to find his soother on his own and pop it back in, so every 45 minutes or so my husband and I were running in to his room when he would fuss to pop the soother back in before he REALLY woke up.

One night during this time my mother came for the night since we were exhausted. She slept in the spare room with the monitor and was up at least 6-8 times with Noah overnight. I think she was shocked at how bad a sleeper he was. Fragmented sleep isn’t healthy for anyone, I don’t know how Noah managed to be such a happy baby despite his terrible sleep habits. As a result of our desperation, we tried letting him CIO once or twice around 4-5 months. It was horrible, he cried over an hour on multiple occasions and we were all in a tizzy. I decided that I wasn’t ready to do that again, so we abandoned that idea. We also tried dream feeding, but it never seemed to make that big of a difference.
Noah in his Zipadeezip sleep sack!

6 Months – Noah was 2 weeks shy of 6 months when we started him on solids and after starting we noticed a big difference in his sleeping habits right away. He also figured out how to find and pop his soother in on his own not long after that. He went from waking many times a night, to waking twice a night. He also started going to his crib awake and putting himself to sleep.

Things continued to improve, we cut his 3rd cat-nap out and his naps started lengthening from 3 short naps, to 2 long naps a day. By 8 months, he was occasionally sleeping through the night and was napping 3-4 hours in the day.

At 9 months, he was consistently sleeping through the night and was taking 2 two-hour naps, at 9 and 2pm every day. He was much better rested from a good night’s sleep, which in turn, made for better nap times I believe. We were also much better rested, which makes for a happier Mama and Dada.

At 17 months, Noah now sleeps from 7pm-7am every single night. It is glorious. He puts himself to sleep still, but does enjoy cuddle time in the rocking chair before bed. He still sleeps with his soother (that’s another hurdle we will have to cross at another time) and he still sleeps in his zippy. My husband and I love our evenings together after he goes to sleep and I no longer have to go to bed at the same time as the baby to ensure I maximize my sleep as well. We had a small regression around 11-12 months when Noah’s molars made an appearance, which was also around the same time I went back to work after my year of maternity leave and Noah was starting daycare. But that lasted only a few weeks. Those newborn days seem so far away…but it is time again for us to prepare for many sleepless nights as the arrival of baby #2 approaches.

Overall, it’s been a long road to get to where we are today with Noah’s sleeping. And for all you mommies out there with babies that don’t sleep, trust me, it will get better and know that there are other babies out there that don’t sleep well. You are not alone, and this too shall pass. In those first few months, just do whatever you need to do to get a bit of sleep whether that be the swing, a soother, or co-sleeping. I kept telling myself I think it was almost a blessing in disguise having a bad sleeper as our 1st child, that way, if we are blessed with a second child who turns out to be a great sleeper, we will really appreciate it!  Thanks for having me Jess!

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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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2 Comments

  1. April 17, 2014 / 1:54 pm

    Great post! Mac slept in the swing for months and months! Yep, you do what you gotta do!
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  2. April 18, 2014 / 10:25 am

    This makes me feel as if there is a light at the end of the tunnel! Your story is our little guy to a T – and we did the swing thing, too. We eventually put the swing basket in his crib so we could get him out of our room because he is such a noisy sleeper. At 5 months, we cut him off from it cold turkey. And finally now at 9 months, he pretty much sleeps through the night. Now if I could get him to take longer naps! Two 30 minute naps a day…I’m one tired momma by dinner time 🙂
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