Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Help me Mamas

Question for all you Mamas out there:

At 5 months old, did your baby have a routine or schedule or anything?

See, I'm a first time Mama... So, perhaps one day I'll look back and laugh at myself for even wondering this... but for now, I have no idea if I'm doing right by my child.

Anna is super happy and cute and fun most of the day. And then, all of the sudden, she freaks right out. Hubster and I can only assume it's from being over-tired. But I swear, she's not giving me any cues. She doesn't yawn. She's not cranky (until too late, apparently), she doesn't usually have super-rosy cheeks (again, until it's too late).

So, what's a Mama to do?

Part of me thinks it's all my fault because I don't have her on a predictable routine yet... so she doesn't know what to expect from one minute to the next. Which means, of course she's going to not know when to go to bed and then end up getting extremely over-tired.

Another part of me keeps checking my Dr. Sears Baby Book. The one that follows the whole attachment parenting idea. And according to them, I should let Anna sleep with me and lie down in bed with her at nap time, and rock her or nurse her to sleep... etc. etc. All of that is fine and dandy too (I actually really like it)... but then, I wonder - will she learn to fall asleep on her own at any point? Will I always have to lie in bed with her for her to go to sleep?

All I know for certain is that I end up feeling rather guilty every time she has a melt down.

I should know better not to take her out at night past 7pm. I should know how to read her cues and get her to bed before she's really upset. I should not "go with the flow" and let her take 30 minute cat naps all day, rather than a few good, solid, long naps.

Or should I?


  1. It was at that age/stage that I cracked open the Baby Whisperer's troubleshooting guide and promptly started a routine. Naps at 10 and 2. Scary baby became perfect baby. My Sears follower friends all wound up with kids who have sleep disorders (though all are happy and confident, so whatever works for ya).

  2. In my experience (2 kids, so not much) I found going with the flow was the best policy for us.

    Fletcher was the WORST sleeper on earth. He'd sleep, at most, for 30 - 40 minute naps but usually it was cat naps here and there. He woke up all the time at night and I tried EVERYTHING. I did try crying-it-out for about a week and it didn't work for us – he cracked me before I cracked him.

    I ended up going the Dr. Sears route even though I hadn't even heard of him at the time and just chucked him in bed with us (mainly out of exhaustion). I rolled over and nursed him if he woke up and nursed him to sleep for naps. If he still wouldn't go to sleep, I'd stick him in the car and drive around until he fell asleep then drive to Tim's, get a coffee and sit and read magazines in the driveway. I felt like a complete failure as a parent and I would speak to anybody that would listen about his sleeping. I figured he'd be sleeping with us when he was 15 and only in 20 minute intervals.

    Today, that kid falls asleep like a bag of hammers at 8pm like clockwork and sleeps all the way through. It was gradual so I can't tell you exactly when it all kicked in but it wasn't from anything I was doing, the penny just dropped one day and he got it.

    Some people are great believers in crying it out and hush pat and stuff like that but I didn't have much luck with it.

    All I can guarantee is that whatever you do now will have no effect on how she sleeps when she's 20 so do whatever works for you.

    Good luck. You're doing a great job.

  3. By 5 months I think it wouldn't hurt to be in some sort of routine. I'm not much of a scheduler necessarily, but doing the same thing in the same order at relatively the same time really helped both my guys sleep well.

    There is certainly no reason to feel guilty or get upset when she cries. That's what babies do! All of them, tired or not, will freak out randomly. She won't hurt herself crying, it's just her only means of communicating right now.

    If you find attachment parenting techniques work for you then keep at it. Every baby is different so just keep experimenting with different things until you find something that works for you guys. I found what worked for Nate (who was terrible at falling asleep) was letting him cry for one minute then go back into the room, hugs etc., leave the room again for 2 minutes. I never got past 5 minutes, as he just went to sleep. I guess that sounds kind of mean to some, but I knew there was nothing wrong with him, he just didn't want to sleep.

    Go with what works. She'll grow into a new phase soon enough and then you'll have to rethink your entire strategy all over again.


  4. I say put the books away and go with your mamma gut. Routines are good but babies can still be their own little person. My son was a great baby but my daughter, with the same methods, a busy little handful. It became real easy when I let the force guide me instead of the rule books.

  5. We followed the four hour cycle - within four hours you should play, sleep, change and eat. The order is up to you and the babe and it can vary. It is a go with the flow schedule.

    My girlie took naps with me and cuddled and all the good stuff and by the time she was 18mths had no trouble going to sleep on her own. She is five now and tucks me in.

    Trust your gut - they are only this little once and it is our job to make them feel secure and loved.

  6. Thank you so much everyone! I appreciate the answers. It really helps to hear from a bunch of seasoned Moms. Lots to think about and figure out. But I'm feeling better!