14 responses to “Sleep Solutions SOS”

  1. Sandra

    We have four children, and here’s what we did with all of them:

    1. No schedule. We let them sleep when tired, eat when hungry, play when awake. We didn’t use the clock, because their little systems are constantly resetting and adapting. They got in a “routine”, per se – but it was very varied. Naps where whenever they fell asleep. Nighttime? They may not fall asleep until 11 p.m., or may be out at 7. No fighting them to get to sleep when you let them dictate when they’re ready! 😀

    We always had a family bed, so we slept fantastic. Since I never had to get up and go get baby, I rarely woke with any of them. So co-sleeping is one HUGE solution to sleep problems. Baby feels safe and secure, it’s natural and loving, and a nurturing gift to your little one. He hasn’t even been out of the womb as long as he was in it – a crib is a big scary cold place!

    2. We never got into a “ritual” for bedtime. No bath-book-cuddle. We bathe the babies when they’re dirty, and snuggled to get them to sleep. It never required a routine, I’d never even heard of such a thing until I started visiting message boards! (my oldest is 16 – my youngest is 1).

    3. We fed only on demand. Some days they would eat more, some less. Again, we never used a clock – I’m not hungry at precisely 6 p.m. every night, no way is a growing baby. We start ours on table foods at 6 months, so they ate meals with the rest of us – breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. They ate whatever the rest of us was eating.

    4. All of ours slept on their tummies from birth. We never had to deal with gas or reflux pains, baby slept fantastic, never had flat spots, nothing.

    5. Never swaddled ever, since our babies were tummy sleepers from the moment they came from the womb.

    6. I would never ever leave a baby to cry for any amount of time. Ignoring a crying baby is like ignoring a fire alarm, in my opinion. Baby needs constant assurance mama is there for him – they are not independent beings ready to be separated so fast. Since we co-slept, baby rarely woke crying because when they woke, they were snuggled safe and sound between daddy and mama. If they were in a separate room, I would race to them the moment I heard a cry. They need love as much as food and milk! 😀

    This worked for us. I truly believe trying to set any schedule with a baby under about a year old is an exercise in futility. I’ve read about parents spending two hours trying to get a baby to sleep, when if they’d have just waited two hours, baby would’ve easily gone down. Make sense? Anyways, I just believe in following their cues alone – I don’t use clocks to determine hunger or sleepiness. It also worked out great because I never had to leave somewhere or change a schedule because it was “nap time”. Our four napped anywhere they wanted to, any time they wanted to.

    Sorry for the novel, I hope I gave an idea or two, and congratulations on such a wonderful miracle to be loved and cherished. They grow up SO fast, enjoy this time – really, you will miss it. Good luck.

    1. rosiemolinary


      This is great feedback. Thank you for taking the time to share your experience and knowledge. So a question about feeding on demand and sleep. We adopted our little boy and he was fed on demand at the care house so we wanted to continue it so that there was one less transition to worry about. It seems, however, that the desire to be feed is what wakes him a good bit at night. Did you have that experience?

      Thanks so much!

  2. fightingwindmills

    Before becoming a mother I thought that children went to bed at 8 and stayed asleep. My daughter would fight that bedtime with all her might. So I gave up. Seriously. The times that I did manage to get her asleep before 9, she would always wake up at 11 because she thought it was a nap. It drove me crazy!

    And my son is the same way. He would want to breastfeed three hours straight before being ready to sleep around 10:30 or 11. Around 9 months I stopped responding to him at night. We did our best to ignore his crying for a few weeks as he learned that no one was coming. I wanted him to learn to sleep 9 or 10 hours in a row. At that age he had already transitioned from two naps to one. His one nap was about 2 hours long, sometimes 3.

    He preferred sleeping on his stomach with his bottom in the air once he wasn’t being swaddled anymore, but in the swaddle he would sleep on his back.

    I didn’t give my son solids with any regularity until he was a year old because they all seemed to cause him pain. He would have tastes of banana and yogurt every once in a while, but not as a “supper” food. My sisters-in-law, who became mothers long before me, always recommended solid food as a breakfast or lunch, but not as a supper. I think that’s because they can cause discomfort to sensitive stomachs.

    Bedtime is where I am really slack as a parent. My children now go to bed around 10 or 11 each night. I’m sorry I can’t be of more help!

  3. fightingwindmills

    And I agree with Sandra that “routines” are a myth because as soon as you get used to something your child does, it changes. My son’s two hour naps are whenever he feels like it. I never force a schedule with him and he is very easy going and pleasant. My daughter only wants to take a bath or shower 2 or three times a week. My son loves baths, but usually in the afternoon. It’s not a part of our bedtime routine.

  4. Sandra

    Yes, ours often woke to be fed. I was fortunate enough to breastfeed, but I would’ve fed formula the same way. Maybe have a bottle of water with a separate container of formula ready to shake up right there – he doesn’t need it heated, room temp is okay too… that way it’s quick and easy, you’re not going downstairs or anything like that.

    It’s just not natural for a baby to sleep through the night, especially before a year old. I’m not sure where this myth got started, it’s not a goal to be achieved, it’s nature doing it all on it’s own. Their systems are growing SO fast, they may need to eat every 4 hours, and some less or more. One of my four woke about every two hours to eat until she was about 10 months old – and that’s perfectly normal. Some babies may not sleep through until closer to two – and they really aren’t sleeping through at that point, they’re just not in need of food, so they go back to sleep. And of course, the RARE exception is the one that sleeps through early on. But that’s an exception.

    As an adult, even we don’t sleep thorugh the night – but we’re mature enough not to need parented back to sleep.

    I just beg of you, please don’t ignore his cries – he’s not learning to self-soothe, he’s learning no one cares enough to help him. Babies aren’t born independent, parenting is a 24 hour job – parenting a baby to sleep is one of the most important things you can do. I know you know this, but I want to beg you not to let him cry himself to sleep. That’s such a sad thing to do – I’ve been lonely before, when my husband is away on business, and having my cries unanswered is very painful – and I’m an adult that KNOWS I’m not being neglected.

    And this time WILL pass much quicker than I can emphasize. He will be sleeping through, you’ll be waking in the middle of the night to check on him because he hasn’t woken up!

    Ah, it is a fun ride – I just implore you to have a sense of humor, love love love that baby, and some day you’ll be getting him his driver’s license and wondering where this time went…. 😉

  5. rosiemolinary

    FW, This is actually really helpful. Sometimes we do feel like he is still in pain when he wakes up at night, even after having his acid reflux medicine. Maybe we should just do food at breakfast and lunch and see if that helps. It could be that the other wake-ups that aren’t wanting formula related are related to stomach pain caused by his “dinner”. Maybe eliminating that meal would eliminate the discomfort we sometimes see.

  6. rosiemolinary


    He’s totally great about taking a bottle at whatever temperature we give it to him and he’s never had a bottle warmed to be fed so feeding on the fly at night is no issue at all. His crib is maybe 15 steps from our bed– if that– and we do absolutely go to him with every cry. That’s especially important in adoptive situations to build attachment and an understanding of what parents are and what they do for you. My reference to needing to consider any suggestions based on our situation was because of that very thing– we will absolutely keep going to him and building his security in his family– definitely don’t worry about that!

    And helpful to know that one of yours did the every two hour thing to… one of the things that I wanted to learn by putting these questions out there was if just waking that often could be normal (because the stories you hear most often are ‘my baby sleeps through the night’) and maybe we aren’t causing it in some way. So that’s very helpful insight!

  7. Sandra

    You sound like you’re doing an AWESOME job, mama!!! That baby is going to grow up with the love he deserves. God bless you for taking him into your home and your heart.

  8. Chris

    Ok, as always, I am taking the risk of going against the grain here. But you asked for parent’s suggestions and I’ll let you know what we did.

    Both of my children slept in their car seats from about 1wk old to about 4mnths. I know that sounds horrific but it actually helped them tremendously and was their pediatrician’s recommendation. My daughter’s reflux was not bad enough for medication but it was bad enough that when she layed flat, it woke her up. My son had horrible reflux and this was truly a necessary thing for him. He had the medication but it didn’t fix it all. After that they transitioned to the bassinet and then at 6mnths they went to their cribs in their own rooms.

    We did not ever have a bedtime ritual really. I would put them in their pj’s and nurse them. Then put them in their beds w/ white noise of some kind and their pacifier. In order to get my son to sleep on his own, he needed to be hugging something with both arms so he slept with 2 stuffed animals. His mattress was propped up underneath the head of it with some blankets so that he wasn’t laying flat or his reflux would bother him more. I would strongly recommend this if your son has reflux.

    My kids both were going to sleep on their own by 6mnths. I know some may think that it’s harsh to allow them to cry themselves to sleep for a couple days in order to learn this life skill but I truly believe it’s an invaluable skill. The older they are, the harder it is to learn. I do not ever ever regret those few days (even though it was very hard at the time) because they are amazing at going to bed and staying in bed now. They still feel loved and have no recollection of those few nights.

    As far as sleeping through the night, that was harder for them both. My daughter woke up more out of habit than hunger and so at about 7-8mnths, I tried just letting her cry it out instead of going in there. She cried for a couple minutes and then fell back to sleep. The same thing the next night and then it didn’t happen anymore. She slept through the night after that.

    My son started sleeping through the night pretty much when we introduced solids into his diet. While my daughter didn’t want anything to do with solid food, my son was a ravenous baby and he demanded the food we ate at about 5mnths. He pretty much ate what we ate with supplemental nursing inbetween and I think that the solid food agitated his reflux less.

    As far as swaddling, both my babies loved it but when they outgrew the option we bought one of those sleeper things that are foam and helps them stay in position. That way, they had the pressure of something around them. My son actually slept on is side a lot with this and that seemed to help his reflux.

    Both of my children took 2 naps (about 1.5-2hrs each) and then slept anywhere from 8-12hrs at night. My son truly could not go that long without eating (he was a hunger machine!) so he didn’t sleep as long at night as his sister without a snack mid morning (5am).

    Good luck to you! Every baby is different and what worked perfect for one might not work for another one. You just have to decide what you feel comfortable with and what you think is best for your baby. Trying things out is the best way to see what the solution is.

    Congratulations to you both!!! He is absolutely adorable!

    1. rosiemolinary

      Thanks for sharing your experience. We really appreciate your input! The sleep positioner is a great idea– and would totally simulate some of the pressure from the swaddle. Our little guy does like sleeping on his side if we’re holding him somewhere and he falls asleep. And our little guy has stuffed animals but none that he’s developed an attachment to– maybe exploring that would help. Both of these suggestions are good ideas to explore. We do have his crib mattress at an angle and feel like that has helped some. I think our little guy might be a hunger machine, too, so we don’t think we’ll be getting rid of the hunger-related wake-ups but are wondering if there ways that we can help him sleep through a little bit better when he’s not hungry.

      Sandra, Thanks so much for your support!

  9. fightingwindmills

    Also, Rosie, at this age they are teething a lot. Once my son had FOUR teeth come in during the same day. It must have been painful.

  10. Kim Shaw

    Hi — well one thing not sure if it will help the sleep issue – but my older one had A-reflux – the only combination of formula/ medicine was the formula with added rice cereal. It was the miracle combination. Oh and the bottle had to be cold ( go figure). Also diminshed the spit ups (I used receiving blankets for burp rags). Plus since I was / am working at home I had to have a quasi schedule, it worked miracles for me — since after about 6 months ( and 10,000 selp help articles) it dawned on me — I just had a baby who was not interested in sleeping more than 2-3 hrs at a time. Just sleep when/where you can — eventually you get used to the sleep deprivation. Oh and about the time he started sleeping through the night the next cat napper came along.

  11. Elise

    Hey Rosie,
    Love your blog and your cute little bundle. As far as transitioning from the swaddle–we use something called a “sleepsack.” It’s like a wearable blanket. It comes in various sizes and isn’t constricting like a swaddle, but I think it still provides Davis a sense of being enclosed in something. They come in different materials for different times of year. He’s almost 11 months now, so we’ll probably get rid of that soon, but we’ve loved it.


    1. rosiemolinary

      Hey Elise! What age did Davis move from swaddle to sleepsack? Did you go cold turkey or start with naps and then move to using a sack at night? How did it go? Thanks for the advice and for visiting. Love to all of you!

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