All the Sun For You

A mom, two boys, a husband, and a whole lot of adventure!

When He’s Awake


I realize that I have been the most boring blogger of all time lately.  I looked back on the last few weeks of posts and saw what I feared – that most of what I’ve been blogging has been about Matthew’s naps – or lack-there-of.  There were four posts in a row that touched on this challenge – and three of those four posts were solely about his recent ditching of naps.

Sleep is a major source of stress for me.  Back when Matthew was 9.5 months old, we (I) finally decided to try the Ferber method with him because nothing else worked.  We tried it all.  And when I say we tried it all – I mean – WE TRIED IT ALL.  I tried every gentle sleep solution book on the market, and all they did was make his sleeping worse.  The Ferber method took a full 14 nights, but it finally worked.  I could put him in his crib drowsy but awake at night (but never for naps) and he’d sleep through the night for 10+ hours each and every night.  He rarely woke up in the night, and if he did, it was for a good reason (sick or teething).  Then, just as we were about to welcome Bryson into the family, I decided Matthew needed to be moved into the new room and queen bed so that the crib could be freed up for Bryson.

Biggest mistake ever made.

Well, maybe not the BIGGEST mistake ever made, but it was a big one.  😉

I have to lay in bed with Matthew until he’s asleep or he’ll get out of his bed and rip the tree decals off the wall.  It would take anywhere from 30-90 minutes to get him to fall asleep, even when he was tired.  I didn’t mind it the three weeks before Bryson was born, but after he came home, I didn’t have that kind of time each night.  But it did not matter – I still did it anyway.  We kept Matthew up a bit later at night so that he may be more tired and the routine decreased to 30-60 minutes.


All the while, Matthew was taking 2-3 hour long naps each and every day in the crib without fail.  He was only sleeping 9 hours at night, but making up for it with his naps.  It was great!  The only problem was that I had to rock him fully to sleep for his naps.

Then, on September 17th, Matthew quit napping in the crib (we never transitioned naps to his bed since I don’t have 30-60 minutes during the day to coax him to sleep). I didn’t know it at the time, but that was the beginning of him not napping anymore unless I did something major to fix it.  I tried napping him in his bed and that was a disaster.  By September 19th, he was done napping.

Or so I thought.

On the 20th, I tried one last time to get him to nap in his bed or the crib and I was beaten and screamed at, the entire time, keeping my cool.  I took him to our room and put on a construction truck video and told him to have some quiet time.  He fell asleep.  He fell into a DEEP sleep.

Today is the 27th, and Matthew has napped in our bed for 6 of the last 8 days.  He’s sleeping beside me right now as I write this.  I have to wake him each day after 1.5-2 hours (I never let him go more than 2 hours anymore).  It’s not ideal, but it works for us.  It works for him.  The only times he hasn’t napped is when I’ve kept him up deliberately because I need him to fall asleep quickly that night (like when B is out-of-town).  His bedtime sleep routine (after books are put away) takes 5-30 minutes depending on the length of the nap earlier in the day.  I will admit that the best nights are those that follow no nap – he is asleep and I’m out of his room in 15 minutes.  But I won’t complain about 30 minutes on a nap day – no way!

So this brings me to Bryson.  I swore a while back that I would not make the same mistakes I did with Matthew.  I refuse to have another baby/toddler who needs me to fall asleep at night.  I have been thinking about this, and thinking about this, and thinking about this… as I’ve been rocking Bryson to sleep, letting him sleep in the rocker beside our bed (instead of the crib), and letting him fall asleep with us in our bed while nursing him when he wakes up at night.  GAH!  Have I learned nothing?!

The funny thing is, though, that I did none of those things with Matthew.  He was out of our room and in his crib at 5 weeks old, I had him fall asleep on his own for every nap (until he wouldn’t), and I followed all the sleep rules, even if they didn’t make sense to me.  And he’s terrible at putting himself to sleep.  Bryson was great at putting himself to sleep, but he’s starting to need more help.

And I’m starting to be more firm.

I will not nurse him to sleep for naps – NEVER!  That is how everything started going downhill with Matthew.  I remember it.  I remember telling B, “well, that worked great – I’m going to do that all the time!”  What a mistake that was.  I won’t sing and rock him to sleep at night like I did with Matthew.  When it’s time to establish a bedtime routine, I’ve told B that I will sing first, then he’ll read books and put him to bed.  I am not going to be a crutch.  I won’t have my second child napping beside me in my bed when he’s 2 years old.

I have started this post over and over again in the last week or so, and as I was rocking Bryson today, Belle’s post popped up.  I started reading it, and I then suddenly stopped what I was doing and put Bryson in his crib.  I patted his bottom as he drifted off.  I watched him wake up, and put himself back to sleep again, several times on the monitor.  He was fully up after an hour – but I won’t complain about 60 minutes in the crib.  It’s all about establishing good habits, and I have to thank Belle for reminding me of that as I was drifting down a bad sleep path with another child.

To be fair, Bryson is a GREAT sleeper!  He only wakes up once a night to eat.  I feed him around 8:00 and then usually wake him for a “dream feed” around 11:00 or 11:30 before I go to bed.  He then sleeps until around 3:00 AM when I feed him once again and put him back to sleep until he wakes around 6:30 or 7:00.  I didn’t wake him for a “dream feed” last night and he woke up at 12:30 and then again at 5:00.  We are getting very close to the “dream feed” lasting all night for us (11:30 – 6:30/7:00).  We never experienced this with Matthew, so this gives me hope that we won’t even have to use Ferber for Bryson.  But I’m not holding my breath.  I know this can change in an instant.

I’ve loved my snuggle time with Matthew, but it’s not something I can do again if it causes Bryson attachment issues at bed time.  I will just have to snuggle Bryson extra during the day.

When he’s AWAKE!

(My afternoon in pictures… 1.5 hours of semi-silence!)

Author: Courtney

Hi, there, I’m Courtney. I never planned to stay home with my kids, but I got sucked into motherhood when my first baby came into our lives after years of infertility and multiple rounds of IVF. His brother followed closely behind, something we didn’t plan on after having such a rough road with achieving parenthood the first time around. My boys are IVF cycle twins, conceived on the same day but born two years and one day apart (they were both transferred on the same day in October, but with two years between them). My boys are the best of friends and my husband is a terrific husband, father, and most importantly… friend. He fully supported my desire to stay home (“I just wanted it to be your idea and not mine, I totally want you to stay home and raise our kids!”) and encourages me in everything I do. I am a lover of projects, spreadsheets, fitness, healthy cooking and eating, crafts, selling my stuff on FB (HA!), and the outdoors. If I’m active, I’m pretty darn happy!

13 thoughts on “When He’s Awake

  1. You know where we’ve been on this subject lately…JJ put a TV in Chloe’s room so her nap/bed time routine has been drastically cut, and there is no crying. I hate the TV in her room and when I’m home alone with her, I don’t turn it on. She may point at it and say “oh no” but she’s usually asleep within 10 minutes of me walking out of her room. When the TV is on, sometimes she doesn’t sleep at all, but will have quiet time in her crib that lasts the length of her usual nap, and at bedtime she could be up until 11 pm or later (I’ve already fallen asleep, so who knows what time she is up till!)

    There is no way that we could have transitioned C to a big bed. She is perfectly content in her crib and I’m not about to mess with a good thing right now. I don’t think we will make the transition at all until we are in our new house and who knows when that will be. Our PAT person says there is no hurry to do it and some kids are in the crib till 3 or so. I don’t imagine we will wait that long, but it makes me not feel so bad that she’s still in hers at 25 months.

    Now with Drake, I was feeding him every time he woke up during the night. I have no idea why I thought he was hungry each time b/c we certainly didn’t feed C every time she woke up at that age. I’ve realized in the last two weeks, most of the time all he needs is time to soothe himself (which I was hesitant to give him at first for fear he would wake up C) or his pacifier. We are down to one, maybe two feeds during the night (8:30 pm – 6:00 am) which is great. I never thought we’d see the day a few weeks ago! But boy have my boobs not caught on to the new routine! I pumped almost 9 ounces this morning after I got to work. 9!! That’s crazy for me, usually the first pump of the day is 5-7.

    Drake has always done really well putting himself to sleep, knock on wood, for both naps and at bedtime. Any day now (I mean it this time, I will transition him to his own room now that he’s sleeping longer stretches at night. I just hope it doesn’t throw our progress off and he regresses. Only time will tell, but I do know it’s time for him to be in his own room now. I love just being able to roll over and stare at his sweet, sleeping face though. I could do that months and months!

    I could continue to write a novel on your blog, but I’ll cut myself off now. I guess all this is to say, we do what we can to get by in the moment. Of course we always have the best intentions, and maybe it isn’t the greatest method, but I say whatever works for you and your family.

    • I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, keep her in that crib for as long as you can! You were smart in that you just bought another crib for Drake. I wish we’d done that – or just borrowed one from someone for six months until Matthew was 30 months old (many sleep people say that’s the earliest you should even TRY a toddler or big bed). Matthew would be climbing out by now, even in his sleep sack, so I don’t think we would have made it to January. It’s actually good that we’re done with the crib for naps because he was getting his leg up on the rails by the time I’d get to him. He’s tall… and a good climber… and a boy. HA!

      Keep Chloe in that crib FOREVER if you can 😉

      And yes, we do what we can. I NEVER thought I’d let a kid fall asleep to the TV, but that’s exactly what he’s doing in our bed for naps – even if the TV is so low he can’t hear it and he’s seen the video (some construction truck video from 1995) a million times. And I hear you on being able to roll over and see your beautiful boy’s sleeping face. I secretly hope the crib does not go well tonight. I LOVE having my baby close to me.

  2. Sleep is such an interesting thing – and so different for each child. It’s one of those (1) each kid is different, (2) each parent is different, (3) which came first, the chicken or the egg? type of things…

    With Stella, I don’t regret a minute of nursing & rocking her to sleep the first 6 months. She slept in the co-sleeper from 9-1 and then in bed with me or in the swing in our room the rest of the night (waking a cpl times to eat? 1 and 4 i think?). Easy peasy when you’re co-sleeping.) It was after we moved her to the crib at 6 months that I wish I’d have been better about doing a bedtime routine + putting down drowsy but awake sooner. Around 7.5 months is when we hit the wall you described above with Matthew – 4x wakeups, comfort nursing, and a complete inability to put herself back to sleep. With kid #2, I suppose we’ll have to wait & see his temperament, but the plan is to have him in our room for 6 months again (MAN i love co-sleeping with a cuddly newborn) and then move him into the room with Stella next summer when he’s 6 mo and she’s 2.5. I’m REALLY curious how that’s going to go — but I have a feeling it will make me be more firm with sleep stuff when I don’t want him waking up her & vice versa, you know? Ugh, we shall see. Stresses me out if I think too much about it.

    At any rate, I’m glad you’re working on finding what works for Bryson & you to try to avoid the issues you’d have with Matthew. Parenting is such a live & learn experience!

    • I would LOVE to keep Bryson in our room for another 3 months – I never thought I’d enjoy having a baby in the room so much. I truly love hearing him breathe at night beside me. And those nights (like last night) when he wakes up and I’m just too tired to sit up and nurse and I put him beside me in bed to nurse – those are the best hours! I don’t think those will end. We brought Matthew into our bed for a long time when he’d wake up around 4 or so to nurse.

      I’ll be anxious to see how your kids share a room. If we have a third baby, the boys will share a room and I was actually thinking through that tonight while laying with Matthew (which only took 23 minutes tonight!). I think we’ll put a crib in the room until Bryson is 30 months or so – and then we’ll get a bunk bed or something. Who knows. We’ll see. I actually shared a bed with my older sister for many years when I was super young – and I loved it! Matthew is a mover though – not sure if he can share and not hurt his brother.

      Parenting is exhausting. PERIOD.

  3. We’re in a sleep crisis here too. Raegan used to be a fabulous sleeper. We set up a routine even when she was still sleeping in the cradle in our room. Usually bed time isn’t too awful, it’s keeping her asleep that is our biggest struggle. right now. She’s been getting up between 1-3AM every day and ends up in our bed because we no longer have the extra bed in her room. We had to make room for the toddler bed so when BB#2 is ready for the crib, Raegan will hopefully already be in the toddler bed. I have no idea how to break her of the habit of waking in the middle of the night. We’ve tried earlier bedtimes, no naps, longer naps, shorter naps and just about everything under the sun with zero results.

    Like Josey, we have just the one room to put the kids in for bedtime. I’m curious on how it will go with us as well. Of course if Raegan is still in our bed, maybe BB#2’s transfer to the crib won’t be as awful LOL

    Good luck! I think we’re all in the same boat when it comes to sleep troubles. These kids just don’t know what their missing with good sleep!!

    • I feel your pain. Until two weeks ago, we never knew if Matthew would sleep through the night or get up around 2:00 and cry for me. We have no idea why that started, but we think it’s due to the big bed transition because it started right around then. We’d have good nights, OK nights, and downright horrible nights. Last week, he woke up SCREAMING bloody murder and we think he had a bad dream or his molars were hurting. Besides that night, he’s not made a peep until after 63:0 or 7:00. Fingers crossed. But I know it can’t continue. HA!

      There is no way to break them of the waking habit – I think they just outgrow it. That’s what we’ve noticed, anyway.

      Sleep is tough. And it’s always changing.

  4. This post makes me wish I had written done everything we did with Lids throughout her first year, sleep-wise. I remember worrying so much in the beginning about what I had read that I should and shouldn’t be doing… nursing to sleep, nursing before or after naps, swaddling, stopping the swaddle, pacifier, stopping the pacifier. Luckily it all worked out pretty well and she has always been such a good sleeper and I would love to pass that on to future babies but I am sure it is mostly based on their individual personality and not a whole lot on what we actually did because a lot of the times, we really didn’t do much! :/ I think we’ve just been really lucky.. but even then, it has been something that I always felt I had to be thinking about and careful with, especially in that first year. Sounds like Bryson is a sleeping like a champ too though!! And hey, if napping in your bed is working for Matthew right now, I say go with it and enjoy those nap times when you can! And it sounds like bed time is at a pretty good spot right now too. Hope that continues!

    • This is what I was going to say as well – i wish I had kept better notes regarding what we did and didn’t do with Sofia because looking back now it’s all pretty much a blur! A big part of me thinks it’s just their nature that really dictates how things go, although obviously you can help them along in one way or another…

  5. Breathe, let go and go with the flow!!!! You don’t need a “method” to regulate Bryson’s sleep, it sounds like its going pretty well! I found this link helpful

    • 🙂

      It’s hard to relax when there are two kids up in the night, both demanding you. That’s where we were two weeks ago – every time Bryson was up, Matthew would wake up and scream for me (which is strange since he can’t hear Bryson all the way across the house in our room). B can’t soothe Matthew at all. We’ve created such a dependency on me for Matthew that it’s a real issue when I’m nursing Bryson at 3:00 AM and Matthew refuses his dad (and screams and hits him until I show up). I was as calm as could be with Matthew when he was a baby, until I knew that 4 wakings a night at 9.5 months old wasn’t OK. It just isn’t OK (not with me, anyway). I need rest and I wasn’t getting it, making me a dreadful, tired mother during the day.

      Doing this a second time, with two kids who need your time and energy during the day is totally different. I’m lucky Bryson is a good sleeper. I hated Ferber with a passion but it was the only thing, and I mean the ONLY thing, that got Matthew to sleep. And he was so much happier as a well rested baby – he was night and day different. I am SO hoping we don’t need to do that this time around, and I think had I done just a few things differently with Matthew (not nursing him to sleep for all naps and bed time), that we wouldn’t have needed it for him. Honestly, if I hadn’t done Ferber with him, he’d still be getting up multiple times a night now. I know that because we go certain weeks at a time when he’s waking up once or twice, crying for me. It’s not a regular thing, but when it happens – no one sleeps for 2-3 nights at a time. Not OK with me! 🙂

      I truly think we’ve got this figured out with Bryson… at least until the 4 month sleep regression that everyone talks about. And I haven’t had to do anything special other than think about it and stop myself from nursing him to sleep. He goes to sleep for naps and bed time on his own now (if he falls asleep nursing in our room, he wakes up on the walk to his room, which is great, actually) and that is the key, in my opinion and experience! And his good sleeping allows me to still lay with Matthew each night, which he truly needs. I’m not cutting that off because I know he truly needs it. It’s all a balancing act – something I had no concept of until I had two kids screaming for me at the same time. That is especially dreadful for us all when B travels for work! 🙂

      • I was wondering if there was a sleep regression coming up…that must be what is going on with D. So annoying! You no sooner get them on track and they hit a regression or their disequilibrium stage.

      • Yeah I get it, you’ve got to fine what works for each child, and I’m sure it’s hard balancing two. When Jensen goes through a wakeful stretch, often around illness or teething, everyone hurts. But I guess we’re lucky with him that it always passes, he always goes back to a pretty liveable pattern after a couple of weeks of crap. :-). Trusting that he will do this helps me live it.

  6. I read the post a few days ago and never got the time to comment until now. We struggled big time in the sleep department with Aiden too. I hate CIO with my entire being. That being said, Ferber was the only thing that worked for Aiden, and I tried pretty much every sleep book on the market. I would sit outside his door and sob along with him, but we were all so exhausted and knew developmentally, Aiden NEEDED his naps/night sleep. It worked thankfully, and now we almost always get 2-3 hour naps and 11 hours at night.

    However lately, Aiden’s been crying going down for naps/bedtime too (5 min. max). I figure it was that he sensed something was changing during my last month of being pregnant, but he is still doing it. SO hard sometimes to know what to do. I’m especially struggling with the tears now, because I know that his life has changed big time since we had Callen, and he’s probably dealing with all kinds of feelings but can’t express them. I hate sleep issues and wish our kiddos were just born sleeping through the night and it was easier! Hope sleep gets better with Matthew!

Leave a Reply to Courtney Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s