Monday, February 16, 2009


So far there is only one thing I wish I had done differently with Esme. (I have no doubt this will change in the years to come)
Minutes after she was born the nurse put her in my arms/on my stomach and immediately started nursing. She nursed to sleep that first night just hours after she was born and nursing has been her favorite thing ever since. If I could remember them, I'm sure I could count on one hand the instances in her infanthood when Esme fell asleep without nursing (stroller and car seat rides aside).
Now she HAS TO nurse to sleep every night and for most naps (see stroller, car seat comment above). I lay there lamenting the loss of any time I may have had to myself, as every moment it takes her to fall asleep ticks by v-e-r-y- s-l-o-w-l-y.
So when Esme and I came home from Minnesota where I had had a small taste of time to myself I announced that we were beginning a night time routine, only one nap during the day and an early bed time! "Why would we schedule her" Andrew asked "We've never scheduled her?"
"Because otherwise I might die" this was the only clear answer in my mind.
I know I should be loving these quiet moments where my child wants only me...there will be so many where she wants anyone but me (I'm assured by all) but I don't love them, because when you spend 3-4 hours a day just getting your child to sleep the list of things you could be accomplishing with that time becomes huge and un-ignorable.
Like today for instance...with two hours of personal assistant work looming in front of me (keeping me from the sewing projects and yogurt making I really want to be doing) I spent a full hour laying next to a screaming, exhausted child. She finallly slept for 10 minutes, I then spent 30 minutes trying to get out of bed without waking her, failed attempts every time. I then had to give up and realize she would just go without a nap today. This happens at least once a week. On days not as cold as today I will sometimes just haul her into the stroller, find a quick errand to run and pray that I can get her up the stairs and into the building without waking her after she has inevitably fallen asleep on our journey. But somedays I'm just not up for all that. Today was one of them. So two rounds of Word World later (I'm getting awfully sick of can, can, can you build a new word from these letters...) I got my work done...we played and YES!!! Time to begin the bedtime routine!
What I'm most amazed about is how quickly Esme has figured out this routine...we've probably  had it in place off and on for two weeks...we've had it down for a total of five nights and we took a two night break in the middle of them when we went to NY. But tonight after eating she announced "ah duh" and promptly said "Bah" (bath) the bathtub she announced "ah duh" and I said what should we do next...she sad "teeh" (teeth) we brushed her teeth and went into the bedroom (she still learning lotion which came next) then we came downstairs and tucked in baby and go go she has added the step of giving them nigh nigh kisses, then we go upstairs and read two books. 
In the first book they talk about hanging up their towels and Esme always points to where we hung her towel on the door, then they put on their pajamas and Esme points to her pajamas, last thing before turning out the light we read Good Night Moon, this is her favorite because of the "maw-maws" then she kisses bunny good night on the last page and lays down to get nigh-nigh milk.
and at 6:30 I'm cooking my dinner and writing this blog entry.
I love this routine!!!
Now we just have to figure out a naptime routine...any ideas??


  1. Hi Jennye! Man, I know what you are going through. Harrison is nursed to sleep pretty much all of the time. In the beginning I was hell-bent on nursing and if he fell asleep doing so I didn't mind because he looked so darned adorable and I loved holding him. But now, almost sixteen months later, I really understand why a routine needs to be started earlier. I wish I'd listened to his doctor better. Anyway, I'd love to know some details on how you got started on your routine, how Esme handled it. We've tried a couple of times to start one but were intimidated and discouraged when Harrison's will was stronger than ours. We are not fans of the Cry-It-Out Method and are hoping to go a different route. I honestly don't think Harrison will go for that. We've tried it and were SO not successful. Anyway, good luck and let me know how it all works. It always makes me feel a bit better to hear of other's sleep issues.

  2. She goes to bed at 6:30?! How long does she sleep? Kids love routine. Penelope, the woman Cameron goes to, has a nice routine and the kids look forward to each part of the day. Don't think of it as scheduling your kid, think of it as giving them something to look forward to. A tip from her on getting kids to nap by themselves. . . There are four kids that nap on mats after lunch. 3 are 2 years + and one is 14 months. The older kids go in and lie down and go right to sleep. The youngest, has just begun to go in and fall asleep on his own. She started out lying down by him till he fell asleep, then snuck out, next she started sitting on the bed next to him, and still touching him. Next she sat next to the bed, still near by, till he was asleep. At the end she started saying I forgot something I’ll be right back, then she’d come back and he’d be sleeping. It seems to have worked. I think she did each interval for about a week. Good luck! P.S. I still nurse Cameron to sleep a lot of the time, but I love it and might be in the same boat as you in a few months, but right now it’s worth it. Plus, you’ll never have that time again, so don’t regret it, just learn from it :-) It sounds like you’ve got a good start.

  3. Nap time just like bedtime, only slightly different routine. Maybe a special nap time book or song, and use your most soothing, getting quieter, and quieter voice. If all else fails, call it a "quiet time". Toss a book into the crib with your child and set the timer for an hour.

  4. HI Jennye-
    So sorry to hear you are so exhausted and frustrated! I have a couple thoughts- the book "The No Cry Sleep Solution" is one.

    I nurse Enzo to sleep all the time and did w/ Atticus, too. But what keeps me much saner w/ Enzo is that I put him in the Ergo or sling and let him nurse to sleep, but I do it w/ the noise machine on while I'm bouncing on an exercise ball and working on the computer (like right now). It sounds like a lot of props, I guess, but it gives me some time on the computer, and I usually get things done and don't even notice how long it takes him to get to sleep. Then I wear him down.

    I've done this since he was born. It's the only way I even have a blog or ever check my email. But I don't know- it might be a tricky thing to start w/ Esme now, even if you wanted to. But it might be worth a try!

    If you hate it, you hate it. But is there a way you could make it more restful for yourself? Like read while you nurse or watch a movie w/ no sound and subtitles? It really is such a short phase that you might even look back at nostalgically (which may be for me why I've embraced it so much more the 2nd time around?).

    I'm just throwing out thoughts, but we all need to do what works best for us?

    I've also found lots of help and support w/such things from La Leche League meetings. They are there just for the kind of thing you are talking about.

  5. Hey- so I thought I wrote this big long comment on this and I was going to come back and add more- did that not go through?

    Let me summarize:
    1. "The no cry sleep solution" can be a helpful way to go about this if you want to avoid the crying and the disconnect.

    2. I nurse Enzo to sleep all the time, but I feel pretty sane about it, because I put the noise machine on, put ENzo in the sling or Ergo, bounce on an exercise ball, and work on the computer while I get him to sleep. Sounds like a lot of props, I guess, but he's happy, because he's getting the warmth and security of nursing to sleep, and I'm happy, because I get some computer time in that I wouldn't otherwise get! Plus I"m not watching over him waiting for him to fall asleep.

    3. Do you go to a LLL meeting? They can be very informative and supportive with this kind of thing.

    4. I think you deserve a lot of credit! I think it's beautiful and genergous of you to have given Esme the security and health and well-being that comes from nursing to sleep peacefully. Even if you decide to need to stop doing it, because it's not working for you anymore, you have given her that much security already when it comes to peaceful sleeping and connection to you. I think you are a wonderful mother.

    5. I know you probably hear it a lot, but this time really is short. You might miss it someday. That's probably so annoyin that I just said that, but it's true!