Thursday, April 01, 2010


I've received so many comments on my Nightcrawlers post that there's no way I can respond to them all individually. So I'm writing this to say thanks and to clarify or elaborate on a few things.
  • I think Dio is getting the right amount of sleep. He has about 12 hours at night and then 2-3 more during naps. He's definitely ready for bed when he goes down around 6:30 or 7 pm, but not so overtired that he's wired. Zari has the same sleep schedule, minus the nap.
  • The nightcrawling began several weeks ago--long before I switched him from 2 naps to 1 last week. I did this in preparation for when we'll be in France in May and June, since we'll be out of the house doing things every morning. Plus he had just started having real troubles going down for his naps--wasn't quite tired enough, especially for the afternoon one. With just one nap, he sleeps about the same amount total as he did when he was taking two. 
  • I don't think his behavior is sleepwalking/sleepcrawling. Rather, once he wakes up at night, he starts to crawl (rather than crawling and being woken up by it). 
  • I am pretty doubtful that Dio has food sensitivities. I know that some people's babies truly do have them, but frankly I think that number is pretty small. Plus we have no history of food allergies in either side of the family, plus I haven't been eating anything new recently.
  • My problem isn't with getting Dio to sleep. He goes down super easily for both naps and bedtime. I nurse him, lay him down, then leave the room when he's still awake. He usually babbles for a few minutes, then goes to sleep. Sometimes he fusses before he falls alseep, but that's becoming more and more rare. In one sense, he's had to CIO for naps--because I couldn't always attend to him and Zari at the same time. Since he was little, I've often had to lay him down for his nap when he was still very much awake to help Zari with something. He learned pretty quickly how to fall asleep on his own by necessity! One of the hidden blessings of a second child: they learn to be more adaptable than the first! Like I mentioned earlier, Zari never once fell asleep without nursing until she was 18+ months.
  • I am reluctant to totally night-wean for several reasons. The top two are that I enjoy the comfort and contact, and that I really really enjoy my lactation-induced amenorrhea. I suspect that if I night-weaned, my period would come back much sooner. Of course, if that's what he naturally falls into, I probably wouldn't force him to nurse at night!
  • Dio is super, super sensitive to any type of stimulation when he's sleeping. The slightest noise will disturb him. The less I can bother him, the better. So no diaper changes (yay for Fuzzibunz!), no rocking or patting, etc. He's been staying in his own room and bed all night for several days now, and I think it's been helping. When we do go in to calm him down, we lie down beside him and gently hold him down until he relaxes and falls asleep again. 
  • Last night's sleep schedule went like this: bedtime around 7 pm, Eric settled him down at midnight, I nursed him around 3:30 am, and he woke up at 7 am. It was the first time he didn't wake up at 5 am, which was quite nice. I think I'm going to start using this schedule (ie, not nursing at midnight, but waiting until the next waking, since that seemed to help eliminate the extra 5 am waking). 
I know, I know: this is all so boring. So on to something that made me smile:

Two days ago at naptime, after Dio was jumping in his crib when he was supposed to be sleeping, I came back in his room, laid down on my bed, and read a book. The next time he started to get up, I said sternly, "Uh uh uh, lie down." His head hit the pillow immediately. When he tried getting up again, I repeated my statement. He dove for his pillow again. It became very obvious that he knew exactly what I meant! And actually, that night, he slept very well. I woke up with a start at 1:41 am and realized that he hadn't woken up yet. I checked on him and he was sleeping peacefully on his stomach. And then I lay in bed for an hour unable to sleep. And then finally, I got up and nursed him just so *I* could get back to sleep!

He's better at getting back down from standing or crawling to lying back down, and it seems to have helped his nightcrawling quite a bit. We've found him sleeping on his stomach a lot the last few days, something he's never done before. So perhaps we're on the tail end of the nightcrawling?


  1. So far I've found that when something gets so bad that I begin to feel compelled to complain/seek help/conduct late night google searches, the intolerable whatever it is is just about over. Of course, I'm only on my first, but we do have a three year history as of today.

    I hope everyone is sleeping peacefully tonight.

  2. My son (26 months) recently developed insomnia. I found online somewhere that Vitamin D helps with insomnia. Since it's March, the end of a long cooped-up winter, it's very likely everyone is low in Vitamin D. So I started giving him children's chewable Vit D--more than the recommended dosage. I give him two per day, which is 4,000 IU. (Will drop the dosage soon now that it's getting nice enough to go outside every day.) It takes 48 hours for Vit D to be fully absorbed. Wouldn't you know it, two days after starting him on the vitamins, his insomnia disappeared!
    It's worth a try. It's very difficult to overdose on Vit D, and there are so many good benefits of it!
    Peace and best wishes! Et bisous à la famille !

  3. Hi Rixa,

    I'm adding to the flood of advice that you're free to ignore. . .

    My Gracie did a similar thing when she learned to sit up. She'd stir in the night, sit up, and then cry because she was so tired but wouldn't lie down. We tried everything to comfort her, but nursing, rocking, singing all made her scream, because she was so tired. She would sit up the moment we put her in bed and then cry because she was so tired. We'd tiptoe into her room after she finally drifted off to sleep sitting up, to try to tip her into a lying position, and she'd wake up and scream some more... it was awful. For all of us.

    In the end she didn't learn how to manage her desire to sit up with her need to sleep until we gave her the space to figure it out, and she did cry a lot for a couple of nights. But we'd tried everything we could think of to soothe her, and it was just making her more awake and angry. In the end I wished we'd given her some space earlier, since all three of us had been up all night for weeks.

    No one can guarantee that crying it out will work with all children or all situations, of course. And I'm not a fan of "you're this age--I will no longer help you when you need me at night! So cry it out!" But if Dio isn't getting good rest, you might need to draw back and trust him to figure out how to settle himself down when he wakes and wants to crawl. Even if he cries for a while during the process.

    I think allowing our children to sleep, whether that's in their crib, in our bed, in their own room, or wherever they sleep best, is a gift. I try to remember that my babies need their sleep as much as I do. I'm an emotional, irritable mess when I don't get my sleep, so I place a high value on children getting an appropriate level of sleep.

    (And, in case I come across sounding like a know-it-all, if anyone has any ideas about how to get a nine-year-old night owl to sleep before 11 pm every night, I will gladly take them! This is the same girl who used to insist on sleeping sitting up all night. She gets up at 7 for school, but she is so CRANKY! She needs more sleep!)

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  5. Amy--I'm reading "Sleepless in America" right now and love, love it. It would be just the thing you need for your 9-year-old's sleep issues. Check it out/buy/ILL it today!

  6. Can toddlers have valerian? I know it says not to take if breastfeeding, but everything says that.
    Some moms find a liquid calcium supplement helped their kids.
    Rescue Remedy or Calms Forte?
    I haven't really kept track, but if he's in your room--what kind of clock do you have? For some people, the red numbers are too much of a stimulus. I have heard that blue light in general is good for sleep, but then I heard that blue/green digital clocks are the worst. We have "Spoka" lights from IKEA, and I LOVE the blue and green ones for their gentle glow.

  7. Isn't that the way it always is? Just when you think you're going to lose your mind over some current stage, it passes. Just in time. Thank God for that :)

  8. Hi Rixa,

    I don't know if anyone has mentioned this yet, but this is the thought I had: Have you considered offering Dio the potty during the night? I noticed in an earlier post that you were not doing nighttime EC, yet. Maybe this is Dio's way of letting you know he's ready. Many EC'd babies get to a point where they are not comfortable using a diaper anymore (especially at night), yet the discomfort from a full bladder makes it too difficult to sleep. If you're still getting resistance to pottytunities at night, some parents have success pottying their babies while they are still asleep.
    Wishing you peace and patience and rest.

  9. Gigimama--I wish I could potty him at night! I tried for quite a while but he becomes extremely upset with any disruptions at night. Zari was the total opposite and wouldn't even wake up all the way when I pottied her. But there's no way Dio will put up with it (even when I bring the potty to the bed and nurse him at the same time, let alone bring him to the bathroom). The challenges of a very sensitive child...

  10. I'm glad to hear things are getting better. Rachel is surprisingly obedient, too, and I think it has something to do with her age. I love how small children are so willing to please. Or maybe it's just her; I don't remember my boys being this willing to do what I asked them. :)

    I totally can relate to nursing so *you* can get back to sleep. I had a terrible time getting used to going to sleep on my own after I stopped nursing Rachel at 11:00 or 11:30 at night. I still struggle sometimes with insomnia when I wake up in the night now that I don't have a little one to nurse and fill me with sleepy hormones.

  11. My 8 month old has recently begun the same type of night routine as your son. She wakes up and crawls around, sometimes very playfully, at 3 am or so. I noticed that she is cutting more teeth, and that may be part of the reason for her actions. She will usually go back to sleep after a feed if she isn't feeling too alert. I know it's hard sometimes co-sleeping and breast feeding, and I'm chalking this up as par for the course. I have found that restricting her afternoon nap to a maximum of two hours, and making sure she has a solid feed of oats or meat before bed, in addition to the breast, cuts down on the wakefulness.


  12. He has to pee. Pure and simple. Now, he might not want or be able to go (or get really angry about trying to ask him to go), but I am 100% convinced that night terrors, night waking and not being able to settle back down, etc., etc., are all due to having to pee.

    After years of dealing with similar issues, the solution that seemed to work best was to get them up, take them to the bathroom, and ask them to go. Tell them you know it really stinks that they have to wake up to go potty when they want to be sleeping. Most the time they will go. Then you put them back in bed, and they usually happily fall back asleep. Soon, it goes away, and they don't wake up anymore. Just my 2 cents... try and if you want and see.

  13. I'm not much of a crier myself, but I can relate to that bone-tired, frustrated beyond belief feeling of not knowing how to make a situation better for myself or my kiddo. Those have been times that i've cried a lot. I'm glad things are getting better!


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