Nov 26 2014
I don’t think I realized when she began sleeping through the night. Sure, she’s done it on and off for the last few years, the rollercoaster of toddler sleep cycles: alternating bouts of smooth, uphill climbs with no night-waking at all, interspersed with sudden, steep declines marked by nightmares at 2 a.m., 3 a.m., and 4 a.m. in rapid succession.
But the other night it struck me that I couldn’t even call to mind her last mid-night visit. Couldn’t remember the last time I was stirred from sleep by the warmth of her breath rolling across my cheek, whispers of “Mama,” and bright eyes peering in the blackness just above the mountain of blankets.
And it’s exactly as it should be. This year, she started public school, which means she hasn’t aged only in years, but seems to age in maturity on an almost hourly basis. More than that, she’s tired. Physically and emotionally depleted in ways I never imagined were possible at the budding age of 5. And so she sleeps. Long, deep, replenishing slumbers, often waking later than the rest of the house. Read the rest of this entry →
Nov 20 2014
I remember my summer in Israel when I was 16 years old as being one of near-orgasmic bliss. I wasn’t dating anyone seriously, but I did have a lover. My lover was sleep. And he was hot.
Every Friday afternoon, I would take the bus from the small town where I was living to my parents’ friends’ apartment in Tel Aviv. They were an American couple my grandparents’ age who were in Israel for the summer, long-standing family friends whom I loved as much as my grandparents. Fortunately, the feeling was mutual, because every week, after Friday night dinner, I would go to the guest room in their apartment and fall asleep. I would fall the way a skydiver falls out of a plane, with wholehearted abandon. And I would sleep. And sleep. And sleep. Read the rest of this entry →
Nov 3 2014
Trying to live in the moment isn’t so easy when you have a newborn.
In my day-to-day life I attempt to focus on the present as much as possible (taking a lesson from Buddhism). But when my 2-month-old son is on his third or fourth hour of pre-bedtime kvetching and we’re walking him up and down our building’s hallway in an attempt to get him to sleep, it can be a little difficult to live in—and enjoy—the moment. Instead, I’m usually wishing we could just fast-forward through this phase.
My son has generally been more difficult than my now 4-year-old daughter was as a newborn (unless, of course, that’s just the amnesia talking—the amnesia that’s necessary for us to procreate more than once). Read the rest of this entry →
Oct 29 2014
“Mama, we’re booorrrrrrred,” the kids whined while I was under the covers, one eye open.
“You have a choice: Grumpy Mama can wake up now, or Fun Mama can wake up later.”
The two deliberated for a minute, and my daughter whispered something in her brother’s ear.
“Fine. Fun Mama, later.” Read the rest of this entry →
Oct 28 2014
I’ve been blessed with good sleepers. All three of my babies were excellent sleepers as newborns, giving me nice long stretches of sleep. I’m lucky, I know. But don’t hate me just yet… because after all of my bragging, karma reared its ugly head and bit me, hard.
My daughter, who had been sleeping 10-12 hours a night, hit a regression at 5-6 months. I’m still not sure what happened. I used to be able to place her in the crib and she’d fall asleep on her own, sucking her two little fingers. When she cut her bottom teeth that must have bothered her. The glorious finger-sucking stopped, along with long naps and nighttime sleep. Before I knew it, she was waking up 4-6 times per night. I didn’t know what else to do, so I nursed her back to sleep each time. She’s in her own room, in a crib. This was exhausting. I never knew when she was going to wake up. As exhausted as I was, I was afraid to fall asleep because she could wake up at any time, and waking up after being asleep for 20 minutes is the worst kind of torture. I was averaging 3-4 hours of broken up sleep each night.
Naps were a joke. I’d nurse my daughter to sleep, and place her in the crib. But she wouldn’t have it. I had a choice. She’d either get the sleep she needed by sleeping on me, or she’d wake up after five minutes of nursing. Read the rest of this entry →
Feb 18 2014
This Will Never End.
I’ve had my fair share of this feeling lately. If you live in the Northeastern United States, you understand. Houses look like they’re auditioning to be an extra in “Frozen” with icicles the size of big foam fingers dangling off every gutter. You can’t so much as drive your car in reverse without hearing the “crunch” sound of car bumper meeting up with mountain-of-aspiring-glacier-that’s-been-plowed-into-tremendous-piles-with-nowhere-to-go.
Between snow days and vacations, it feels like we haven’t had five days of school in a row since the week before Thanksgiving. Read the rest of this entry →
Jan 22 2014
Anyone with kids knows that getting them to sleep is no easy feat. Luckily, there are people who specialize in these things, like Israeli sleep coach Batya Sherizen. Below she takes on a question from a Kveller reader, Kair. Do you have a sleep question for Batya? Send them into firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Sleep coach.”
My husband and I are struggling through each night and I am hoping that you might be able to help with my 22-month-old’s sleep.
I work full time, so when it came down to choosing how we would spend our nights with our daughter, we chose co-sleeping. I was pumping during the day, and nursing at night not only allowed us to keep up our breastfeeding relationship, but also allowed us some time to be together, and feel close, because we didn’t have that during the day.
Traditionally our night routine involves us putting on pajamas, reading a story or two, and then snuggling up in the rocking chair and nursing to sleep. Once our daughter Lucy is sleeping, I transfer her to her crib with relative ease. When she wakes up–no matter what time that is –she comes into bed with us. That could be 9:30 p.m. or 3:30 a.m.; as soon as she calls for us, she joins us for the rest of the evening. Read the rest of this entry →
Jan 9 2014
The other day, my husband came home to find me standing in the closet with a blanket over my head, swaying from side to side. I hadn’t gone crazy, despite appearances to the contrary. I was rocking our 4-month-old son to sleep for his mid-day nap in the darkest environment I could create on a sunny day. I love that he’s a curious little boy, eager to explore the world with his eyes (and hands and mouth) but getting him to sleep for a day time nap when the sun brightens every room isn’t the easiest endeavor.
When he’s finally asleep, the last thing we want to do is risk waking him, especially at night, so a few weeks ago my husband and I decided to start brushing our teeth in the kitchen. Our bathroom is just too close to our bedroom, where he sleeps in a bassinet next to my side of the bed. We’ve also relocated half our wardrobe and pajamas to the guest room so that we can get dressed there and not in our bedroom.
As any new parent can probably appreciate, sleep has become the most precious commodity in our household and I’m pretty willing to make some wacky adjustments for the sake of everyone’s sleep. Friends had warned me that sleep was hard to come by after the arrival of kids, and while I believed them, I couldn’t really relate to it until I experienced it myself. Now I love to hear about the wacky adjustments that other parents make for their kids, both for tips and so I know I’m not the only one walking around with a blanket over my head. Read the rest of this entry →
Jan 7 2014
My son is 3 1/2 months old. During the day, I can get him to take some short naps on me or in the stroller, but if I try to put him in his crib (even swaddled), he wakes up immediately. At night, he sleeps well in his crib, but I have to make sure he’s well asleep before putting him in it (he doesn’t self-soothe). Is he too young for sleep training? And what is the best method? (My husband isn’t a fan of the idea of “cry it out,” although he’s on board with an increasing time method for it, i.e. checking in at one minute, then three minutes, etc.). Thank you for your help!
The most important thing to keep in mind while addressing any issue with our children is that something is only a problem if you feel that it’s a problem. From what you’ve written, it seems that you don’t have any issues with your baby’s night sleep; as you said, he sleeps well in his crib at night. Is it safe to say that you really just want to improve his daytime sleep? I wouldn’t prematurely introduce any new methods, when in reality you just want some structure to your days.
That being said, there seem to be two main ideas to address here with your baby’s day sleep. Firstly, it is typical for babies this age to take such short naps during the day because their sleep cycle finishes at that 40-45 minute mark. The problem is, however that after your son completes this sleep cycle, he then wakes up and is unable to transition to the next sleep cycle on his own, hereby waking himself up. Read the rest of this entry →
Dec 30 2013
Over the summer, we had a disastrous experience staying in a hotel room with our 2-year-old and 5-year-old.
Our 2-year-old had been in a bed for a month and we had managed to find a budget hotel with a pull-out couch so everyone had a bed. We left after dinner with the idea that we would just put the kids back to sleep when we arrived at the hotel. That worked well enough.
But, at 4 in the morning, when my son needed a glass of water, my daughter (the 2-year-old) woke up and started singing and chatting. She had her own room at home and wasn’t used to being with the rest of us. No matter how much we told our son not to respond to her, he couldn’t resist. And that was the end of sleep.
This was a frustrating experience in itself. However, it made us very nervous about our holiday travel when we would all be staying in a room together again for five nights. I injected the hope that she would be more pliable at that point, as she would be a few months shy of being 3 years old. However, we decided to prepare. Historically, the kids have had some “sleepovers” in her room with him on the floor in a sleeping bag. So, for Hanukkah, we gave her a sleeping bag of her own. We started having sleepovers in his room, too, to get her used to the idea both of being in a sleeping bag and the practices of being quiet during the night. (Thank you, Hanukkah, for giving us the extra month of training this year.) Read the rest of this entry →