Elizabeth Pantley is my current favorite person

Well, besides Kent and Jack.

She's the author of The No-Cry Sleep Solution, a book that came recommended from Jeannette and which we've just reread in an attempt to salvage some of our sanity. We had read it before Kent was born, but nothing can ACTUALLY prepare you for what the sleeping is going to be like, and we didn't retain some of the key stuff in the book that would have helped us. Not to worry, though; we went back through it for strategies, formulated our own plan, and have been following it all week with much success.

The biggest thing we hadn't realized is how much we could affect the number of hours Kent sleeps. At the beginning, we'd been going to bed whenever we got him down (usually around 9:30 or 10), and he'd sleep for a few stretches, waking up to eat fairly often and then going back to sleep, until it was light outside, for a total of about 8 hours' sleeping time. He'd be ready to go for the day, and I'd barely be conscious because of all the interruptions. We assumed that that was all the sleep he needed, even though we knew that most babies needed a lot more, since he wasn't sleeping longer. It was reinforced by our pediatrician's saying at his last visit that he should be sleeping about 7 hours at a stretch, "for example, 10 p.m. to 5 p.m." 10 p.m. seemed like a good bedtime. Well, we were wrong. One component of our plan has been to bump up Kent's bedtime, and he's been in bed by 8 for the past three nights with wonderful results. Instead of sleeping a total of 8 hours, he's slept closer to 11. Dude. Jack and I actually have time at night to ourselves after we put him to bed (we got to watch CNN's coverage of the Iowa caucuses last night!), and Kent still sleeps until the sun comes up.

The other big thing that's changing is the way I put him down for naps. Before, I drove myself crazy trying to get him down. I'd nurse him in the living room, hope he fell asleep while nursing, then carry him into his room and swaddle him. 95% of the time, he'd wake up, so I'd spend the next 10 or 15 minutes walking him up and down the hall, bouncing and singing to him and trying to lull him back to sleep. It killed my back, and it was emotionally exhausting, since I never knew if it was going to work. The most predictable ways to get him down for a nap were to nurse him on our bed and leave him there (no longer safe since he's starting to roll more), or drive someplace and be relatively certain that he'd fall asleep on the way home (but he'd wake up if I took him out of the car). Like I said, I was making myself crazy. Now, we have a lovely routine for naps, where I change his diaper, read him a couple of books in the glider in his room, nurse him until he's drowsy, then put him down in his crib and let him fall the rest of the way asleep. His naps are actually longer, too: an hour or an hour and 15 minutes instead of 45 minutes. I can't believe how well it's working after only a few days.

Jack has also been working to put Kent down when he's falling asleep but not asleep, and it's made a huge difference. We'd always heard/read that we should put him down drowsy so that he learns to fall asleep in his own crib, but knowing it and making it happen are two VERY different things. We were never into the idea of letting Kent cry it out, because we both believe that his cries mean something and we should respond when he's crying. We also knew it would be a really long time before he cried himself to sleep, if he did, and it was a bit overwhelming to consider listening to that. Luckily, it's not necessary, despite the fact that our pediatrician has a handout urging parents to let their babies cry themselves to sleep (because "it won't hurt them"). Shudder.

So to make a very detailed post even longer, naptime is more predictable now, which helps me and Kent; Kent is sleeping more (13 hours or more each day instead of fewer than 10), which is helping all of us; and we think we might actually be doing things right.

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Shudder. I wish there was the midwife version of a pediatrician. I just ignored everything they said in terms of child-rearing. Because they're experts on medicine, right? *groan*

I'm SO glad Pantley is working out for you. I tell people that E is Pantleyized (instead of Ferberized, heh, heh). I think he needs another dose of Pantley though, gotta dust off my No Cry...for Toddlers and Preschoolers.

I'm also enjoying her No Cry Discipline Solution (and hopefully the Potty Training Solution before Mr. Smarty Pants is an adult). :-) Very Practical (though I'd say not the BEST discipline book I've read..wh. I still think is Sears--ok now I'm rambling).

I'm really glad the routine is working out. The routine is a dream for us now. If I need to trick E into taking the occasional nap, we do that whole bedtime routine and he goes down without a prob. If we try to skip any part of the routine, like if we got home late, often it doesn't work. The Routine is very Powerful. I love it. And 2yo's LOVE Routine for EVERYthing. (I can't even park in a different part of the parking lot without some consternation in teh backseat. hahaha!)
Hooray! I am glad you finally got some restful results for all parties involved. We also read the Pantley book since our ped sounds a lot like yours in the CIO dept. I'm so glad it is working for you! Hope Kent feels better soon. John just finished his Amoxicillen. Happy New Year!--Heather
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