In Action: Mom, not baby, decides

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This morning, Kaitlyn was acting very tired about 15 minutes before her normal naptime. At 12 months old, her schedule is pretty consistent down to the minute from day to day. I picked her up and started taking her to her bed, but wondered why she was so tired. Then I remembered that she got to bed 45 minutes late last night because my grandfather is in town visiting. That explained the need for her to go down for her nap early. She fell asleep right away.

This isn’t some profound in action discovery, just an illustration that you are often making decisions that deviate from your normal schedule–don’t be afraid to change the normal routine if it is what your baby needs.

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Valerie, also known as The Babywise Mom, is the mother to four children. She has been blogging on Babywise and general parenting since 2007. She has a degree in technical writing and loves using those skills to help parents be the best parents they can be! Read her book, The Babywise Mom Nap Guide, to get help on sleep from birth through the preschool years. You can also find her writing at, Today Parenting, and Her View From Home. Read more about Valerie and her family on the About page. Follow her on FacebookPinterest, and Instagram for more tips and helps.

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  1. MamaBelle
    May 4, 2008 / 2:20 PM

    All of our babies have done so well with BW that I often just put them down if sleepy, etc and figure it out later. Life/their sleep is so consistent that I know I will figure it out when I pause afterward and that it is not a false signal. Growth spurts often caused going down early and waking a little late. We have very healthy kids who look like they are going to be very tall! As a word of encouragement, this type of decision is not nearly as easy with a first child. Our first child had medical issues that had us in knots. We made these decisions VERY, VERY carefully. However, ALL our children are beautiful sleepers today and happy children.Question: Our nine-month old daughter is not interested in her before bed nursing. She wakes, nurses, and has solids at 7:00, 11:00, and 3:00. She loves her solids but we don’t let her pig out. Before bed nursing is very half-hearted and not acting hungry. She’s in bed at 7:30 to 8:00 and down until morning. She nurses well, sleeps well, wakes up happy, and has great wake time, and puts out diapers like she should. She just had her 9-month well-baby check and is healthy as can be according to the pediatrician. She is a very distracted and busy baby, content, self-playing, from one thing to another. (Yes, she is an amazingly good baby!) She seems to be telling me that she doesn’t want/need the last feeding but I’ve never had this happen before and it seems that she SHOULD need it. I am nursing Mom, but I can pump to keep my supply up if needed. Have any of you had this happen? Thank you!

  2. Plowmanators
    May 4, 2008 / 10:27 PM

    My daughter was the same way. My guess is that it was because of having a lower milk supply in the evening. I just kept nursing her at that time and everything was fine.

  3. erintucker81
    May 5, 2008 / 1:32 AM

    Hi! I just started CIO three days ago for my 10 week old– I had followed the 2 1/3-3 hour feeding schedule from day 1, but couldn’t do CIO until it became absolutely necessary (I’m a wimp!). I do have a few questions about babywise and how to implement it: – My biggest problem is that my baby is a sleepyhead! He will sleep all day some days, and there is NOTHING I can do to wake him up! Any ideas, or will this problem fix itself once CIO has been implemented and he’s on more of a regular schedule? – Also, how many naps does he need at 10 weeks? (He’s actually almost 11 now). I want to make sure that I put him on the “right” schedule to begin with! – When should I begin letting him CIO at night- I currently do the dreamfeed right around 10:30-11:00 at night, and he’ll sleep until around 3:30 or 4:00, and then wake up around 7:00, so how do I get him to drip this 4:00 feeding– should I let him CIO right now? Thanks for all of your help- it’s great to have someone to ask these questions who’s been through the whole BW process!

  4. Anonymous
    May 5, 2008 / 1:44 AM

    Val,How do you manage church on Sunday? Church is very important to my husband and I as well- but it now runs into my 6 months old naptime. It was easier when he was younger but he wants his crib.Any insight/tips would be great- thanks!!Megan

  5. heather
    May 5, 2008 / 3:10 PM

    My 6-month old daughter is still waking very early in the morning. Today for example, she woke at 5:45. I want her wake up time to be 7, and it had been for months until she started this weird early wake up. So…my dilemma is this…. do I feed her and put her back down in hopes that she’ll sleep a few more hours? Or do I leave her all the way until 7, even if she begins to really cry? Or do I give her 30 minutes or so to see if she’ll go back to sleep and if not, then go ahead and get her up and begin our day (even though it’s much earlier than I would like)?

  6. Abby's Mom
    May 5, 2008 / 5:45 PM

    Heather, I don’t have the answer but the same dilema. My almost 5 month old wakes anytime between 5:30 and 6:30. She has been doing this for a very long time. I recently stopped her dream feed cold turkey to see what would happen. Well, nothing did. She still wakes at the same time. I also would like her wake up time to be 7:00am. However, since she has been waking so early I have continued to just put her right back down. She will usually take about 15 minutes to go back to sleep after eating. Then I let her sleep until between 8am and 8:30am (depending on what time she woke and ate the first time). So our “official” wake up time and the start of our day happens between 8am and 8:30am. I figure as long as she is willing to go back to sleep I will continue to put her back down. Haven’t tried letting her CIO at that time because I figure by the time she goes back to sleep it will be time for her to get up anyway. Not sure if I am doing the right thing. Let me know what you try and if it works!

  7. heather
    May 5, 2008 / 7:23 PM

    Abby’s mom…. It’s so nice to know someone else has the same “issues”. 🙂 I’ve only tried feeding and putting her back down twice. I guess my hesitation with that is that it’ll begin a new habit I just don’t want! But, in the same breath, my daughter getting adequate sleep is most important. So…???? How well does your baby nap? We are having nap troubles too, so I just wonder if they aren’t linked together somehow.

  8. Plowmanators
    May 5, 2008 / 8:03 PM

    1. Keep working at it. CIO will really be impossible if he won’t stay awake after a feeding. See this post for ideas on that topic: Sleepy Newborns: See this post for a summary of all BW milestones. At 10 weeks, he should still have a nap following each waketime, so the number of naps will depend on the number of feedings. Babywise Milestones: I wouldn’t do CIO at night yet. I personally would wait until he is either 12 weeks old or better at putting himself to sleep. Most babies will just sleep through on their own once they learn to put themselves to sleep. A small percentage need CIO or something at night. See this post for more on that: Early Morning Feedings Before Waketime: are most welcome!

  9. Plowmanators
    May 5, 2008 / 8:04 PM

    Megan,Yesterday must have been a rough one for people because I have had a few church questions today 🙂 I will do a post on it tomorrow.

  10. Plowmanators
    May 5, 2008 / 8:14 PM

    Heather, Your ideas are all good ones, and all ones that have been used by people. If you did leave her there–I think I would get her if she really started to cry. The hard thing with that time of day is that it has been a long time since they ate, so if they wake fully, they can be legitimately hungry. Keep in mind that there is a big growth spurt at 6 months. See this post and let me know if you have more questions:Early Morning Feedings Before Waketime:

  11. Abby's Mom
    May 5, 2008 / 11:30 PM

    Heather….I have always been a little OCD about how much sleep Abby gets so I guess that is why I put her back down when she gets up that early. And she usually has to be woken after that, so I figure she must have needed more sleep. I completely understand your fear of starting a new habit though 🙂 Maybe that is where I went wrong. Yes, we have nap troubles. She will many times takes a long time to go to sleep and we also get visits from the 45 minute intruder for at least one of her naps every day. She has always had a very hard time transitioning into that deep sleep. In fact today her second nap was only 15 minutes at Grandma’s house. So, I put her down as soon as we got home and she just woke after only 35 minutes. Guess it is just one of those days. Nice to know we have company though right?

  12. kaysmommie
    July 2, 2008 / 3:23 PM

    I share Heather and Abby’s problem. My LO wakes early almost every morning and I always leave her. But, seeing as that’s not working… Not sure what to do. So, my LO is 5 months and is now sleeping 11.5 hours a day- in total. Used to be 12.5- in total. This makes it very hard to implement BW. When she does STTN its only for 8 hours. That elusive 10-12 hours at night continues to elude us! I have tried CIO, short awake times, long awaketimes, every possible BW strategy. Is it time to accept that my baby will never be a sleeper or should I keep hoping?

  13. Abby's Mom
    July 3, 2008 / 6:20 PM

    kaysmommie – It has been a while since I posted on this, but unfortunately haven’t made any progress. We have tried EVERYTHING to get Abby more sleep and nothing has worked. She still wakes to eat between 5am and 6am and she still will usually only take 2 short naps during the day. I have had to just accept that I cannot make her sleep. All I can do is give her the opportunity and do what I can to help her. I am always worried (obviously a 1st time mommy) about how the lack of sleep will affect her, but I am really focusing on just accepting it now. There is nothing else I can do. It makes some days very difficult but we get through. I stick to BW as closely as possible with what my LO will allow but it is not always possible. Just use your best judgement and do what works best with your LO. Hopefully this will just be a phase for your LO. Sending you hugs though because I know it can be rough and we worry A LOT!

  14. Plowmanators
    July 5, 2008 / 10:38 PM

    kaysmommie,Keep in mind that Brayden didn’t STTN until he was 6 months old and didn’t take good naps until he was 6.5 months old. Few moms find baby never really naps well (or is much older when it happens), and some have it all click at some point. I would continue to work on it (in a relaxed way), but also just say “it is what it is.” Work on it, if it doesn’t change, don’t stress about it. Just enjoy your baby for where she is at and who she is right now. They grow so fast.

  15. Plowmanators
    July 5, 2008 / 10:38 PM

    Thanks Abby’s mom for your thoughts!

  16. kaysmommie3
    July 6, 2008 / 3:14 PM

    Thanks for the encouragement and hugs. I needed them!

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