Changing Our Sleep Patterns- the 3rd Night

Perhaps one of my most crucial parenting tools is coffee.  I know, lots will tell me it’s bad, I shouldn’t drink it and doing so while nursing is probably going to cause my child to grow a 3rd eye.  Since I’m convinced that not drinking coffee could lead to much worse, I’ll take my chances.

We made it through the 3rd night.

Official analysis?  Night #3 was tolerable.  A marked improvement over night #2.

So far with this experience I can say that every night has been different.  Which is probably good, not sure I could handle multiple nights like night 2.  At least not in a row because really, who knows what tonight will bring?  Not me.

After stumbling around yesterday attempting to use grunts as a form of communication I was hoping for an easy bed time.  It kind of was.  The entire day yesterday was the kind that you just file under “glad it’s over” and hurry up and forget it.  With the exception of Smunchie, everyone in the house struggled and I never figured out if they were picking it up from me or if they too were tired and grumpy.  The crankies woke Smunchie up from her nap after just 25 minutes so I was really worried about bed time.  Squiggle Bug is 3 so I probably don’t need to say more but I will, she is in a major testing phase right now.  It’s normal and healthy but has been extra challenging because of our sleep issues with Smunchie.  Yesterday she pulled out all the stops and I had to dig down deep to find the most loving and patient grunts I could manage.  We got through and bed time was surprisingly easy for Smunchie, almost impossible for Squiggle Bug but by 8.38 they were both down.

I hung out with The Storyteller who had also had a rough day and needed some positive mom time.  When I apologized about being short with her earlier she said “it’s ok, I heard Smunchie last night.  She was mad at you.  So I thought maybe you’d just let us do whatever we wanted today because you were tired.  Sorry, I tried to take advantage of you.”

I knew it!

As I was finishing up the post about night 2 Smunchie woke up around 10.  She nursed and fell quickly back asleep at the breast.  I hoped that would mean she’d stay down longer.  Wrong.  At 11.40 she woke again and since our window begins at midnight after changing her diaper I nursed her.  She must have been hungry because she really nursed well, let go, burped and threw her arms over her head and passed out.

I felt confident that the night was not going to go well.  She hadn’t even slept more than 2 hours without waking yet and she usually did a 4 hour stretch.  Sleep horror movies begin this way.


1amish- The call for bobbies was issued again and some how she ended up in bed nursing.  I don’t remember who got her.  I think I fell asleep for a moment but when I woke she was still latched and sucking.  “Bobbies all done” was met again with her unlatching and rolling over.  I can’t believe how easy that has been.  This time I kind of froze for a moment, afraid that the bobbie-monster would rise again in a few minutes but nothing happened.  Scooped her up and put her back in her bed before zombie-mommy drug her butt back the entire 2 feet back to bed.

3.45ish- This one happened but I remember nothing about it, zero details.  Smunchie got bobbies I ended it before she was asleep and she did fine.  It was remarkably unremarkable.

4.13ish- I looked at the clock this time when I got her.  Since I fell asleep the first time because I was too far gone to keep myself awake to be sure I didn’t nurse her to sleep and because the 2nd time I wasn’t even sure actually happened, I really tried to rouse myself.  While I was nursing her The Piano Man left the room, I’m wasn’t sure why but she didn’t notice and when I thought that was enough I mumbled our end phrase.  This time she let go and fussed, kind of a grumbly whiny fussing at me but she rolled over and cuddled with her lovey and Ceil.  Wakefulness hit me from my bladder.  Hoping to bed share for the rest of the night I was waiting for The Piano Man to return to stay in bed with her while I peed.  I waited.  And waited.  Afraid I was going to have my first accident in probably 30 years I finally got up.  Somehow, she knew it.  Before I was even out the door she was crying.  I soothed her and apologized telling her I had to go potty and oddly enough she calmed down and resumed her deep breathing.  Odd, very odd.  I peeked into Squiggle Bug’s room but no Piano Man and the couch was empty too.  Puzzled I got to the bathroom which was closed.  Someone was in there but I didn’t know who.  I had to pee but if I knocked I risked waking someone so I figured they couldn’t be in there long.  I was wrong.  Stepping repeatedly on the creaky spot in our hall hardwood floor I hoped whomever was inside would realize there was a lurker in the hall.  Eventually the door opened and there was The Piano Man looking very confused.

We think he fell asleep on the toilet.  He doesn’t actually remember anything about any of it.  I guess you take sleep wherever you can get it sometimes.

4.45ish- back to bed, Smunchie was sound asleep on her tummy in a starfish position taking up the entire bed.  I moved her to her bed.

7.30ish- I wake up to laughter.  Smunchie and Squiggle Bug were both in her bed playing.  They were laughing so hard and having so much fun.  Smiling at the sound before I even opened my eyes, I thought we are in for a much better day today.

See how well we’re hanging in there?

Sleep deprivation, our constant accessory.

Tonight we’re supposed to begin the second set of 3 nights.  The prospect is a little scary and have I visions of a bad horror movie where you yell at the idiotic characters as they run straight to the bad guy.  I’m not going to think about it just yet though, I’m going to enjoy the day with my family before some work appointments in the afternoon.  Being more rested today I am looking forward to some together time without the baggage of crippling fatigue.



  1. thepianoman says

    So, being the genius parents we are, did we go to bed before midnight last night? No. We pushed the envelope even further, staying up past 1:00 am. When I say “we” I really mean Jessica, as I was dozing on the couch from about 11:45 on. And when I mean “dozing”, Jessica informed me this morning that I was snoring with my half-empty (or is it half-full) glass or red wine in one hand and the book I was valiantly trying to read in the other.

    With a crick in my neck and realizing it was 1:20 or so, I decided not to fight sleep anymore and go to bed without Jessica. This is unusual for us, romantic saps that we are; usually we synchronize our bed time. But every once in a while we break the pattern out of necessity. Much to my surprise, by the time I was ready to climb into bed, Jessica was right there with me.

    Apparently, last night marked the point where I crossed over from our zombie state (awake but extremely tired) to something I don’t have a name for: mostly asleep with moments awake. Apparently you can’t dance just above the sleep line forever. I was pulled under.

    The consequence: when Jessica wanted to review the details of last night, I could’t remember much of anything. It may well be that I fell asleep on the toilet. Terribly embarrassing, but at least I can honestly claim that I don’t remember. And this isn’t like “the Hangover” movie. This was honest-to-goodness fatigue-induced stupor. Usually I get embarrassed just at dozing on the couch, because it reminds me of how my Dad’s sleep switch would click over every night at 9:00, even if we were watching a captivating movie. But I have no recollection of spending countless minutes on the potty, so I don’t think it really happened. Whatever helps me sleep at night, right?

  2. Oh my, this made me laugh, especially the starfish taking up the whole bed! Good luck on the next set, you’ve already done AWESOMELY. I’m so glad she’s doing so well!

  3. Soaring Butterfly says

    Oh, I feel your pain some nights. My little one is 14 months and I am currently 10 weeks pregnant with number 3. Oldest one (3 yrs) still wakes several times a week (sometimes a night) needing his blanket fixed or a drink or comforting or whatever. We co sleep with the little one and will bring the oldest in when necessary (then hubby gets the spare room because there is just no room for all of us even in our king sized bed). I actually feel fairly rested with the co sleeping and several night nursings because I’m barely awake for half of them anyway. I’m just getting frustrated that he can’t self soothe at least once in awhile. If anything wakes him he must have his boobies or he will NOT go back to sleep. I’ve tried a sippy of water, comforting him, Daddy comforting him and he is so stubborn he’ll just cry and toss and turn and be so angry until I give in. We live in a four plex so out of respect for my neighbors I don’t let crying happen in the night, not that I believe in cry it out anyway. But the worst is the nights when he’ll fuss for his boobies, get it in his mouth and then instantly relax and fall asleep, he doesn’t even drink, just dozes off with the boob in his mouth. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Momma is not a soother! Oye. Working on cutting short nursing sessions right now by saying all done and seeing how that works. But honestly I don’t have the energy to try too hard at this point, even at nap time. At this stage of the pregnancy I am so sick and so tired all the time that I often nap with the kids and will do whatever it takes to get some sleep. I do hope that in the next few months the night nursings will become a little less. And I do hope when I lose my milk with the pregnancy that the little one is not too traumatized, ugh, not looking forward to that.

    Anyway, sorry for rambling. Just wanted to say I can empathize and I feel your pain. Hugs, hope the next few weeks go better and better!

    Soaring Butterfly.

  4. xena horvath says

    wow what a great post! thanks so much for sharing! i’m learning loads from your journey into night weaning and have been wondering just how i’d go about doing it. i think it can be done, ari is sttn for the most part however, not sure if i need to go about doing it at this point. plust it would be even more difficult without any help from anyone. good luck in the next few weeks and i hope that each night will be better then the last.

  5. OK, so far so good. Tonight Smunchie gets to nurse to sleep at first, but, whenever she reawakes, has to go back to sleep with just a little hugging, a cuddle, a brief dance and then mostly rubbing, patting and mom or Pianoman’s voice in her ear. And, for heaven’s sake, go to bed earlier you two doofuses!


  6. Thanks for sharing! I am watching for these posts every day to see how it is going. I’m envisioning bedtime battles in our future and I’d like to see how this strategy works. Best of luck!

  7. This post made me laugh. I totally sympathize with what lack of sleep can do to you. I swear I could kill my hubby sometimes because he can sleep through just about anything and survives just fine on 6 hours of sleep. Next baby, he needs to figure out how to breastfeed 🙂

  8. I feel bad for being so wildly entertained by your misfortune. But, this post was hilarious! Thank you for taking the time to share. Best of luck!

  9. I have also encountered the starfish bed-occupation technique. My 14-mo-old uses it nightly.

    I need to read back and see how Smunchie learned “bobbies all done” because I could really use a signal like that.

    As for the sleep deprivation, I am wholly sympathetic. DH and I want to start this night weaning technique, but we haven’t quite built up the courage to start…


  10. this is completely unwarented, unasked for advice and I have absolutely no grounds to stand on beyond my own experience with my one and only child (6 months) who is apparently “the best baby on earth” but have you thought of putting smunchie in her own room? If you are convinced she can smell you and coming to bed at night is waking her, perhaps she would sleep through the night in your absence.

    Out of sheer exhaustion on my and hubs’ part, my LO began sleeping in her own crib in her own room at 3 weeks. By 5 weeks she was going to sleep at 7pm every night and waking at 7am with feedings inbetween. When she woke at night I changed her diaper (in the dark, of course) and fed her in a glider in her room. She always fell right back asleep on the boob, then I laid her back down in her crib and went back to bed. By 5 months old she had cut out ALL night-time feedings. Granted she has regressed a bit right now, but I have moving, going back to work, teething, growth sput, major wonderweek and an immense change in routine to blame for that. Even with all that, she is starting to sleep straight through again.

    I know everyone has their own way of doing things and what worked for my family won’t necessarily work for yours, but I understand zombie-mom feelings and I love your blog so much that I just want to make sure you’re never too tired to write!

    • Thanks for the suggestion Brandi. Through our 5 children we have done all kinds of different sleeping arrangements, including baby in their own room. There are 2 major reasons why we aren’t doing this with Smunchie and didn’t do it with Squiggle Bug either. The first is that our parenting philosophy has changed over the years and we want to be very present for night time parenting and believe that when our children are very young they are programmed to be close to us even during the night. The second reason is a simple one of logistics: we have 7 people in our family and 3 bedrooms. There isn’t a room for her. All our girls share, 2 in each room and The Piano Man and I share with Smunchie. For the time being this is the only option we have so we have to make it work well for all of us. Read night 4 to see how it is progressing! ~Jessica

  11. That was a very kind response to Brandi’s post. But . . . whereas I’m just a pediatrician in private practice, may I offer the opinion of the world’s number one academic infant sleep expert?


    • Dr. Gordon, thank you so much for sharing that amazing review. I was particularly fascinated by the HOW SOCIAL FOLK MYTHS ABOUT THE ‘NORMALCY’ OF SOLITARY INFANT SLEEP ACHIEVED SCIENTIFIC VALIDATION section. I intend to read this more thoroughly again later and will be sharing it with my readers. Again, thank you so much, I really appreciate you sharing the review. ~Jessica