Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Boob. Bath. Book. Bed. and other Routines

If you follow me on Instagram, you know we have recently started feeding Penny some solid foods, and establishing a "family dinner" experience -- at the table -- all three of us -- every night. This isn't the only new routine in our increasingly domesticated lives...

Boob. Bath. Book. Bed.

Thus is our new bedtime routine.  Gone are the days of just hanging out at night, doing what we (the grownups) want, where we want, when we want, and letting Penelope fall asleep wherever and whenever she wants.   Our daughter is six months old, she is not sick anymore (man what a backtrack those two weeks were in trying to encourage good sleep habits!).

Our pediatrician actually suggested we separate nursing from sleeping with bath and reading a book in between.  We've been doing this for about a week, and it really seems to suit our family well.

We are Starting Good Habits.

In addition, I've been reading about sleep associations. Baby sleep associations, to be precise.  And we are making some serious changes in the Griffin house. The method we are going by is the ever popular, ever misunderstood, Ferber Method.  Rather than summarize, I'm just going to recommend you look into it if you are interested.  But here is my public declaration of Penny's sleep statements, old and new.

Out with the Old, In with the New.

Old Sleep Associations:
  • I fall asleep while Mommy cuddles me.
  • I fall asleep while Daddy holds me and reads me a book.
  • I fall asleep in Mommy or Daddy's lap on the couch while we watch Downton Abbey.
  • I fall asleep while Nana holds me.
  • I fall asleep while Grammie rocks me.
  • I fall asleep while Grammie walks me.
  • I fall asleep while I take a bottle.
  • I fall asleep while I nurse.
  • If I'm really tired I fall asleep by myself in my crib if my pacifier is in, but if I don't like it, the grownups pick me up and give me another option.
  • I fall asleep in Mommy and Daddy's bed if it's after midnight.
New Sleep Associations:
  • I fall asleep by myself in a crib in a dim room with white noise. No one is in the room with me at the moment I fall asleep. 
  • I fall asleep with my pacifier in my mouth, but if it falls out, I can fall asleep without it.
  • I take two or three naps a day. I do not go down for a nap past 5pm. I fall asleep for the night at 9pm bedtime and I wake up for the day at 7am.
Progressive Waiting

Last night, we started the Progressive Waiting approach.

You know how if you spend all day in the ocean, you can still hear the wind and feel the motion of the waves later that night when you're lying still in bed?   In this early hours of this morning as I grumbled out of bed and got into the shower, I could still hear Penny crying from the agonizing 25 + 35 minutes of my life the night before [which really isn't that bad].  It was the hardest night of motherhood.  I wept.  I can't explain it.  Some other moms know.

How she does tonight will be a gauge for how successful our efforts were last night.  I know in my heart and mind that we are doing a good thing for Penny and for our family.  But I do so appreciate encouragement from others as I find myself feeling like a failure for not doing this sooner, or feeling confused by so many different sources who say the 'best way' to do this, or feeling EXHAUSTED from not getting more than an hour and a half of consecutive sleep for months on end (sometimes from my baby's sleeplessness, sometimes from my own).

I would love to read stories of any of you who have had success with this method, to fill up my tank as we continue the tough but proven process of empowering our child to fall asleep by herself.  Thank you so much for your support!


  1. Here's one entry where I (briefly) talked about our progressive waiting experience:

    I can also send you the chart we kept via e-mail if you'd like! Mine is 20may2011{at}gmail{dot}com

  2. I'm struggling with this right now too. Ryan will only fall asleep for the boob. He's never taken a pacifier. He'll fall asleep in the car but never for anyone other than me. Only once has he fallen asleep on my husband and that was a fluke. I've tried letting him cry and going in to check without picking him up but it seems to set him off more. I know some babies will cry themselves to sleep but Ryan just cries and cries. He's nearly 9 months old now and I've created a boob monster.

  3. Great post - it takes time, but sometimes they surprise you and if you can just believe that they can do, they will - sometimes :-)

    Would love for you to link this up Empty Your Achive which is focused on sleep and bedtime this week,

    Alice @ Mums Make Lists x

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