Grown Up Time

in Sleeping

When I came home from the hospital, a nurse told me that my best chance of getting breastfeeding to work was to take a ‘nursing vacation’ and just sit on the couch for a week straight doing nothing but nursing.  (We know how that turned out, but it was still good advice.)  I’ve decided to just dedicate a few days (weeks?!) to sleep training… basically, getting Henry into a napping rhythm and on a schedule with the hopes that he’ll sleep better at night.  Everyone says that sleep begets sleep!  Thus, today is revolving entirely around sleep training.  I’ve got nothing else planned except figuring out how and when Henry needs to nap.  We’re already on our second nap, which is about two more than he would’ve normally taken. 


Therefore, please keep those baby sleep suggestions coming! 


I may or may not have asked DadHTP to come over and also try to interpret Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child.  It really is a terribly confusing book.  He is a speed reader, and I knew he could fly through the convoluted 50-page chapter on 1 to 4 month olds and easily give me a summary.  Just call him Cliff Notes Dad. 


For a baby like Henry (read: easy), the first three months just revolved around – well – keeping him happy.  Feeding, playing, changing diapers.  I didn’t really try to ‘parent’ per say.  I just keep him engaged when awake and comfy when asleep.  This is really my first attempt to lay down ‘rules’ and direct the ship instead of Henry dictating everything.  The truth of the matter is that once they are out of the newborn stage, babies don’t necessarily know what they want – especially when it comes to sleep.  Henry will fight it and fight it even though he’s exhausted and screaming.  I’m trying to enforce new habits in order to create a happier child.  But it’s so tough sometimes!


All I have to do, however, is look at Maggie and remind myself that this is what happens when you don’t enforce any rules.  Oh, how I coddled her when we got her!  I let her run us over because she was so sweet and cute, and now she’s a sweet and cute monster who barks incessantly, jumps on visitors, runs out the front door at every opportunity, and pees on my rug.  Not her fault.  My fault. 


Must… be… the… adult.  Excuse me while I go find my big girl panties.



  • Katrina September 13, 2012, 1:06 pm

    Good luck! Sleeping is marvelous, hopefully Henry figures that out soon.

    Big girl panties sound better than mesh panties. Not that I have any experience with either. 😉

  • Susan September 13, 2012, 1:09 pm

    Getting Henry in a good routine will change your life. I mean it. It takes time … don’t give in even when you’re disheartened. Babies learn through repetition.
    I look forward to reading about how this goes for you guys … I’m having our third child in seven weeks and might be interested in this book.
    Thanks again for being honest about what you’re going through!

  • kim September 13, 2012, 1:09 pm

    Just an FYI, apple seeds are toxic to dogs, not sure how much of that core Maggie ate but she prob should stay away.

    • Caitlin September 13, 2012, 1:10 pm

      Really, hmm! Interesting factoid. They eat apples all the time though! But the seeds are specifically bad? Good to know!

      • kim September 13, 2012, 1:12 pm

        The seeds contain cyanide and I think it’s only an issue if the seed is broken, but still, probably best to stay away! I was warned by my vet cause my dogs love apples!

        • Caitlin September 13, 2012, 1:23 pm

          Dude, cyanide! Learn something everyday.

      • Sunny September 13, 2012, 1:24 pm

        Interesting. Per this:

        You or Maggie would have to eat a ton of apple seeds and crush them to see any harm from them.

      • Shelly September 13, 2012, 2:22 pm

        It’s crazy the stuff dogs aren’t supposed to have. Grapes, raisins, and onions blew my mind. Chocolate, of course, is the one everyone knows about.

        But it’s way worse for cats. I don’t grow plants in the house anymore because it’s too much work figuring out what will and won’t hurt them if they decided to munch on it. (And of course, they munch on anything they can find!)

        • Sonia the Mexigarian September 13, 2012, 2:59 pm

          My pets eat anything and everything too. Reason why we took out the beautiful 20+ year old wisteria from our house and cleared out a lot of the previous owners landcape. As my husband puts it, he scorched the earth while I replant it with safe plants.

          Most recently a local police dog died from munching on some ornamental fern or palm that was in the backyard of its home. I want plants in doors, but like Shelly said it’s a lot of work figuring out what isn’t toxic.

          Grapes are especially dangerous. My friends dog was rushed to the ER because they let her eat a handful of grapes and she started showing signs of posioning.

  • Leslie September 13, 2012, 1:20 pm

    Your dad is just the sweetest man. It is evident that he loves you and would do what ever he can to help you.

    • Caitlin September 13, 2012, 1:22 pm

      Dad rocks.

      • Whitney September 13, 2012, 2:28 pm

        Ditto! I loved that your dad came over to help. So presh! 🙂

        • Amanda September 13, 2012, 8:50 pm

          Agreed! He is so sensitive.

  • Kendra @ My Full-Thyme Life September 13, 2012, 1:21 pm

    Routines are a babies best friend! At least in our house. I feel like not only did our baby thrive but so did we once a solid routine was established. Of course once you get it down pat they will throw you a curve ball every once in a while, but for the most part routines are reliable. 😉 You also have to adjust the routine as they develope and their behavior/needs change. You’ll get there!

    By the way… how has your relationship with your dogs changed, if at all? We had pets before baby and they were our cuddle buddies, companions, etc. After baby… well, lets just say I don’t necessarily love them any less, they are just more annoying and in the way. Or it seems on the most stressful and sleep deprived days they decide to act up! Like I said, I don’t love them any less but I truly have to admit it just isn’t the same with them as it once was. Does that make sense or am I the Big Bad Pet Owner?!?! 😉

    • Caitlin September 13, 2012, 1:22 pm

      I want to write a post on this topic – maybe next week. You are not a bad owner, I think this is perfectly normal. Bad owners are the ones who send their dogs to the pound when the baby comes.

  • Karen September 13, 2012, 1:22 pm

    I’ve heard great things about The Contented Little Baby even if it seems a little unorthodox. Here’s one review:

  • j3nn September 13, 2012, 1:29 pm

    It’s so hard to be firm with little cuties! One sweet baby or puppy look and we turn to mush. But structure is good! For both growing and learning babies, and puppies! 🙂 You’ll benefit from it, too, so you’ll be glad you took the initiative to make positive, solid changes.

  • Kristen J September 13, 2012, 1:35 pm

    My daughter is 6 days younger than Henry and we are trying to figure out night time sleeping
    She seems to have the same schedule as Henry but is so restless in between feedings that it seems I am always trying to soothe her. When you figure out sleeping let me know! Until then I am going to start her bed time routine earlier and see where that gets us!

  • Dannii @ Hungry Healthy Happy September 13, 2012, 1:37 pm

    Wow – from reading these comments, I learned that dogs are allergic to apple seeds. Good to know!

  • Ellen @ Wannabe Health Nut September 13, 2012, 1:43 pm

    Somehow I have a feeling Maggie would have turned out the exact same, no matter the disciplining efforts early on. 🙂

  • Brittnie (A Joy Renewed) September 13, 2012, 1:43 pm

    A routine takes some time BUT it makes ALL the difference. It took us 8 solid days and on the 8th day everything “clicked” for Clara. I stayed home most all day everyday to ensure Clara went down, at relatively the same time, for naps.

    Here are my biggest takeaways from the HSHHC book…

    1. The importance of establishing a wake time – Henrys nap schedule will fall about the same time each day if you wake him up at the same time each morning give or take a few minutes. It will help program his little body if the start time to every day is the same. Yes – you wake him even on those mornings when you feel like a zombie. 7am is our wake time. This ensures that the 2 hour limit of wakefulness will fall about 9am. Clara usually goes down anywhere between 830-9am and that is considered nap #1. If I notice she is getting tired, I put her down a tad early (she has a hard time making it the full two hours before that first nap). The rest of the day and our naps fall into place so easily now that we have a set “start” to our day. Then each day is like clockwork. SO NICE! (This took some trail and error on our part so you might have to spend a few days playing around with the times but for us, if we woke Clara up at 8am, that pushed naps back too late and then bedtime too late.)

    2. The importance of watching your babys sleepy signs – this was a HUGE revelation for me. I can now read Clara like a book. The whole point is to not wait until the baby is overtired/fussy/crabby because then the window of opportunity is lost. HSHHC encourages you to watch for the sleepy signs and once you see them, start soothing baby down for nap and put him down for nap while he is sleepy but still happy. This will result in the least amount of crying at nap time.

    3. Consistency in bedtime routine and nap routine – We were not doing either of these things until about 2 weeks ago. Now I am very consistent with what I do before naps – take CLara into her nursery, cuddle her and sing 2-3 songs, then say “I love you sweet girl, have a good rest,” and then plop her in her crib. Every single time. This helps the baby know “ok, i remember this, its time for me to sleep now.” Bedtime routine has a few more steps but fairly simple – bath, books, bottle, bed. The end. 🙂

    4. Sleep begets sleep – the better rested they are the easier it will be for them to sleep. Thus the importance of a good napping schedule/routine. Night sleep will be SO much easier once day sleep is established. But. . .

    5. Sometimes you have to limit nap duration in order to protect the next nap and/or to protect an earlier bedtime. This is the only time the HSHHC book recommends waking a baby – in order to protect the sleep schedule. So for instance if Clara goes down at 8:45am for nap 1 and is still asleep at 11am, I wake her up. I don’t want her sleeping later than 11am because I don’t want nap 2 to start much past 1pm. If it does then it screws with our bedtime (which is 8pm). Does that make sense?

    Another thing is don’t let the time frames listed in the book stress you out. I played around with a 7pm bedtime for Clara but when she went to bed at that time she was always waking up at 530 or 6am. An 8pm bedtime seems to help her get to a 7am wake time. It’s all trial and error. Play around with it and find what works for YOU and HENRY. Weissbluth says in the book that there is nothing magical about naps at 9am and 1pm- those are just general guidelines to help establish some type of schedule. An hour off on either end isn’t the end of the world. Ya know?

    I hope this helps you. We just went through this entire book over the last few weeks so if you have more questions feel free to email me!

    • Brittnie (A Joy Renewed) September 13, 2012, 2:01 pm

      I thought it might be helpful to show you our schedule. Again, this is just what works for us and takes some trial and error. Clara is now only waking up 1x at night to eat so you can rearrange things based on Henry’s eating habits.

      7am – wake time
      eat & playtime
      8:30 or 9am – nap #1
      eat & playtime/errands if needed
      12:30 or 1pm – nap #2
      eat & playtime/errands if needed
      5pm (or so) – nap #3 – this is a short cat nap, maybe one hour, to get us to bedtime
      eat & playtime/errands
      7:20 – start getting ready for bedtime (bath, books, bottle,)
      8pm – bedtime
      She wakes for one feeding @ night, usually between 11pm-12am.

      • Susan September 13, 2012, 3:56 pm

        This is what our baby routines have looked like as well (except our babies went to bed earlier). Great example!!!

      • Kelley September 13, 2012, 4:04 pm

        We started sleep training yesterday. There have been lots of tears (mine, not the baby’s)! But my schedule looks alot like this too. It’s nice people are sharing theirs because I never know if what I’m doing is normal! Thanks!

      • Megan September 13, 2012, 4:51 pm

        Totally agree with this schedule!! All 5 of my kids followed this to a T (believe it or not, I got to this schedule by reading HSHHC- saved my sanity!!) Eventually drop the 3rd nap, then the morning nap (at around 15/18 months), and the afternoon nap at age 3 or so.

        Good luck! You’re doing great.

      • Katy September 13, 2012, 6:52 pm

        How long are her naps usually?

    • Caitlin September 13, 2012, 2:32 pm

      really helpful!

  • Heather September 13, 2012, 1:52 pm

    I think we have identical babies. My little guy will be 4 months this Saturday and we have been working all week on sleep training. Last night was the best night yet, hooray! I put 1 Tbsp of rice cereal in a 3 oz bottle of breast milk and gave it to him before bed. He loooved it. I am wondering if that is what helped him (finally) sleep the whole night. Good luck!

  • Claire September 13, 2012, 1:55 pm

    “For a baby like Henry (read: easy), the first three months just revolved around – well – keeping him happy. Feeding, playing, changing diapers. I didn’t really try to ‘parent’ per say. I just keep him engaged when awake and comfy when asleep. This is really my first attempt to lay down ‘rules’ and direct the ship instead of Henry dictating everything. ”

    I have to say, a fair number of parents would disagree with you about this! Everyone (and every baby) is different, but as someone that believes strongly in attachment parenting, I would never think to try and dictate or lay down “rules” for a three month old. Keeping your newborn happy sounds like great parenting to me – that’s still how I parent my nine month old! Of course, there is the important distinction that attachment parenting isn’t permissive parenting, but I’m not a fan of the idea that you are supposed to “train” a baby like you can “train” a dog. We have a “routine” for our baby – but one that she set herself, we just learned it by watching and caring for her, and we help where we can to let her to follow her natural rhythms, and change along with her as she changes.

    • Caitlin September 13, 2012, 2:26 pm

      I am, obviously, a new parent, so this is based more on my theories and interactions with older children, but I believe you that can teach – lets say teach, train sounds like a dog LOL – kids what to expect and what is expected of them. I think children of all ages operate best when they know the boundaries and rules, and I want Henry to know that he doesn’t have to worry about being in charge; I am (or Kristien is). I agree with you in that you shouldn’t FORCE a baby as young as Henry to fit into a schedule that is very far away from his natural rhythm by crying it out hysterically in his own crib alone, but I am not a proponent of letting Henry set the routine in our family. But I know that what you describe has worked very well for lots of my friends!

      The AP theories are very interesting and I incorporate some of it into my own style (sharing a bedroom for a long time/some cosleeping), but I guess the way I think about parenting differs a lot from the fundamental AP theories. (Well, I am probably only a little familiar with AP style, I did a few hours of research on it once but I admit, I am not an expert in AP style <--- it would be cool if someone would break down the AP points for anyone else reading this.) However, one thing is for sure, we all believe in making children feel secure and loved <3 I think there's a lot of different approaches to getting to that point.

      • Caitlin September 13, 2012, 2:33 pm

        Also…. I really just want to make it clear that everyone has different opinions, styles, and thoughts about stuff like this, and i think its CRAZY COOL if we can all share our experiences and information and help one another be better parents. That’s it! Different things work for different families, there is no one way to do it, and I love it when we can debate and talk about stuff like this without going all mommy warish and freaking out. Yay, us!

        • Claire September 13, 2012, 4:58 pm

          I agree, it’s cool to be able to discuss different parenting techniques without getting all defensive!

          I totally agree with this: “I think children… …operate best when they know the boundaries and rules, and I want Henry to know that he doesn’t have to worry about being in charge; I am (or Kristien is). ” except that I believe your statement fits best with toddlers and older kids, not with babies. At Henry’s age, he doesn’t understand depth perception yet, much less complex familial hierarchies! 🙂 I also hate the idea that babies can “manipulate” parents into getting what they want by crying (not that you said that, at all, but it’s something I’ve heard it a lot, esp. with people from older generations). Again, biologically, infants just don’t have that mental capacity yet!

          The biggest part of A.P. that I love with is respecting the baby’s cry – it is their only form of communication, and their needs are so simple – food, sleep, comfort, warmth, and love, and I don’t under stand how people can ignore it. For example, my sister-in-law decided from the onset that she was going to follow a strict schedule, and she would sit there, watching the time, counting down the minutes until she would feed her baby, while her little one cried and cried with hunger. 🙁 That’s the kind of “training” I really have issue with.

          I think one problem with training is that it can make you start watching the clock (“has it been 2 hours yet?” etc.) instead of watching your baby, and it may potentially interfere with learning to read your baby (instead of the time!). And for my husband and I, we have no problem working with and respecting our daughter’s routine. For us it has made our lives really easy, we never feel like we’re fighting against anything, we just go with the flow. We only planning on having one child, and before we know it she’ll be off to school, so we are happy to “disrupt” our own routines while she is so little.

          But this is all just splitting hairs, really – I think that anyone that has the time, intellect, resources, and desire to discuss parenting minutiae online is going to do pretty well by their children! 🙂

      • Marissa C September 13, 2012, 2:57 pm

        Best summary I’ve seen is the 7 (sometimes 8) “Baby Bs”

        The biggest thing to remember about Attachment Parenting, though, is it is a spectrum, not a strict set of rules. For example, I follow a lot of these, but I work outside of the

        Here are two links that describe the Baby Bs–I like the depth the blog post gives:

        • Marissa C September 13, 2012, 2:59 pm


          Here is the other link:

          And for what I was saying before, I work outside of the home, but I still breastfeed and pump, whereas some do exclusive breastfeeding and stay at home. Or we used a co-sleeper for the first 6 months, but then transitioned her to a crib in her room for the beginning of the night and let us sleep with us after the first waking. Like a said…a spectrum, not hard rules. 😉

          • Caitlin September 13, 2012, 3:07 pm

            According to the hippie housewife I am much more into attachment parenting than I thought!

          • Marissa C September 13, 2012, 3:52 pm

            I cant respond to your comment below for some reason, but it reminded me of something my babysitter says. “Our pediatrician says we are into attachment parenting. I thought we were just lazy!”

            Attachment parenting gets a really bad rap because it is really misunderstood. I think the name makes people think it is about hovering over your child forever, when in reality it is about giving them a strong emotional base to grow from so they can be independent later on.

    • Kelly September 13, 2012, 2:41 pm

      Maybe “train” isn’t the right word. More like guidance. And, yes, all parents should guide their child to the best possible life possible, even if it means laying down some “rules”.

      • Caitlin September 13, 2012, 2:42 pm

        Hahah train was a shit word choice, but the official term for what I’m trying to do with nap scheduling IS sleep training. In my defense.

        • Kelly September 13, 2012, 2:55 pm

          Oh, no, I wasn’t having a go at you – actually defending you! And, train may be the right word. Even as adults, don’t we train ourselves – when it comes to food, sleep, exercise, etc.? I am currently trying to lose weight and not eat so much sugar. I have to “train” myself (big time) not to grab a candy bar at the checkout line at the grocery store. Probably because I had little “guidance” as a child when it came to healthy eating. Alas, I do think even the smallest of babies needs some sort of boundaries and guidelines – otherwise you’ll have a human version of the Maggster on your hands. But, it’s true everyone has their own opinions and success / fail stories, so really you can only do what’s best for you and little Henry.

          • Caitlin September 13, 2012, 3:04 pm

            Oh I did not think that anyone was having a go at me. We are just discussing!

  • Kimberly @ Healthy Strides September 13, 2012, 1:58 pm

    We tried the “No Cry Sleep Solution” but it never seemed to make any sense to me. I would read and read only to get more and more confused. Yay for Dad HTP! To make it worse, our day care provider said these (very true) words: A baby would never sleep if you let it. And thus the basis of my parenting style … if I have one. We’re 14 months in, and I still feel clueless. However, I would advise to look for cues and set up a schedule but still be mindful that Henry is young. He might not take to a schedule just yet.

  • Ashley September 13, 2012, 2:08 pm

    Routines are invaluable. But don’t set your expectations too high. He’s still SO young. He’s just now coming out of what has been described as the “Fourth Trimester”. He’s still trying to figure out that he’s actually on the outside now. When he cries or fusses, he really does need you. So at this stage, trying to enforce anything might not actually have much effect. But it’s good to get into the practice for when they are older.

    Just read his cues. If he start to rub his eyes, he’s tired. Try to lay him down/rock him before he actually gets fussy. Because by then, babies can get OVERtired and then it can be so difficult to get them to sleep at that point. Even though they are tired, it’s like they are so tired, that they get a second gust of wind and become wired. It’s important to get him to sleep before that.

    Good luck! The lack of sleep is tough, but it really only lasts a short time.

  • Ki September 13, 2012, 2:11 pm

    This isn’t about sleep training, but it’s a fabulous parenting book: Becoming the Parent You Want to Be. It’s a bit crunchy ( I first heard about it on the Berkeley parents network…), but it’s full of good parenting strategies…to avoid a barking baby that jumps on all your guests. Sleep will happen. Don’t worry.

  • Katie @ Peace Love & Oats September 13, 2012, 2:17 pm

    Hahahaha clearly Maggie got away with a lot! My brother’s dog is adorable because she knows when she’s done something wrong. If you show her something she’s torn up, she runs away or hides her face! It’s too cute.

  • emily September 13, 2012, 2:22 pm

    Give Maggie a pet on the head because at least she didn’t steal that apple core out of the trash (like my doxie has done the past three days in a row!). 🙂

  • Ally's Sweet & Savory Eats September 13, 2012, 2:23 pm

    It is hard to get your babies into sleep patterns, but you’ll be glad you did. It might be a few days (or a week) of hell, but it’s worth it in the end. Both of my kids had dedicated nap times whether they looked sleepy or not. Soon enough, their body gets into a rhythm:)

  • JenP September 13, 2012, 2:25 pm

    If you haven’t already, read The Baby Whisperer – it was very helpful when my boys were babies.

  • Anne @strawberryjampackedlife September 13, 2012, 2:25 pm

    And now you have me rethinking my “parenting” abilities of our dog. I finally talked the husband into letting her sleep on our bed, and last night she left a nasty smelling liquid there (we think she needs her anals expressed). It was 11:45pm, and we had to go find some clean sheets (we just moved) to put on the bed in order to sleep.

    • Caitlin September 13, 2012, 2:32 pm

      hahahah GROSSSSS

    • Kelly September 13, 2012, 2:39 pm

      What IS that liquid that comes from the anal glands? Nope, don’t really want an answer, but it is definitely some of the foulest smelling stuff I’ve ever encountered. I’d rather sleep with a pile of turds than encounter even an ounce of that stuff. Bleck.

      • Caitlin September 13, 2012, 2:40 pm

        double ewwwwwwwwwwwwww

        • Lindsay September 13, 2012, 6:41 pm


  • Tara September 13, 2012, 2:35 pm

    I can relate. Our first “child” was our Boston Terrier and we let him rule the roost, because he was a puppy and cute and how could you correct something so adorable? Now he is an out of control 4 year old dog that is more challenging than our son most days! I love him like crazy, but some days I really wish we could get through a meal without him trying to jump in our laps, or have company over without them getting attacked by an excited 20 pound ball of energy!

    I think finding a schedule that works for you and Henry will be a game changer. I didn’t realize with my son that after the first several weeks it was okay for me to start helping him learn a schedule until I read a book and started following a routine that worked for baby and us. Really he just needed some guidance to get him sleeping and eating on a good schedule. We were all happier, more awake, and sane after that! ; )

    • Caitlin September 13, 2012, 2:37 pm

      hahah I love this comment.

  • Kelly September 13, 2012, 2:45 pm

    I love everything about this post!! Love your father! Love that you owned your dogs spoiled behavior!! Love that picture of Henry sleeping!! Now that my two are teenagers- I could probably relate more to a post about how to wake my sleeping children! 🙂 One word of advise I might offer is don’t tiptoe around a sleeping baby- if you get the accustom to sleeping in only complete silence your in for a rough road.

    • Caitlin September 13, 2012, 2:46 pm

      Hahah I was truly the worst dog owner ever in terms of training good behavior.

      My MiL had the same advice about tiptoeing!

  • leah case September 13, 2012, 3:00 pm

    I <3 sleep training!!! It's a lot of work (I mean, looking back I can't even remember it, but it felt like a lot then!!!), but sooooo worth it! My 11 month old sleeps from 7:15 pm-8:30 am, then takes 2 naps a day (1.5-2 hours each)…she is SO happy and SO easy because of it! 🙂 Good luck mama!

    • Caitlin September 13, 2012, 3:02 pm

      This comment gives me hope!

  • Becky B. September 13, 2012, 3:01 pm

    I found that book wildly confusing when I first read it after my first baby two years a go. You have tons of replies already but recently I say this blog post that broke it down really well:

    makes it seam easy peasy!!

    • Caitlin September 13, 2012, 3:12 pm

      That post was very good for me to read. Thanks!!!

  • Lauri September 13, 2012, 3:12 pm

    every baby is different of course but here is what worked for us – Although i don’t think I picked up on these things until my son was a little older than Henry…

    – We tried to go with that 2 hour rule loosely – I would put him down for a nap ~ 2 hours after he woke up. Started out with about 3 naps a day and then eventually went to 2, morning and after lunch. I never had set times, just sort of went by when he had last woken up and based it off that. of course at daycare he slept totally differently AND he napped in the swing until he was about 7 months old but it worked for us
    – I was SO worried about having a “needy” baby that i honstly didn’t hold him enough! I put him down a lot to try to make him more independent. Around 4 months i started putting him to bed awake to see what happened and he fell asleep on his own and I never looked back. I always did book, bottle and then put him down and it worked well. He was and has always been a great sleeper. Of course we had phases here and there of crying at bedtime (esp aftr being sick) but sibnce I knew he could put himself to sleep, I would let him cry after a certan age (which people have different opinions on)
    – Nightime feedings were done in his room, rocking chair, lights dim (or even of) and I only changed his diaper if he soaked through or pooped. The goal was to let him know it was night time and that he was to go back to bed/sleep right after. Daytime feedings were always in lit room, background noise, etc to differentiate between day and night.
    – early bedtimes are best! I think most people put their kids to bed too late. we stuck with a 7 pm bedtime from very early on and only lately has he started to go to bed closer to 7:30/8 (he is almost 5)

    Good luck!

    • Caitlin September 13, 2012, 3:14 pm

      I am glad you mentioned that about the diapers because I am still trying to figure out what to do about that. If I change his wet diaper in the middle of the night it’s all over. He wakes up and wants to play.

      • Becky B. September 13, 2012, 3:31 pm


        • Caitlin September 13, 2012, 3:38 pm

          I just had a “WAIT THEY MAKE THOSE?” moment.

          • Melissa September 14, 2012, 5:52 pm

            I didn’t realize that either until our twins were 6 months old 🙂 We LOVED pampers swaddlers for day, but Huggies nighttime diapers!!!! They rock!

  • Amanda September 13, 2012, 3:14 pm

    Oh how I don’t envy you tacking sleep training, those were some frustrating days!! My little bit of advice is the BABY WHISPERER!!! Love her. My favorite of her books is ‘The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems” or something like that. I’m surprised you got so many recs about the book you are currently looking at, I’ve heard really mixed reviews about it. I read it, didn’t really dig it (it just wasn’t for us).

    And, something I think a lot of people go wrong/don’t realize (I have 2 kids and work at a Mother’s Day Out program) is that a sleep cycle is 45 min. Therefore……if your baby starts to wake after 45 min, it’s not enough sleep. 1.5 hours or more every time. Cat naps are pretty a much an evening thing when you can’t quite make it to bed time (7-8pm).

    And yes, good sleep begets good sleep. Pretty much no such thing as too much sleep, but they really shouldn’t sleep for more than 2.5-3 hours at a time during the day. Sleeping longer than that does disrupt their nighttime.

    • Caitlin September 13, 2012, 3:25 pm

      Baby Whisperer is my next book to read.

  • Sara September 13, 2012, 3:16 pm

    We didn’t do very well training our Labradoodle puppy. She still rules the roost. She bosses the cats around and our second dog (who is older–we adopted him.) We took her to behavior classes but it didn’t do but so much good. Some of her behaviors she grew out of thankfully! But we have to give her toys and things to keep her occupied when people are over or she goes nuts trying to get in their face. She just wants to be loved but she doesn’t understand that some people enjoy having her in their face all the time. She barks when there’s food she wants. It’s so annoying. That’s one of the few bad habits she still has (thankfully.) I know I coddled her as a puppy–when my husband would try to discipline her, I would run to her side and hold her and tell her it was OK and for him not to yell at my baby! Bad move. We learned SO MUCH. And pee-pee pads–totally awful idea. It got her used to peeing in the house (on pads) it was just an awful move. Never again.

  • Andrea September 13, 2012, 3:21 pm

    Sleep training works, but you still have to figure out what techniques work for your baby which is the sucky part! For us, we never had a set schedule in regards to time, just in pattern. Bronwen just naturally followed the EASY pattern (eat, activity, sleep, you) and took four naps a day at the beginning – she just couldn’t stay awake for more than 1.5 hrs at a time. The biggest thing I got from HSHHC is to put them down as soon as they display sleepiness – don’t give them time to fight it!

  • Karen September 13, 2012, 3:25 pm

    I remember learning about the 2-3-4 rule. When a young baby first wakes in the morning, they really can’t stay awake (happily) more than two hours. After their first nap, they can stay awake 3 hours, probably. Then after that second nap, you can keep them up for four hours, tops, before it’s time for bed.

    What always helped us (I’m on baby #4, who is 14 months and finally sleeping through the night) is making sure that night wakings are nothing like day wakings. No talking, only change diapers if they really need them (and change before feeding), and keep the lights in the room on low. White noise helps IMMENSELY. We like the Air Conditioner CD from Just put it on a CD player, on repeat, and boom. It’s helped all the babies sleep well.

    And some kids are just plain better sleepers than others. Our first baby slept pretty well, but it was clear he needed to be rocked or walked to sleep and THEN put down. Our second, we had an awful time because I was trying to rock him to sleep, but he would fall asleep on me, then wake up in the crib and not have the proper sleep associations (i.e. he didn’t know how to fall asleep in his crib). So one night I told my husband I was going to put the baby down OMG AWAKE. Guess what? That’s what he wanted. He wanted to fall asleep on his own and he became our best sleeper ever. My oldest still takes a long time to fall asleep, and he’s twelve.

    Just remember, this stage doesn’t last forever. He will grow up. I know it’s hard to remember that; when I had my first baby I honestly had this deep seated certainty that he was NOT going to grow up and was going to stay at this stage of very needy development all his life! But they do grow up, the sleep deprivation does not last forever.

    • Caitlin September 13, 2012, 3:27 pm

      I kind of want him to be this little forever though!!! So fun and cute.

  • April September 13, 2012, 3:34 pm

    I love your Dad:) SO what is his ‘readers digest’ interpretation?

    You are getting the BEST advice here, so jealous – i could have saved thousand of hours a few monthes ago trying to figure out Jack’s ‘routine’. ha ha.

    I second Baby Whisperer combined with HSHHB, it will change your life!!!!! Actually, it sounds like it already has if Henry has taken 2 naps already – YIPPEE, i am cheering for you!!!!!

    • Caitlin September 13, 2012, 3:37 pm

      He’s still reading 🙂

      I know, I am SOOO thankful for all this feedback!

  • Alicia September 13, 2012, 3:44 pm

    Please just remember that what works for other babies might not work for yours at all. I have had friends who have tried their hardest to sleep train and their babies just don’t take to it, not because they’ve done anything wrong but because it just doesn’t suit their personalities. So don’t feel like a failure if any one approach doesn’t work for you.
    We’re just going with sleep, getting it as we can, and she settled herself into a routine with no enforcement on our part. I had to anticipate her being tired, rather than dealing with it after it happened, but we still just go with the flow. Sometimes she needs more sleep, some less, I just trust her.
    I have found that reading all those books made me feel worse. They made it seem so simple and straightforward, but they just weren’t right for us.

    • Lindsay J September 13, 2012, 5:08 pm

      I would agree with Alicia 100%. I researched and asked everyone I knew for sleep solutions. I tried it all. My baby had his own agenda. He is finally an awesome sleeper and I don’t know how it was done!! Reading the books made me feel worse because they made it sound so easy and straight forward. I finally had to stop the research and asking my friends. I got so frustrated that I couldn’t make it work. I am not good with failure.

  • Kay September 13, 2012, 3:48 pm

    I am not a mom so I can’t offer any advice. But I am a children’s librarian who spends lots of quality time with toddlers and preschoolers, and based on those experiences, I have to say that routines are wonderful, wonderful things for babies (and toddlers, preschoolers, etc.) While we should definitely be in tune with children and be aware of how they’re feeling, we are the grown-ups with the big brains and the life experience, and with our help and guidance, they can be happier and healthier. And they’ll be put in routines for the rest of their life so it’s good to start now. (I use a routine with my storytime kids–sure, it involves silliness like cross-cross applesauce and turning up our listening ears but it’s still a routine that shows them how I expect them to behave.) It’s difficult though, absolutely but also worth it so keep the faith! I’ve also heard good things (from the parents in the library) about The Happiest Baby Guide to Great Sleep. (Not to throw ANOTHER book on your shelf.)

    I also have to say that I think it’s really admirable how open you are about all of this. My mom suffered mightily with post-partum depression when I was born in the early 80s, and she said it was the most isolating and horrible experience she’s had. She brought me home from the hospital, everything went wrong, and she thought she was the only one struggling because NO ONE talked about it.

    And I love that your dad is your speedreader! How sweet and lovely is that?

    • Kay September 13, 2012, 3:52 pm

      This isn’t to say that you’re struggling with post-partum depression–I just think that it’s really great that you’re open to the fact that this isn’t easy.

    • Caitlin September 13, 2012, 3:58 pm

      That is so sad about your momma. 🙁 So many women go through it.

      • Alicia September 13, 2012, 4:14 pm

        My Mom suffered from post-partum psychosis and did not even realize she had a child in the days after she had birth. She walked around for days telling everyone she hadn’t given birth yet and honestly believed there was no baby in her house. Luckily my Dad figured out she needed help, but still. Hormones go CRAZY after a baby so it’s so important to be open and honest about it!

        • Amanda September 13, 2012, 10:03 pm

          @Alicia: So glad that she got the help she needed!!!

  • Rebecca September 13, 2012, 3:50 pm

    Hey Caitlin,

    I have a 3 1/2 month old and she typically sleeps 8:30 pm – 5:30 am, feed and back down til 7:30 am. We follow Babywise (loosely), but sometimes she wants to eat or sleep sooner than “scheduled.” I try to let her guide me a little bit, while still having some parameters so she isn’t all over the place and gets the rest she needs. It seems to work pretty well for the most part. We have our off days sometimes, but generally she seems happy and well rested (and so are we)! I have to say though, I think she is just a relatively good sleeper as she started sleeping mostly through the night around six weeks. Babies are just so different, but you’ll figure out what works best for you guys. Good luck!

  • Courtney September 13, 2012, 3:54 pm

    Finding routine was essential for us with our daughter. She knew she would eat – play – sleep – repeat. and While the length of each one may vary she knew what would come next. She slept great for us from about 2 months on!

  • Annette@FitnessPerks September 13, 2012, 3:57 pm

    SO true! The adults must lay down the law or rules, or else the kids go crazy and there is no schedule. Babies need that! YAY for working on areas that will improve all ya’all’s sleep 🙂

  • Julie September 13, 2012, 4:34 pm

    Stick with that book! It’s genius! Early bed times are key!! As early as like 6 pm early on. If you really establish great day rhythms and nap patterns – night time will miraculously come together. On its own. Trust dr. Weissbluth!

  • Marie-Santé September 13, 2012, 4:46 pm

    Oh Caitlin, don’t be so hard on yourself 🙁 You are a great mom.

  • Lauren @ The Homeostatic Mindset September 13, 2012, 4:53 pm

    Haha, Cliff Notes Dad! I love it 😉

  • Lindsay J September 13, 2012, 5:00 pm

    I think you’re on the right track!!! Keep it up!

  • Sarah September 13, 2012, 5:33 pm

    Yep. That book could do with a good edit!

  • Kris September 13, 2012, 5:35 pm

    The nightime comments remind me of when I was housetraining our pup last summer. When I took him out, I kept the lights in the house low, walked him w/o talking to him, and took him right back to his crate when he was finished. No romping or treats, and just a very quiet “good dog” so he would go back to sleep. I still have a hard time getting him to sleep past 5:00 or so in the morning. Maybe I need to institute a sleep schedule with him :)(I was a bleary eyed, tired mess last summer after 6 mos. of a 16 yo dog who needed to go out in the middle of the night, then another 2-3 months of taking a puppy out during the night — I can’t imagine how tired you are; bless your heart!).

  • Marci September 13, 2012, 5:37 pm

    Good luck, happy to share our sleep stories and successes and tips via email, we are 6 months old. It’s really tough and frustrating. I am very strict with naps in the crib from 3 months on. Even now, I stick to a scheduled nap schedule. Usually the naps aren’t long, but at least they are something. Your dad is so cute!

  • Brianne September 13, 2012, 6:50 pm


    I posted a comment the last time you wrote about this topic because it was SO stressful to me when we were first trying to figure it out…with two babies it is even trickier! It seems like you are already getting a TON of great advice and I’m sure you will have this down in no time. Seriously, try not to bombard yourself with toooo much information, though, because then if gets really confusing and adds to the worry. I went through so much reading material (literally “googling” at random points throughout the entire night instead of sleeping haha) and the main points that I read in all of them were:

    -establish a wake time (this was hard for us at first because we would feed them and put them right back to sleep….it cut out on a whole morning nap which confused their bodies the rest of the day. We started keeping them up after their “breakfast” feeding and within a week we had a natural, consistent 9am nap from then on!)
    -watch for sleepy cues (still difficult to decide if they are truly tired to this day, but for the most part its: whiny, rubbing eyes, yawning, and hysterically laughing if we let them go too long-never a good thing to have an overtired baby…you pay for that later in the night 😉 haha)
    -early bedtime (until the boys turned 3 months old we were keeping them up until 9-930 and wondering why it was such a nightmare to get them to fall asleep for the night. After realizing we should probably make bedtime earlier things changed dramatically. They have bottles at 7 now and are asleep by 8 at the latest!)
    -sleep begets sleep (self-explanatory. if they nap well during the day, chances are they will nap better during the night)

    It seems like you are on the right track and you are educating yourself the right way (with your sweet dad’s help!)….don’t give up, it’ll happen, and eventually you will look back and barely remember the whole process!

    • Caitlin September 13, 2012, 8:00 pm

      You are so right on point one. I know I can get him to go back to sleep right away at 7 but I need to just get up.

      • Brianne September 14, 2012, 9:02 am

        Exactly. That was the hardest for us because it’s just so nice and easy to hop back into bed right after the first feeding….buuuut keeping them up for an hour or two after set the tone for regular naps and we both actually look forward to getting up early now (coffee and sunrise…who could complain? ha) which is such a surprise…so win win!

        • Caitlin September 14, 2012, 10:39 am

          I did this today, it was torture.

  • Ashley September 13, 2012, 8:24 pm

    You might not want to completely blame yourself for Maggie’s behavior… I had three dachshunds that sounded just like that despite trying to train them! Dachshunds aren’t that smart, cute but not the smartest 🙂

    • Caitlin September 14, 2012, 7:15 am

      Hahah I totally agree

  • Marcia September 13, 2012, 8:47 pm

    I had to have my hubby read that sleep book. It is very confusing, especially when hormonal and sleep deprived.

    I went back to read your nursing post. I am conflicted. I wanted to nurse my first for over a year. The first six weeks were so painful. But I did it out of sheer stubbornness, made it 13.5 months, and generally enjoyed it. It was easier than bottles for me. But I HATED the pump, especially near the end. Working and pumping…blech. My son is six. I had a series of clogged ducts and mastitis because I onlymwanted to pump once at work, but I worked full time.

    Fast forward six years. I have a two month old. Should be easy right? Well, the same six weeks of pain. But I got past that. But in the last week I went back to work. I had an extremely painful clogged duct, and now I have what I think is a bruise on one nipple and it hurts! So I am thinking of just pumping that one side until it clears up. I have to pump in a cramped, uncomfortable shower room. I guess I thought the second time would be a piece of cake. I wonder if I’ll make it a year. It’s definitely been harder for me to be on a baby’s schedule this time, which is to say no schedule. One reason I went back to work early is because I wanted a few hours to pee when I want and eat when I want.

  • Leslie September 13, 2012, 9:47 pm

    I read all the comments about establishing a routine etc. and thought of something interesting . I used to work as a child care provider in my home caring for infants and toddlers. Parents brought their sweet little babies to me at 6-8 weeks or so when they returned to work after maternity leave. The moms and dads all said that they thought I had done something magical because all the 4 babies that I cared for napped on a pretty consistent schedule. It was amazing that they all slept at the same times. I really was baffled because I did nothing special it just sort of happen that way. After reading the comments here I realized that we did sleep training and just didn’t realize it. All the parents worked the basic 8-5 routine so babies were dropped off with me at about the same time each say. This meant that they were awaken at the same time each day, ate, were dressed etc. While with me the naps fell into a routine simular to your book. All the babies then went home at the end of the day and probaly followed a similar nighttime routine. (dinner,bath, bed) Long story short… The secret to how I got the babies to nap at the same time was really just that all the babies fell into the same routine due to parents work schedule. Just a little annedotal evidence of the power of a routine or schedule on babies sleep. A earlier commenter stated the importance of wake time to help with sleep training. During these days of establishing a schedule you may want to think about his wake time. Make the start of the day as routine as possible and he will naturally start to adapt. Even as adults we still sleep train ourselves. Students who slept late all summer must get used to waking up for class. Night shift worker adapt to sleeping in the day,etc. I think Henry has a great mom. I hope you all sleep well tonight.

    • Caitlin September 13, 2012, 10:46 pm

      Great comment!

  • Sam @ Better With Sprinkles September 13, 2012, 10:20 pm

    Good luck! I hope your plan works.

  • Jess September 14, 2012, 9:30 am

    We never really sleep trained Ella. She was and continues to be a super easy baby/toddler. I also read HSHC. I read it and that’s about as far as it went. The only thing I really took from it was to try to put your baby down in a drowsy, yet awake state.

    The best thing for us, was having a routine. When I went back to work full-time at 9 weeks pp, it forced us into a routine. After the first week, Ella was only waking twice in the night, and taking 2-3, 1-3 hour naps every single day. It was like clockwork. Since both my husband and I had to be to work, we put her on our schedule. The week before I went back to work I started trying out dry runs just to see what may work and what wouldn’t.

    We still haven’t done any sleep training. Most nights Ella is in bed by 7 pm and sleeping until 6:30-7 am. Sometimes she wakes up once for a feeding now that she isn’t given bottles at daycare anymore and often refuses breastmilk from a cup. She is down to one nap which is typically 2-3 hours long.

    You”ll figure it out, but I totally suggest putting yourself on a schedule and then helping Henry adjust to that.

  • Nanette September 14, 2012, 10:36 am

    I thought of this tip while I was putting my near one-year-old boy to bed last night. Between 3 and 4 months he was waking once or twice a night. So I started unplugging his nightlight when I put him to bed. When I made the room as dark as possible he wouldn’t realize he was awake in the middle of the night and would go back to sleep on his own. It worked wonders for us.

    Good luck!

  • Jill September 14, 2012, 12:07 pm

    Blackout blinds, Babywise, a fan for white noise, and routine, are what have worked for us.
    We currently have a 4 year old who sleeps like a freakin’ champ, regardless of where he is. We keep the same schedule if we’re home, at a grandparents’ house, friends’ house, etc, and it works every time. He routinely takes four hour naps, and we taught him to understand the number 7 when he was about 2 years old, so he’d know that when his little digital clock (the only form of light in his very dark room) said 7, he could get up. He now goes to bed around 8 or 8:30 each night, and we don’t hear from him until 7 am (although we do wake him for a pee, which he pretty much sleeps through). Good luck with Henry! You will figure out what works for you guys.

  • Julie September 15, 2012, 1:28 am

    Hi! I’m a new mom to a lovely 2 month old girl. It’s so interesting to read different stories and it looks like we can all agree that this is not a one size fits all. Babies are people and people are unique!

    As for us, my husband is a very light sleeper so we only kept our daughter in our room for the first month. It was too stressful for him to try and work sleep-deprived, and too stressful for me knowing he wasn’t sleeping! She does very well in her crib, but unfortunately, she had a very fussy period from about 11 pm-2 am. It was so frustrating. I tried rocking, extra feedings, changing her, music, soothing noises, swaddling, gas drops, elevating her crib mattress, etc. That girl just did not want to sleep!

    Around six weeks I started implementing some Baby Wise tactics, but follow it fairly loosely. However, I did start to let her cry a little during that period. I only let her go for an extended period of time once and, honestly, felt guilty for it. But I’d already tried everything else and she was fussy anyway so I gave it a shot. I went and checked on her, tried to soothe her in her crib, but didn’t pick her up. Just as I was about to give up she stopped and fell asleep. Now, I’m not saying it’s the miracle solution, but she sleeps beautifully at night now (she still wakes up for a couple of feedings but she is not ready to drop those yet). If she does fuss it is usually just for a few minutes and she doesn’t scream. I don’t ever have to rock her (although I still do sometimes because I want to!), or use a swing or any kind of device to get her to nap or sleep at night. Scheduling, along with allowing a little bit of crying here and there, has helped and I do believe we’ve done our entire family, baby included, a service by helping her fall asleep on her own this early on in her life. However, I do think she is too young to cry it out on a regular basis so it is a (rare) judgment decision in our family.

    On a side note, I’m also a pediatric nurse and will say that the world of science is hardly objective fact, especially in so many of these areas of parenting. What the ‘experts’ recommend changes all the time, and medical experts especially differ on all these issues. I think we all know this, but it’s helpful to be reminded that every mom is doing the best she can and making decisions out of love for her children. I doubt any of the moms who commented here will have ‘screwed up’ kids solely based on their sleep training methods (or lack thereof). Stable, consistent love is what’s important, and sadly, I’ve seen too many children who don’t have that in my line of work. Thankful to read the thoughts of so many involved and caring moms on this site!

    Oh yeah, and best of luck with Henry! It looks like you’re doing an amazing job!

  • Katie @ Talk Less, Say More September 15, 2012, 5:06 pm

    Your dad is adorable! I love ‘Cliff Notes Dad’ comment. haha!

  • Shelly September 16, 2012, 9:51 pm

    My friends/neighbors recommended I read the book sleeping 12hours by 12 weeks. Hubby and I did exactly what it said. It worked! She is still that wonderful sleeper now at 16 months. Very easy quick reading. It basically is all about putting them on a schedule. I think the sleep training they called it starts at 8 weeks old. Hope you find it helpful. Here is a link.

  • Casey October 7, 2012, 3:26 pm

    Hah! The fight against cuteness is a very tough battle..good luck!

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