A parenting logic puzzle

I meant to blog about our fantastic shift schedule for taking care of The Kiddo that allowed each adult three! continuous! hours! of sleep! Of course, by the time I had more time to finish up the post, the plan was no longer working.

I hear this is how parenthood goes, so I keep repeating to myself: control the inputs, accept the outcomes.

Over the past week, His Highness has decided that the title Supreme Soother should go to Mama and that Daddy’s just not what he’s looking for, meaning rather than having to get up once (maybe twice) a night, I’ve been getting up every time. My husband still tries to get the kid back to sleepy sleep, but invariably both show up at my bedside looking… bedraggled.

So the nerd did what nerds do: I bought two new sleep books and busted out the shelf full I already had. (Well, some I own on Kindle but let’s pretend they were stacked with the other real books.) And then I did what us nerds do these days and wrote a blog post comparing and contrasting the various strategies.

Of course, I’m only half-finished with that post.

This post, then, is about how the book I paid $1.50 for is already paying off: The 90-Minute Baby Sleep Program by Polly Moore, Ph. D. I’ll save the summary for that other post but tell you that the 100 pages I skimmed came down to one tactic: track and follow baby’s natural 90-minute awake cycles.

Yes, that means I now own books professing sleep nirvana if only one tracks sleep, wake, and feeding cycles, none of which quite fit together into one comprehensive strategy, but hey, I’m back to reading again. (Bright side.) I’m also back to mind-bending logic puzzles like, “If that book says he should be awake no more than 90 minutes and this one says he should eat every three hours and the other one says he shouldn’t sleep more than 2 1/2 hours during the day, what time will a train heading south at 55 mph get to Cleveland?”

So Mr. Fussypants ate at 2pm then slept from 3pm to 6:15 pm today (that alone was mind-boggling) and I was ready and waiting with a big ol’ bottle because I knew he’d be STARVING. And he was. He downed his food, dozed for another 20 minutes while I tried to figure out if he was needing to go back to sleep or not, then decided he was awake! And alert! And QUIET.

Quietly alert = unicorn

Here’s where things get a little loopy. I was thinking he’d need to sleep 90 minutes after he woke up at 7, forgetting he stopped sleeping at 6:15, so I was a little confused when he got a little bit Fussypants at 7:30, then I realized, OH MY GOD IT’S BEEN ALMOST 90 MINUTES.

We hightailed it back to the nursery where I sat in the glider, gave him a pacifier, and in five minutes dude was knocked out. Knocked. Out.

Woo, hoo!


And, of course (last “of course”) now that I’ve taunted the universe by writing this blog post (Universe, I didn’t even PUBLISH it yet), he’s awake and trying to convince me it’s time to eat again. I will give in, I’m sure, but I just figured out if he waits one single hour, we’ll be on a three-hour feeding schedule AND a 90-minute wake cycle.

Apparently the kid has a knack for crazy parenting logic already.


6 thoughts on “A parenting logic puzzle

  1. Bravo! The sleep cycle thing is no joke. Does your little guy shift around every 45 minutes while he’s sleeping too? The ability for them to go BACK to sleep during the 45 minute (after beginning sleep) sleep cycle transition was the key to happy mommy time for me.

    • Well, the funny thing is that this about the awake cycle, not the sleep cycle. 90 minutes of awake time!

      What did you do to help him learn to go back to sleep after that 45 minute interrupt? We love our Sleep Sheep but it kicks off at 40 mins, so it’s no help!

      • @Marisa, The Sleep Sheep only goes for 40 minutes? We love the iPhone sound soother we use in our room where he’ll be for the first couple of months but I might have to get him an iPod dock or a real sound soother when we move him to his room.

      • @Marisa, Oh I see. I guess I wasn’t clear in that I found the wake periods sort of went hand in hand for the sleep periods, so I know what you mean about that. Going down for sleep at the right time was/is of utmost importance. If he was too tired when he went down because the waketime was too long, he would have trouble staying asleep during the sleep transition. Does that make sense?

        We have a sleep sheep too, and I still love it almost 8 months later, but it’s BS about the 40 min thing, isn’t it?

        When he was small, if he woke during transition and didn’t go back to sleep (and it was close enough to the last meal that I knew hunger was not an issue), I would go in and shush and pat his chest/belly in the crib. If he really got worked up I would hold him until he calmed down, then shush pat and comfort. Sometimes he would get most upset right before he gave into sleep. He would really just fight it. It worked though. He always went down awake, and he quickly learned that sleep is not a bad thing 🙂 I think that’s why he became able to put himself back to sleep with each sleep cycle.

        Now I sometimes have to go in because he wakes and wants to play during transition. It’s a dirty dirty trick. He looks sweet and happy and like he just really doesn’t NEED the rest of that nap. But he does. If I fall for it, I will have a crying crankypants 20 minutes later who now really doesn’t want to sleep. I must lay him back down, give him his lovey, and start up the sleep sheep and he knows what time it is. Bliss.

  2. Mrs. Bee had mentioned the 90 minutes sleep cycle and I kept it in my back pocket for when Warren arrived. He’s always been a great sleeper which I think is A LOT just him – but also because of this 90 min sleep cycle and the Sleep – Eat – Play cycle (from Babywise) that I used. Basically he would nap… then from when he woke the eat then play would be 90 minutes. Back to sleep! Hope this continues to work for you guys too!!

    The 45 minute nap thing is right on the money too…. if Warren would wake around the 45 min mark I’d go in his room get him situated again with his paci and pat his back a couple times (or rock for a min) and usually he’d go back down. This was an issue when he was around 6 months old for us.

    There are so many ‘methods’ and it’s all about trial and error to see which one will work for your lil one and family – but this one is definitely close to my heart!

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