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« Quick and Dirty on Sleep | Main | Q&A: Nighttime Sleep #1 »



Thanks for answering this. To clarify a few points. Ian has had a consistent bedtime routine since he was three months old. He goes to sleep between 6:45 and 7 every evening, and we give him a bath, nurse, three books, bed. He falls asleep on his own perfectly, without any fuss. He generally (not counting growth/developmental spurts or illness) sleeps until between 6-7:30 am. That is actually one of my big problems with a 2-3-4 routine. His wake-up time is pretty inconsistent, so it is hard to rely on a set amount of time between naps, because he will have more awake time (unless he naps longer). He is probably closer to Monica's Harrison in that 2.5-3-4 works better for him.

Also, I have obsessively tracked his sleep since he was 4.5 months old. This kid has NO PATTERNS. One day he will take a 2.5 hour nap, the next day 15 minutes. All things are equal, so I just can't figure him out. I e-mailed this out of desperation two weeks ago, and since then, he has cut three teeth and started cruising, and he is sleeping better.

I love the new column. You are a wise woman Ms. Moxie and you know how to phrase things just so. Keep it up.


Oops, forgot to answer some of your questions. Nope, he won't sleep AT ALL in the car or stroller (never has, never will). The bed is the place for him. No digestive issues or reflux. Back when I was tracking his sleep, I considered hunger, so I added extra feedings, but he just wouldn't take them. He is a big, healthy boy who just loves being up chasing his cats.


Thank you for your thoughts. The crib isn't the problem (I don't think) b/c he puts himself to sleep pretty easily. I do get him drowsy by nursing or rocking, but I always put him down in his crib awake and he takes it from there. Like Heather, I have been obsessively charting Cam's sleep, and there are NO patterns to be had whatsoever. The kid is totally irregular in his sleeping habits.

I am going to take your advice and try to employ the 2-3-4 method. I have tried this in the past, but I've never stuck with it past one day b/c hell hath no fury like Cam when he is tired and I just haven't had the patience or the energy to keep him awake. But nothing ventured, nothing gained, so I'll give this a shot and let you know what happens.

Thanks again - Can I just say that I am loving this advice site???


I had a similar issue when my daughter was about six months. She'd nap for only 45 minutes at a time (so one sleep cycle), and she was only taking two naps a day, which was clearly not enough because she was just cranky and awful all the time.

Now, I hesitate to post this, since letting your baby cry is such a controversial topic, but one day I put the baby down for a nap, and about 5 minutes before I knew she was going to wake up I had a massive IBS attack. I'll spare those of you who are unfamiliar with IBS the details, but suffice it to say that I was on the toilet and getting off was NOT an option. Sure enough, she woke up and started crying. I felt just awful - every time I tried to get up to go get her, I just couldn't, thanks to my stupid body. I was freaking out because I could hear her crying, which wasn't helping things at all.

By the time I got out of the bathroom (seven minutes - I was checking the clock repeatedly!) she had gone back to sleep. And she slept for another hour and a half. And she was like a completely different baby when she woke up - cheerful, smiling, happy.

Ever since that afternoon, if she wakes up from an afternoon nap after that first 45 minutes, I leave her alone for about 3-4 minutes, which is about as long as I'm comfortable letting her cry. About 70% of the time she goes back to sleep. It doesn't work for the morning nap - 45 minutes seems to be all she needs in the morning.

This is obviously something that not everyone will be comfortable with, since letting your baby cry is such a controversial issue.


Anna, have you thought about patenting your SIO method?:) I know I said there were no unique ideas, but shit-it-out might be one.

Actually, I think you hit on something, which is that some kids actually will go back to sleep if they fuss for a couple of minutes, while others will escalate and escalate. My second son sometimes cries himself to sleep *while nursing* if he's super-tired. It seems to me that the important thing is to pay attention to your child and his/her individual needs.


I loved the 2-3-4 method. I didn't consider it a "schedule" because I bristle at that word, but it definitely was a routine. It varied by up to an hour when we had things to do or they weren't tired, but if we were home, I stuck pretty close to it.

I didn't do the SIO method (too funny!), but my kids did start sleeping better when I realized a little fussing was necessary FOR THEM. I had had a stressful day and just needed some time to myself. I put them down for naps and the fussing started and I left that part of the house for 10 minutes. Cool down time is important, ya know? Anyway, when I came back they were both sound asleep. Eventually, I got to know the different cries and knew if it was an "I'm going to sleep cry" versus any other kind.


As soon as you posted this Moxie, I thought to myself, "that boy is going to make a liar out of me." Sure enough, he took a two-hour morning nap and he has been down for about 45 min. now. These kids just KNOW don't they?


Heather - That's hilarious, b/c Cam is now in the midst of an unprecedented 90 minute nap! I don't know what to do with myself. Housework, or People magazine???


I completely empathize with the no-napping thing (Kate too). At 14 months, Jamie will finally, farily consistently, take a 2-hour nap. Of course, it could start anywhere from 10:30-2:30, but baby steps, right?

I think part of your problem may be Ian's wakeup time. I found awhile ago that, while I loved it when Jamie slept in until 8 or so on the weekends, it messed up the entire day. And since he has to be up by 7:15 during the week to get to daycare, we don't let him sleep any later than 7:30 on the weekends. I see wakeup time as a part of the nighttime sleep, and anything too early or too late is a real problem for us.

Just my 2 cents.

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  • My expertise is in helping people be who they want to be, with a specialty in how being a parent fits into everything else. I like people. I like parents. I think you're doing a fantastic job. The nitty-gritty of what you do with your kids is up to you, although I'm happy to post questions here to get data points of how you could try approaching different stages, because, let's face it, this shit is hard. As for me, I have two kids who sleep through the night and can tie their own shoes. I've been a married SAHM, a married freelance WAHM, a divorcing WOHM, a divorced WOHM, and now a WAHM again. I'm not buying the Mommy Wars and I'll come sit next to you no matter how you're feeding your kid. When in doubt, follow the money trail. And don't believe the hype.
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