Ben, My Sunshine

Ben, My Sunshine

It isn’t easy to steady a baby on your lap with one hand while holding a camera pointed at him with the other. Especially when he’s a roly-poly lunging baby. Bu oh it is so worth it to capture a laugh like this one.


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  • Melanie, you have my undying sympathy. I enjoy scaring family members and joking with people that by my 12th child I will have solved the mystery of infant sleep.

    I am very impressed and you should be very proud that you solved 2 children’s sleep problems in so short a time. That is awesome and not easily done. I’m sure Ben will come around in time.

    I’ve been nursing Elizabeth to sleep and only recently have been training her to lay down and fall asleep on her own. She has learned to lay down on my shoulder or on her own in her crib and go to sleep for her naps. This has been a lifesaver for me since it means it only takes me 10-15 minutes to put her down for a nap and she usually sleeps for 1.5-2 hours. Only in the last two days has she begun to grasp this idea while laying in bed with me at night. Having the milk factory laying right next to her but not being able to have any has been a bit of a challenge for her but she is slowly getting it and will sometimes lay down on her own next to or on top of me and go to sleep. It has been improving both of our sleep. She had been waking every hour and neither she nor I were getting any quality sleep. This past weekend she came down with a fever too. She would play during the day but I noticed on Saturday she was not her usual smiling self. Friday and Saturday nights she felt like a furnace in bed. Sure enough by Sunday morning her temperature was over 102. Nine and a half hours of naps on Sunday broke her fever and she was fine yesterday. I still don’t know what it was other than a fever.

    Anyway, I’m glad to hear Bella and Sophia’s sleep have improved to the benefit of everyone and I hope Ben begins sleeping better soon too for his and your sakes. God Bless!

    (As our little ones approach 9 months, I keep checking to see if you announce you are pregnant and wonder if you and I might team up again. lol. Take care.)

  • Melanie, you are doing fine.  Many babies are uneven sleepers for the first year or longer.  At least, my five all were.  And so were most of their baker’s dozen of cousins.  If you don’t already, talk about this with your sisters and sisters-in-law.  It’s comforting.

    The one thing I would say, though, is to note when your child’s personality changes as a result of sleep difficulties, as you noted with Sophie.  And I would suggest being a little quicker to go to the doctor.  Not because I’m one of those up-tight, jump-to-the-pediatrician moms.  Just that I had one baby who turned out to have a heart condition, and the only symptom he had was that he was very cranky (this was a change for him) for a few days when he was nine months old.  I ended up taking him to the doctor to “out-paranoid” my husband, and I am extremely grateful that the doctor did more than just check his ears.

    As a mom, you have more than enough worries.  Don’t expect extremely rare heart conditions.  But do pay attention, and don’t be shy about going to the doctor, even for an ear infection.

  • Those experts are wrong, and a bunch of other uncharitable things that I’m not going to mention.  But it’s unkind and unrealistic to imply that parents can make their children sleep according to some ideal schedule.

    There are tons of possible reasons why your Ben isn’t sleeping well.  He could be going through a sleep regression (I’m not sure how old he is).  He could be teething.  It could be his ear infection.  He could have nose issues that make colds and allergies worse on him, like I suspect my small son does.

    My baby is a terrible sleeper.  When his pediatrician told me I needed to get him to sleep through the night and that he was capable of screaming for hours now (@ 18 months) I almost laughed in her face.  He could scream for hours instead of going to sleep when he was just a few months old.  Between two and three months he started sleeping in our bed, and that was the only way anyone got any sleep.  He slept there till he was a year.

    When he was one and we moved to our new house, we had to put him in a toddler bed because he had learned to climb out of his crib.  He always hated the crib, but he loves the toddler bed.  Go figure.  And he’ll usually sleep at least half the night there.  Some nights he sleeps all the way through, some he wakes up crying and some nights we wake up in the morning to find he’s ninja’d his way into our bed without our knowledge.

    But he’s not a good sleeper, and I can’t make him sleep.  I wish I could.  But the best I can do is encourage him to sleep, in his own bed, and try and not be cranky with him when he’s sick (like last night), or teething, or just growing.

  • Hi Melanie,
    As you already know, babies are all different, and I really believe its not the parenting.  I don’t think we realize how one-of-a-kind each child is until we have two or more. I truly believe that there are major differences between children which influences their behavior and sleep issues.  After my third baby was born, I realized how advice/expertise really only works if it matches the child. (And mom and dad too!)  There is lots of good advice to go around, but not all of it applies to each child or each different growth stage, I believe.

    I laugh to think of my naive self …. “When I’m a mom, I’m never/always going to … x, y, z.”  I felt like a great mom when I had sleep “managed” with my first, mainly through sleeping when Anne did.  We slept anywhere and anytime.  Then came #2 – a true challenge to my ability to mother well with not a lot of sleep.  Joe is the child who is molding me into a saint!

    I have not done anything different with this third baby! But, THIS baby does “lay down while sleepy and fall asleep”. Not all the time – maybe several times a week, but that fact that it can happen is astounding!  I still can’t believe it!  I laughed at the books that gave that advice until now. 

    My mother-in-law asked if I was doing anything different since Mike is such a good sleeper.  Not a thing!  I nurse him to sleep every single night and several times a day.  He falls asleep when I’m distracted and put him down for a little while.  But I did that too with my other two when I was busy reading and cooking.  They cried if left alone too long.  Mike goes to sleep! 

    My other two – never, ever, ever put themselves to sleep!  Joe would only nurse to sleep.  He still has only two settings – asleep or loud. (Either crying or babbling happy – either way, it’s loud.  Mass … is always very hard.)  Joe never fell asleep if he wasn’t home. Not in the car, not in the sling, not at church, not anywhere but at home while nursing.  He was too busy observing the world and talking to it or complaining about it!

    I agree—don’t worry about the experts … follow Danielle Bean’s advice to do what works for your family, getting everybody the best sleep you can any given night.  And even if it doesn’t work as well as you want it to … you are doing your best to mother your children the way God calls you.  This too shall pass (even if not for a while). Thank you for opening up and sharing.  It helps me to see another mom working on sleep issues!

  • Agreed. Every baby is different. And the experts are worthless. Which I first discovered when Bella never slept more that 30 minutes at a time. Ever.

    I generally do go by Danielle Bean’s “do what works for your family” but… what I was doing wasn’t working and I felt trapped. I didn’t know how to change things so they’d get better. So in desperation I tried again to see if there was any advice out there that might help me rethink what wasn’t working any longer. But of course what always happens when I turn to experts is my head gets all turned in a whirl and I start to question all my instincts. And I yell and throw the book across the room, wondering if these “experts” who tell me to put the baby down at 6:30 ever had a real life with other kids and a husband who works late and a need to cook dinner.

    And I think I’m only as frustrated by Ben as I am because as a newborn he regularly slept 4 to 6 hours at a time. Sometimes he even did 8 hours at a stretch. So he built up unreasonable expectations. He stared sleeping much less after 4 months; but I keep hearkening back to those golden nights.

  • I put Ben down awake tonight and he cried for less than a minute before falling asleep!!! Success!!! Oh that felt way too easy.