Sunday, May 27, 2012

Sleep and Milk

Two children under two means lots of diapers, lots of breastfeeding and not a lot of sleep. I should hardly be surprised. In spite of that, I've got questions and I'm hoping that you guys have thoughts. 

First, the sleeping.

Monkey sleeps like a champ, but he eats almost every two hours and the process of feeding him from start to finish (with diaper change) lasts about an hour. This makes the nights at our house something short of restful. 

The factor that pushes all of it over the edge is Yogi’s recent shift from a 6:30-7 wake up to a 5am start time. 5AM??!!! The boy is an early riser and I have made peace with that, but 5 o’clock is a little hard to accept. More than a little really. So I’m thinking some kind of gentle scheduling shift is in order. Here’s how Yogi sleep has been looking for the last quite some time (since about the time he turned a year):

6:30ish Wake-up
12-2 Nap (This ranges btw 1.5 and 2 hrs)
7ish Bedtime

This means that at 21 months, Yogi has been sleeping about 13 hours a day. Now it’s more like 11 hours.

There are a few things that make this complicated. The first is that almost every night Yogi is skidding into bedtime on fumes. The little dude is d.o.n.e. by 7pm and I don’t know how we could keep him up any later. It’s also the case that if we do something in the morning that involves either the car or the stroller he almost always falls asleep, which makes me feel like pushing the nap back isn’t the best idea either. But what to do? There has to be something, right? If you have any suggestions I would love to hear them.

Next, the breastfeeding.

Monkey is doing well and aside from the fact that he wants to eat all.the.time we are having no trouble with him in the milk department. And then there’s Yogi. 

Yogi was exclusively breastfed through his first birthday. Around that time, we introduced whole milk and he began nursing only at night before bedtime. As he got older, these sessions became increasingly brief and my wife never knew how much milk he was actually getting. We both assumed that he continued on with it for comfort reasons and because it was part of their bedtime routine. On the rare evening when I did bedtime, he never complained about the lack of milk or asked any questions about it at all.

Since the arrival of Monkey, Yogi wants to nurse both more frequently (he asks for Mommy Milk at nap AND bedtime and he has asked a handful of times when he sees Monkey nursing - my wife has agreed to nurse at nap and is continuing with bedtime, but has gently refused the other requests and he hasn’t protested) and for longer duration (which I imagine is a function of that fact that her supply is much greater).

I’m not officially worried about this, but I’m wondering if his response is a typical one. Anyone have any experience here? I’m thinking that the novelty of this will wear off, but maybe not? 


No advice, just want to wish you the best with working out a better sleep routine with Yogi. I was going to suggest keeping him up later, but it doesn't sound as if that would work very well.

A friend used the colored alarmed clock with her very recently turned 2 year old- he may have even been less than 2. She told him it was time to sleep until it turned green, and then he could get up. The first few days he called for her and she would stand outside his room asking if the clock was green. It didn't take very many days for him to catch on... And now he calls for her saying "green mommy! Green". Not sure if this would help your guy stay in bed and possibly fall back to sleep for a bit? I'm saying this as I also got up at 5am with a bright eyed toddler, who is now at 7am laying across my lap with exhaustion. Maybe I should try the alarm clock! :). Joey

Obviously, no personal experience with this, but I suspect the renewed interest in breastfeeding is very normal. If everyone is ok with it I'd say just let things continue naturally. My guess is that when Mommy goes back to work, Yogi will transition back to cow's milk easily.

As for the early wake ups.. how dark is Yogi's room? With the early morning sun it's hard to convince a kid to stay abed. We make Curly's room as dark as possible. And white noise to drown out the sounds of you waking for Monkey care might be a good idea, too.

Hello, I can't find an email to write you directly, so I thought I'd comment here. First of all, congrats! I've been personally following your blog for a while (my daughter is close in age to Yogi). I'm writing to see if you are interested in writing a blog post for Ergobaby blog? I'm the blog editor and looking for some guest posts for a We Are Family series, which I wanted to kick off in Pride month. Let me know if you are interested and I can send you more details!

Thanks and congrats again!!

When I was little, my parents said I had the same problem. They put a radio alarm in my bedroom and told me I could come wake them up when I heard the music. So I would wake up and play with my toys or fall back asleep until my alarm went off and then run proudly to their room to inform them at around 9:30am or whenever they set the alarm. It also helps if the babe is a seriously early riser like yours to set the alarm forward a little at a time until he's adjusted.

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