Thursday, June 26, 2008

the witching hour

I'm writing this entry from the relative safety of the den - out of direct earshot of the Nighttime Crying Ritual. In place of a thousand other things I can post about, I've just got to ask you if this is normal.

The facts:
-Alice falls asleep every night at 11pm.
-She wakes up anywhere between 5:30 a.m. and 7:00 a.m. and every once in a while blesses us by sleeping until 8.
-This is the child who really doesn't take daytime naps. She does do a fairly long stretch of sleep in the morning, after her first feeding. She sleeps around 2-3 hours and then is up up up for the rest of the day, pretty much.
-She has one shortish afternoon nap around 1pm, and another around 5pm.
-Occasionally she'll drift at 8pm.
-Each of these "naps" is between 20 minutes to an hour long.
-Her doctor has told us that the amount of sleep Alice is getting seems to be enough - she is happy, healthy, and growing. She is just one of those quirky babies that doesn't need 14 hours of sleep each day.
-We have a solid bedtime routine of bath, massage/lotion, pj's, singing, and bottle.
-Every night like clockwork Alice cries, thrashes, fusses, pushes, arches - and generally is very upset at 9pm.
-Chip is normally taking care of Alice during the 9 o'clock magic hour (poor thing).
-Usually I'm able to calm her down by walking walking walking until she settles down enough to take the rest of her bottle and fall asleep, but it can take up to 45 minutes to get her settled enough to eat.

So - those are the facts. As a total First Time Parent, I'm trying to understand what we can do better, and also what is just normal baby behavior. Is this typical? Do babies just have a Hell On Earth period of time before they settle to sleep or are we completely missing out on something?

Give me all the advice, suggestions, and totally presumptuous ideas you have in your arsenal. Let me have it.


Swistle said...

All of mine have been pretty fussy in the dinner-to-bed time period---and by "pretty fussy" I mean anything from "pretty fussy" to "why did we think it was a good idea to have children anyway?"

With small babies, I assume they'll be awake all evening and not go to sleep until around 11:00--and be pretty crabby, too. Then they gradually start going to bed earlier and earlier, until they go to bed at a more reasonable hour, like 7:00.

Babies are all different, but it sounds like you've got one similar to what mine were like.

Whimsy said...

I'm already breathing a sigh of relief. I was beginning to worry because no one talks about the two whole solid hours (or more) of fuss.

The Bradley's said...

The Bean sounds EXACTLY like our little Alayna at that age. And although it's only been a couple of years, I really can't remember what we did to help her (read: us) through it. I think there was some LOTR involved. And while this doesn't help you in this moment, just know that my fussy Alayna baby is now an almost 3 year-old who sleeps from about 8pm to 8am and often blesses me with an afternoon nap. I certainly never saw THAT coming! :)

tearese said...

None of mine slept 14 hours. Elora used to cry off and on the 3 hours before bed, and she went down pretty late. It wasn't till she was several months old that we were finally on a routine, then she regularly slept for both a morning and an afternoon nap, and went to bed at night by around 10-10:30.
She woke at around 4:30 everynight until she was around 1 year, but slept late in the mornings.
Joshua sometimes takes a morning nap, and always takes a 2-3 hr afternoon nap, when Elora does. He goes down when she does now, around 10:00 and more often he is sleeping until around 7:30 Am...but definitely not everyday! It just takes time.

emily said...

i know ... it's hard to have a screamer - abi was the same ... she was like a clock - every night at 9:00 she was upset, crying, hollering, throwing a fit. some nights i would walk the hall and sing and nurse and do whatever i could think of to stop the noise! other nights it was daddy's turn ... and sometimes i would just sit and cry along with her! :(
it was hard to see her so unhappy and not be able to fix it ...
i remember the night i wrapped her up and laid her in bed and walked out of the room while she laid there and cried - she was fed, changed, burped, loved and just had to cry it out. it took her about 10 minutes ... but she fell asleep and slept a good long time. 'they' say you shouldn't let them cry it out before they're a certain age ... but i say - you're the mom and if you think she's fine to fuss for a little bit - you're the mom!
hang in there and just remember - you're the best mommy and you know what's best for her. and when you feel like you need to get away ... CALL ME! i don't live too far and i would be happy to listen to her cry for a little while for you to have a break! love ya!

Kati said...

Please know I am just offering a thought - I fully recognize that every baby is different and this may not apply to Alice. It sounds like she could possibly be overtired by 9:00. During her short naps during the day, has she ever been able to wake up and then put herself back to sleep? I've read that we all have a normal sleep cycle of stirring after 45 minutes or so (as adults we don't notice) and often as mothers we get our babies up too soon and they don't learn to go back to sleep. Once we teach them that (as most of us do) it's hard to overcome, but if they can learn to put themselves back to sleep the naps will be longer and baby will be more rested and happier. It sounds like she is happy except for that nighttime hour but it's just a thought (sorry it was such a long one! :) A book I found really helpful is Baby Whisperer. Have fun! :)

Whimsy said...

Thank you again for all the suggestions - on one level it's just so awesome to know we're not alone and that so many other people have gone through it. On another level, it's good to have suggestions and methods to try. I know that everyone is an individual and is going to find something that works for their family.

I'll keep you posted.

ya ya's mom said...

just a thought...have you always used the same lotion? do you only use the lotion at bedtime? could it be an irritant? my shorty mcshort was fussy in the evening, but once we got her in bed she was out for five to eight hours...good luck...and just a thought...