View Full Version : Doing some research for my SIL/MIL RE: sleep
10-13-2003, 10:04 PM
My MIL and I got into an interesting conversation yesterday. She has started comparing DD(6 months) and my DN (30 months). I HATE that she's comparing, and have told her so, but she was wondering about sleep. MIL was commenting that DD is easier to take care of than DN was at that age. I told her I thought it was because DD is well rested, and that she can be a fussbudget like any other baby when she's sleep deprived. That led to MIL telling me about DN and asking my opinion.
DN currently sleeps about 8 hours at night. He's always been a light sleeper. Naps have always been tough. My SIL tried to schedule him a la BabyWise when he was a newborn. She would let him cry for HOURS, trying to "schedule" him. He would literally cry his ENTIRE nap time, until it was time for his scheduled feeding. Now, at 30 months, he fights his one nap in the afternoon, sometimes sleeping only 15 minutes or sometimes not at all. He'll stay in his room, talk to himself the entire scheduled naptime. He's been going to bed now at 12 midnight or so, and refuses to go to sleep any earlier. SIL is at her wits end and is now giving him cough syrup to make him go to sleep. MIL thinks they shouldn't be giving him any naps, and that will make him go to sleep earlier. MIL says that 3 year olds don't need a nap. Is that true?
What do you think? Any suggestions I can pass along? MIL thinks I should have the answers, and I really don't. I don't have any experience with toddlers, and really what works for me and DD won't necessarily work for SIL and DN. Her parenting is so different from mine and DN is a different child than DD.
mommy to Kiki 4/18/03
10-14-2003, 08:51 AM
Obviously just my opinion here....
As to your specific questions, I would say that most 3 year olds still take at least a short nap. A 3 year old in child care is required to have at least a one hour rest period per day. But not all 3 year olds need a nap. Heck, not all 2 year olds need a nap. But I think it would be the unusual 30 month old that didn't take at least an hour nap per day.
All babies are different and have different personalities. Some are "easy" babies that sleep well and fall into routines with little effort. Some babies are the direct opposite of this. And a lot of kids are somewhere in between.
But it sounds like your DN was a high needs baby and still is a high needs toddler. Babies like this are often "poor sleepers", easily disturbed, don't nap well, etc. Unfortunately, these are the type of kids that respond the WORST to highly structured routines like that in the Baby Whisperer. So it sounds like your SIL has really made a tough row to hoe for herself.
Honestly, if your SIL is having to drug her child to get him to sleep at night there is a problem. If she hasn't read Weissbluth, I would recommend it. He has a lot of info about the average sleep needs of kids from birth to the teen years. He also has the philosophy that sleep begets sleep, that is a generally well rested child sleeps easier than one that is chronically sleep deprived. But I hope she does something soon. I really feel for that poor kid.
Just to add, another book that might be helpful is "Raising Your Spirited Child". It's written especially for parents of high needs kids, and techniques in other books designed for "easy" babies don't always work for high needs babies. Another good one is the Sears book, "The Fussy Baby Book: Parenting Your High Need Child from Birth to Age 5", but I honestly wouldn't recommend it for your SIL. His style is so different from your SILs that it may just put her off. (Unless you think that she would be receptive to a very different parenting philosophy.)
10-14-2003, 09:55 AM
My two are completely different sleepers as is their cousin(20 months), so I completely understand the comparison issue.
DD - 34 mon - good napper(2 hrs), fair night time sleeper(hard to get down/sleeps about 10 hr at night)
DS - 18 mon - fair napper(hard to get down/plays for 30 min quietly/crashes/45-120 min), good night time sleeper(11 hours)
DN - 20 mon - fair napper(45 min 2x per day/any changes in a schedule throw him way off), good night time sleeper(12 hours)
My kids get the very best sleep when they are physically active each day. I try have the kids do some sort of large motor activity each day for at least 30-90 minutes. We go to the park, take a walk, ride their trikes, go swimming, etc. If the kids get their exercise before lunch, I can always count on a good 90-120 minute nap! DD is approaching the 3 yr mark and will continue taking the afternoon nap. Her BFs are 24, 36 mon, 42 mon, and 52 mon and they ALL still take the afternoon nap for almost two hours. We do have one 48 mon that occasionally skips her nap, but that is once or twice a week. ITA with Beth about different children and their dispositions! HTH
mom 2 katie (34 months)
& Jack (18 months)
10-14-2003, 07:04 PM
Thanks! Yes, what caught my attention was the cough syrup to get him to sleep. I had heard SIL joke about it before, but now it seems to be the easiest way for her to get DN to sleep. It doesn't sound that healthy to me. It kind of worries me, since DN now ASKS for cough syrup. If SIL says it's only for coughs, then he does a couple of "Ahems". MIL and SIL tell me this as if it were a cute anecdote. I find it a bit sad.
Thanks for the info on some books. SIL has several books, I'll have to check to see if she has any of the ones you've recommended. I was wondering if Weissbluth would apply to a toddler. I haven't read it all yet, but I do like what he has to say.
mommy to Kiki 4/18/03
10-16-2003, 02:04 PM
You've gotten good advice already so I wasn't going to post, but now I can't get the thought of this little guy asking for cough syrup! out of my head.
You're SIL has hit such a brick wall here it seems to me that if she's going to read something it should be something absolutely completely different from what she's been reading and doing so far. I'm thinking the Sears and I think it's ok that it's dramatically on the other end of the spectrum from Ezzo. I also think it's ok that she'll probably think the Sears is a bunch of bunk! and certainly won't embrace his philosophy but will most likely pick up some fresh tips that might help her and her son through this.
The problem with the Weissbluth I think is that it's so often MISinterpreted by fans and foes alike as just being about CIO. I think reading this now is bound to either frustrate her because she's tried CIO and it hasn't worked or convince her she's been on the right track all along. I know there's wonderful stuff in there about bedtimes and the need for naps that could help, but I'm not sure if she'd see it right now if that makes sense.
All of this depends of course on your relationship with your SIL and is complicated by the fact that your own little one is younger. If you have a good relationship you might want to ask her why she felt that the Babwise/scheduling approach was right for her son. Now I'm just speculating, but my guess is that she was wanting a very traditional, family values type of parenting. Among my own friends, I've found that it's actually the people who followed more of a Sears model that have ended up with what I think of as a very traditional type of family situation (even if that's not what sent them down that path to begin with).
I don't think anyone can or should even try to change another's parenting philosophy, but I think you can offer them better tools to get to where they want to be. Your SIL needs some fresh ideas and I think they'll only come from someone whose philosophy she might find completely alien.
Ok I'm done now! Sorry so long and just my opinion of course but I've been turning this over in my head for a couple days now!
vBulletin® v3.8.4, Copyright ©2000-2013, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.