Getting babies to sleep is a work in progress

November 17, 2005|By SUSAN REIMER | SUSAN REIMER,SUN REPORTER

What do Maryland parents do to help their small children get to sleep? Here's what some told us.

Michelle Petitbon, 39, of Annapolis, had different experiences with each of her three boys.

"With the first one, we just winged it and we got lucky," she said of Richie, now 8. "He was always a great sleeper.

"The middle one [Luke, 4] would cry until he threw up. He eventually won out, and he would be in with us. He is still a terrible sleeper.

"We actually used the Ferber method with Carson," she said of her 23-month-old. "We were really strict with it and it worked after a few nights.

"But the more kids you have, the less tolerance you have. You try everything and you go with whatever works. With the last kid, it is, like, `You are on your own.'"

Alexandra Weil, 39, of Roland Park says her 6-year-old son, Ben, has adapted to his bunk bed well, but 2-year-old Max will be sleeping between mom and dad for a while longer, mostly because he is still nursing at night.

"It took me a long time to get my husband on board. He was totally opposed, I think because he is such a lighter sleeper and he gets more annoyed when he gets wakened up at night," Weil said.

"But he travels a lot and it is nice for him to have Max there. I think he is starting to appreciate it. It is a good time to bond."

Claire Mullins and her husband, Wes Doyle, of Federal Hill, went by the book - Dr. Marc Weissbluth's book, Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child.

"I just skimmed the book ... because I was so tired. I needed it to happen now," said Mullins. "I gleaned what I wanted and ignored the rest and within three days, Genevieve was sleeping from 8 p.m. until 8 a.m."

Genevieve is 2 1/2 now and her new "routine" is to come into mom and mad's bed about 4 a.m.

"But she goes right back to sleep, so we are letting it happen for the moment."

Lucretia Lennon, 32, of Pikesville remembers everything she tried to get her three children to sleep "because none of it worked."

"When they were small, I kept them in bed with me against the advice of everybody," she says of Maya, now 9; Lauren, 4; and Lance, 3.

When the children were toddlers, each picked out a new toddler bed, sheets and a nightlight, and their mother talked endlessly to them about their new place and their new routine.

"The minute they got into the new bed, they said they didn't like it anymore."

She and her husband, Samuel, battled with Maya and Lauren, but they have been firm with Lance.

"We just keep walking him back to his bed until he gets worn out. We are determined.

"But it is still going on. It isn't over. I guess you could say we are a work in progress."

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