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Here’s the Story…

of a boy named Apollo;

who was getting very little sleep….

[hum the rest of the Brady Bunch theme song here]

20100814_4775 blog
Apollo, seven weeks 

And here's the story;

of his lovely mommy

who walking for hours every day…

Okay I'll stop now. I promise.

If you know me in real life or facebook you've heard about Apollo's lack of sleep…Every day it seemed he slept a little less, until on our very worst day when he woke for the day at 7 AM and only slept two hours between then at 10 PM when I got him down for the night. Two out of fourteen hours. And those two hours were not consecutive. They were 10 and 20 minute bits. He was a wreck and so was I. Clearly something needed to be done. 

I entitle this next section:

What I Learned From My First Four Babies

Adalia slept in our bed (as all our babies have) and we loved it. Easy nursing for me and plenty of snuggling time for Chuck. When Adalia was four months old however, I found that I was waking her up at night. So we began to put her to bed in her own crib and once she woke to nurse she would come to our bed for the night. When she was about six months old, she began sleeping through the night with a little encouragement (three nights where she woke, Chuck comforted her and put her back down, and she cried a bit- less than ten minutes). This is a method we  have used in one form or another for all our babies.

When Judah came along, Adalia was 17 months old, in the middle of potty training and high-energy. I was determined to get Judah on a schedule. Using the three hour eat-play-sleep method, he soon slid into a schedule on his own and was sleeping through the night at two months. And I was pregnant again at three months. 

When Tilly came along, we lived in one room apartment. Adalia and Judah got the bedroom and Chuck, Tilly and I got the living room. Adalia was 2 1/2, Judah was 12 months and Tilly newborn. Tilly was fed on demand (though that is really too strong a word for a mellow baby like Tilly- she demanded nothing) and slept with us in our bed. In the day she napped in her Pack and Play in the living room. She too slept through the night at around six months with some gentle encouragement.

Enoch came along 17 months after Tilly. We now lived in a luxurious two bedroom duplex. With four children four and under, Enoch would be fed on a schedule. After all, it worked so well with Judah and I needed the rest. So Enoch would wake, nurse, then stay awake for an hour or so. At "nap time" I would change him, rock him and lay him in his crib. And he would cry. And cry. And cry. Often for the entire hour and a half of "nap time". I'm embarrassed to admit that now, and I did go to calm him down periodically, but the fact is he would often not fall asleep until it was time to nurse again. By that time he was so exhausted he would fall asleep nursing. So, we gave up on that and he fed on "demand". In other words, I fed him when he was hungry. 

He to began sleeping through the night around 6-8 months as all my babies have (with the exception of Mordecai and Avi who had separate issues).

So what did I learn from my first four babies? 

I learned that  they are all different in temperament and needs. Some need to be held more. Some need to be put down to sleep. Some need to sleep with me. We avoided sleep issues by having the baby nap in his/her crib and starting out in the crib at night. Our babies are used to sleeping in their cribs and in our bed.

With ten previous babies, I ought to have this dialed with Apollo, right?

That's what I thought. But the truth is he was sleeping so little that he was fussing during almost all his waking time. I was walking for three hours to get him to sleep for for 15 minutes. I tried putting him down to "cry it out" but he got absolutely hysterical.

Something needed to change. 

What changed everything here was the video The Happiest Baby on the Block. I ordered it from the library out of complete desperation. And it changed everything the very first day we started using the new methods. It now takes me 5-10 minutes to get Apollo to sleep. He sleeps from and hour to an hour and a half then wakes to nurse. He only stays awake for an hour or an hour and fifteen minutes, then he's ready to sleep again. And best of all? He's happy and social when he's awake.

If you are pregnant, get this video (that includes you, Sarah 🙂  It's worth the twenty bucks. I've had ten babies- I don't lack in experience, but Apollo is a baby who needed some specific help in getting to sleep, and this video solved the problem. 

I am now the Happiest Mom on the Block. 

Happier even than Mrs. Brady. And that's just groovy.


  1. Cutzi

    We’ve scheduled all our babies too. Eat, wake, sleep but not really strictly – with much success. But I saw the guy from HBOTB on a show once and have utilized some of his methods as well. He has the 4 (or 5?) s’s right? Since our house is pretty small, we’ve used a white noise machine (shushing) just so the other kids don’t have to be quiet all the time. Swaddling, of course. Anyhow, you know all this – I can’t remember the other ones. Plus, I just like him. (the guy)
    I just realized this comment is totally insignificant and doesn’t really say much of anything but since I typed it all out I’m going to leave it. 😉

  2. Mamavee

    I saw Dr. Karp work magic on a baby in person at a doula conference and it was quite amazing. I had already watched the DVD and used his techniques with my son, but it was pretty amazing to see him calm a completely frantic baby in about 30 seconds, and then have the baby sleeping in about 2 minutes. The one dark side of his method, and something that I warn first-time moms about when they are using his techniques, is that sometimes it will cause small babies to sleep too deeply and too long, and miss feedings that they need when they are little. Being that you are a well-experienced mother, this isn’t something you would have trouble with, I’m sure.
    My son was also a c-section birth, and was extremely sensitive and slept very, very poorly. The five S’s were quite successful for us a well. I’ve spoken with many mothers who have had both a normal and a c-section birth, and all of them have commented that their c-section babies have been poor sleepers and much more sensitive…this is just anecdotal, but I do wonder if there is some connection in regards to the more traumatic birth and the adjustment to the outside world.

  3. Michele

    Love your blog! I meant to comment that I made the bagel recipe you linked & your sticky ribs-both INCREDIBLE! I’m so sorry sleep is at a minimum there. Awww, poor lil guy sounds maybe colicky or reflux-y like my first two. I think my hubby and I wore out the first floor carpet walking them. LOVED HBOTB, both mine took all 5 S’s and then some to settle! I prayed and prayed for a mellow one & finally was rewarded in my third. Hang in there, as you know well, that 3-4 month mark brings major improvements.

  4. Kristine

    I’m going to look for this. I’m on baby #6 & she will NOT sleep at night unless she’s being held. I’ve tried everything. Days are fine. I just can’t figure it out.

  5. karla

    All 3 of my kids were c-section babies. Baby #1 was born at 30 and by the time she left the NICU, a three hour schedule was deeply engrained. She slept like a champ even by her due date.
    Baby #2 was 9.5 lbs of screaming terror from the moment of birth until about 10 months of age. If he was not nursing, he was screaming. So we nursed, 24 hours a day. 13 lbs. at 1 month of age. I have good milk 😉 Co-sleeping with child latched on was the only way that anyone got any sleep, ever.
    Baby #3, also preemie liked to sleep, kind of. He napped well during the day but didn’t sleep so well at night. He is still that way at 3.5 years of age. We co-slept with him also.
    It is good to know from your experience that every child is different, even when they are parented by the same people.

  6. Anna

    If I have another baby, I will get this book. #2 was a TERRIBLE sleeper until around 6 months. It was a LOOOOOOOOOOOOOONG 6 months.

  7. Réka

    Oooh, you’re on Facebook? 🙂 After spending some fruitless minutes searching for you, I figure either I’m just not doing something right or that you want to keep your Facebook info private.
    At any rate, would love to add you as a friend on Facebook, but I understand if you only add people you actually know. You can find me under my name – Réka Morvay.

  8. Elizabeth

    Oh how I wish I knew about this last year when my babies were new and never slept and seemed so unhappy sometimes. Thankfully, they both now sleep and are happy and content babies. But those first few months were long and hard.

  9. Corrie

    So here I am with newborn #3. I thought I knew all about this baby stuff only to madly dash to the library after she was born because I realized I had forgotten everything! AND the things I thought I knew didn’t apply to this baby at all! Thank you so much for posting this. I’m so glad to know a highly experienced parent like you also forgets things, also sends desperate prayers to God asking for help. Thank you for posting that the babies are all different. This was a much needed post. Thank you! (And I put the movie you mentioned on reserve at the library).
    Finally, for any other moms who like me forget how to do things between children a really helpful book that we have used (to remind us how to swaddle mainly) is “Mom’s On Call.”

  10. Ellen in Kalamazoo

    “Hello, my name is Ellen, and I’m a book parent!” For our #1 son (who is now almost 24!) the two books that saved us and him were Dr. Sears’ “Nightime Parenting” and “Raising Your Spirited Child” sounds like THBOE is the next generation from Dr. Sears – lots of what I saw was also in NP. Baby #2 wouldn’t nap except in the backpack for a while, so I’d save all my vacuuming for naptime – worked like a charm!!! By baby #3 I was just wearing him all the time – he was Mr. mellow, and as Paul says, we earned him after the intensity of the 1st 2!!!

  11. Kim J.

    I love your blog! This is my first comment, but I would like to second the idea that you should read the books (or watch the video) _before_ your baby comes, if possible. Afterwards I found I was lacking time, energy and brain cells—my eldest would have had a much happier time if I had just read about sleep before totally messing up her sleeping… =)

  12. Ellen in Kalamazoo

    My #3 Mr. Mellow would wake up when I put him down to sleep . . . so he would just crash in the sling! I’ll be Apollo doesn’t want to miss out on any of the fun! 😉

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