Sunday, June 22, 2008

The Post in Which I Admit My Total Lack of Parental Knowledge and Confidence

I thought that by the time Landon was this age (11 months, 1 week) I would feel like I had him somewhat figured out. At 6 months when he still didn't sleep, I told myself that surely by the summer this would all be a distant memory and he'd sleep and eat like he was supposed to. Yesterday I almost wrote a desperate post asking for help as to why it is still so difficult for him to fall asleep, why does he not want to eat more than three bites of anything, why does he absolutely despise it when you put milk in his cup when he loves drinking water from it, how are we going to switch off the bottle at 12 months, and again why is sleeping such a battle?

But then I put him down for his afternoon nap with little fuss- no rocking or singing, just put him down and closed the door. He cried for maybe 10 minutes and then fell asleep, just like he's supposed to. Last night we had some friends over for a cookout. We were sitting outside on the patio when we put him down and purposefully didn't bring out the monitor. I knew we needed to let him cry for a little bit and even though I believe in the theory I've been very surprised to find I just can't do it in practice. So we sat outside and ate delicious grilled peaches for dessert and talked and laughed with our friends. About every 10 minutes one of us would go up to reassure Landon he hadn't been abandoned but didn't pick him up and pretty much just let him cry. 90 minutes later he fell asleep and woke up happy at 6:51 (that's sleeping in). I could not have handled that hour and a half in the apartment or even downstairs in our house, but outside on a beautiful night I could ignore him. I feel terrible writing that, but I also know he needs to learn to fall asleep on his own. With the investigation, ear infections, surgeries, teething, moving, and everything else we've just never been able to teach him to do that. I can't send him to daycare or have people babysit when his bedtime relaxation routine is still so long and involved. I know this, but thinking about him sobbing up in his room makes my insides twist up. I hope tonight goes better, but given his age and general stubbornness I don't really think one night is going to do the trick. And I keep worrying that his teeth are hurting him (I think he's getting his 1 year molars) and can we just let him cry when he's actually hurting? We're trying not to give him any pain medicine because we realized we'd been doing that almost nightly forever (teething was really awful for him) and that doesn't seem good.

So I have questions for all you moms out there. How do your babies/toddlers go to sleep at night? Is there really hope that one day we can do bath time, read a book, and just lay him down? When did your toddler switch to 1 nap a day? Part of me wonders if he's getting too much sleep during the day and just isn't as tired at night. And what does your 11 or 12 month old eat? We give him pieces of food at our meal time (he won't eat the baby food or cereal anymore and only wants pieces he can pick up himself) but even if he really likes something he seems to have an internal 3 bite limit. I think he's eating less now than he did 2 months ago and he's so much more active. He still loves his bottle and I'm worried when we switch off of it he won't get enough calories.

In general things are good and I know there's no such thing as a textbook baby. He doesn't get up in the middle of the night anymore and he likes to pick up pieces of food and eat them, it just seems like they're more of a little bonus than anything resembling a meal. He's so close to walking and is crawling like a little speed demon- how can he not be hungry and tired? I get tired just watching him. Most of me believes that if he was really hungry, he'd eat and we're all just figuring this out together. But I also believe that parental nudges are important and I want to know if we should be nudging more with the sleep and the food. I mean the kid would crawl head first off the deck and stick his tongue in electrical sockets if we'd let him, so I'm not sure he should be completely in charge of anything regarding his care.

I'm going to start the first of four lectures I'm supposed to listen to today (our party yesterday got me more behind, but it was worth it). I'm really looking forward to hearing your thoughts and experiences!


  1. {Mom of three, each of whom had a different pattern and needed (or didn't need) different amouts of sleep)-- I found that if I could make bedtime extremely predictable -- same routine, same bathtime, same reading time (for one of them, literally, same book for months on end -- Good Night Moon)and steel myself for some crying, we managed to get through their first 2 years.

    We had our first while living in an apartment and we had less success, like you, we couldn't do the "cry it out" in a tiny apt.

    The other 2 we had in a house, and it makes a HUGE difference. Just tell yourself you need to establish a routine for him, and he needs to get used to it. It may take a while, but it won't do him any harm, and YOU need to have a chance to prep for the bar exam. (Me too, BTW, but my kids are now actually helping me. One is doing the grocery shopping and making dinner tonight while I outline Future Interests, so eventually it all does work out!)

  2. My daughter is now 17 but we had an interesting experience with her. It won't mirror yours, but the lessons we learned may help you feel better. When she was 6 days old, we discovered (after she turned blue and we had to call 911) that she had sleep apnea. They never figured out why (no brain stem issues, she wasn't premature, etc.) so for the first 2 years of her life, she was on a home apnea monitor. At first we were afraid to leave her when she was sleeping (but had no choice, obviously) so we rocked her to sleep and held her for as long as we could once she was asleep. Later, when we were used to it, she was old enough to get her little hands on her leads and pull them off -- setting off a horrible screeching alarm. Not only did that wake her up (if she was nodding off) but it sent us into a panic. So, we continued rocking her to sleep (until we were SURE she was asleep) until they took the monitor away from us when she turned 2. (At that point, statistically she was unlikely to die from the apnea and they figured it was HER normal breathing pattern. She never did test "normal" like other kids.) Well, you guessed it, from that point on, we had problems getting her to sleep because she'd never learned to put herself to sleep. To this day, she has issues with that sometimes and we are not sure if it is related to those first 2 years or not. I wanted to tell you this so you feel better knowing that you really are doing Landon a favor by helping him learn to do this on his own, even if it is difficult for you.

  3. I think good parenting is all about getting ideas, not answers. So view what I am about to say as "ideas" for your consideration. :-)

    Try not to worry yourself too much about the eating. I worried myself SICK over my first kid's eating habits. His weight hit a plateau when he began crawling and I worked myself into a tizzy convinced he was starving. I learned that if he was hungry, he let me know. The thing that eased my mind was going with the YoYo Baby yogurt drinks - he was getting his calcium and high fat needs. I would add just a bit of Silk Omega 3 plain soymilk - then I felt better that he was getting the good fats and a mix of nutrients as well. I am not saying that you should do the same, just saying that you should find something that Landon will eat on a consistent basis that is healthy that will let you breathe a little easier on the days he doesn't seem to eat much.

    Also, regarding eating, I put all of the kid's healthy snacks in a lower drawer or cabinet. Even when Arun could not talk, he could toddle over to the cabinet and show us what he wanted to eat. Saved us from a lot of crying and tantrums based on hunger pains.

    Sleeping? I don't have much advice because we co-sleep and do not CIO at all. It has worked for us and both of our kids sleep really well at night. However, I know that isn't everyone's cup of tea.

    I will say this, I think the whole "bad sleep habits" is a bunch of CRAP. For the first 2 years or so of a kid's life, they are encountering all sorts of obstacles to sleeping - developmental milestones, illness, and teething. Oh my GOD, the teething. Everytime my older kid would get into a good routine, he would get slammed with a new milestone or teeth, which would put us back at ground zero. I learned to just go with the flow and not worry about so-called "bad habits". Sure, enough, he eventually settled into a routine, of sorts.

    Of course, NOW we are trying to cut the afternoon nap, which he seems to no longer need so guess what? BACK AT GROUND ZERO. Argh. See what I mean, Vern?

    Don't even me started on Anjali, same age as Landon. She is cutting SIX teeth that we can visibly see in her gumline. We are just doing whatever it takes to get her to sleep at this point.

    Overall, though - be kinder to yourself! You are a smart, educated woman. No one has the answers for YOUR kid and you know more than you think you do since you know Landon BEST. Right? Right.

    Finally, one of my good friends and favorite parenting mentor always says "You can't force a kid to eat, sleep or poop. You can try, but you will always fail." LOVE IT.

  4. My almost-13-month old is JUST NOW starting to sleep longer at night. He used to wake up every 3 hours recently. Now he's starting to sleep for 6 hour stretches, sometimes longer. It just happened... no idea why or how!

    He's still nursing, and we had a big problem with him falling asleep on his own. He'd want to nurse until he slept, and would scream for HOURS if we just put him in his crib awake. Now he is able to soothe himself and fall asleep on his own most times. Again, it just happened on its own.

    Food-wise, every day is different. He hates being fed (wants to do it on his own). Some days he hardly eats, others he is a little pig! He hates milk in a sippy cup, so I have to put chocolate syrup in it (doctor's orders, believe it or not).

    I'm just trying to remember that it will all work out in the end, and he'll do things when he's ready. Otherwise I'd go freaking crazy. Good luck, and I hope he lets you get some rest!

  5. I know you have probably heard this before, but Dr. Farber's(correct name? It's been 15 years since I had a toddler.) book worked for us. We let our son cry for 5 min. before we went in, and without saying anything lay him down in his crib, then let him cry for 10 min. then 15 etc. It took 45 min. the first night and just one trip in the next and then no trips in after that because Scott no cried when put down to sleep. Even 5 minutes of sobbing is excruiating, but it was like a miracle - I couldn't imagine it changing so quickly!

    Good luck!

  6. My view now after 3 1/2 years of parenting and 3 years of fighting the sleep battle is either you get a sleeper or you don't. If you don't have a sleeper and you CIO, you'll have to do it over and over and over again. We did and it never took. We had an iron clad routine and it didn't help. Weaning cut down on the night waking some. FInally after three years of night night battles we gave in to co-sleeping and now we ALL lie down together at bedtime and if Bob and I don't fall asleep before Henry we get back up until 10 or so. If he wakes up and finds himself alone he'll cry, but if he wakes up and a parent is there, he'll go straight back to sleep. I don't know how long we'll do this, but for now it's the best course of action we've got. If we have a second child I'll co-sleep from the get go - leaving Bob and Henry in one bed and myself and currently non-existant infant in the other bed. Henry's fancy posturepedic bed can wait for guests to come over.

  7. I seem to remember Charlie's appetite taking a dip around Landon's age too. I remember being concerned too, but the ped said as long as he was still growing and healthy not to worry about it since they grow at a slower rate as toddlers compared with infants. I also remember being really worried about those bottle calories being replaced when we stopped giving him bottles but somehow it just worked itself out. I know that isn't really advice, but you may be surprised by the way things fall into place without as much effort as you expect.

    Sleepwise, we used cry it out too and it was very hard for all three of us but only lasted three nights and he's been sleeping well ever since (except for when he is sick, especially ear infections, of course). Now we do bath-jammies-book and he goes into his crib no problem. Sometimes he'll revert to crying for a few minutes for a day or two, but normally he just lays there until he falls asleep now. Naps we just put him in his crib and if it's the right time for the nap (this can take some experimentation) he will just go to sleep without a fuss. He seems to be switching to one nap now (he is 19 months old) but it varies by day and activity level.

  8. My 2 1/2 year old will still not go to sleep and stay asleep unless he is in bed with us. I'm sure that we are supposed to just be taking him back to his room or spending hours putting him to bed, but then no one in our house gets to sleep. We are not in a position to let him cry it out because he just gets out of bed and come to us.

    He started taking just one nap a day shortly after he turned 1 year. He began taking, and is still taking, a 2-4 nap in the afternoon. His bedtime is between 8 and 9PM.

    I know I didn't cover everything you asked, so please just let me know if you need anything else.

  9. My lowercase is now almost 32 months old (how is this possible???). We had eating issues as well around that age -- he wanted to do more and more of it on his own! I just made a point of offering him snacks several times a day (morning, afternoon, after dinner). It all worked out in the end.

    Sleep is something we still have an issue with. I can't do CIO. I just can't. So at bed time, he still curls up in my lap and (*gasp*) drinks a bottle of milk. When he's had enough, he switches to his binky and conks out on me. We also find that he sleeps through the night better in our bed so we mostly co-sleep -- every couple of months we put him in his own bed for a few nights, but when we can't handle the waking up to a terrified boy screaming and running to our room, he's right back in our bed.

    Now...the bottle...I don't think it hurts them. I don't. My son drinks from a (sippy or straw) cup all day long, but at bed he wants a bottle. It comforts him. I don't let him sleep *with* it, He doesn't fall asleep with it in his mouth (or with any liquid in his mouth -- so no fears of the tooth decay associated with that). Personally, I view a lot of those things as things that my son needs for whatever reason (comfort, his individual development, whatever) -- eventually he will outgrow them *when he is ready* and not a moment sooner. long as you're comfortable with things, Landon is happy and healthy...then do what you gotta do. Don't worry about arbitrary deadlines (like 12 months and no more bottles), and don't let the "experts" (including nurses who may have an agenda) bully you about it. (Seriously, I've been there in regards to nursing, CIO, etc. with medical professionals unable to give me a solid reason why I was wrong other than *they* themselves wouldn't raise *their* children in the method that I have chosen).

    In the end, you and JP are doing an incredible job with Landon and with all that you have going on in your life -- cut yourself some slack and try not to worry about it too much.

  10. Ethan just started taking one nap per day a couple months ago and he is 21 months. Now it's just a longer (2-3 hrs) nap in the afternoon versus shorter ones, one in the am, one after lunch. Our bedtime routine is bath at 7, reading books while he drinks a bottle of milk (yes, we're still stuck on bottles, but he doesn't do pacifiers so I'm letting this one go for now...we do sippys and cups at all other times), brush teeth and into the crib. He's used to it now, and can fall asleep on his own...sometimes walks up to his crib and tries to climb in for naps if he is ready, but we did go through the stage of anti-sleep. I let him cry for about 10 minutes at a time, it was all I could stomach, but that is such a personal thing...just whatever you feel ok with...I have read that after babies are 6 months old they are perfectly capable of soothing themselves, so he'll be ok if you let him just cry it out. I will be asking the blog world for sleep advice once these twins come...I'm sure it will be a whole new story!!

    About the eating, this is something that has always been tough for me...sometimes I am giving him more and more dinner when he asks for it, but some days he hardly eats anything. I have read that toddler's appetites fluctuate a lot due to growth spurts and such. Also, a serving size for them is like a Tbsp...which seems small to me, but that's what I've read. He'll eat when he's hungry...I think you are a ways away from having to limit the amount of milk he gets...after a point, you are supposed to limit the calorie-liquids so that they don't just drink instead of eating, but that's like around 20-24 months I think.

    Good luck!!

    **You are a great mom. Noone knows what they are doing...we all just pretend and do our best! :>

  11. My best friend's baby is 11 months old. She got her little one on a schedule as soon as she was able (she had a nurse or some kind come to her house and work with her and her hubby to set up an appropriate night time routine). They've stuck to it, and he's a marvelous little sleeper. Essentially, it's as your first commenter said - they have a set routine EVERY night, including bathtime, playing/cuddling, reading, and bedtime. With things being as hectic for you with last semester, Landon being sick all the time, the move, I'm not sure what kind of routine you have. But that might help!

  12. My sister and parents had the same experience: baby one (me, my nephew) were just not sleepers.

    Baby Two - go to sleep, and stay asleep for hours.

    At 38, much as I love bed, I love the day time and doing stuff more and want to suck the marrow out of the day time I have. I still find it hard to make myself go to bed early.

    My nephew, like me is highly curious and active and just isn't ready to surrender learning time for sleeping time. He wants to connect with people and chat about his day with whoever is putting him to bed (he's 5 now).

    His sister, is much less a people pleaser by nature - at 2 she will look at you, and assess you. She'll have a story, roll over and turn her back on you and go to sleep.

    I think the answer for those of us, often firstborns, who are used to being watched, on stage and having an audience, is to sleep with someone else.

    I always slept really well with my boyfriend, or another person in the bed. But hated being in bed if others were up. My nephew prefers to sleep with others too. His sister finds her own space.

    Even now, I find that the stillness of bedtime feeds my creative ideas.

    My 2 cents worth (remembering that the plural of anecdote is not data) is that for those of us who love company and learning, going to bed early may never be easy.

    Go for the routine, the discipline will help him even if he resists it, but don't beat yourself up about it.

    Mother's observation is that children who procrastinate going to sleep are often very bright, lively and intelligent - they have so much extra time for learning!

  13. I agree with poster that said you either have a good sleeper or you don't. I didn't - and it sounds like you don't. My daughter does go to sleep on her own (now 5). But, up until she was about 4, she never slept enough.

    She went to 1 nap at about 1 year. But they rarely lasted more than an hour. She would only sleep about 9 hours at night - on a good night!

    Be prepared with the CIO - which we did - while it should only take 3 days for him to get used to it - every time you have a change or illness you will have to do it again.

    Good Luck!

  14. I agree with the moms who have mentioned a consistent bedtime routine. My daughter is 3 now and has been a good and predictable sleeper since about 3 months...which I credit to a few tough nights of letting her cry it out. She got the hang of it and she knows that we expect her to fall asleep on her own. We try to be very consistent about reading stories and singing the same bedtime song to her and saying a prayer each night. You can absolutely teach Landon to soothe himself and go to sleep on his own. My daughter was ready to go from 2 naps to 1 nap around 18 months. My advice on how to know when to make the switch is when he starts consistently taking a shorter and shorter afternoon nap. It took us several weeks to adjust to the 1 nap a day routine, so don't panic if it's a little rough at first. The suggestions I've made have all come from Babywise, which we loved and found to be very effective. Of course you need to make choices that are right for your family, and not everyone is a fan of Babywise...but like i said, my 3 year old is an excellent nighttime sleeper and napper and it's all because of the principles we learned from that book.

    As far as the eating situation goes, babies' eating habits can be all over the map, so there's likely no reason to worry. I would just share your questions and concerns with your pediatrician. He or she will be able to tell you what is normal for the age Landon is at.

    Good luck, you seem to be a great mom and I know things will work out!

  15. The main thing I would do, is if you are worried about switching off the bottle at 12 months, don't. Or only do the morning and night bottle and all cups during the day. Our ped doesn't care at all until age 2. Around age 22 months, my son (now 3) just started drinking from cups and refused the bottle. This kid was a yr old and not eating anything but yogurt and drinking milk.

  16. Mom of two here. Each kid is different. My first was a PITA to put to sleep like Landon. Like you, I hated the idea of letting her cry and she was so darn stubborn. However, at 11 months, like you, we were at our wits end with my older daughter. We did CIO and guess what! It worked... for about 6 weeks and then we did it again and again and again. She was so dang stubborn with sleep, we just could not get her to go down on her own until she was 2.5.

    On the other hand, our younger daughter loves sleep. She has been going down on her own since she was a newborn. We didn't really do anything special with her - I think we may have been less hesitant to put her down because we already had a child and couldn't hold her constantly, but in reality, she was just an easier infant. She wanted to sleep and didn't fight us about it every step of the way.

    Anyway, for my problem child (LOL), our routine currently is PJs at 8:30, brush teeth, then read a story, then sleep. At night I constantly have to tell her things like - "put on your PJs by the time I count to 5 or no bed time story" or "pick your story by the time I count to 5 or I pick the story." To ease the transition, we give her a 5 minute and 2 minute warning before bedtime. Landon is young for that, but it doesn't hurt to get him used to it. Any how, for her, we cut out the AM nap at 12 months (she wasn't tired at night) and naps were altogether cut at 2. She just wouln't go down and it wasn't worth the fight. By the time she was tired, it was too late for a nap, so we kept her up longer and that made bedtime easier.

    My almost 2 year old still takes a 3 hour nap every day (and usually we wake her up at 5 PM) and goes down without a problem at 8 PM with no protest. She just needs more sleep and for her, bedtime is pleasant. Sure, she will say that she doesn't want to go to bed at bedtime, but she doesn't fight us at all and by the time her PJs are on, she is more than happy to go to bed. For her, we also give a warning at 5 minutes to bed time. She doesn't quite understand it yet, but we feel that it is good to do anyway. First we change her diaper, then she puts on her PJs, then we sit on her rocker and read her a story. She gets milk and lays down in her crib and then falls asleep.

    As for the small stuff - don't sweat the bottle. There is no good reason to take the bottle at 12 months. We don't take the bottle until after 2. My older daughter had her bottle until 2.5 and at 3.5, still uses a sippy cup for her milk. Milk is a comfrot thing and to be honest, why take away a comfort item for a child that isn't great at self-soothing? My younger daughter is still drinking milk from a bottle too. Everything else is from a cup, but her milk is special for her.

    As for the food - it is normal for babies to only get a tiny bit of nutrition from baby food at this age. Eventually he'll eat more. Don't worry about it and anyway, Landon does not look undernourished. ;)

  17. You're doing better than you know. :)
    You'd never know my two boys were from the same gene pool...their temperments are completely different and they even look different.
    Gavin started sleeping through the night at about 6wks (from 11pm-6am...excellent for a newborn); Cooper didn't sleep through the night (and in fact often got up more than once) until right before he turned 9 months. In both cases we tried to keep their bed routines the same every night (especially Cooper's), going to bed around the same time every night, and hardly ever let anything interfere with naptime(s).
    At daycare Gavin would sleep 2-two+ hour naps each day...could (and still can) sleep through ANYTHING...and there were some, ahem, high maintenance babies in that room with him; Cooper has a hard time sleeping at daycare because he doesn't sleep well through a lot of noise and is easily distracted while trying to fall asleep.
    When Gavin moved up to the young toddler room at daycare at 10.5 months, we had to adjust his naps from two naps to was a little rough for the first couple weeks, but as we found out later, Gavin is extremely sensitive to change.
    Cooper just moved up to the young toddler room this past week, and in preparation, I started working him to a one-nap schedule. In order to ease that transition, I'd give him his morning sippy cup in his crib around 6:30am and he'd doze back off until I'd get him around an hour later to get dressed and out the door...then he's able to stay up a little longer until around 12...and then he sleeps until 3 or 4...and goes to bed at 8pm.
    Gavin had been an excellent sleeper until he hit around 12 months...he would just lose his mind when you tried to leave the room. We eventually caved and did a CIO method, although if he got himself really worked-up, we'd go in, rock him, and get him settled so he wouldn't make himself sick. If he was just moaning, crying, or fussing, we'd wait 5 min...go in and pat him tell him "nigh-nigh" and leave again...if he continued crying we'd wait 7 min, then 10, then 12....etc. After about a week, he stopped giving us such a hard time...he'd just fuss for about 4 or 5 min and just about the time we'd start heading back to his room, he'd quiet down.
    Cooper, however, does not do the CIO. That baby has a RAGING temper and gets PISSED. So for him we get him changed, turn on a lullabye CD (Gavin always needed the music, too), give him his bedtime milk all warm in a sippy cup, snuggle with a favorite blanket and binky in the rocking chair for about 10 min until he's good and drowsy. I lay him down with his blankey, pat him a min or so and walk out without looking back (and he's still awake). Occassionally he was start screaming before I'm a foot away from the crib, so I go back and pat a min or two longer, then walk which case he rarely fusses afterwards.
    As for the eating...not surprising since he's got so many more interesting things to do/look at/get into than waste time eating. :) Best you can do is ensure when he does eat, he's getting some high quality we (still) give Gavin dry cereal instead of crackers since they're fortified with more; cheese is a HUGE favorite in our house; fruits, veggies; meat has always been hard and I will admit that I have resorted to chx nuggets more times than I should...but they're better than no meat. Cooper's only 4 days older than Landon, and he's currently still eating some jarred food (esp. when I'm in a hurry or am out of fresh fruit/veggies), rotini noodles, those Gerber pasta pick-ups, cheese (shredded cheddar, bits of American, or bits of mozzarella string cheese), cheerios, mixed veggies (I use the frozen ones...just pour out what I need & microwave), fruit puffs, lunchmeat, yogurt, applesauce (like Motts w/no sugar added), pizza cut up into tiny pieces, chicken nuggets cut into tiny pieces, rice, fresh banana (cut up), water, and formula. he pretty much eats anything I put in front of him, though sometimes he will let me feed him some stage-3 dinners. Plus, if Landon's teething, he may not be as interested in eating since his mouth hurts...always hard to tell. Which reminds me, have you tried the teething tablets?...if you're worried about giving Landon too many pain meds but are still concerned about teething pain, the teething tablets really help take the edge off. Give him two or three a few minutes before will help with the pain, and hopefully by the time they wear off, he'll be asleep. I've tried them myself just to see and even on an adult, I felt a little bit of numbness in my mouth. Added benefit is that these things taste a little sweet and shouldn't make him gag (the ora-gel always made my kids gag...and ora-gel tastes pretty nasty).
    Golly...that was long...I hope some of that helps...and you can always email me...I'm an email whore. :)

  18. LL...I agree with your readers who recommend the routine for bedtime. Make it predictable for him so he knows exactly what's happening when you start singing that specific lullaby or reading that specific bedtime book. I also had each child sleep with a bedtime buddy. The strict CIO theory never worked for our family. Also, my naptime routine was similar to bedtime and worked for the first year, but now my 2 year old likes to sleep on our family room sofa...I pull up an ottoman to block her fall and I'm usually nearby anyway.

    I encouraged her to consolidate her 2 naps around 14 months. I noticed that she took longer to settle down at that morning naptime (10am) and began giving her a snack of milk or cheerios, etc at that time to push her little by little towards her lunchtime at 11:30. She would eat a decent lunch sometimes, she owuldn't but by noon, she was tired and stated taking a 1 1/2 hour to 2 hour nap.

    About eating...if Landon's really into self feeding that's great. It's so hard to let go of that control. All my kids loved the easy to pick up foods like buttered spiral pasta cut in half, really soft carrots, mac and cheese, scrambled eggs to name a few.

    My twins were off the bottle at 18 months with a major struggle for twin girl. Twin boy took it in stride.

    My toddler was off the bottle at 13 months and it was a much smoother transition. Again, as you experimented with bottles for Landon, you'll have to spend some $ to figure out which sippy cup is best/easiest for him to manipulate. For the record, although I used Avent for the twins, I used Playtex for my youngest and I would recommend the Playtex today.

    You've got it right when you say that the parent should coax the child towards the routine. Yes! With the twins it was a routine for my family that we couldn't stray far from...very suffocating at times for me in retrospect.

    I now like to call it a "framework" which can fluctuate day to day or within the day. There are so many gosh darn variables with these babies!

    Good luck. Keep the faith!

  19. Alexander is the exact same age as Landon and he is also going through the 3-bite issue. He wants to feed himself, but his attention span isn't long enough for him to get full and he hates any kind of meat. Thankfully, he LOVES greek yogurt, so I buy the full fat plain stuff (no sugar, tons of fat and protein). He will eats at least 1/2 c twice a day, which is definitely covering his fat & protein needs, so I am no longer freaking out about his 2 peas + 1 bite of banana meals!

  20. Bwahahaha. You NEVER ever ever nail the parenting thing. Just when you think you have it licked, they change it up on you (little devils).

    So on sleeping: routine is good even if it doesn't automatically put him to sleep (think about how addicted to routine you are--that goes quintuple for him). Also, I have vague but persistent memories of giving them oatmeal later in the day and that really helped them sleep. Full tummy, sleepy kid.

    As for food, as long as everything he eats is healthy (which it is, because I know you) then he's cool. When it starts to get hairy is when they a) throw food off their high chair, or b) start demanding something different because they're just not in a mood for meatloaf, or grilled chicken, or whatever delicious thing it is that you've made. So I pass along the brilliant advice from my grandmother: when they start throwing food, they're no longer hungry. Remove the food. If they demand something different, they can wait for the next meal.

    I never served my kids whatever they hadn't finished in the previous meal, or made them sit there until they ate it all (ah, fond memories of my own childhood). But I never ever gave them an alternative to what I was serving. And you know my kids--they're far less picky eaters than I am. And frankly, the few times I remember Boy turning up his nose at dinner I think he was doing it more to push my buttons than because he really didn't like it.

    You're good to go right now, though. That kid is disgustingly healthy, is obviously eating just what he needs to eat, and is just bright and adventurous enough to give you constant fits for the next few decades. Enjoy!!

  21. kids don't come with instruction manuals because they are all different ... what works for your family is the right thing for you to do, whether others approve or not.

    For us, and I am NOT an expert, Grayson didn't put himself to sleep until about 17 months. This coincided with ending the breastfeeding. Now, at 23 months, we rock him for about 5 minutes and talk about our day. Then we put him in the crib and say Good Night and walk out. He cries for about 5 minutes and then is quiet. He puts himself to sleep. But, until 17 months, he would cry for a LOT longer than that, and we'd go get him everytime and soothe and rock and comfort. Finally, we realized that was stimulating him and we shouldn't do it.

    He decided he only needed one nap around 15 months and gradually it became an afternoon nap. Sometime between 12:30 and 1:30 he'll go down and stay down for 2 or 3 hours.

    Around 1 year, they start eating less and being picky about what they eat. Starting to show independence and being too busy to eat. But they'll get what they need and will let you know when they're hungry. We give Gray whatever we're having but at 12 months, we stuck to favorties ... applesauce is always a big hit here and veggie bites (like chicken nuggets, but veggie) and grilled chicken, cut up small. Trial and error and LOTS of offerings of new things will help!

    You're doing great ... no one is perfect and NO ONE has all the answers.

  22. I certainly don't want to get too far into the CIO debate, but it's hard to read something like "I know this, but thinking about him sobbing up in his room makes my insides twist up"...sure it does. Whatever you do - and as usual you're doing plenty, with honesty and persistence - don't try to talk yourself out of that reaction. It's protective and good.

    As far as the bottle - any reason you're trying to switch off right at 12 months? I think it's not until 2, as someone said, that the eyebrow raising starts (I swear I saw a picture of Suri Cruise in a magazine with a bottle and the caption was being catty about her being too old for one!)

  23. Like everybody else said... every kid is different. K goes right to bed at night -- after dinner, bath, and books (with playing in between) we just say good night and plop him in his crib and he goes to sleep. When he's really tired he will even point and say, "Bed." But naps, oy. He cries, throws his pacifier and his little toy giraffe, stands up and jumps up and down in his crib. Sometimes, if it's been long enough, I just give up. K is 16 months old and still usually takes two naps. We just had a doctor's appointment and I asked if we should transition him to one nap, and the doctor said no, he'll do it on his own gradually. (Which reminds me, I usually do a doctor's appointment write-up on my blog and I didn't for this one yet.)

    I do, think, though, that as parents JW and I definitely contributed to K's not sleeping through the night until he was 10 months old. A modified cry-it-out worked for us because we were going in too quickly and picking him up and singing, all of which did not help him sleep.

    As for the bottle, I wouldn't worry about getting him off it, especially if that's where he gets most of his calories -- there's no rule saying they have to be weaned off the bottle at a year. (We did it gradually with K and he was completely off the bottle around 14 months, but we didn't push it at all -- if he still wanted bottles, I'd give them to him. He was never very attached to the bottle.)

    I am so jealous of your house! Sounds like a little oasis despite the bar study and sleepless nights.

  24. You know . . . it just seems like Landon is a bit of a high-maintanance baby in general. Meaning he just seems more sensitive to stimulation than many other babies. So - I think you should view everybody else's advice (including mine) with a grain of salt. I think every baby's needs are different and tolerance for new things is different, too.

    My kid is exceptionally the opposite of Landon - I think if a nuclear explosion were to take place, he'd be like "cool! Let's go play!" That being said, he turns 11 months old this week and eats the following: Breakfast = a YoBaby yogurt; Lunch = 3 Step 2 baby foods; an afternoon snack of goldfish or something similar; Dinner = 2 Step 2 baby foods and some cold cuts. He also gets a little bit of whatever I am eating. He's still nursing, though only twice a day - before his morning nap and before bed. He has formula in the afternoon.

    Anyway, my son is on two naps a day - one beginning between 10:00 and 11:00 that lasts for 2 hours, and one 30 minute nap around 4:00 or 4:30. Oh, and he goes to bed fairly late - between 8:30 and 9:00 and sleeps until 7:00 or 8:00. Maybe you should put Landon to bed later? I mean - maybe if he's put to bed later he'll be more tired at bedtime, you know? Especially if it's darker when you put him to bed outside. Oh - and if you haven't tried it yet - I highly recommend getting some white noise in there. Like a fan aimed away from him - that seems to really zonk my kid out.

    Getting MY kid to fall asleep at night? Heh - we're less good at that. Oh he sleeps GREAT - just only in my bed. With me. He won't sleep at all in his crib and will scream inconsolably if I leave him in there and I, like you, just don't have the heart to do it. I've tried it and he's just shuddered for about an hour after I went to go get him because he was so upset. Anyway - the worst part is I still have to nurse him to get him to fall asleep and as I plan to stop nursing soon, I have no clue how I'm going to get him to go to bed when I stop. In fact, when we went out of town for a wedding and hired babysitters for two evenings, he REFUSED to fall asleep until I had come home for him. The main problem I have is that I'm the only person to put him to bed as my husband isn't here. So every time he sees ME putting him to bed, he wants to nurse. And there's nobody else here to put him to bed . . . so it's a vicious cycle. Anyway - I'll cross that bridge when I come to it, I guess!

    Ok, this comment was really long. Sorry about that. Good luck!

  25. fascinating responses - and not totally heartening i might add! i also wonder when i can just put LM down awake and expect him to nod off. We do have an ironclad routine, but I still rock him or nurse him to sleep; i put him in the crib and most of the time he fusses for a few minutes and falls asleep; except when he doesn't and then he'll cry for ages until we give in and go in and start the rocking/nursing routine again... seems to be worst when he is overtired. oh yeah, and he ends up in the bed with us always.

  26. I'm not a mom, but I am a nanny to two wonderful babies. One is 8 months (Moshe) and one is 18 months (Ingram) and their families have very different parenting styles. I've been with them for 7 months and it's been an amazing experience.
    As some people have already mentioned, some babies are just "easier" than others. I think this is the case with the 18-month-old, Ingram. He's put himself to bed with a bottle since he could hold it himself. Speaking of bottles, he still gets one at nap and bedtime, but has used sippy cups for awake time drinking since 12 months.
    I definitely think that making sure that baby is fully nourished at this age is more important than weening off bottles, so if Landon prefers bottles you shouldn't feel rushed to take them away!
    Like Landon, Ingram was very into finger food at 11-12 months, and we gave up on spoon feeding him soon after his first birthday. The biggest trick was figuring out when he was really "done" eating, since eating with hands can take a while--but I reasoned that if he's got his bottle and I put him in the high chair to try a snack between meals, he's surely getting enough food--and sure enough, Ingram has grown plenty!
    Ingram switched to one nap from two at about 12 months--he usually sleeps 2.5 to 3 hours during the day and 12 at night. He only wakes up at night if he's sick. Like I said--an easy baby.
    The real sleeping tips I've got for you come from the family with the 8 month old. They use the "Baby Whisperer" or Tracy Hogg books (they discovered them when their first son was 9 months and "crying it out"--he's 5 now). Hogg has different sleep techniques for different aged babies and they're startling effective in my experience. I think that the "pick up, put down" method is a good alternative to cry it out--she's the one to read if you're more interested in discovering your baby's routine (as opposed to imposing a routine on baby).
    I think that self-doubt and cluelessness are normal feelings for moms. I hear that lack of confidence in Ingram and Moshe's moms sometimes and they are wonderful mothers--definitely not screwing up the kids!
    Anyway, Landon is adorable, healthy and obviously happy--you're doing well. :)

  27. My daughter is only 6 months old - so it probably isn't exactly the same. But, we are fighting naps now. I do a mix of everything though. I let her nurse, lay her down with her pacifier, and cover her up. If she starts to cry, I let her go for a few minutes. If that doesn't stop, then I go and re-insert the pacifier and let her cry a little more. If that doesn't work, I do it again. After three tries, I get her out of bed and let her play for a little bit. Then, I try again after about 15 minutes (sometimes 30). I let her nurse, lay her down, etc. Normally I only have to get her settled again twice. Even though we don't live in an apartment, I bet our neighbors can hear her because we have the windows open. So, I don't like to let her cry for too long. Hopefully through some of the comments you have received you will find a way to get him to sleep better.

  28. So, my son is 3, and it's been a while since 11 months, but here goes. . .

    We ended up doing "cry it out" at 11 months because our son wouldn't sleep through the night. We never had problems getting him to go to sleep in the first place, but he woke up in the middle of the night and was hard to put back to sleep then. We had three nights of CIO (each one easier than the last), and he's been sleeping through pretty much every since. So--don't feel guilty. You are helping him learn how to sleep on his own. As for bedtime routine, ours has been the same since he was a baby--bath, books & bed. My husband & I take turns reading to him & putting him to bed.

    Our son went from two naps to one at about 14 months--right when he moved from the infant room to the toddler room at daycare. So I can't take any credit for that, as it was completely a result of a new routine and a bit of peer pressure. He transitioned pretty smoothly, partially because he'd never been a great napper anyway, and the strict routine of EVERYONE napping at the same time (unlike in the infant room, where you slept when/if you felt like it) was really helpful for him. (and me!)

    As for the food--my pediatrician has told me more than once that no child has ever starved himself. If Landon's hungry, he'll eat. I found "Child of Mine: Feeding with Love and Good Sense" by Ellyn Satter to be a great resource for feeding, especially during transitional periods like the one you're going through.

    Heck, while I'm sharing books--my favorite resource for sleeping issues is Marc Weissbluth's "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child." Like the Satter book, it's particularly helpful during transitional periods, and it addresses sleep issues up through the teen years.

    Hope that helps. And if you need to hear it--you and JB are doing a GREAT job raising Landon, so try not to doubt yourself too much. Experts can be helpful, but mainly as sources of ideas to try--only you & JB can figure out what works for Landon. You'll be fine! :)

  29. I'm reading the comments with interest! FWIW, my 13 month old has never been interested in co-sleeping. I've tried a couple of times, and she just hates it. She is taking one long (2 to 3 hour) nap a day and sleeping 11 hours at night. She goes to sleep pretty well, usually. I put her to bed around 9 or even 9:30, because we tend to keep a late schedule ourselves. Her eating is all over the board. I just look at her chunky legs and think she must be doing fine. One thing that my mother, who's a nurse, would say -- you are not hurting Landon by giving him ibuprofen or tylenol every day. If it helps, maybe he needs it.

  30. Holy crap you've gotten lots of advice! I won't give you a ton since you've already gotten so much. Just a couple of points from me:

    1) My son just made the full time switch to 1 nap at 16 months. For a while he would do a couple days of 1 nap and then go back to 2 naps. It takes a while to make the full on switch.

    2) Someone once told me their pediatrician said as long as your child eats one good meal a day, don't worry about it. If they are really hungry they WILL eat.

    Good luck! Crazy how all these kids are so different - tis a shame they don't come with their own manuals right?!

  31. You have gotten so much advice. But, I wanted to come out of lurking on your site to let you know how much I enjoy reading your blog and have been reading for a while now!

    You are obviously doing a great job with Landon- but I would just say be patient and it will all work out. Here are a couple of things:

    1) My son just went to one nap a day at 13 months- about the same time he started walking. Now he goes down at 12:30 and sleeps for about 3 hours. He goes to bed between 7:00-7:30 and sleeps until 7a.m. We do have a night time routine that we stick to every night. Oh and we did have to let him cry it out. It took about 3 nights- which got progressivley easier. Sometimes he still fusses, but we just make sure he is okay and leave him up there. I think they learn to fall asleep on their own and sleep much better. I think for my son keeping him on a daily routine has helped him so much.

    2) about eating- I feel like this goes in waves and if he is teething then sometime he won't eat as much. But, they do eat when they are hungry.

    3) Bottles- this one was tougher for me. He is now just on one bottle before bed. I took the other bottles away (he was on 3/day) cold turkey- one at 12 months and the other at 13 months. He didn't care one bit. Now he drinks milk from a sippy cup. But that took time as well- he loved water from a sippy but milk was like poison. But, one day that is all I offered him and he got thirsty enough too drink it.

    So, take it for what it is worth. But, obviously all kids are different and it just takes a little time and patience.

    Also wanted to add I am so jealous you are in Austin. I went to UT and miss it SO much. Enjoy the yummy food!

    Take care, Monica

  32. I don't have much sleeping advice that hasn't already been offered; I do think that temperament makes a big difference with what specific "solution" (so-called) works with any given child. Try one thing for a while, and if it doesn't work, try something else. Just don't take to heart anything you read about ruining your child for life if you don't do things exactly the way that particular author recommends. Really. You're doing great, mama!

    At 16 months, my daughter still takes two naps, though the first one is getting shorter and later (usually 10:30/11:00-12:00 firm), and we skip it sometimes if we're out and about. She doesn't do well at all if we skip it a couple days in a row. Afternoon nap is usually 3:00-5:30/6:00. This would be too late for a lot of people, but my husband works late and we rarely eat dinner before 7:00, so it works really well for us. Also indispensible for us and our early riser: darkening shades. I just got a couple yards of darkening fabric and have had it tacked up for ages; it's down right now so I can use it to line the actual curtains that I'm making and her sleep has gone wayyyy downhill with the extra light in the room.

    Eating: I have a really picky eater. It's tough, especially when friends imply (or state outright) that if you'd just do what they do with their kids you wouldn't have this problem. Baloney. The bottom line: If Landon is still gaining weight most of the time, he's fine. If there's a problem, the doctor will tell you and will have advice. When my daughter went through a weight-LOSS period a couple months ago, my doctor asked if she'd been eating well. When I told her not, she didn't seem worried at all about the weight loss (though I'm sure that would've changed if it'd continued) - she was looking out for a metabolic problem; I don't think poor-eating toddlers are that unusual.

  33. I'll admit - I didn't read all the replies before mine but the baby is toddling all over the place so I have to be quick!

    Our sons are almost the exact same aga. We have the exact same problem with eating. Our son, Caleb, refuses to eat more than few bites of anything (sometimes he'll pig out on fruit and mac n cheese... but nothing else.) My mom's advise was: "Always offer veggies and healthy alternatives at every meal, then give them what they want. Don't make mealtime a battle, you'll never win with a one/two year old!" He is getting better, slowly but surely! He is starting to eat new things and in larger quantities.

    As far as the bottle - mine won't let it go either. The Dr. reccomeneded switching to a sippy cup as often as possible and using whole milk to make formula then slowly decreasing formula until it is all milk. I just started that two days again and i've already eliminated one bottle feeding and we're using (a little) less formula. It's progress :)

    I saved sleeping for last because this is one thing we don't have a problem with (YEA!) I read "Healthy Sleep Habits Happy Child" when Caleb was about 3 months and I was very sleep deprived! Boring read but I would HIGHLY recomend it! It talks about recognizing your babies "drowsy signs" and not putting them to bed over tired. This is where so many moms also learned the concept of "sleep begets sleep." This book also focuses on a STRICT sleep routine and Ferberizing your baby (letting them cry it out) if that's what your situation calls for. My advice for the sleeping is to establish a very strict sleep routine. It's hard at first because he will reject it and cry but I promise it will save you so many sleepless nights (and naptimes!!!)

    Remeber - the more sleep he gets, the more he will sleep at night. Start a strict sleep routine (ours is: 6:00 dinner, 6:30 bath, 6:45 bottle/sippy cup of warm milk, 7:00bedtime -even if he cries and resists.) Caleb is a great sleeper now, at night and naptime! It worked for us :)

    Good luck! Keep us posted, especially about the eating/bottles!!!

  34. Just don't get tied up in the need to follow the 'milestones'.... The bottle is no biggie, the binky.... Even potty training. You can sense what Landon likes and see what his habits are. If he's not off the bottle at one year, it's not bad! You can tell when it's time - change for him and you when it's right, not when other people tell you.

    My twins, 9mos, eat cheerios, mashed potatoes, asparagus (overcooked a little and small dice), canned peas, fruit cups (again, cut up to a smaller dice), scrambled eggs, little bites of bread.... OH and YumYum Crackers. The best, BEST, crackers in the world. They're cheap and the boys both love them. And they disintegrate so the choke thing isn't really there. Plus they make really satisfying crunch noises that the kids enjoy (?!?!). I hand those out at least 5 times a day. They don't always eat them but.... A good rule of thumb is that if the food can be smashed between your fingers with ease, like almost all canned veggies and overcooked pasta, they can eat it. I used to buy the stage foods until I realized that I was paying a lot for stuff that I could make myself and better.

    Sleep is (drum roll) different for every kid.

    I've had 5 kids.

  35. I'm kind of late to the party on this one, but we've been lucky with Sam's sleeping habits. She's pretty much slept through since three months (and I'm not saying that to brag or annoy you!). She does tend to fall asleep in our arms, after her last bottle, but we've started to put her in her crib when we know she's tired and she's doing fine. The big problem is that if she is resolute in her determination to not go to sleep, she will scream her head off--and then BARF. What a way to tell Mommy and Daddy that it's not bedtime yet!

    I'm with you on the whole eating thing, it scares the crap out of me. I feel like I'm starving her on the weekends because I can't get her to eat much. She'll take a bite or two of jarred food and shake her head "no." I've also discovered that if I continue to feed her after she's told me "no," she will--you guessed it--barf.

    Sam will be a year on July 6. We also don't see the bottle going away in the next few weeks, and she seems to be happy with Cheerios and puffs and whatever else we give her. The sitter seems to have more patience with it, and so far, she hasn't starved herself to death.

    Right now the feeding is the hardest part for me. I am looking forward to the day when Sam asks me if she can have a bowl of cereal, makes it, and sits down and eats it by herself! ;-)