Drowsy but AWAKE

I’m pretty sure that every parenting book ever in the history of parenting books give this piece of advice: when putting baby to bed or down for a nap, make sure to lay him down when he is drowsy but awake.  In other words, don’t feed your kid to sleep, don’t rock him to sleep, don’t walk him around until he falls asleep in your arms.  Kids need to be AWAKE when you lay them down.  I suppose this is to keep you from having to feed/rock/walk to sleep every night for however long.

When Kalena was a baby I thought, well sure, that’s great advice.  THEORETICALLY.  Unfortunately that girl would not go to sleep unless she was eating.  (Or sometimes riding in the car, but you get the point.)  There was no laying her down awake.  Not even when she got a little older.  You may remember from other posts that she took a bottle to bed with her every night until she was 18 months old.  18 months!  The first time I ever put her to bed drowsy but awake and she actually went to sleep she was a YEAR AND A HALF old.

All the parenting books make it sound so EASY.  Just lay baby down drowsy but awake and TA DA!  Sleep.  They don’t get into what happens if “drowsy but awake” equates with fussing then crying then screaming and then a child who not only isn’t sleeping, but is no longer even drowsy.  ANYWAY.  After our experience with Kalena, I just assumed that those parenting books were full of crap and that babies don’t actually fall asleep without help, the books just TELL you that to make you feel bad that YOUR kid won’t.

Then Will came along.  And one night when he was a few days old, he was awake after nursing, but I laid him down beside me anyway hoping to rest my eyes for a few minutes before he started crying.  Then I watched, completely amazed, as he went from wide-eyed awake to asleep in just a few minutes.  Who’d have thought?  It is actually possible.  He doesn’t do it every time, most of the time he nurses to sleep, but still.  The times it does happen it always surprises me.

What parenting book advice did you hate?

5 thoughts on “Drowsy but AWAKE

  1. I've found similar things with Eli, so I have to wonder how much to attribute to my own over-eagerness to respond to his cries at nap/bedtime. I just CAN'T get Eli when I lay him down and he obviously need a nap but Patrick is dragging me away for whatever reason, and miraculously, 2 minutes later, Eli's passed out. So although I wonder how it COULD have been, I know I couldn't have made myself change. I had nothing better to do, why would I ignore my only child crying? Just because a book says to? Nope, couldn't do it. Now I can, but not because of a book – because of a brother. That doesn't answer the question about stupid advice, though. I think the only bad advice is to say "never" or "always"… parenting is constant adjustment and change, you need to make exceptions sometimes.

  2. Drowsy but awake did not work for Leah either. After not sleeping for months on end I finally just laid her down and gave up, but two hours later and still crying we were back to square one! She is a decent sleeper now… Nora is opposite. I have been able to lay her down awake since she was a few days old and she has always slept longer stretches. The discipline books always get me, it seems like they always tell what not to do, and how your kids should act when you do what you are supposed to do but very little info about what you are supposed to do!

  3. I just listened to Amelia "talk" herself to sleep. We used to rock, feed, whatever her to sleep until about 5 months when we did the cry it out to go to sleep. Now I always make it a point to put her to bed awake, even if we have to let her cry for a little. She still sucks at sleeping, but she always goes into her crib awake, lol. I can't think of advice from a book that I hate but I can't stand unsolicited advice from strangers. One time at SAMs club a lady told me that Amelias footed onsie was scrunching her toes! Uh, ok.

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