Baby Sleep Problem: My Husband and I Don’t Agree and Can’t Be Consistent

  • 0
  • April 23, 2013

Would you like to have me answer your baby sleep problem in my next video? If so, scroll down and submit your question in the comment section below. I will pick several questions a month to answer and post them here on the blog!

If you would rather read than watch my above video then here is the transcript of this week’s baby sleep problem video:

Hi, Kim West, the Sleep Lady and today, I’m going to answer this mom’s question. This is what she wrote in:

“My life has become a battleground between my son, my husband and myself, and I feel like I’m in a total loss. We have your book. We’ve read it and we have some challenges. I admit to not being very consistent at the night time awakenings and bedtime in terms of allowing my 8-month old son to fall asleep on his own as he immediately becomes hysterical to the point of choking, coughing and spattering, and he does this both with myself and my husband. However, my husband just sits there and does nothing to console him while he wails. Any help or advice you can offer would be amazing and anything you can offer to help my husband see that he can’t just sit there would be helpful. Also, my son is a poor napper and I feel we should be focusing on bedtime and night awakenings. My husband disagrees and we fight on every step of the program that I’m trying to work on. I feel like we’re getting nowhere and we’re just making my son cry like a maniac for no reason. I’m at my wit’s end and cry at the drop of a hat. We need help. Any advice you can offer about this baby sleep problem would be greatly appreciated.”

Thank you for writing in and for sharing your baby sleep problem. I’m not sure that I will be able to address all of his issues and all of these issues between you and your husband, but I’m going to do the best that I can to give you some valuable advice. First of all, as you know from reading my book, Good Night Sleep Tight, when we as parents are inconsistent and we start and stop behavioral modification programs like sleep coaching, it creates difficulty. This is why it is so important that you and your husband talk about what your plan is. If you both can agree on what’s going to happen when your son wakes up, then both parents can be consistent when they go into your son’s bedroom. If for example your husband is going in to check on your son, you can’t coach him from a crack of a doorway, and vice versa. If you can’t agree on how to do it together, then I would recommend for you to decide which parent is going to follow through consistently for a long enough period of time. It’s important for you to remember that if you have accidentally trained your son to cry by being inconsistent in the past, remember he will probably cry for that length of time, until things begin to improve. That is unfortunately the way ‘intermittent reinforcement’ works. The good news is that it can change, but you’re going to have to remain consistent for a longer amount of time.

Because it sounds like there is a lot of fighting and inconsistency about how to move forward, I agree that you should focus on sleep during the night first. I would recommend to try to get him napping any way you can, for up to three hours a day if possible. Let’s make sure you work to get those nap hours in however you can, and also work to have your goal of that reasonable bedtime at 7:00.

If you are feeling hesitant and maybe thinking, “I’m just sitting there and he is wailing. This feels worse for me, I can’t take it. It’s going to make me be inconsistent and I’m not clear and sure if my presence is making it worse,” then I would recommend that you lie on the ground. From here you can intermittently “shh-shh,” pat and reassure him. If he gets really worked up, I do think you should pick him up, and calm him down. Developmentally, 8 month olds have not completely mastered being able to internally regulate themselves (neither have some adults!) so don’t feel badly about doing that. However, you must be careful not to pick him up and hold him until he’s asleep. You can hold him until he is calm and has caught his breath. Then you can tell him, “I love you, sweetie pie,” put him into the crib, pat him to reassure him, and then either sit back on the floor or in the chair. All you really have to do is ride it out. It’s possible that your son could get more hysterical, and not understand why no one is responding if you’re sitting right there. In that case it is better if you have at least has a little eye contact, encourage him to lie down, pat the mattress, or even touch his hand on the railing. Some encouragement can help.

Remember, take it one day at a time and be sure to decide how you and your husband are going to move forward. Good luck.

In Service,

Kim

The Sleep Lady

Video filmed by In Focus Studios

If you have struggled with your spouse or partner in how and when to sleep coach your child and successfully resolved it please feel free to share your experiences and support. Please feel free to click the “reply” link under this article and leave them a comment. Supporting each other makes parenting so much easier!

Did you find this article helpful? Please share it with your friends by clicking below, or ask a question on The Sleep Lady Facebook page.

Share this article: Share on Facebook
Facebook
Email this to someone
email
Tweet about this on Twitter
Twitter
Pin on Pinterest
Pinterest

Some of the posts featured on this website may contain affiliate links. This means I have the potential to receive a small commission (at no extra cost to you) if you purchase something using one of my links. This allows me to help cover the expense of running the site while keeping the content 100% free. Note that I only recommend products I believe in. Your support is appreciated!

4 Comments

  • sbfdonnelly says:

    Ahh I just feel for you. I never had it that bad but I know the daunting task that lies ahead to get ahold on all this. Our experience with our son when he was your son’s age was similar in their poor sleeping habits and thats is also when we first committed to The Sleep Lady protocol. It took nearly 2 weeks to get the nights mostly under control. The naps took longer, as we just couldn’t hit 3 hours for the life of us. I have to say that it was immediately better from our perspective after 2 weeks but the real rhythm of good 11 hour sleep and 3 hours of naps didn’t all fall into place for almost 3 months. You have to stick with it, it will get better. Even if its just you that has to go all in, you can do it and you’ll feel so much more rested and better in just 2 weeks. From there its maintenance. Thats not to say there won’t be set backs. We had plenty, but as long as we shuffled those were short lived and taken care of in a couple of days. Last thing to note is that I had to really make sure we stayed home and he slept in his bed (at night) for those 2-3 months. We were accustomed to sleeping over at family and it definitely messed with him. It has been a long 3 months but I really feel like he has found his natural rhythm now. GOOD LUCK and be consistent, its the only way it’ll work!

  • sbfdonnelly says:

    Ahh I just feel for you. I never had it that bad but I know the daunting task that lies ahead to get ahold on all this. Our experience with our son when he was your son’s age was similar in their poor sleeping habits and thats is also when we first committed to The Sleep Lady protocol. It took nearly 2 weeks to get the nights mostly under control. The naps took longer, as we just couldn’t hit 3 hours for the life of us. I have to say that it was immediately better from our perspective after 2 weeks but the real rhythm of good 11 hour sleep and 3 hours of naps didn’t all fall into place for almost 3 months. You have to stick with it, it will get better. Even if its just you that has to go all in, you can do it and you’ll feel so much more rested and better in just 2 weeks. From there its maintenance. Thats not to say there won’t be set backs. We had plenty, but as long as we shuffled those were short lived and taken care of in a couple of days. Last thing to note is that I had to really make sure we stayed home and he slept in his bed (at night) for those 2-3 months. We were accustomed to sleeping over at family and it definitely messed with him. It has been a long 3 months but I really feel like he has found his natural rhythm now. GOOD LUCK and be consistent, its the only way it’ll work!

  • stdekoker says:

    Hi Kim.  Thank you for
    your dedication to desperate parents (and encouraging healthy kiddos).  My situation goes like this: 10 month old,
    sleeps in a pack n play in our room as this is the only space we have for her
    right now.  She goes down for naps (usually)
    with ease – no milk, no rocking, awake. And takes 2 naps 1.5 to 2 hours
    each.  We sometimes have to wake her so
    these naps don’t become too long.  She
    goes down to bed awake between 6:30 and 7pm with the following routine: bath,
    jammies, bottle, book, lights out (sound machine).  She has been waking up once anywhere
    from 1am to 5am and the only way to get her to go back down is with a bottle,
    or to bring her into bed with us.  We
    have the bottle down to 2 ounces, but less than that she screams.  I despise bringing her into bed but I am usually so exhausted I want to do whatever will work. Sometimes if the bottle is around 5am, she
    won’t go back to sleep and we wait until at least 6am with her shouting
    periodically until we turn the lights on and get her up.  According to her pediatrician she is getting
    enough milk/food during the day.  Why, why won’t she push through until 6am? She has
    sporadically made it until 6am, but never consistently.  I have tried shushing her and “shuffling” away each night, but this usually ends in hours of crying. Side note: We talked with a sleep consultant,
    who was not helpful (only focused on how to get her out of our room, which isn’t
    an option right now), so I am struggling financially to pay for more help. I
    love your approach and was recommended your services by my doctor.
    Any help you can offer would be relished!  Thank you. 
    Tina
    stdekoker@comcast.net

  • stdekoker says:

    Hi Kim.  Thank you for
    your dedication to desperate parents (and encouraging healthy kiddos).  My situation goes like this: 10 month old,
    sleeps in a pack n play in our room as this is the only space we have for her
    right now.  She goes down for naps (usually)
    with ease – no milk, no rocking, awake. And takes 2 naps 1.5 to 2 hours
    each.  We sometimes have to wake her so
    these naps don’t become too long.  She
    goes down to bed awake between 6:30 and 7pm with the following routine: bath,
    jammies, bottle, book, lights out (sound machine).  She has been waking up once anywhere
    from 1am to 5am and the only way to get her to go back down is with a bottle,
    or to bring her into bed with us.  We
    have the bottle down to 2 ounces, but less than that she screams.  I despise bringing her into bed but I am usually so exhausted I want to do whatever will work. Sometimes if the bottle is around 5am, she
    won’t go back to sleep and we wait until at least 6am with her shouting
    periodically until we turn the lights on and get her up.  According to her pediatrician she is getting
    enough milk/food during the day.  Why, why won’t she push through until 6am? She has
    sporadically made it until 6am, but never consistently.  I have tried shushing her and “shuffling” away each night, but this usually ends in hours of crying. Side note: We talked with a sleep consultant,
    who was not helpful (only focused on how to get her out of our room, which isn’t
    an option right now), so I am struggling financially to pay for more help. I
    love your approach and was recommended your services by my doctor.
    Any help you can offer would be relished!  Thank you. 
    Tina
    stdekoker@comcast.net