Mr. Hope is a software engineer. He read some book or had some conversation recently that talked about programming habits. The gist was that if you take short cuts in the present, you are essentially taking on debt that has to be paid back later.

Said principle applies well to infant (and therefore parental) sleep.

There’s a very, very good reason sleep deprivation is used as torture. It works. Mr. Hope and I are probably willing to compromise almost anything to get consistent sleep. Probably me more than him. He manages at least 2 more hours per night than me on average.

It started with the car seat. BabyHope did not sleep well at all lying down. The pediatrician recommended the car seat. It’s worked pretty well. We line it with a blanket and actually position her way up at the top of the car seat to get the most upright position possible. And we haven’t had the problem of her squishing down in it. We’ll call this the “we have to get her out of the car seat but at least she’ll sleep 4 hours in it” debt. We’re trying assorted options, none have proven successful so far.

Then there’s the pacifier. BabyHope is simply not a comfort nurser. I am a source of food, and while she gazes at me and seems much happier nursing than she used to, the minute she is full, she is not having anymore boob. She will cry for her pacifier. We’ll call this the “I hope I’m not the Speech-Language Pathologist that’s having to wean her child off the pacifier when she’s 5 and give her own child speech therapy” debt.

Now, BabyHope would like to begin her day after the 4 or 5 AM feeding. I am simply worthless at that time. Maybe if I’d gotten 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep prior to that – but you see, that’s not happening, either. So I often take her into bed with me at 5AM. I don’t know why exactly, but she’ll often sleep another 2 hours or so nestled in next to me – which means I get another 2 hours or so. It might be because I shush her, or maybe because I pop the pacifier back in the second it pops out, or Mr. Hope’s theory that she just “likes you better”. We’ll call this the “I hope I don’t have an 8 year old still sleeping in my bed” debt.

She’s not yet three months old, and we’ve racked up a bill already. I’ve read a few of the books on sleep. Most say not to worry *too* much about what happens before 3 months or so.

I’m just hoping I don’t end up with a 6 year old sucking a pacifier nestled in a car seat in my bed. Hopefully we’ll get our debt paid off before that.

~ by Larisa on March 27, 2008.

No Responses Yet to “debt”

  1. You gotta do what you gotta do because everyone needs sleep and you still want to be married to daddy by the end of the day, right? Our baby slept in our room for the first year (mostly in our bed) and was addicted to her paci when she started teething. At 15 months she started sleeping 12 hours in her crib in her room and only uses the paci to get to sleep (willingly hands it over, even). No bite or speech problems. And I wouldn’t trade that year of her sleeping with us for the world. They grow up oh so fast.

  2. The sleep thing is the worst part of parenting. From my experience, it’s normal for a baby BabyHope’s age to sleep only 3 hours at a stretch. At least, my son did at that age. Don’t worry, it DOES get better. Might take a long time, but it will get better.

  3. BTW, for some reason I can’t post comments using Name/URL anymore, so apologies for the anon post above. -Kristylynne

  4. I’ve been lurking on your site for the last week or so. My son Gabriel is just a few days younger than BabyHope (beautiful name by the way!). His birthday is January 15th. I have similar issues with him and the paci, and although he will lay in his crib, he has to be swaddled everytime or he immediately wakes up. I am concerned that when he is twelve we will still be swaddling him every night to get him to sleep! Best of luck to you and I will continue to enjoy reading your blog. If you’d ever like to correspond my email address is

  5. that was funny….TRUE….but funny….it all works itself out in the end. Everything in moderation. ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Just posted about this!
    My sympathies!

  7. I thought the same as you. Eleanor was a horrible sleeper until well past 6 months. I had visions of running away and just sleeping forever.

    We tried the car seat, we co-slept, we unswaddled, we rocked, bounced, walked, drove …

    We finally got her in a good sleep/nap pattern between 8-10 months. She sleeps 11 hours straight, and then two solid 90-min naps.

    Don’t despair!

    PS- mine sucks her big toe. I can only imagine the weirdness that will ensue if sue doesn’t the that up before she gets to school-age!

  8. We did almost all those things. Nick slept in his infant/toddler rocker for months. Eventually I was able to get him out of, probably around 4-5 months. They both used pacifiers, but we were able to get rid of them before their first birthday. And I’ve taken them into bed with me before in the mornings for a few more precious minutes of sleep. I also worried about all those things you mentioned ๐Ÿ™‚

    I’m happy to report that at nearly 20 months, they both sleep in their crib from 8pm-7:30am with a 2+ hour nap, no pacifiers, and they do not sleep with us.

    You do what you have to get through when they are small. It will work itself out.

  9. You poor thing. It does seem pare for the course, but how you suffer in the meantime.

    I’m a doula and daycare provider and have always had the magic touch for infant sleep. In my experience all I can say is never let the baby get too overly tired. Once that happens, she’ll release adrenaline and it will be impossible for her to fall asleep. At this age, right when she’s the most happy, about 1 – 1 1/2 hours after waking, start cuddling her, swaddle her and put her in her bed. I’ve heard all the excuses from parents about why their baby doesn’t nap or sleep very long, but none of it ends up holding water. Oh, and I find that if the baby has eaten upon waking, they need to eat before going down or they’ll just wake up hungry after a short time.

    The only book I’ve ever found sensible was Happy Sleep, Healthy Child, the first version, which was very thin and quick to read.

    I’ll be thinking of you and sending you Happy Sleep Vibes!

  10. You absolutely have nothing to worry about. The whole first year is a constant change for them with sleep and finding new ways to self comfort. I remember thinking all of this with my first. I’m also an SLP (well now I stay at home) and I worried about the paci. It soon became “our” best friend. My youngest is 21 months- still has it. I don’t care :)I remember as soon as I thought I had sleep down it turned into something else. It’s just a bunch of constant phases that keep you guessing. You are doing a fantastic job- You are there!! best of luck to you ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. My son slept in his car seat (first by our bed, then in his crib) for the first five months. Other ridiculous things that got him to sleep were the TV on static at highest volume and the vacuum cleaner. Eventually we weaned him from everything–and without any great trouble. You do what you have to do. He’s five and has NO sleep issues now.

  12. You are doing your best and that is enough. I have no doubt that you will make mistakes, I know I have made a lot. Forgive yourself! You will sleep better.

  13. It sounds like you are doing all you can, and I bet BabyHope is flourishing because of it.

  14. Debt can be a real nightmare! One day at a time…

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