The Self Soother

When Stella was little, we waited a week or two to introduce the pacifier because I was worried about nipple confusion. She never really took to it, and other than the random OH MY GOD MY CHILD IS LOSING HER MIND AND WE’RE ON THE HIGHWAY AND THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING WE CAN DO ABOUT IT times, we were totally fine with her not taking one.

With Harvey we did the same thing, and just like his big sister, he liked none of the 5 kinds of pacifiers we tried out when he was a couple of weeks old. Again, I figured it was one less thing to have to wean him of when he got older, and it kind of drives me nuts when kids always have a paci in their mouths in pictures, so it didn’t really bother me that he didn’t want one either.

However, about a month ago the kid found his thumb, and OH MY GOODNESS, it’s amazing. He is already a super chill baby, but add in the thumb, and this kid is SET. He is so content to just hang out and watch his surroundings and suck on his thumb and we kind of forget he is there sometimes. I wish I was kidding. :\


The other benefit of this amazing ability to self sooth is sleep. BLESSED sleep.

Stella was never a great sleeper, always waking to nurse every couple of hours until she regressed to waking every 45 minutes around 7-8 months and I lost my mind and we did a bit of sleep training. She needed to be tightly swaddled in order to sleep, and if she got her arm out, it was all over. Thankfully I knew nothing different, so somehow I managed to function those first 8 months on very little sleep, and it just worked.

Harvey, on the other hand, was a pretty decent sleeper the first couple months of his life, generally waking every 3 hours or so to eat. That was totally manageable & expected with a newborn, and I was pleasantly surprised that I was actually getting much better chunks of sleep than I did with Stella at that age. He also hated the swaddle, and it is very clear that he prefers to sleep on his side if he’s on a flat surface, so he just sleeps in footie PJs or a sleep sack with his arms free so that I don’t worry about him rolling onto his belly and not being able to move.

Since he found his thumb though? Check out his night time sleep schedule for this past week:


Keep in mind that he is 11-12 weeks old right now. He sleeps either in his swing or in bed with me – usually in his swing for the first portion of the night and with me after the night nursing.

Saturday Night (9pm-7am):                       4h15 [nurse] 3h45 [nurse] 1h45
Sunday Night (8:15pm – 7am ):                 4h30 [nurse] 4 hr [nurse] 1h30
Monday Night (8pm – 6am ):                      7h45                            [nurse] 2hr
Tuesday Night (8am – 6:45am ):                8h30                           [nurse] 2hr
Wednesday Night (8:30pm – 6:15am):  9h45
Thursday Night (8:15pm – 6:45am):       4h45 [nurse] 3hr [nurse] 2hr15
Friday Night (8:30pm – 7am):                   8hr                               [nurse] 2hr

IMG_2016Don’t get me wrong, I fully expect there will be some sort of sleep regression in our future, but for the moment, I am REVELING in it. I mean, seriously, I don’t even know what to do with all this sleep!  His first stretch of sleep is consistently at least 4 hours, and more and more often he is dropping the midnight feeding and sleeping closer to 8. Since I go to bed within an hour of him, that means I’m getting pretty darn good sleep myself. Whenever he wakes up to nurse, I pull him into bed with me and nurse him side-lying (so I’m still laying down) and we both fall back asleep that way. Sometimes I’ll move him back to the swing if I wake up, otherwise we just cuddle the last couple of hours until morning. When he has slept 7-9 hours at a stretch I’ve actually gotten up to pump and then gone back to sleep, but that’s not a huge deal, because that means I skip my pre-work pumping session that I normally do around 6am, so I’m getting roughly the same amount of sleep either way.

I mean, really, I am so blessed. Thank you Harvey.


  1. mcmissis · · Reply

    Great news! People always ask me how Poppy’s sleeping. I tell them, “better than Gracie! Right now.” She still gets up at least once a night needing attention, most of the time twice a night. SHE TURNED 3 1/2 last month!!!

  2. The Beats started sleeping 8-10 hr stretches around 3 months age-adjusted. Even now if they do wake, it’s for a diaper change and so cuddling before going back to sleep. Every child is different and will naturally have their own pattern. Here’s hoping Harvey continues this trend!

  3. elizabeth · · Reply

    I always loved that Savannah was a finger sucker for all of the reasons you mentioned. Plus is adorable. BUT- you can’t wean them from fingers/thumbs. We are still working on this and she’s 6. She tries her best to only suck when she’s in bed but it hard. Shane (2yrs) is allowed his paci in bed only or on long car trips. I can’t take it away because he’s not a rock star sleeping and I’m scared ill never sleep if he doesn’t have it. I know how lazy that makes me sound but whatever. And he wouldn’t take the paci until he was like months. We preferred his thumb but we kept pushing the pack because we didn’t want another sucker. But nothing is more glorious than a self soothe.

  4. Aww! Even though it would be a harder habit to break I’m secretly hoping L will be a thumb sucker because OMG is it ever annoying to reapply the pacifier. Esp when you want to sleep.

    I’m glad you’re getting sleep!

  5. Shut up! ;). Ha ha!

    I’m so glad he loves his thumb. We were hoping as Bryson showed some signs of loving his, but they were fleeting!

  6. I’m with Elilzabeth on this one. We’re at 7.5y with antony and really struggling with his finger sucking. He is *finally* cutting it down at school ,but we’ve been working on it for almost two years now. I tell everyone I know who has a baby who shows a preference for finger sucking to do everything you can to avoid it. I know it is wonderful now (I was so totally stoked when Ant found his fingers and we didn’t have to worry about finding paci’s during the night) but please trust me that it is so not worth it in the long term. Maybe if we had put the nasty tasting nail polish on him at 2-3 and gotten him to stop then that would have done it? But now we are definitely looking at braces in the future because his big teeth are in and there is a huge gap between top and bottom… Other friends have subsequently told me that they sucked their fingers until 8, 9, even 12 (and I can totally see us getting there :() The biggest problem is that he doesn’t even WANT to stop!

    If you do want to stop it sooner rather than later you can try putting a sock on his hand so he can’t get to his fingers?

  7. So glad you are getting some rest during this difficult time.
    Freya sucks her hand already – but inconsistently. Doesn’t seem to want a soother.
    I was a big thumb sucker to the point of having to have something inserted in my mouth to stop my thumb from going in (sounds more barbaric than it was). So I’m a wee bit paranoid about the thumb sucking thing. But I also don’t want to wean another child off a pacifier. So I’m hoping to avoid the whole situation altogether. This parenting gig works like that, right? RIGHT?

  8. Oh my goodness, how cute is he sucking on that little thumb?!? Adorable!! That is so awesome that he has found his own way to self sooth. Lids used a pacifier for a while but never at night, only naps, and was done by 9 months with no trouble at all weaning, but after that she didn’t really have anything to help her sleep, which was hard at times. Enjoy all that wonderful sleep!!! 🙂

  9. lparsons15 · · Reply

    He couldn’t be cuter if he tried, seriously.

  10. Leila is a self-soother too, and it is AMAZING. It’s a totally different experience of parenting. We’re both so lucky to have second children who suck their thumbs. I know people whose second babies were more challenging in the sleep department, and I have to say that this is preferable to me.

    1. TOTALLY. I’d have lost my mind with a crappy sleeper if all I knew was an amazing one. I’d much rather have an easier one the 2nd time around. I’m totally not worried about the thumb sucking either. I sucked mine for a long time to no lasting damage. 🙂

      1. The only upside to having a crappy sleeper the second time is that then you know it’s not your fault. Oh, how I tortured myself with Mira. And why worry about the thumb? It’s not like we could stop it anyway. 🙂

  11. It’s like we have the same second baby! Kate is a thumb sucker, side sleeper too! I love it. Yes, we’ll have to break the habit eventually, but for now it really really helps her self soothe and all of us to get some sleep.

    1. Ya, I’m really not worried about it. I sucked my thumb for a LONG time, and eventually I just quit on my own b/c of peer pressure from my friend. Meh. No long term harm done. 🙂

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