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Sunday, April 18, 2010

On sleep

Have you ever googled "Cry It out?" It's interesting. I did so today, hoping to find some solution to my 7 month old's sleep problems. OK, I should mention she is a happy baby who has been sick a lot the last month. She used to sleep 4-6 hours straight consistently, and now she never sleeps more than 2 hours straight at night...I'm am BEYOND exhausted!

Back to the point: Cry it out. With DD1, we finally let her cry it out at 9 months. It took 3 nights of crying for several hours. After that, she mostly slept through the night. She is a wonderful sleeper now, but even 6 months ago she would often wake up at 4 am wanting to watch a movie and freaking out at me when I said no. I don't really like letting my babies cry.

Therefore, I googled "cry it out" hoping for someone to tell me that it won't traumatize my baby. That's not what I found. The first 5 hits were sites that put forth reasons NOT to let your baby cry. Then I stumbled across this site and found this:

Begin today by contemplating these questions:

•Am I content with the way things are, or am I becoming resentful, angry, or frustrated?
•Is my baby’s nighttime routine negatively affecting my marriage, my job, or my relationships with my other children?
•Is my baby happy, healthy, and seemingly well rested?
•Am I happy, healthy, and well rested?
•What is a reasonable expectation for my baby at his/her age?
•What naptime and bedtime situation would I consider “acceptable”?
•What naptime and bedtime situation would I consider “pure bliss”?
•Why do I want to change my baby’s sleep patterns? Is it truly what’s best for me and my baby, or am I doing this to meet someone else’s expectations?
•Am I willing to be patient and make a gradual, gentle change for my baby if that means no crying?
Once you answer these questions, you will have a better understanding of not only what is happening with regard to your baby’s sleep, but what approach you will feel most comfortable using to help your baby sleep better.

I guess we'll deal with lack of sleep for a little while longer. In the meantime, here is what EVERY sleep book has in common (from Babywise to No Cry Sleep Solutions)

1. Have a consistent bedtime routine. (Done. Hasn't worked)
2. Put your baby down awake but drowsy. (How do I do this? She's either awake and crying because she's ready for sleep, or asleep. I guess we'll work on this one.)

That's it for common motifs in sleep books, but a couple of other things I intend to try are:
1. Observing my baby closely for any signs of sleepiness and putting her in bed RIGHT then.
2. Comforting her when she cries, but not bringing her to bed with me anymore.
3. Giving her simethicone drops (gas relief, she often wakes up crying, and then releases lots of gas 30 minutes later and goes back to sleep. I don't know why she's so gassy.)
4. Going to bed at night as soon as she does. That's the only way I'm going to get more sleep at this point.
5. Keep a perspective...someday she'll be a good sleeper like her big sister.
6. Ignore all those people that are incredulous that my baby doesn't sleep and think it must be because I'm "caving in" or am not a good mom. I am a good mom.


Heidi said...

You're a great mom still!! If you weren't a great mom you wouldn't care about your baby sleeping. Hang in there.

JackieSue said...

I'd have to agree. We all have problems with our children sleeping. At least I did. Both my children didn't sleep though the night until 8 months old. I do have to say I did the cry it out method and it literally only took one half hour of crying and that was it... forever!! Not as many people have that kind of success but it wasn't bad at all. I mean the half hour was horrible but so worth it in the scheme of things. But you have to do what's good for you and what makes you feel good. Who cares what the world thinks!!!