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I'm a Mormon.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

I am NOT your lovey.

Let me tell you a story.

Once upon a time there was a Sweet, Darling Baby Girl. Her parents cherished her, and were only mildly disappointed that she hated sleeping in her own bed. After all, cuddling was so much fun! Of course, they did everything they could to get her to sleep in her bed from the day she was born (such as making the bed smell like them, putting her to bed almost asleep, having a bedtime routine, etc.) but it was all to no avail. This Dear Child despised her bed. Finally, her exhausted parents decided they could all sleep together in the same bed.

The only problem was that the older Baby Girl got, the MORE she started waking up at night. Yes, the bedtime routine was still in place, and occassionally Mommy would try and put the Darling in her own bed. The result of getting anywhere near the crib was screaming that led to hysterics for both Mommy and Baby Girl. So Mommy tried putting baby in the crib less and less often.

To make matters worse, Baby appeared to have food sensitivities. Mommy noticed that whenever baby ate bananas or corn during the day, she woke up much more during the night. Wanting to nurse. This led to a Mommy whose grumpy level was off the charts.

"Hmmm," thought Mommy. "Maybe I should let her cry it out." She tried this half-heartedly, but always felt like she was traumatizing her baby.

Then she read The Baby Sleep Book by the Sears'. This book propagandized that she was selfish if she didn't give up all her sleep for her baby and led her to believe that letting Baby cry would lead to life-long emotional and learning problems. This fear of causing her baby harm is still deeply embedded in her psyche.

Finally one night Mommy decided she'd had enough. That was the last straw. Baby was now almost 1 and still waking up every 2-3 hours at night screaming until being nursed. Mommy decided that she HAD to start letting baby cry it out.

But then she realized: Baby HATES her bed! How is this going to work? Will the upstairs neighbors hate us? Will it even work? Will my baby become completely unable to regulate her own emotions? Will she resent me? How many nights will I have to endure screaming? Should I try a graduated approach? Is there a medical reason Baby still wakes up, or is it a learned behavior?

Maybe YOU can help Mommy?
*Mommy has also read Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child, No Cry Sleep Solution, and Babywise.


Diana said...

I have known moms who have to sleep in the car the first night or so because they can't stand the crying, but they all say it is worth it and it only takes a few days! Good Luck!

Heidi said...

How frustrating! You poor thing. Here's what I would try:

1. Reason through and try to figure out why baby hates her bed. If you can't seem to find a reason, then make it as pleasant as possible (maybe with a blankie, or a stuffed toy) and then just start using it.

2. Have her examined by a doctor to find out if there's a reason why she isn't sleep through the night. Make sure she isn't in pain (which it doesn't seem like she is because she can be easily nursed back to sleep). Once you get the ok from a doctor, commit to trying a sleep method... even if it means lots of crying. I mean so far nothing else has worked, you might as well give crying a try.

3. Decide which sleep method/book you like the best (I like Healthy Sleep Habits, and that's what has worked for me, and what has worked for many friends) and commit to trying the method. Get with your hubby and commit to following all of the steps to the letter. Don't mix sleep methods, just try one at a time.

4. Remind yourself that most of the sleep methods will take hold within a few days. Pick a number of days that you will stick with the method. Cut out the sensitive foods on those days. Clear your schedule so she can get good day naps, preparing her for good sleep at night.

5. Sit down with her and tell her what you plan on doing. Talk her through the steps, tell her what she needs to do, what you'll do, etc. Reassure her that you love her, and that you want her to learn to sleep for her own good.

6. Go talk to your neighbors and tell them what's going on. Apologize for the potential screaming, and offer them ear plugs or something. Any reasonable person would understand.

7. Put the sleep method into place. Follow the outlined plan exactly, doing everything suggested. Repeat it for the number of days the plan suggests. Be strong and stick with it!!

When it comes down to it, I think you should at least try letting her cry it out. Easier said than done, I know. Leaving your baby alone to cry is one of the worst things ever!

Here's some of the things my husband and I tell ourselves and each other when we're tempted to go in when we should let her cry it out.

-It's for her own good, she really needs to learn to go to sleep by herself.
-We're stunting her development by helping her to sleep every time.
-In the long run it's hurting her to not let her learn how to sleep. I might as well go in there and punch her. (ok, that's a little extreme but it helps the hubs stay out of the room)
-I am with her, and am attentive and loving all day long. As long as I leave her alone and always come back when I tell her I will, no trust or psychological problems will develop.
-It's a battle of wills, much like a temper tamtrum. I will not give in.
-Lots of praying!
-She can do it, she can do it, she can do it.
-When I get woken up every couple of hours it results in a HORRIBLE night's sleep. It's the same for her.

Sorry for the ridiculously long comment, but hopefully at least some of it was helpful.
Good luck! Post and let us know how it goes (or post each day of it for extra encouragement).