Saturday, November 26, 2011

Sleep Story

I don't understand Sleep Training, especially Cry-It-Out.

I am going to rephrase that.  I think that Cry-It-Out is cruel.  And I think that people who tell me I need to let my child cry and cry and cry are mean.

People tell horror stories of their babies screaming for hours, vomiting from screaming so much, becoming traumatized for what?  To give the parents a story to tell of their hard-hearted valor?

Yes, if you let a baby cry long enough, eventually she will exhaust herself and fall asleep alone, scared, and in need of YOU.  The only thing your baby really wants or needs is YOU.

We went to a friend's house for Thanksgiving and as it happens with babies and Americans, we were asked that dreaded question...

"How is she sleeping?"

This question was posed to me by this big burly, bald American guy who  cooed and oooohed and snatched my baby from me as soon as he saw her.  I was just beginning to like him.  He had good energy and Baby Girl was happy, cozily snuggled in his arm.

"How is she sleeping?"  Why, Why WHY do people need to know? It is one of those questions that exists only to judge or to start giving unsolicited advice.  They really don't care.

Now, she is sleeping fine.  She wakes up every hour or two to cuddle, nurse or be resettled but is still getting 10 hours of sleep a night.  It is ME who isn't sleeping.

So, I answered.  "She is doing ok.  She is changing her patterns now, so it has been a bit trying."  I felt that was appropriately, neutral, truthful and vague.

"Well, you just have to let her cry it out.  That is the only way.  They need to learn to self soothe."

"Beast!"  (thought I).

"Our son cried for an hour and a half straight.  It was awful but its the only way.  You just have to keep each other strong."  A woman nearby nods her head in agreement.  "They need to learn to self-soothe..."  

By this time Jack had joined the conversation.  I could tell he was biting his tongue.  (Good, it was still early in the evening and the big man was holding our daughter.)  We looked at each other.

I nodded and did what Jack calls the Anna-I-am-not-really-listening-to-you nod.  The man was satisfied. I turned to Jack and asked him to change Baby's diaper while I got food.  Perfect, and saved by the Baby, again.  I have realized that children are the perfect excuse to get out of ANYTHING!

Back to Sleep:

I am pleased to announce that Baby Girl has decreased her nightly wakings from 5-6 to 3-4.  Improvement.  Not ideal, but better.  We are trying to stick to a bedtime routine that looks like this:

Dinner (J & I, not Baby)
Read two books

It is the same as we have been doing since she was born, but we added the books.  She is nearly 4 months old, time to start reading!

Jack has her well conditioned to be rocked, bounced and shushed to sleep, (Thanks to the Happiest Baby on the Block), but now my little 7 lb bundle has turned into a 12 lb squirmer and it is MUCH more physically intense to rock, bounce and shush her.  Jack is fine, he can dead lift an inordinate amount, it is harder for the post-partum weakling.

Last night I tried to sit with her in the rocking chair and rock her to sleep.  Baby wanted NONE of it.

So, we begin re-conditioning her to a less physically intense (for us) go-to-sleep method.  I think rocking in the rocking chair is a better option and anything is a better option than Cry-It-Out.

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