No-Cry Sleep Solution

11:07 AM

So, I've mentioned Michael's sleep schedule in a few blogs and promised to elaborate. This is the book that I am finally "reviewing". Another suggested read/helper from my sister, this one definitely has my stamp of approval.

As you may or may not know, I really don't like the idea of letting a baby "cry it out". To me, all it's teaching him or her is to internalize fear or pain or what have you. After all, what does it teach babies if they're crying because they want love, nurture, and comfort and you just let them cry it out until they finally fall asleep? They are not "self soothing", they are internalizing and setting the ground for possible future problems. THAT is just my opinion. Sorry.

I know plenty of people who do let their babies cry it out and work in segments. Clark's parents even told us over Christmas we need to let Michael cry more. That just seems silly to me. I was sure there was a way to get around Michael crying himself to exhaustion and still granting me some time to myself, and eventually a bed with no baby.

And then I read this book.

This book goes through scenarios, advice, steps, and so much to help you help your baby fall asleep/ sleep on his or her own. A way to go through slowly teaching them to go to sleep on their own. I love it. I especially love all the reviews/stories from moms in the book. That type of thing always hooks me.

After relating how babies sleep really works, how different it is from adults, and why they may or may not be waking up constantly once you leave them to sleep by themselves, it gives you step-by-step advice on how you can work on it. Not only that, it provides charts and plans to help you organize just what you're going to do.

I started on the first of March. Perfect timing so keeping track of my first ten days or so wouldn't be too difficult. My goal was to get a set napping schedule, or at least know relative times to start getting Michael ready to sleep. I decided that just figuring out the basics was the best way to begin.

You see, Michael sleeps with Clark and I at night, but he's also used to napping with me during the day. That doesn't necessarily mean we both lie down on the bed and go to sleep. Usually his napping consisted of being in my arms, and later developed into him sleeping in his sling. It turned out, after a while, he couldn't go to sleep any other way. That still stands at the moment.

I started off trying to just nurse Michael to sleep on the bed. It worked a couple times. I'd lay there anywhere from ten to 40 minutes with him attempting to get him to sleep. The longest he lasted that way was 45 minutes. I was so excited... but he didn't get there until a week later. In the afternoon I'd either rock him to sleep in the sling and let him stay there, or lie on the bed, undo the sling, and leave him to sleep on the bed. The longest he lasted for one of those naps was also 45 minutes. (Of course, that was also on a day where he only lasted ten minutes on his own in the morning.)

The day Michael turned six months old, he slept for an entire hour on his own.
This is after he'd been asleep for around 30 minutes in the sling, so I was SO excited. I thought it was the beginning of a whole new era. One nap on his own for an hour was an amazing start, especially considering before I could barely put him down to get a moment to myself unless Clark was home to hold him.

Then it happened.

Clark went on spring break. He was home more than usual. Michael got used to playtime with daddy that completely wore him out and he went to sleep easier. When daddy returned to school, daylight savings time also kicked in.

It's been a nightmare.

Apparently playtime with me isn't the same as playtime with daddy. I can get on the floor with him, tickle him, play on the bed with him-- it doesn't matter. I am not Clark, and Michael knows it.

Last week we were up every morning between the hours of four and five. One day we got up at 4am (even though he woke up around 2:50am) and we didn't go to sleep until 12am that night, or rather the next day.

So, I gave in.

I stopped trying for a little while. When he finally went to sleep for a nap, I let him stay in the comfort of his sling. Or, if I did lay him on the bed, I was there with him taking a nap.

I didn't give up completely, but taking thirty minutes to get him out of the sling, onto the bed, and comfortable usually left me with ten minutes to myself or less before he woke up. It's as though we're starting ALL over again.

What's the lesson?

Change takes time. I think Michael's going through a growth spurt, or perhaps nearing a new development, or maybe even is just missing Mama and Dada time, in different ways. He misses Clark playing with him during the day, and he misses just sleeping knowing I'm right there in his reach if he needs something.

As he grows, change is inevitable, and I just have to remain patient and work on the change that I want that will ultimately be best for all of us. Because I definitely don't want him to come to his first birthday and still expect me to carry his heavy self around in the sling. It only holds up to 35 pounds.

I LOVE this book, to say the least. It gives excellent advice on the way to do things, and reminds every reader that everything takes time. You may want to accomplish a 45 morning nap in ten days, a 1.5 hour nap in the afternoon in another ten days, and bedtime in another ten days... but it's very unlikely. If you've gone six months, like we have, with just letting your baby go to sleep in whatever way is most convenient for him, it's definitely going to take a good chunk of time to change the routine (or begin a routine).

So, the next ten days we will continue to work on his napping routines. I'm definitely going to start working on both his morning and afternoon naps. If it means that we have another rough week after the first ten days, or a rough ten days, or whatever-- it will be worth it. In a few months I'm hoping he'll be napping, and even sleeping at night time, in his crib.

Hey, it could happen.

If you don't want to let your baby "cry it out", I thoroughly recommend this book. I'll post a follow-up when some goals have been achieved!

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