Sunday, November 30, 2008

How do you get your baby to sleep at night?


Oh man. I could write a novel on that. Sleep, sleep sleep you little shifty beast! Why are you so slippery???

Not anything really brilliant here. But I do have many thoughts. Probably all stuff you already know, but reminders are sometimes nice. I follow the attachment parenting philosophy, so I read Sears and Pantley. I also read the baby whisperer, and though I dont really agree with everything, I did discover that its OK to climb in the crib with baby if you want to. (I did this actually quite a few times, but then just brought him into my bed, as I was really uncomfortable...=) Most important I think is to avoid creating traumatic experiences for both you and baby around sleep. Be happy!

The thing I learned after having a second child is that you need to remain calm and a little detached. Even though I think you never want your baby to cry and you always want someone to comfort them, you may think of it all as a sort of dance, a negotiation, where you are teaching your child to give a little, and they are teaching you to give a lot. It has to be a conversation, a loving push and pull, to find where you can both exist. Sometimes you have to ask a little of them, and usually they ask a lot of you. But you are older, so thats the deal.

Anyways, we tried EVERYTHING! and my biggest fear at first was that I'd mess my baby up. But in the end I learned that babies are more resilient than you think, and there never is a one stop solution, but a constant changing progression towards a full nights rest. Books always talk about consistency, but what if you are doing the wrong thing? do you just do it for consistency's sake? I think not. I prefer flexibility, sensitivity and intuition over hard fast rules. You'll know if your baby is asking more than you can give...and thats when you need to try something new. So dont be afraid, do what ever you feel is good at the time, and follow your mamma instincts. There will be times you need to get the husband to do his part...I wish I had my husband do more with Marcel earlier on...just so I could have stayed sane!

OK so heres a list of things we did (and are still doing!)

-put crib beside bed with one side open

-put baby in crib in his own room

-sleep on floor beside crib

-sleep in crib with baby =)

-big boy bed with a toddler barrier

-sleep in big boy bed with baby

-have daddy put baby to sleep with stories, and screams =)

-drive baby around the block 200 times to put to sleep until you run out of gas money

-consistent bed time routine

-bath before bed

-make sure baby is REALLY tired before putting to bed (this is key now...I dont give a nap, and we go to be really early...and man Marcel falls asleep in minutes...)

-give up and just go on with life and hope baby somehow learns to sleep (um... did this periodically for the first two years... you need a break too!)

-regular routine and lots of wrap time during the day (my slings and wraps saved my life, baby sleeps soundly in wrap and then better at night)

-get to know signs that baby is tired, so you only put her down when she is exhausted...put up with her being tired and fussy for a little while before she goes to sleep...so that when she does go its really quick. (as long as she doesnt get over tired)

-Be active in helping her/him relax. sing songs, pat head, swaddle, sway ,hold, comfort, read a book. Start loud and faster, and slow down as you see baby relaxing. Think of yourself as a yoga instructor...or a hypnotist

-Homeopathy for teething, gas, colic, constipation, uncontrolled crying

-the Pantley pull out (pull out before baby falls asleep when nursing,)

-The Ferber (until I decided it was wrong for all of us)

-The pick-up put down method...

-sleep in the queen with baby and dad on the couch and baby nurse when ever he wants and I just learned to sleep with a nursing baby ( the final solution, that gets us all some sleep when all else fails...)

-Read a book, start out at a normal pace and get slower and slower. Read the same page over and over, as soon as they look sleepy start whispering each word separately till they nod off.

-With my new baby I try to let him go to sleep without nursing, make sure he is burped and well kicked out before putting to sleep. I only put him to sleep when he showing signs of totally exhaustion. I dont stress about sleep during the day, but at night I let him go to sleep by himself. He is on a mattress on a coffee table beside ours, so he is far enough away to not keep me awake with his kicking but close enough so that I can nurse easily and return him to his space without disturbing him...its sort of working. So far this baby sleeps better than the first. I've learned a happy baby sleeps longer and sounder than one who cried to sleep. They will also go to bed easier and fall asleep quicker. Keep that child comforted and loved, tired and warm and it should be hard to keep them awake!

So. We did it all, and we still have a child who is a pretty sensitive sleeper, He sleeps half the night in his big bed and half of it in a "special" bed beside us on the floor, and wakes a couple times each night...but somehow, now I know it really all is just a phase, and as long as it feels right... we will move ahead in confidence. GOOD LUCK! My heart is with you!

5 comments:

Erika Hastings said...

Oh man. This is a great post. I can totally relate!!!!!!! I love the list of all of the things that you guys tried. That's how I felt with Isabela - desperate and willing to try anything to get her to sleep! So with Diego I got right on top of the sleep stuff when he was about 2-3 months. With Fiona I started even earlier at one month. She's responding really well to the night sleep, but our days are so in and out of the house all the time with the school drop offs and pick ups that I'm not sure if she's going to be able to get a really good consistent nap (she passes out the instant I put her in the sling on my way into Isa's school so all the parents think she sleeps all day!).

Ahhh. The joys of the sleepless parenthood. It's fun to have someone else to relate to on the same level. And by the way, I'm in complete awe that you can draw and knit while you put your baby to bed! I have no idea how you do that!

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