Discourse on the intersections of politics, feminism, and motherhood.

Thursday, August 17

No, Sleep Is Good!

We were doing so good with a sleep schedule but currently my eight month old is fighting me tooth and nail when he goes down for his naps. Lucky for us the seven o'clock bed time remains uncontested. The first four months of his life were spent snuggled up next to me in bed. This was the best situation due to a daily work schedule and his desire to nurse every two hours. I needed sleep so everytime he woke up and started to root around I would just switch sides. As a first time mom I researched till I was blue in the face. Some experts said no co-sleeping; it's dangerous. Some said co-sleeping was most beneficial for mom and baby and even shows signs of decreasing the event of SIDS because the the baby is close to mom and more aware/alert. Older women would are never going to get him to sleep alone and what if you roll on him. I have to say one would have to be really drugged up or had preceeded to drink too much in order for them to roll over their kid; unless of course you have one of those weird sleep disorders. So we cleared the bed of any extra pillows and such and everything was fine. At four months we decided it was time to move him into his crib. I started by putting him down only in his crib for naps and I have to admit I didn't want him to sleep away from me. I got very used to his cuddly little body and missed him when he wasn't there. But I realized it wasn't fair to him. We needed to implement some kind of sleeping schedule that was exactly the same each and everytime.
So I started asking around. A friend told me about a book called Secrets of the Baby Whisperer which advocated a set ritual, self soothing, and certain hand positions to calm baby and lend support. As a derivitive of the Ferber method which a colleague of mine relayed, this particular method suggests that you do not pick up the baby out of the crib. After a night time ritual you place the baby in his or her crib awake and leave the room. The crying starts and you wait. Five minutes go by and you enter the room. Ferber says just put them back down, give them a soothy and leave the room again. The Baby Whisperer says place one hand on their head and the other on their bottom and talk to them in a soft soothing voice until they calm down, then leave the room. The point is to get the baby to put themselves to sleep so they do not become dependent on being rocked or nursed. In the event that your child needs an extra feeding, The Baby Whisperer suggests something called dream feeding. Dream feeding is a set schedule of nursings that enable the baby to sleep through the night without needing to nurse. This method suggests that babies can make it thought the night but as with my experience some just can't. Mine really needed an extra feeding so as with any method or advice some works well and some has to be adjusted. After dinner I would go up and pick him up while he was still asleep and nurse him at eight, nine, and ten thirty then put him right back. This was suppose to aleviate a three in the morning wake up call but it just didn't work for me. So we spent hell week sleeping in guest room next to the nursery until our little one got the hang of it. He eventually did but there were times when he would work himself up so horribly that we had to pick him up.
That brings me to Moxie, a mom who helps parents trouble shoot their concerns on her blog. The debate between letting them cry it out and picking them up continues to trive because all kids are different. She differentiates by suggesting that if the crying is releasing tension as some babies need then don't pick them up, if the crying is causing a rise in tension then pick them up. This makes complete sense from my personal experience. I can tell is my baby is crying a certain way or not, if he needs to be picked up and soothed or not. The bottom line is get to know your kids and take what works from each person who gives you advice and make your own method. No method can be taught if the baby is not ready and it's up to the parents to realize their little one is their own person with separate needs and emotions. Off the subject but still relevant, I hate when in-laws try to decide who my little one looks like or acts like. He's himself for craps sake! It is nice to be able to put my little one in his crib and he goes right off to sleep all by himself but he is not perfect and will have a hard time on occasion. I think the most important thing is to stay as consistent as possible with bed time rituals as it clears up an confusion the child might have as to what you expect of them.
This week has been a bit rough when it comes to naps but I have a feeling it's the Object Permanence kicking in and his new found mobility. There is just too much to see and do so why sleep?


At 2:48 PM, Blogger kidletsmum said...

My critter hasn't slept well since she was 6 weeks old. Then, she was close to sleeping through the night. Now, she wakes to nurse every hour. I thought it was supposed to get better! We've tried CIO and the BabyWhisperer tricks... nada. This kid wants to be on the breast through the night. Looks like I won't be getting much sleep for a while!

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