Friday, July 9, 2010

I like to eat words

My words, specifically.

Remember when I said that this motherhood thing was all feeling very natural, and that I didn’t feel the need to read all of those routine/sleep training books? Well as it turns out, I was very wrong. I’m pretty sure that Miles wasn’t getting enough sleep because I wasn’t really working on giving him naps…when he fell asleep, he fell asleep. His naps were very short and irregular. He was getting rather fussy. I kept telling Chris that he as a great baby, but just not at times when Chris was home. But really, I think he was exhausted.

First I read On Becoming Babywise because it had been recommended by several people that I know and trust. This is what helped me to realize that he was probably tired. So I started to put him down more regularly for naps, stretching his feeding times from 2 hours to 3. For two days, it worked fabulously. He would cry for about ten minutes, I would go put the binky back in his mouth, and he would fall asleep. He was sleeping for much longer, too. We were amazed.

Then it stopped working.

Then I read parts of  Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child because it came recommended by several people that I know and trust, including our pediatrician. It said a lot of the same things as Babywise, but also talked about this scary thing called “Extinction.” For those of you not in-the-know, this is when you don’t respond to baby’s crying (when you know it isn’t something like needing to be nursed, burped, or changed). But the book is really long. I don’t have time for really long books, so I’m not sure I was getting all of the information. Am I supposed to be using extinction for naps or just for night waking? Am I supposed to start sleep-training now or when he is older? Am I supposed to comfort him and rock him to sleep or am I supposed to let him figure it out.

I was feeling rather overwhelmed.

But after two days of feeling inadequate, I came to my senses and decided to just do what works for now. I came to this realization after talking with Chris a bit about it, and after he let me go shopping sans baby one afternoon. It’s amazing what a little bit of time away can do.

And I guess it’s all worth it for this little guy. He’s trying so hard to decide if he wants to suck his thumb…and I kind of hope that he does because he can put it back in himself when it falls out.




Kimba said...

i know, the book is long. i've read it only as far along as we are - like, up until 18 months. first though, he only recommends "extinction" after 9 months old, when babies are physically able to sleep through the night. his view is that is works best and quickest, but he gives you every option (quick comforting, and even co-sleeping). he definitely does not reccomend extinction this early, at all. i tried letting wy cry it out a bit, and it was the worst thing ever, and i didn't do it again, until he was 8ish months i think. until i knew he knew he was supposed to be sleeping, and was crying because of that. he only cried for a few minutes then, anyway.

another random piece of advice? think of the first 3 months as the 4th trimester - babies want to be held, warm, fed, rocked, everything as if they were in the womb. again. totally found this to be true.

the biggest things i got from the book were how much sleep they should be getting, and how long they can stay awake, two hours at max. i found the best way to do it, was to begin to put him to sleep and calm him down 15 minutes before the 2 hour mark. even though he didn't appear tired, by the end of the 15ish minutes, he was asleep, hardly ever cried (until the weird growth phases of course). he also suggests that for the first 5 - 6 months, you're kinda going with the babies schedule anyway, and i found this to be true with wy. i didn't get him on a set schedule until then.

i know everyone has their own opinion and what works for them, so if you hate this book, don't worry. :) for me however, it helped me get wyatt on a fantastic schedule, 7:30 - 7:30, with a 2-3 hour nap in the day. (now that he's on one nap) good luck!!

and now my novella is done. :) sorry, i just remember all the frustrations...and know how important sleep has been for us!

Jess Christensen said...

Good for you on trusting your instinct. Books almost always make me feel worse, not better.

And just so you know, there are people in this world (and I am one of them) who never let their babies cry it out, and raise happy, healthy, good-sleeping babies. It took more time, of course, because I rocked her to sleep until she stopped letting me, but honestly, who looks back on their life and says, "I wish I'd spent less time rocking my babies to sleep."

The nice thing about babies is that you get to do what you think is right, and you don't need a book or your friends or your whoever to agree. It sounds like you've found your stride.

And I completely agree with Kimba on the two hour rule. I put Charlotte back to sleep after 90 minutes of awake time. Loving your updates!!

The Jacksons said...

I, too, am glad that you are doing what works for you. I felt a lot of pressure with Keelia to let her "cry it out." I hated it AND it NEVER worked, at any age. And we tried several times.
Granted, most people like the ease of just putting their babies to bed, but I love getting to be a part of her falling asleep. Soon she will be too big to want me to help comfort her, so I take it now when I can get it.
And I am sure you are a great mom. Just perfect for Miles. Good luck. Things will work out and you and Miles will both survive. :)