Adventures in Sleep Training

We took Adelaide to her 6-month appointment on Tuesday and talked with our pediatrician about Ada’s sleep. She was doing pretty well, but then the week before last she got sick and digressed. She was coughing a lot in the night and kept waking up. We went to her, which is expected since she wasn’t feeling well, but then once she was better, she still was waking up more often during the night. When she woke in the middle of the night, I didn’t know if she might be hungry. Our pediatrician said that she shouldn’t need to be fed in the middle of the night. Since I had been putting her to bed asleep after nursing, our pediatrician said Adelaide may not have the skills to put herself back to sleep. She suggested changing our nighttime routine so that Adelaide goes to bed tired, but awake. We used to change her clothes/diaper and then read a story or two and then nurse her to sleep.  So, starting last Tuesday night we switched it so that I nurse her first and then I take her upstairs to change her clothes/diaper. Then, we turn on her noise maker, rock her, read 2 stories and sing 2 songs. Then I put her in the crib with her pacifier, turn out the light and leave the room.

The first night we put her down around 8:20 pm, and she cried for just about half an hour. I left to walk Hugo so that I wouldn’t have to listen to it. Tim is a little stronger than me in this department. When I came back from walking the dog she was asleep. The next night we put her down around 8 pm, and she cried for 6 minutes. She woke up a couple of minutes later and cried for another minute or so, but that was it. She woke up around 4:30 am, and I just brought her into bed with us at that point and she was good until around 7. Then, on Thursday night, I put her down around 8:30 pm, and that was it. No crying!! None at all. When she woke up around 4 am, Tim got her to go back to sleep just by rocking her and giving her a pacifier. She woke up again around 5:30 am, and I brought her to bed with me and nursed her. We both fell asleep until the alarm went off. I figured the no crying at all was just a fluke, but Friday night, she went down around 8:30 pm and again no crying at all. And no crying any night since.

We still need to work on getting her to take naps in her crib while she’s at home. I guess that will be the next sleep issue to tackle. I definitely have mixed feelings about “crying it out” – I don’t really believe in it until the baby is at least 4 months or so, and even then it’s tough for more than about 30 – 45 minutes. Still, it seems to be working for us so far, so I guess I’m a believer.

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  1. Chris’s avatar

    Hey Bethy,

    You said you have mixed feelings about crying it out so I thought I’d give a different perspective than the ped. might give. Keep in mind, we’re square in the hippie ‘attachment parenting’ camp – everything from co-sleeping to not letting him cry it out. And the biggest thing I’ve learned from being a parent is to never judge other people’s parenting styles – cuz God knows whatever makes the most sense for your family is the most important. I just don’t want you to feel that your natural instincts are somehow wrong, which is what a lot of the cry it out stuff seems to be saying.

    That said, I haven’t done a lot of the intensive reading that Jennifer has, but I’ve gone with some basic principles that make sense to me, including:

    * Felix is a baby, and therefore doing things that ‘baby’ him won’t do him harm, but instead will teach him that the world is a safe place and that he can express his feelings and know that they’ll be heard.

    * Pediatricians are doctors, not childcare providers. Meaning they give great health advice but aren’t the ones I turn to for parenting ideas. I really like our ped. but it never made sense how concerned she was about baby sleeping through the night. Felix is getting 10-12 hours each night, not necessarily in a row but he only wakes up every now and then and one of us gets him back to sleep.

    * He’ll hopefully figure stuff out as he grows, stuff like sleep, weaning, etc. It seems weird that we would create this experience for babies that isn’t really relevant to their needs – babies aren’t really left alone, why would they need the skill of being alone at night? He’s so far learned to sleep, eat, crawl, walk, and sign a little. There’s nothing to indicate that he won’t continue to develop as a person. And it’s a great time to just give him love while he does.

    * If I follow my instincts they’re usually right. And I know a lot of our parents followed the cry it out, children should be seen not heard paradigm, and we turned out okay – but then again, our generation has spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to be in trusting, loving and safe relationships.

    Again, there’s tons of books on this – and it seems centered on the Baby Book by Dr. Sears. http://www.askdrsears.com/

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