Posts tagged “no-cry sleep solution

Stubborn

I’m fairly sure that if you asked people who know me if I am stubborn the answer would be a loud and clear yes. I come from a family of stubborn people. It’s not necessarily a good or a bad thing, it just is what it is. I am headstrong, but not unreasonable. I guess you could say I know when to hold’em and when to fold’em.

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So it is no surprise that my son is also a stubborn young man. Last night we went head to head at bedtime to see who would cave first.

Since this last (and very long) period of things in his life that has made him need more tender love and care at night, we’ve developed some rather unsustainable habits in the long run. Because we are all about no cry- solutions, we choose to take a very gentle and gradual approach to changing such habits. (Read: no controlled crying. There are the occasional tears of course. It is unavoidable in the world of babies.) After all, we helped create them.

It was a quiet battle, but a battle of sorts nonetheless. After an hour I won.

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Next time I might not be so lucky.

(If you’re looking for some research on no cry-sleep solutions I can highly recommend Elizabeth Pantley’s books.)


No-cry sleep Plan #1- 10 days later

It’s been 10 days since we started our no-cry sleep plan. There have been some tears. Mostly mine. We haven’t done all the logs Elizabeth Pantley suggests, but we’ve kept (sort of) track of how things have progressed.

Firstly, we ended up changing one vital thing within the first three days. We were able to get Anakin to go without a feed until midnight so we decided that we would really focus on that and deal with the rest of the night later. Steinar would do the resettling from after bedtime until 12 and then I would take over until after his breakfast feed.

Anakin woke up at his usual 9.30 for the first few nights. A dummy and a quick pat would send him off to sleep land again. The next waking would then happen about an hour or so later and would take a bit more effort, but he would still go back to sleep fairly easily. He would then usually wake once more before 12, again requiring a bit more to go back to sleep.  After a few days he started sleeping from his second wake up until between 12.30 and 1.30 before waking again for his first feed. After feeding he would only sleep for maybe 2 hours in the beginning, and from 4.30 onwards I had to stay in his room to keep him asleep which meant little to no sleep for me. I let him snooze on me a couple of times to get him to sleep a bit longer. Whatever it takes, right? With every feed I would follow the gentle removal plan and it got gradually easier to get him to drift off without needing the nipple. If I was lucky I got him to sleep on and off until about 6.30 when I would hand him over to Steinar and go back to bed until after Anakin’s morning nap.

 Me(n)tal Mummy

Then things got complicated.  Steinar threw out his back which has made him incapable of lifting or really doing anything Anakin related. Needless to say this has meant that it’s all on me 24 hours a day and to be quite honest it has threatened to bring me to my knees more than once. I have shed a few tears and carried on with my business. And I’ve been a total asshole (again) a few times. But despite being absolutely exhausted and run off my feet there has been some excellent progress. The past few days Anakin has started sleeping for longer stretches. He has usually woken up briefly once before midnight, he has resettled himself a few times and after feeding he has slept for over 3 hours before waking again. The past two nights we’ve had two wakings and one feed in total. Our day starts at 5.30, but all things considered this is pretty good. Especially for my own sanity. Last night he fed early, at midnight, but then slept until his breakfast feed. This has never happened before. We’re also getting some longer naps, sometimes as long as 2 hours (with a little helping hand.)

I admit there has been a lot of smiling on the outside and screaming on the inside, and I have shut down and locked out everything that isn’t vital to save energy or keep from exploding in the process. I’m still averaging 4 hours of sleep per night due to my insomnia and being on constant Anakin call (he tends to wake up when I go to bed), but I’m seeing a sliver lining here.

It’s too early to celebrate, but I believe if we just keep it up this may last. Until the next growth spurt or teething or whatnot. I can happily live with one overnight feed. And once we get Steinar on the mend I may also get some much needed rest and sleep back.

The only thing I can say that is still pretty difficult is Anakin’s need of a dummy to go to sleep, especially for naps. He used to be able to put himself to sleep, but now he often needs a dummy and a hand to hold. Even if he goes off to sleep on his own at night he’ll still need it to go back under. I admit I’ve wanted to glue it to his face more than once.  But… we’ll deal with the dummy issue later. It would be greedy to want it all at once, right? All I want now is to have two more hands on deck again before I hit that wall I can see coming. I may occasionally be SuperMom, but with no rest I’m no delightful SuperLover or SuperAnythingThatIsn’tAnakin.

Anakin knows that I’ve occasionally wanted to pull my hair out, so he happily does it for me

Here’s to hoping a good thing will only get better. No matter what, it’s worth a few of my tears to save him having to cry a river of his at night. A gentle touch goes a long way.


Parenting choices (or why I won’t leave my son to cry)

Another name for this post could be; About choosing a different parenting path to those of your own parents or friends.

I’m fairly sure every parent has been there at some point. That awkward crossroad when it becomes blatantly clear that on some issues your parenting choices, beliefs and preferences are wildly different to those of your parents, or your friends. And it is only natural that they are, as we are all different. Whether it’s a question of breastfeeding or formula, attachment parenting, night weaning, controlled crying or the billion other parenting choices we make, we all have our own views on what suits our family best.

I can only imagine how hard it must be to sit by and watch while your kids make what you probably think are horribly moronic mistakes. But that doesn’t mean that what they do is necessarily wrong. We all have our own ideas about what’s best for our own children. The best piece of parenting advice we were given, and the only one I really took to heart was this: “The people who know Anakin the best are you, his parents. You know what is best for your child.” Damn straight! We may be new to parenting, but that doesn’t make us parenting imbeciles.

So while I am sure we’re receiving rolling eyes and raised eyebrows in response to some of our choices when it comes to dealing with night feeds and sleep issues, know this: we are doing what we believe is best for our son and our family. Our choices suit our parenting style. You did what you thought was best for yours. Some choose to let their kids cry at night, some choose to force the night weaning more than we do, and the key word here is choice. My maternal child health nurse fed one of her 4 kids every 3 hours until the baby was 18 months old because she chose to feed on demand. There is nothing wrong with that. Some people choose to co-sleep. There is nothing wrong with that either.

I choose not to leave our son to “cry it out”.  I choose to try a gentle, gradual approach to night weaning that takes time rather than tears knowing that I am willing to live with one overnight feed if my son still wants it. (When we eventually get down to one, that is.) I choose this knowing it may very well be a long lasting thing. And there is nothing remotely wrong with that either.

I should mention that the idea of “controlled crying”, or cry it out, doesn’t sit well with me. I really don’t believe it’s good for the baby or the parents. And I can’t believe the amount of pressure I’m getting from other people to leave my baby to cry or “sort himself out”. If it worked for you, fine, but it’s not for my son.

Jean Liedloff described a likely perception of a baby waking at night in her volume on anthropology, The Continuum Concept (Addison-Wesley, 1977):

He awakes in a mindless terror of the silence, the motionlessness. He screams. He is afire from head to foot with want, with desire, with intolerable impatience. He gasps for breath and screams until his head is filled and throbbing with the sound. He screams until his chest aches, until his throat is sore. He can bear the pain no more and his sobs weaken and subside. He listens. He opens and closes his fists. He rolls his head from side to side. Nothing helps. It is unbearable. He begins to cry again, but it is too much for his strained throat; he soon stops. He waves his hands and kicks his feet. He stops, able to suffer, unable to think, unable to hope. Then he falls asleep again.

(Quoted in Elizabeth Pantley’s No-cry sleep solution)

It’s heartbreaking and I actually cried when I first read it. Recent studies are finding that babies stress levels do not decrease after going through controlled crying as sleep training though it may seem that the baby is quietly self settling to sleep after a few days. I won’t reiterate everything I’ve read, but I’ll supply a couple of the links at the end if you’re curious. There is probably a lot more research that needs to be done on the subject, but I am finding what is out there more than enough to back up my belief that this method is not for me or my family.

In my opinion it is not natural to leave a baby to cry until it learns to settle. Babies cry for a reason. If you left your kids to cry and it worked for you, then that’s entirely your business. But I wish people would stop telling me it’s the only way to go because it’s simply not true. And you don’t need to be a parenting expert to figure that one out.

In the end it comes down to what works for you and what you’re comfortable with. A miserable baby with miserable parents are just that, misery in company. I’m still reading Pantley’s No-cry sleep solution and will be figuring out a strategy once I finish it and have time to discuss it with my partner. I’ll be sure to let you know how that goes. In the mean time we’ll keep trucking. With less sleep for me, that’s true, but a whole lot of loving arms and security for our son while we figure it out.

Some links on controlled crying for those interested:

Baby stress and controlled crying : http://www.abc.net.au/local/stories/2012/06/19/3528487.htm

The myth of controlled crying: http://parentingaustralia.com.au/newborn/care/39-controlledcrying

The Australian Association for Infant Mental Health, Position Paper 1: Controlled crying http://www.aaimhi.org/inewsfiles/controlled_crying.pdf

Science says: Excessive crying could be harmful: http://www.askdrsears.com/topics/fussy-baby/science-says-excessive-crying-could-be-harmful

Getting baby to sleep through the night: correcting myths about normal infant sleep patterns: http://suite101.com/article/parenting-myths-about-sleep-a55923

Controlled crying- some facts and information: http://bawlingbabies.blogspot.com.au/2007/06/controlled-crying-some-facts-and.html