baby sleep training…round 2

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Oh parenthood. Why do you not come with a manual? Instead parenthood lets people enter headlong and ill-prepared, offering no comfort and heralding no tidings of things to come…for every child is different.

When I was pregnant with Piper, I thought I was good to go with this parenthood thing. I’m the oldest child of eight – that’s right EIGHT – siblings. When my youngest sibling was born I was 15, and I had been changing diapers as long as I could remember. I thought I had observed my mother in her nursing and disciplining skills. I thought I was so ready, and had parenthood “in the bag.”

Then I birthed Piper and fell down the proverbial rabbit hole.

Parenthood is so much harder than anyone could have ever prepared me for. In the beginning I kept wondering, “Why didn’t anyone tell me this stuff?!” But now I wonder if I would have listened to begin with.

Oh parent training, you are heartless.

I promised a friend I would write about my sleep training endeavors and explain what it is I mean when I say that, and what it involves.

With Piper I never slept. Never. Its amazing I am a functioning member of society and not locked away in an institute, wearing a white jacket accessorized with belts and locks.

Someone recommended I read the very controversial sleep training book, On Becoming Baby Wise by Gary Ezzo.  This book, in theory is great. You get your kid to sleep through the night in 6-12 weeks. Oh how I would have loved that, but I was in no state of mind to enforce this action upon my child. I didn’t receive the book until Piper was already 12 weeks old (or older?) so I feel like I lost a lot of momentum. I really wish I could do a do-over and try again, but that is not in the cards for Piper. Between teething, colic, caffeine sensitivity, and trying to figure out if she had food allergies, she only started sleeping through the night after 12 months old.

A note on Baby Wise: This book is very controversial. A lot of internet searches will turn up blogs, articles, and forums BASHING on it. I believe the reason for this is that a lot of people are looking for the “right” way, or a manual to parenting, and when someone’s approach fails them, then they blame it. My approach to any child training book or method is that it is a tool, not the Bible or manual for doing it “the right way.” I believe the parent is the ultimate authority on knowing their own child – better than a doctor, better than a teacher, better than any “method” – and therefore should use their own personal discernment toward raising their child.

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I require sleep for my sanity. Sleep training is for me.

When I became preggers with Bridget I decided I would start sleep training immediately. I fortuitously came across this blog post, which sums up the Baby Wise sleep training with a practical motherly spin, if you will. So with Bridget I find I am more often referencing here than the book. I have less time for book reading these days.

I’m not a co-sleeping, demand-feeding mom, so this method works out perfect for my family.

So far I think Bridget is doing very well. She’s not on a 1 1/2 hour schedule (awake 1 1/2 hrs, asleep 1 1/2 hrs) and she nurses every 2-3 hours depending on if she’s awake or asleep. What is important to me is that her wake time is during the day and she sleeps at night other than waking to nurse. So at some points of the day she will be awake for 4-6 hours and be asleep from 4-6 hours, and other times of the day she will be awake for an hour and sleep for an hour. Just as long as she sleeps at night, I’m happy. Her napping and waking in the daytime hours varies from day to day, but I think that as long as I am waking her to feed her every 3 hours (tops) and feeding her more frequently in the daytime and making sure all of her wake time is during the daytime, then she will even out her nap time eventually. Piper did, even though a schedule was out the window with her.

I am a strong believer that once a baby proves that it can sleep through the night, letting the baby cry/fuss itself back to sleep. I hate hearing it, but it helps the baby form a new habit of sleeping through the night. I know, it’s not for everyone. At least this method helped with Piper. Bridget is still too small/young for sleeping through yet.

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Sleep Training reviews to come:

Happiest Baby on the Block DVD

Secrets of the Baby Whisperer by Tracy Hogg and Melinda Blau

And that’s all folks!