If you follow me on Instagram—then you're probably inundated with Edwin photos, and you also may know that I captioned this photo "It only took 45 minutes. #sarcasm". I am writing this post from my bed which has an excellent view of the napping baby and is only three large steps away from his little back which I can pat and his little ear into which I can shush should he begin to stir. This setup is my way of trying to extend his naps which have been getting shorter and shorter as of late. And yes, I know it's against all the baby rules to put a baby to sleep on their tummy, but it's only for his naps and like I said, I'm watching him like a hawk!
Edwin's progressively shorter naps recently fueled an Amazon parenting book shopping spree. I bought three books (yes, that's the definition of a shopping spree to me), Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Dr. Marc Weissbluth, Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems by Tracy Hogg, and The Baby Book by Dr. William Sears. I waited anxiously for them to arrive, convinced they would solve all my parenting woes. These were to be my first parenting books, I had avoided them for the first 3.5 months of Edwin's life, but was now searching for answers on sleeping, eating and general parenting questions and welcomed the advice of seasoned professionals with open arms. Once they arrived I immediately skipped to the relevant sections in each of the books, ready to whip my parenting style into shape. The only problem was that I began noticing that each of the books contradicted the others, over and over again! "Never wake a sleeping baby" vs. "Wake a sleeping baby to keep them on schedule", "Breast-feeding a baby to sleep is perfectly fine" vs. "Don't breast-feed to sleep unless you want to be breast-feeding your baby to sleep until they're two", "Babies should be placed in their cribs drowsy but not asleep so they learn to fall asleep on they're own" vs. "Wait ten minutes before placing the sleeping baby in the crib to ensure they've entered a deep sleep", "Sometimes letting your baby cry it out is the only way they'll learn to go to sleep" vs. "Never leave your baby alone to cry, respond to their needs immediately". Shall I continue?!
Obviously all of this new and contradictory information sent me into a bit of a tailspin. I was suddenly convinced that everything I was doing for Edwin was wrong; his routine, the way I was feeding him, his relationship with sleep and whether he was getting enough of it. Did you know babies who are chronically overtired have difficulty learning and may become overweight?! I know I sound a little neurotic, but when it's just you, your baby, the baby books and google at home during the day sometimes it's hard to keep calm, cool and collected about all this stuff.
I have been able to incorporate some of the information from the books into our daily life so far with some success. But, in general I remain pretty committed to the parenting style Charles and I adopted from day one: to always be there for Edwin and to give him everything he needs. It can be difficult not to over-analyze the daily minutia and to find problems where there really aren't any, so thank goodness for real-life mom friends and their real-life advice! I've been very fortunate to have some great mom friends who help to keep me sane and give me sideways glances when I talk about elaborate baby schedules ;)
Edwin's nap update: It's been 1.5 hours and he's still sleeping!!
Have a wonderful day :)
I've also gone with the "what feels right and what works method".ReplyDelete
I breastfeed him to sleep (and I plan to breastfeed him as long as he wants), he slept with us for the first months and in his hammock, he doesn't have a crib, he never had a schedule (he does now because of daycare)
We didn't sleep the first couple of months, then got a break, then it was back to waking up 3 times a night, now it's a bit better... Sleep and babies... who knows what's going on.
Hang in there and sleep when you can... you're doing better than most, you're blogging :)
Thank you Vanessa! The "what feels right and what works" method has gotten us this far, and Edwin is thriving, so I really can't (and shouldn't) complain ;)Delete
I'm reading this while bouncing on a yoga ball, wearing baby in an Ergo, trying to make a nap happen. ha!ReplyDelete
Kristy!! Your nap strategy sounds incredibly similar to mine ;) The tricky part is getting them out of the Ergo without waking! Hope you and bébé are doing well :)Delete
keep at it mama! i agree with the other mamas here - follow your (mama) gut instinct. as helpful as those books are, they can make us more neurotic/fearful that we're not doing it right. no 2 children are the same (as i can attest to now!) so parenting is a really a "learning while you're living it" experience.ReplyDelete
my advice: keep on doing what works for you two - loving, eating up the moments of babyhood and give in to the lack of control of parenthood. children are our finest teachers even when we don't want to learn the lessons :)
Thanks Mama Shuks! I like what you said about children being our teachers - it's soooo true! Edwin's a little professor around here ;) xoDelete
Keep doing what makes you comfortable, and what you need to do get some rest yourself! :)ReplyDelete
all I can say is, from experience (with an almost 4 yr old now), my boy was a terrible sleeper/napper. It was so hard to understand how it could be so hard to sleep - I mean, I was exhausted, shouldn't he be as well? ;)
I had to take him for walks to get him to nap (in the dead cold of winter!), that was the only way he would nap until he was 7 months old.
Best advice : don't ever think you are doing something wrong just because something doesn't work with Edwin, every child is different. And try not to compare to other babies around you - I had friends with great sleepers around me at the time my little E was a baby. That was hard. I was the one going nuts, and looking tired ;)
Babies/kids keep you on your toes - just when you think you have it figured out, they throw something else at you!
I used all things possible to get him to sleep as a baby! Stood in front of the running dryer in the middle of the night, bounced on a big Swiss ball, with him in my arms, and even used a hair dryer beside our rocking chair to help (my mother-in-law thought I was nuts when I told her I did this!). Oh, and we rocked him to sleep, stayed in his room ,etc. I read books,advice, etc. and refused to leave him crying. Coudln't do it. To this day, he still likes us to stay in his room until he falls asleep (and has loved to hold hands to fall asleep since he was a baby too!). It was hard to do this all the time, but I kept telling myself, one day he will grow out of it... and not 'need' me so much! So I choose to cherish the closeness while I can get it :)
As I am sure you have been told countless times, it gets easier and all things eventually pass :)
A great web site, to not feel alone in the difficult times : http://www.askmoxie.org/
Another book that offers some great tips : The Happiest Baby on the Block.
Take care and enjoy this time with Edwin! :)
Lovely insights Tiffany, thank you for sharing :) The hair dryer has been our friend too, as well as the vacuum! The image of you holding hands with your little boy as he falls asleep gave me goosebumps, it's true that they won't need us forever, so might as well make the most of it while they still do.Delete
another great source, to better understand when things start to change, and you don't know why :ReplyDelete
The Wonder Weeks book, gives you a good picture of the development and how it might transfer to his behaviour :)
I completely agree with the "what works for you" parenting style- but want to suggest you keep an open mind on the schedule thing. I was a scheduler. It wasn't that it was strict, or authoritarian, just a routine. Like putting your keys back in your purse so you can find them.ReplyDelete
First I read "On Becoming Babywise" and took what seemed sensible, and ignored the rest. I started my first daughter on a routine- and it worked so extremely well I was actually shocked. She would go down for naps without me having to cajole her into it, sleep 90(or so) minutes at a time, wake up, be fed, and we'd have play time(or errands) for a few hours. She started sleeping through the night on her own, and it was just a lovely thing. Did I force her to stay awake if she was tired? Of course not. I would let her sleep out the nap, then gradually work back to our regular routine. Common sense routines are key, not insane micro-managed-to-the-minute schedules. :)
Did I "let her cry it out"? Sort of. I learned from her what she needed. She would cry for a few minutes- with me leaning on the outside of her door feeling like I'd abandoned her but determined to stick it out for five minutes. But by the third night, she didn't even cry two minutes.
My second daughter would cry/fuss herself to sleep, in 11 minutes to start with. It was really really strange, but at 11 minutes and some seconds, she'd be quiet, and by 12, asleep. I don't know why. Within a month, she stopped crying unless she was sick or actually needed something.
Now. One of the things I learned was the difference between "I'm going to sleep and crying" and "I'm in pain and I need you" crying. There is a huge difference, believe me. The extreme books that advocate letting them "cry it out" for hours are just plain dangerous, IMHO. Ten minutes was my max. Then I stumbled in the dark on my way to DD2, and by the time I got there, she was asleep. So I learned to wait 11 minutes instead.
I would tell people about our schedule... And I know all about those looks! But it worked for us, because it made us flexible. Being well rested and able to fall back on a routine allowed us to take the unexpected in stride. Which sounds counter-intuitive, but it really works out that way.
Just something to think about. I'm so glad you're posting pictures of Edwin! I've been enjoying it immensely- he looks beautiful. :)
Thanks Kaelin! I've actually started doing the Eat Activity Sleep You time (E.A.S.Y.) routine from the Baby Whisperer book, we had naturally fallen into a version of that routine so tweaking it hasn't been too hard, well except for the going to bed without being breast-fed part!! We'll see how it goes. I agree though that structure is important, it really helps me get through the days!Delete
I also read a bunch of books (too many) about sleep in particular in my son's early months when our sleep deprivation was at its worst. The contradictory advice drove me a little nuts, but there were usually a few nuggets from each book that were helpful. The one book I recommend to friends about sleep is the 90 Minute Baby Sleep Program by Polly Moore. It's short, digestible and written by a mom/sleep researcher. You won't get miracles, but it helped us a lot. I gave it to my sister when my niece was born and they had a lot of success implementing the ideas. Good luck! http://www.amazon.com/The-90-Minute-Baby-Sleep-Program/dp/0761143114/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1336841971&sr=8-1ReplyDelete
Bess I'm pleased you posted about this. I saw your picture the other day and it got me thinking about my bebe.ReplyDelete
Charlie is 18 days old and does not like his Moses basket or crib. We've had limited success on and off with the Moses basket but mostly he loves nothing more than to sleep on our chest, especially at night time. He's been co-sleeping with us on and off since day one. Out of interest we tried him on his belly in his crib this morning.. He slept for 2 hours straight. Now I'm torn because I'm being told letting him sleep with us is wrong and letting him sleep on his belly is wrong. I shouldn't let him fall asleep on us, or whilst on the breast either... I feel like I'm failing him (or at least the rule books) even though it's clearly what he wants. Being on is back just doesn't work for him.
Can I ask you what made you try Edwin on his belly? And how does he sleep at night?
I know it's early to expect our boy to be sleeping through or be in any kind of routine but I'd really like to be able to put him down 'correctly'. Or at least safely. I've thought about getting books to read but I'm aware of the contradictions between all the experts and I'd really prefer to find 'our way' together. I'm not interested (yet) in controlled crying, he's tiny and I want him to learn his parents are there FOR him whenever he needs us rather than teaching him that to get love and attention he has to be quiet and alone. It's not how I want to parent my boy.
Parenting is so confusing. I just want to do what's best for my boy.
You seem to have the most part sussed though and it's really reassuring to read about. Keep them posts coming.