The first, or at least second, question I always get asked about my baby is, "How is he sleeping?"
Well...he sleeps like...a baby! He wakes up to nurse. He wakes up to look for security and comfort. He wakes up because he's cold/hot/wet/poopy. He wakes up because of pain/discomfort. He wakes up because he just wakes up.
Yes, I am tired and I do get frustrated sometimes, wishing he would sleep better. I could label him a "bad" sleeper, and sometimes I do, but mostly I just remind myself that he is a baby, that I shouldn't and don't need to have expectations because it will only make accepting the situation harder. Instead I focus on 60% acceptance and 40% solution seeking. There's only so much one can do to help a baby sleep more and only so much crappy sleep one can handle. But at the same time I realize that no matter how many things I try to make him sleep more, it all comes down to his maturity and development...eventually he will sleep all night. But when you get to the point where everyone is just plain exhausted it's OK to want to change something, to improve things. Just because as Attachment Parents we prioritize our children's needs, does not mean we need to put our own needs on the back burner. This will only cause us to burn-out.
So, if you are finding yourself exhausted, beginning to feel upset, angry, resentful of the situation, take a deep breath and start looking for solutions. There are lots of helpful books and resources out there that fit right in with Attachment Parenting. Like anything worth doing in life, be prepared for it to take time, effort and lots of patience. But eventually, it pays off.
Some of my favorite books on baby sleep are the No Cry series by Elizabeth Pantley:
- The No Cry Sleep Solution
- The No Cry Nap Solution
The Dr. Sears' Parenting library also has some good reads on understanding infant sleep and finding solutions:
- The Baby Book
- The Baby Sleep Book
- The Fussy Baby Book
Dr. Harvey Karps' solutions for soothing babies worked well with my fussy little boy:
- The Happiest Baby on the Block
I recently came across a book by Dr. Cathryn Tobin that tries to prevent sleep issues by encouraging babies to fall asleep on their own from day one. She suggests that there is a critical window of time called the WOO (Window of Opportunity) where a baby can learn to go to sleep without putting up a big fuss. It is NOT a crying it out book, and it is not a sleep training book. The author simply suggests that in order to prevent "bad" sleep habits from forming, parents should encourage babies to fall asleep laying down wherever you are going to be having them sleep. This works well with co-sleeping, bed-sharing and crib sleeping. This book will be most beneficial to read before baby is born (although moms already with babies might find it helpful too!):
-The Lull-a-Baby Sleep Plan
For now those are the only books that I can recommend, from both experience and from an Attachment Mommy standpoint. I have tried tips and tricks from all of them, depending on what stage we are at and I am happy to report that my little boy (who is one today!) is sleeping better. Every day that passes brings with it improvement. We still have some nights with patches of sleeplessness, but I can tell things are on the path to improvement.
Some other things that have helped us have been to put baby to sleep before being overtired, using a white noise machine, putting baby to sleep in a grobag to prevent them from getting cold and using a black screen or curtain under their regular curtain to prevent early evening and morning light seeping through.
How about you, what books have you found helpful? Are there any tips/ideas you think might help others?
*This post was imported on December 9, 2011 from an old blog of mine.