Monday, March 10, 2014

Getting Baby To Sleep Part Two

Part Two  (Part One Here).

First before I proceed, I have to reiterate once again that I am writing from my experience with my six babies. I might have a different lifestyle from you-I am my children's primary caregiver (with my husband of course), I don't leave my babies often with sitters (meaning I am almost always the one putting baby to sleep),  I have breastfed all my children for a year or more, and I learned early on that the only way I could survive feeding an infant/baby many times a night was to co-sleep (it wasn't a decision made for any other reason but because no one got sleep any other way), and how long that lasted depended on the baby.  I have found through trial and error, getting advice from other moms who I admire, and reading lots and lots, what has worked for me, my babies and my family.  

I do NOT have some special "get your baby to sleep through the night" method!  But have learned to accept my babies for who they were, and the stages they were at, and not mold them into something they "should" be doing because someone else says so.  I learned to trust my mother gut and my baby.  I learned that I am not comfortable leaving them to cry for extended periods of time (or who am I kidding, ANY period of time) and I am willing to do some extra "work" to get my babies to sleep.

So I am going to speak generally about my experiences and once again maybe it will help another mom who, like me, felt strongly that cry-it-out sleep methods did not feel right and then give a couple book suggestions that helped me with tips and tricks and reassured me also.

I was stumped on how to approach this "how I do it" section because I think it would be extremely boring to read about what I did with each of my babies sleep-wise.  My babies were all different, and those stages of that first year all change so quickly and go so fast.   I could say "Isaac was more difficult to get to sleep (movement worked for him), but once he was asleep he was out.  But during his first three months, I'm quite sure that little guy ate every two hours, so he definitely wasn't that "out"-not sleeping through the night!

1. The overall message that I must send is that you as the mom, know your baby best.  Every little one is born with different personalities and sensitivities.  When I look back with my five older children, I see each of their sleep personalities as babies are so much who they are now-I know I didn't "make" them like this- I can "see" that little baby personality, all those nuances-whether sensitive, or fun-loving, or laid-back, or intense, it was all reflected that first one or two years.

2. One of the most difficult parts of the first year is keeping up with the quick development and growth which often leads to changing schedules and patterns.  It seemed to me that first year, as soon as I could count on a schedule, a growth spurt would hit, a tooth would begin to break through, it was time to transition from three naps to two, or one, etc.  I love predictability and knowing I can anticipate a little quite time here or there, but the nature of the first year, does not lend itself to cut and dry time tables.  I have learned to adapt, but I also what has helped me is keeping a written schedule of the babies feedings and naps.  (Not all year, just here and there as needed.)  Just keeping track by writing down what is happening with feed/sleep/play patterns, helps me feel some control.  It also helps me eventually pull out a pattern and therefore establish some sort of schedule.  This isn't a stranger led schedule-this a baby/mother led loose organic schedule that we work on together.  I would look in books, ask friends with babies the same age, or look on-line to find out what a "typical" (remembering that every baby is different) schedule was at a certain age, but mainly I could be aware of a baby-led pattern.

Getting and keeping baby to sleep (and once again this depended on the baby) got SO much easier after that first year.  Gradually, of course, but that first year is intense.

3. I've had three fussy babies-my last three.  Andrew, my fourth, was colicky from morning till night, I held him all day and he slept on me or next to me all night-for months.  That was by far the most challenging experience I had with any of my babies.  It's survival mode for a long time and it is not easy, and sometimes lonely.  It's not just physically draining, it's exhausting work, and it's emotionally draining too, because not being able to immediately soothe my baby was so stressful to me.  (Nursing worked for all my babies, but did not for Andrew.)  I don't think anyone can really "get" how taxing caring for a gassy, and/or colicky, and/or highly sensitive baby is unless they've had one of their own.  These babies need extra tender care, they need us to drop as much as we can off our plates and care for them as best we can.  Rearranging our lives and reordering our priorities for a fussy baby is a must...if they aren't worth that, than what is?

When I have a fussy baby, I have learned to pull out any and every tool to get my baby to stop crying, fall asleep and stay asleep, without tears.

Nurse, swaddle, swing, bounce (exercise ball), rock, music, fans, pats, slings, stroller rides, car rides, pacifiers...you name it, I've experimented with whatever I could try to soothe that baby, and once I found what worked I stuck with it.  Do "bad" habits (which according to some sleep "experts" mean anything but dropping them in a crib and walking away) start with fussy babies?  Yes, I guess they do.  I still sometimes "bounce" Janey to sleep-that was what worked for her when she was younger.

I am OK with doing whatever works, no matter how "crazy" it might seem to some.  If it gets that baby to sleep, and helps me sleep better also, I'm good with it.  And you know, I look back on all my babies, and that hard first year, and do you think I regret the time I spent rocking, strolling, bouncing, reading?  Heck no.

With all my babies, not just the fussy ones, when I felt like we could move to that next step up (meaning less sleep assistance) without much or any angst, I did so.  Every transition was timed different according to the baby. For example, over a course of the year or two, we transitioned from sleeping in sling (my fussy babies), to being swaddled and put down in crib once they asleep in sling, to just bouncing or nursing (no sling)and then to just rocking and put in crib almost asleep then just being read to in bed.  From ages two to four we transitioned from reading while toddler falls asleep, to reading and then leaving while toddler fell asleep by himself, and then eventually they learned to read themselves to sleep.  We transitioned from baby in our bed, to a crib, or to baby on mattress on floor of our room, or toddler in big boy/girl bed in own room. Eventually when baby becomes toddler (after 2 or 3 or 4), and I know the understanding is there, I can and will be lovingly firm-("we are going to read 3 books and sing 3 songs and then I'll come back and check on you, you have to stay in bed") because consistency is the key.  Consistency and routine are the keys.  I say WE because Jeff helped with this transition a great deal. Once I am finished nursing, or even, depending on the baby, before then, or when I was pregnant with the next baby, Jeff would take over the bedtime routine mostly.  I found that Dad can help a lot after that first year, or during the weaning process.  For some reason, Dad is just not as fun to wake up to, and that worked for us.

4. I also had one baby that could and would fall asleep completely by himself early on. Matt was my third and I could set him in his crib (after a certain age, maybe 3 months? I don't remember exactly) and he would hold a blankie he loved and suck on his pacifier and he'd fall right to sleep. It happened the first time by pure accident (there was some emergency and I set him in his crib, tired, and he fussed (in a babbly sort of way, not crying) and when I went to go check on him he was fast asleep.  I tried it again and again and every time he snuggled in and went right to sleep almost always-if he didn't fall asleep and I could tell he was going to cry, I would rock him a little and lay him down.  I, of course, thought I had the 'whole sleep thing' figured out because of this-which is why God gave my Andrew next. :)  Matthew was such a laid back, non-gassy, super-content baby.  That's why this worked.

(My babies all slept so much better on their tummies-maybe I make "gassy" babies.  Not infants-babies who could hold up their heads.  I asked my doctor about this and he gave me the go-ahead each time and it really really really helped.)

5. I always tried to lay baby down for naps in the same place-their crib-so they would get used to that.  Some of the gassy babies slept in the sling as infants if needed, because they would immediately wake up when put down, or shortly there after.  Once those fussy gassy babies were able to sleep on their tummies, or just stay asleep for longer periods of time then it took to put them to sleep, I would set them in the crib, once I got them asleep (in the sling or nursing, bouncing, etc.) with the fan (white noise) on.  Sometimes if they woke up, I would go right in and soothe them back to sleep, whichever way worked for them (usually bouncing on the ball) and then try to set them right back down again.  It seemed eventually their nap times got longer and longer.

6. Perspective is important. "This too shall pass."  "The days are long but the years are short."  Two very important quotes to keep in mind.  And how about "I can do hard things", which isn't a famous quote but just one that I made up and works in this situation.  No, having a baby that is fussy or a very sensitive sleeper, or a baby who needs to nurse a lot, or wakes during the night isn't easy.  I have been exhausted before, and frustrated, and sometimes it seemed that next transition couldn't come soon enough.  But I have the gift of a broader perspective now, and what a gift it is!

Here is a beautiful article on the "the art of being"-something to keep in mind during those hard days.

7. Resources:
Here are some of my favorite books chock full of tips and advice and reassurance.  Once I read and understood about the science of baby's physical development it helped me so much-it helped me know I was doing the right thing by avoiding prolonged, ignored crying, and also recognized development stages and the sleep needs of infants and babies.

Elizabeth Pantley is the author of many books on the subject of infant and toddler sleep and her site and books are excellent.

The Happiest Baby on the Block
-lots of good tips especially if you have a fussy baby.

And of course Dr. Sears-
The Baby Book

The last sleep post had so many nice comments from other moms who are NOT comfortable with cry-it-out methods also.  Maybe if us no-cry moms all shared the little things that worked for us, or any tips, tricks or our experiences with our babies, in the comment section, it would be helpful for others who felt the same.

35 comments :

  1. I am glad to know all your kids were different with sleep. I only have 2 and they are/were night and day with sleeping. My 7 month old daughter is a breeze. She is a non-gassy baby and very content and won't take a pacifier at all. She just wants a full belly and she is good to go. My son was my first and I think between me being an inexperienced first time Mom and him being a very highly sensitive and gassy baby, we had a very rough first year with him.

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  2. These 2 posts have been great. I have an 11 week old (baby #6) and he is definitely my most challenging baby, so far. I really think it all boils down to being gassy and being in the NICU his 1st 2 weeks. Do you have any tips for gassy babies?

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  3. Thank you for sharing your experiences, Sarah. Here's mine:

    My fourth child is almost 6 months old. My first and third babies were more "independent" and would sleep well in the cradle that we kept beside our bed. But my second and fourth (current) babies were co-sleeping "cuddly" babies. I think each baby has their own temperament and you just have to flow with it (if you can).

    With our current baby, She sleeps a sold 4-5 hours, but around 3 am every night she wakes up to be fed. I pull her into our bed from her cradle and she sleeps with us for the remainder of the night. It works for us. I feel much more comfortable having my babies close to me - either in our bed or at least in our room.

    With our other babies, I moved them into their own rooms when they were about 6 mo. old, but with this baby I'm still not ready to do that. Her crib is set up in her sister's room, but the one time she slept in there I slept horribly because I was so worried about her!

    Every mother is different and so is each baby.

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  4. I always appreciate your perspective and advice, so I'm glad to have it on such an important and stressful topic! Our first child is just over 2 years old. He's never been a great sleeper, then he climbed out of the crib really early (20 months), which made sleeping even more challenging. Over a period of several months, it went further down hill, and shortly after his second birthday, it was miserable for all of us. Just getting him to fall asleep took 30-45 very stressful minutes, then after all that effort, he obviously wasn't getting enough sleep at night or during naps, so he was tired and cranky all the time (more than just normal 2 year old stuff), which then bubbled over into a decline in his (formerly great) eating habits, all of which made my husband and I pretty cranky! I don't know why I waited so long, but I finally called a sleep medicine center at a local hospital. I'd heard several rave reviews about it, and even went to a presentation months earlier by their RN pediatric sleep specialist. I wish I'd called sooner! She had wonderful advice and customizes a "plan" to the child's issues and family's needs as much as possible - i.e. does the child take a pacifier, fall asleep in the car, in the crib or parents' bed, not forcing any "cry it out" methods against the parents' wishes, etc. The 6 weeks since we started this "plan" have been literally a night and day difference in the amount of sleep and stress level for all of us - both at night and during the day. I wish I'd listened to my gut and done it sooner, but I just kept making excuses - maybe he's teething, babies just don't sleep well, I'm not being patient enough, etc. In hindsight, if I thought he had allergies, a terrible rash, or some other medical need that required the attention of a specialist, I wouldn't have hesitated to get help, so why wait when babies (and moms and dads!) have a medical need for sleep, too?! She and I had a good laugh, too, about some of the "expert" books by people who seem to never have actually cared for children. She said she appreciated that they acknowledged the importance of sleep, but that they don't have a clue what "real life" is like for parents!

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    1. Hi Beth
      This sounds so like our 2 yr old! Poor wee boy is just not the happy boy my gut is telling me he could be! Does this sleep specialist have a book or papers available to read about the techniques she suggested?Youre right, if it was a medical condition I would have been to the doctor much sooner.... Thanks Sarah

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    2. Hi Sarah,
      She doesn't have a book but she works for the St. Luke's hospital sleep medicine center in St. Louis MO. They have some basic handout materials on their website and might do phone consults, as well. Good luck!

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    3. Thanks Beth. I will have a look at their website and see what I can find. :)

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  5. This is great Sara. So many moms will feel better after reading this. Here's something funny. All of my babies slept in there own crib after some "crying it out." But still, eventually at some point between 2 and 5 years ended up in our bed for about a year. You just never know what they're going to need at various stages. My youngest is now 2 and sleeps best in his crib, but my husband and I both know that once he gets his big bed it could change. I have a hard time enforcing the "stay in your bed rule," so I don't:) They're only little once. And boy do I wish I could get my 15, or 13, or even my 10 year old to cuddle some more...LOL

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  6. Great job with this post Sarah. I loved it and I agree with you.

    A well-rested baby is a happy baby (most of the time). It takes time, effort, patience, and inspiration to figure out sleep-- but it is worth the effort.
    Thanks for this post!

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  7. Advice for colicky babies-
    A doctor suggested I stop all dairy (I was breast feeding) for three weeks and see if it made a difference. My baby was a different baby by the third week. She is almost three and still very allergic to dairy.

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  8. Isn't motherhood amazing and so unpredictable! Our number 8 baby was held so much when she came home from the hospital that she never wanted to be put down for a nap and she slept in her swing during the day because that was the only way I could get her to sleep and I could get something done. I would nurse her and lay her down and she would wake up. I think she knew she was the last one and that I needed her to stay little as long as possible. I still love cuddling with her and I love being at home with her during the day to enjoy her cute 4 year old personality. Thanks so much for your post!

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  9. Thank you so much for your calm demeanor - you help put me in the right frame of mind every time I read your posts. I have 3 sons, ages 7, 5 and 1month old. The night before your first post on this subject I was so tired and just wanted to sleep. I thought "let him cry it out" as I'd heard so many people advise before. And like you, it just felt wrong. How could I let him cry and cry when all he wanted was me? The next day I read your post and felt so much reassurance that going to him was the right thing to do and that I wasn't alone in feeling this way.

    today's post gives me reassurance that "this too shall pass". He is a good sleeper, only up 2x's a night, but it seems he is moving those 2 times closer together and that is making me more and more tired and, dare I say, a crabbier person/mom/wife. But I'm not alone and you have reminded me of that.

    Thank you so much for always being so positive, and always writing a post that comes at the right time for me. I enjoy reading your posts, they are always so meaningful and so helpful.

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  10. I feel like the biggest thing I've learned as a mother is that every one of my children is SO different and requires a completely different set of skills, tricks, and strategies. Some of the same basic principles still apply, but it seems like once I feel like I know what I'm doing, along comes a baby with a different idea! For instance, my fourth baby was SO easy...he ate everything, he slept happily and easily (he would always fall asleep in my arms and then wake up and smile happily when I put him in his crib), he loved his pacifier and nothing was better than nursing. I was feeling pretty good about my mothering skills! But my fifth baby hated nursing from the beginning, would only sleep in his swing, and finally took a pacifier after months of patient effort...and now he's 11 months old, won't nurse at all during the day (apparently he has to be mostly asleep), and will ONLY fall asleep if he fusses and sings to himself in his crib for 10 minutes, despite everything else I've tried!

    I think if I could give my younger self some advice I would just say that sometimes it seems like you are never doing enough as a mother, but your best is the most you can do. I am so good at berating myself for the little things I didn't get to rather than focusing on all of the big things I accomplished (and some days all you can ask is that your kids are still alive at the end of the day--survival mode is a very real thing!).

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  11. i wish you were my neighbor, we would be good friends.

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  12. My babies were tummy sleepers too, HUGE difference in their sleeping.

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  13. I said thank you in your last post, and I will say it again. Thank you! My toddler's sleep problems have since settled and he nurses to sleep and sleeps in his little bed in his room. However, I have rocked, bounced, nursed him to sleep and used his buggy as a baby and oh my goodness I couldn't believe I had such a fussy baby as my first! But keeping that it'll pass going through my mind kept my sanity and co-sleeping became my saviour. I relish any article like this where I do not feel 'alone', like I did when my son was a baby, because I didn't want to put him in his cot and just leave him there to cry. Thank you :) x

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  14. You are so right. I am in Australia, and we have a great parenting expert in these parts named Steve Biddulph. He wrote an book called "Raising Babies" (among other great parenting books) and if you read that, you will realise you are well on the right track. It does babies so much harm leaving them when they are upset. Babies are so precious, they deserve that bedrock of utter love and security.

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  15. Like you, each of my babies were very different sleepwise and honestly I was a very different parent from my first to my last - comes with experience, perspective, and frankly less comparison with others/less anxiety if not sleeping like a friends or relatives baby. I thankfully never had a horribly gassy/fussy/colicky baby - good job for all you parents who did - that can't be easy. I had two babies who were very sensitive to noise or the goings on of the day. I like you would try to find a pattern, and usually the days when we were out and about with errands or a family party, etc, were the days my babies had the hardest time winding down. Things that helped was trying to keep our days pretty calm, not go go go. For my 3rd child, he really had no choice but to come with us to the events of his siblings, but when we could, my husband and I would split up so he could stay home as much as possible (during the week wasn't possible as my husband and I worked different shifts to avoid child care - a totally different topic, but definitely a result of driving home from work with a cranky stressed out baby from her afternoon with a dear close friend as her sitter - after a couple weeks of the worst 30 minutes of my life on that drive, I lobbied to work from home in the afternoons and for many many many years, worked peacefully while my kids all napped or had quiet time in the afternoons. Anyways, I found keeping life as calm and predictable as possible really helped them. I know friends and relatives whose babies were fine sleeping in car seats, napping on the run, going here and there but mine were not. I did find that a walk in the stroller or baby bjorn in the fresh air helped, as did some time on a baby swing outside when they were old enough. fresh air makes them sleep!!!

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  16. wanted to add as well that managing expectations works with many situations, including sleep. With my first child, I felt guilty that I let her sleep with us, upset that other babies were sleeping while mine was not, frustrated that it was all on me but I eventually let go of any expectations and frustrations when I could. I remember when my babies were sick, I would have to stop everything and they would just sleep on me...and instead of thinking of all the things I should be doing, all the things I couldn't do, I instead thought of how much I'd miss this baby stage and tried to embrace the slowing down...that has proved true - now my kids are growing up, and those days are long gone. They are so hard when you are in the midst of them, but keep perspective that these are only a small number of days, a phase, and lose your expectations - your baby, your life, is unique and can't be compared to anyone else's. And just know it's HARD - it's ok to admit that getting very little sleep and being there for your kids non stop is HARD...but as Sarah noted - you can do hard!

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    1. Thank you for this. My situation is this exact one right now. I'm trying to embrace the sleeping on me or sleeping if he is touching me. I can't or actually sort of don't really want to do anything about it right now so I decided a few weeks ago to just enjoy it.

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    2. This brings tears to my eyes! How right you are that this is a phase, a precious one. Moments we will never get back. Every day, I have to choose to cherish the hard moments of having a little fuss-ball baby! :) It is the most exhausting job I've ever had. Physically, mentally...so demanding. But God made me to be this child's mother and I choose to be thankful!

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  17. Thanks for sharing your experiences! Everyone of mine has also been different (I have four and one on the way), and something different worked for each one. For other readers, I might also suggest the book The No Cry Sleep Solution by Elizabeth Pantley. Her book is endorsed by Dr. Sears and I have found her techniques very helpful for my harder kids.

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  18. Thank you for this post and the previous one. I'm a first-time mom to a 6 week old who sleeps lightly and usually only if someone is holding him or he's asleep next to me. I had so much anxiety about leaving him alone to sleep that I never even used the bassinet next to my bed - he's always slept with me (my husband is currently sleeping in the guest room, as he too is a light sleeper). It feels right and necessary to have him in constant contact at night. My pediatrician told me I was coddling him, which I've chosen to ignore, of course. Your encouragement is exactly what I need to hear during this difficult, but precious time. Sometimes I yearn for him to get older so he can self-soothe a bit and sleep longer, but then I'm in tears thinking about the rapidly passing days of his infanthood. This mama thing is heartbreaking sometimes.

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  19. Katewells: Good for you ignoring the ped about the "coddling" thing! Phhsshh. What sort of person wouldn't coddle a newborn to some extent!? Are you trying to mold him into a little soldier already or something? What a detached, insensitive thing to say to a tired new mom.

    Just wanted to chime in as a mom to two girls who were those magical babies that can be laid down tired in their cribs and go right to sleep, one "normal" boy who needed some rocking and patting but was generally a decent sleeper, and one boy who was a fussy, high needs, up every two hours til he was almost a year old baby... what YOU do has very little to do with it, imo. Your kid is who they are, from birth. You can help them learn to cope with their circumstances and their personality, but you can't "fix" a child who is very uptight and sensitive and scared of the dark and scared to be alone and all that. You can only help them as much as you can. That baby who was fussy and high needs and cried a lot? Is six years old and is still high strung, emotional, wary of the dark, has trouble sleeping alone or if he's worried about something, etc. He's also extremely artistic, extremely intelligent, taught himself how to read, and has amazing perception and sensitivity towards his family and the world around him. He is who he is- strengths and weaknesses. Do I regret holding him when he was little and upset and didn't feel good and was scared, even though I was tired and frustrated and couldn't understand why he was fighting sleep? I do not. I know him now, ins and outs, and I know that infancy must have been a very rough time for him too! I did my best to help him through it and figure out what he needed to feel better and feel safe- it turned out he just needed ME a lot of the time, and sometimes that required self sacrifice, but I don't regret it.

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  20. something that is worth its weight in gold to me is a cosleeper basinet. Seriously so worth the money. Baby is out of my bed but right next to me where I can snuggle her all night long. Best invention ever.

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  21. Just wanted to chime in and mention a book that saved us. We feel the same as you, that babies cry because they need something, and should never be ignored. Yet our 5th baby (and 1st girl :) was one of the fussy / colicky sorts and I was so exhausted and sleep-deprived that I had a car accident. I did tons and tons of research to figure out how to reconcile the two needs of our family at this point, which seemed completely impossible. I even looked into how Japanese families co-sleep. :) The most helpful thing I found was a book by Australian Sheyne Rowley, called "The Dream Baby Guide." Be forewarned -- anyone who looks into this book -- it is huge and long and desperately needs an editor's care. BUT the content and ideas that she sets forth were perfect for us. From the time I implemented her gentle teaching methods my baby started sleeping so much better and everyone was happier (and safer). And there was virtually no crying involved and no motherly connection damaged. Anyway, I've recommended it over and over, and wanted to be sure to mention it here.

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  22. Can I just say that I want to give you a big hug? I am going through the fussy baby stage right now and have received so much criticism for allowing her to nap in a sling and cosleep. This being my first child, I never knew how judgmental and just plain mean some moms can be!
    I feel in my heart that I am doing my best to care for and nurture my baby and I try not to let the naysayers get in my head. Your post is VERY encouraging and helpful. Thank you!

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  23. Thank you for these sleeping posts!!! I so enjoy your blog and your style of mothering. I am a first-time mom with a sweet but somewhat high-needs baby girl. You are an encouragement to me! We have her in a co-sleeper next to my side of the bed, and I love it!!! We don't do the cry-it-out thing, and we never plan to. There's only so long you can rock your babies!! I know you haven't had to deal with this issue, but I was wondering if you'd consider doing a post on breastfeeding & pumping for when your baby is at childcare. My daughter goes 2 days a week, and it seems I am constantly in a passive-aggressive battle with her caregiver (home daycare with 6 kids & no other infants) over how much milk she needs. I usually pump on my "off days" as well as when I'm at work, just to have what the sitter considers enough. But when my mom or mother-in-law have kept her, this has not been a probnlem at all. In the 2 months she's been there (started @ 2 mo old & will be 4 mo on Monday), we've gone from 3 3 oz bottles to 3 5 oz bottles for the 9 hrs she is there. She is also fed by me about 30-45 mins before she gets there, and I send some water in a bottle as well. Nearly every time I pick her up, the lady says"I thought we were going to have to use the formula today, but we made it." (I have back-up formula in her bag just in case I'm delayed or something - I don't have a freezer stash b/c I barely keep up with pumping as it is.). I have consulted with her dr, who said 3 4 oz bottles should be enough...especially since she is consistently in the 10th percentile for height & weight (I'm petite as well). I am genuinely distressed and confused about this. Like I said, I know you haven't had to deal with this, but I'm wondering if any of the other kind moms who read here have dealt with it, and if so, what they did. Thanks so much for the kind, gentle tone of your posts...and the encouragement you provide for us to be loving mothers.

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  24. Thanks for this. I have a gorgeous wee one who only really sleeps for two hours or so. She's six months so I'm exhausted. Last night she slept from 1am till 6am in a moses basket. woo hoo!

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  25. I think it's so great that as Moms we can all be different, have our own styles and still be wonderful Moms to our kids. My style as a Mom of 5, was not cosleeping or rocking to sleep. I would snuggle them and rock them and then lay them down. I gently taught mine how to put themselves to sleep early on. They still woke up once or twice at night until about 6-7 months and I would get up with them, feed them and then lay them down in their beds. Sometimes they fussed for 3-4 minutes, but many times they would not make a peep and go right to sleep. I am a crazy Mom if I don't get decent sleep and that's not healthy for me or my family. I think you find what works for you and your family and don't worry about what anyone else does.

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  26. By many standards I have an easy baby but there was a 1 week period where she was constipated and very fussy and battled to sleep when she was 3 weeks old. After trying all sorts I realized she was battling with digesting milk. Once I changed her to soy it was like night and day. And while she sleeps well in her crib in our bedroom we do have the odd days where the only way she (or I) will get any sleep is if she sleeps on me. As a first time mom one thing I have learnt is to trust my instinct and do my best, not do what an "expert" says should be done.

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    1. Ps: people laugh when I tell them I don't read many baby books because I got tired of conflicting information

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  27. o wow, she is huge already!
    yay janey

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  28. I only had one fussy/gassy baby #2 of six, and he also ended up being the one I tried the "cry it out" method on. That was eight years ago now, and still one of my biggest parenting regrets. I like how you make the distinction between the whiny/babbling cry that Matthew did (that you knew was going to stop in a few moments) because I think that's been key for me. With my second I let him cry no matter what and I was ruled by my clock (only go in after a certain amount of time) but after that poor little guy, I was much more comfortable interpreting their crying and only leaving them if it was apparent that they were going to soothe themselves anyway. Also "this too shall pass" was totally my motto with my last two. As hard as it is to get up with babies in the night, there is something special and magical about it, something unique to the mother/baby relationship that is only there for a very short time and that yes, will be missed. I nursed all my babies to sleep as infants and had no problem transitioning them to going down awake for bed when they stopped falling asleep with nursing (around age 1) for both naps and bedtime. And they were all sleeping in their own cribs and mostly through the night by a few months old. There are always bumps though (I found the five-six month old stage just before introducing solids was usually my biggest switch up) so I never considered my babies to be "sleeping through the night" until at least after that. I tried to be open to their unique patterns and not count my chickens before they were hatched. And I tried (especially with the last few) to enjoy the goodness in this quickly-passing time, because there is so much! I often wished I could have somehow deposited the knowledge that I had with subsequent babies into my head as a first and second-time Mom, but I suppose it's a path each Mom needs to discover on their own. But you're right, there is such beauty in doing it so many times, because it helps you not sweat the small stuff. Thanks for sharing your life, love reading about your beautiful family!

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  29. I know this is an older post - but I have been reading your blog for a couple of years now and have just become a mother (LO is 3 months). THANK YOU for these posts - I feel like I've been bombarded by others that I NEED to sleep train my kiddo and that I NEED to let him cry it out/self soothe. These things just go against everything in my gut and its just so nice to see that someone else shares our (my husband and I's) perspective on this and that we're not 'bad' parents.

    Thanks again - this is just what I needed after a couple of days of self-doubt.

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