Wednesday, March 4, 2009

comfortable child, happy mommy

i admit it. i've been putting the book down in the interest of things closer to my heart. you know... the Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child book? it was wearing on me, you see... ever since the part about how fussy bratty babies often grow up to be fat kids (wha-!?).

in truth, though, Braeden's waking has become more frequent. not his feedings necessarily, but he wakes up three or four times between 7:00pm and 10:30pm. so okay. i admit that it's irritating. once again, i decide to pick the book up and at least see what dr. marc weissbluth suggests as a course of action for little Brae. i mean... i can always choose to ignore it if i want.

so i skip ahead to the section for children aged 5-12 months old. i'm ready to play in the dirt a little; get down to the nitty gritty. it's time for some serious action items. i read the introductory paragraph:

"Our goal is to establish sleep habits, so we don't want to get sidetracked by worrying too much about crying. When your two-year-old cries because he doesn't want his diaper changed or your one-year-old cries because he wants juice instead of milk, don't let the crying prevent you from doing what is best for him. Establishing healthy sleep habits does not mean that there will always be a lot of crying, but there may be some in protest. If you find this to be unacceptable when your child is four months old, then please reconsider this chapter when he is nine or ten months old."

see, already, they are preparing for me. from introduction they are trying to bait me into the concept that i need to ignore my initial instinct (can someone please tell me why i should be ignoring my natural maternal instinct??? right. because some doctor clever enough to be published, thinks my little lovely needs to establish sleep habits).

well, okay. let's walk through these little parental examples, because no, i'm not one to stop changing the two year old that cries for at a diaper change, or give in to the one year old who prefers juice of the apple over juice of the moo, but are these examples true paraellels? i'm an experienced mom here, people.

if the two year old kicks and screams for the diaper change, i try to soothe him/her to the best of my ability. i try to make him giggle by telling him how stinky he is. i distract her by letting her hold the clean diaper or a toy. i do it as quickly as possible, and when it's through, move right on to the next thing. i don't just plow through the change, unreactive, and walk away once it's done.

the one year old who cries without juice? i don't just give her a cup, and walk away; i try to soothe him/her to the best of my ability. if baby's smart enough to consider options, he can choose between milk or water. the choice alone takes away from the mandate, and having nothing at all is also an option. besides, how long is the thirsty baby going to cry with a sippy cup tucked in his smoocher?

the baby who wakes up crying from tummy aches or bad dreams or loneliness or whatever else causes him discomfort? i try to soothe him/her to the best of my ability. all i need to do is pick him up. hold him a little while. maybe change him or give him a bottle- stuff i do for him all the time. no games or manipulation required.

maybe it's not easy to distract the two year old from her diaper change. maybe it's not easy to make the one year old drink milk. picking up my nine month old because he's crying in the dark? easy.

already i'm less irritable about those night wakings. looks like i'm putting you down again for a while, doc. i don't think it's how you meant it to work, dr. weissbluth, but thanks for your help

1 comment:

  1. I realize you don't know me (I'm one of Spleeness' friends) but it's interesting for me to read this perspective. I LOVED Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child. I don't recall the details on what parts I liked, but I do know it helped us a lot.

    Yes, I'm a mother who has had to let her daughter cry it out, but I do it out of sheer desperation. I tried everything else. If my daughter woke in the middle of the night, I would try to calm her down, but without fail she would only get more pissed off and be ready to play. Her night time wakings were not relaxing for anyone. They would turn into hours-long battles to get her to sleep again.

    So, yes I turned to CIO. I don't go to an extreme. My limit is 15 minutes. If she's not calm in 15 minutes, then I go in to try something else. Almost always, she's done crying in 10 minutes. And even the crying at all did not last long. She now sleeps through the night and if she wakes up to cry for more than a minute or two, I go in.

    I guess I'm saying it's interesting to hear you say all this about the book that helped me so much. I don't think the book is saying to not ever try to soothe the child, but I think that's a common misconception of CIO.

    Thanks for sharing your experience!