Or perhaps I should call this post "Why I should be careful when reading parenting books"
I am a bit obsessed with sleeping right now. This is partially due to the fact that Luke is now waking up 3-4 times a night, and due to my reading The No Cry Sleep Solution by Elizabeth Pantley. The premise of the book is that you can get your child to sleep through the night, or sleep better at least, if they are not developmentally ready, without crying-it-out. I read most of the book while Luke was bouncing in his jumper the other day. We are doing a couple of things that she says not to do, and are also practicing some positive sleep routines as well.
1. Luke can sleep in the car, in the swing and in his crib without much trouble.
2. We put Luke down before he is totally asleep and let him get the rest of the way on his own.
3. We have a bedtime routine- bath, nursing, swaddle, rock and sing In The Bleak Mid-Winter and some part of the liturgy or a hymn.
1. Pacifier- Luke uses his trusty old pacifier. He loves to suck and always has. Though he uses it only minimally during the day, he feels that he NEEDS it at night, especially when being put to bed.
2. Swaddling- From the time he was 3 weeks old, Luke has been swaddled when going down for the night. He seems to be unable to sleep through more than one sleep cycle if his hands are free to flail about. Since modern baby experts say that babies need to be placed on their back to sleep safely, we chose to swaddle. Also, it helped him sleep longer. To wean them from swaddling, you are supposed to let one arm be free and see if they can tolerate that. If they consistently wake themselves up, they are not ready. So far, Luke has not been ready measuring by this standard.
I know the pacifier use and swaddling cannot go on forever, but for now it is what he likes and what helps him sleep. Reading the sleep book, however, and perhaps a greedy desire to once again sleep for more than 3-4 hours at a time, made me want to cut these things out. I wanted him to be able to soothe himself. So, I decided to rock the boat and let him sleep unswaddled for a couple of nights, and remove the pacifier on occasion.
The result so far is that he does not sleep. He wakes himself up over and over again. Part of me thinks that I just need to be patient, that the teaching him to sleep without these comforts will help him sleep better in the end. The other part of me thinks that he will probably grow out of swaddling at some point, and we can wean the pacifier later (basically- wait, he is only 5 months old).
Trying to wean him from these things now makes me feel good in a way. I can learn patience and he will sleep through the night. He is certainly big enough. :) I can make him into the perfect baby ( boy am I a perfectionist... if I didn't think so before, having Luke sure has pointed that out with an exclamation mark. I hear myself sometimes and cringe).
Trying to wean him from these things and implement a new and improved sleeping plan, in reality, is making me crazy. My day seems to hinge on whether he sleeps or not. I measure my success as a mother on this. I am more irritable, sleep deprived, frustrated with him and with Nathan (why doesn't he get up with Luke? Why does he get to sleep while I slave away. Its not like he anything better to do, like be rested for work in the morning! -oh wait, he does).
So is it worth it? That is my question. He is only 5 months old, but he is 5 months old. He is not a newborn anymore, but he is still an infant. We are in transition and I want order, clear guidelines. I want a book to tell me what to do. But truly, I know that any parenting book will be limited in its usefulness. Though Luke may share similarities with the whole spectrum of babies, he is is own person with his own unique needs.
Writing all this down helped me process a bit. Maybe I will go take a shower so that I will be somewhat awake for Church this morning. :)