Sunday, December 6, 2009

Sleep Training

Lil' Georgie's sleep was getting worse and worse. She was miserable (and yeah, I was miserable). Things snowballed: I tried nursing to sleep out of desperation, and it worked for a few days. Then she started getting frustrated because it wasn't working so well. And then she started waking every 30mins at night in order to nurse back to sleep. Anyhow, long story short, I decided that our sleep struggles that began on Day 1 of her day home from the hospital needed to end. It wasn't healthy for her. And I was becoming unhealthy, as well, from lack of sleep. I've been a pretty relaxed, loving, "answer every cry" attachment mom with my kids, so the decision to sleep train wasn't easy. It's still not easy, and we're not 100% where we need to be, but it's getting much better. I've seen big improvements and a happier baby. In my journey for answers, I read a lot of different sleep training tactics. Here is a good assortment of methods:

No Cry Sleep Solution (Elizabeth Pantley): keeping a sleep log and trying gradual changes - if baby cries, give in but try again. Should notice small changes within 10 days on the sleep log. It is a series of small steps, small changes that get re-evaluated every 10 days after reviewing sleep log. (A lot of different sleep issues are detailed, with different techniques to solve the problems).

Baby Whisperer (Tracey Hogg): shush-pat until age 4mos, put down/pick up at age 4mos or older (parent never leaves baby to cry, toughs it out with them). More on this at (the forums have a ton of info from her books). There is crying, but baby is never "abandoned".

Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Baby: wide range of method extremes, from co-sleep, baby-wearing to being left to cry in the crib for 1.5 hours. Takes a "whatever works" approach, but feels quality sleep is very important to a baby's health.

Ferber: controlled crying with gradual distance. Start right there with baby, gradually increasing distance & length of time away from baby.

Super Nanny: do not do until 6mos or older - controlled crying, starting out by checking on baby every 5mins. After 15mins total, keep reassuring baby briefly every 15mins. More details on the Super Nanny web site, article called Settle Your Baby with Controlled Crying.

BabyWise: church version called Growing Kids God's Way. Lots of controversy here because of the feeding schedules. Do an Internet search for "Ezzo" or "BabyWise" to read about the controversy (I won't write about it here). His book really didn't detail a whole lot about how to sleep train, except that crying is involved. Method seems to state that baby is placed in crib at naptime and left to cry, but didn't give much step by step instruction (no time limits given). It seems to be more of a book on parenting philosophy than method. I found this mom's blog much more instructional than the BabyWise book itself. Despite the controversy, I've known several very loving, BabyWise moms that had well-nourished, well-taken-care-of babies. I think they used their own good common sense in addition to any of the BabyWise principles that they found helpful;)

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