Google+ Bree Bronson's Babies: Good night everyone

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Good night everyone

Daughter has been sick for some time now. She just recovered from one flu and caught another one at once. I feel sorry for the wee one, she has't really been able to sleep either.

Holding a crying girl in my arms after midnight made me think what a rare occasion it was. Normally both Son and Daughter sleep in their own rooms and beds through the night without waking us up until morning. Many people have asked me how I've made it happen. I'll tell you. First, though, the obligatory disclaimer about how children are different, how I'm not a professional and how I lack scientifical proof for my method. And I'm not even entering the conversation about how and where kids should sleep in general.

I would be insane by now if the kids would keep me up in the middle of the night. The reason is very simple: I'm a poor sleeper. It takes me at least an hour to fall asleep in the evening and two to wake up in the morning. I can't take naps during the day - I can't get any sleep and if I miraculously do I'll be dead tired for the rest of the day and awake the following night. When I've been breastfeeding Son and Daughter as small babies they've of course kept me awake in the night. Those months have been pure torture for me.

Having all motivation in the world to get the baby to sleep throughout the night I've made it happen with the following steps when the dwarf is about six months old:

1. Make sure the baby eats enough solids during the day and in the evening so that he's not hungry in the night. I've reduced the amount of milk/breastfeeding to make solids more appealing.

2. Make a decision: the milk bar is closed from 10.30 PM to 5 AM (or whatever times suit you). Later I extended the service break to 6 AM. Stick to the decision.

3. Recruit the dad or other reliable person to do the sleep schooling. Make sure you're on the same page about the project plan. It's better for you to stay away because you smell like milk or the baby expects service from you. He's been keeping you up for six months and knows no other way. (I didn't succeed with this one and ended up doing the sleep schooling myself. It was horrible.)

4. Put the baby to bed and go to a hotel to have a good night's sleep.

5. Meanwhile at home when the baby wakes up and cries: pet him gently with your hand and say "ssshh". Give a pacifier if he uses one. Go away. The crying will continue so repeat after couple of minutes to signal the baby isn't alone. The crying will still continue most probably, repeat the ssshhing and other stuff after a bit longer time every time.

The baby will scream a lot. It will not harm him. This will work. After one week you'll achieve your goal if you remain tough. Avoid going back at any cost.

So this is what has saved our nights. The sleep school week was horrible but nothing compared to what kind of monster I would have become without it. I genuinely believe that I can be an astronomically better mom during the day if I can get proper sleep during the night.

Sleep tight everyone.

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