Friday, January 09, 2009

The Problem with ZZZZ's...

Rock-a-bye baby...or not?

A sleeping baby is so adorable. Peaceful, quiet, cute - the sweetest thing ever. Yet the practice of putting said baby to sleep has become so controversial. As a new mom, I'm about ready to pull my hair out (but I won't, since I definitely can't rock the whole bald look!) =)

Right now, I'm torn. I'm a working mom, so my evenings with my daughter are precious.

So many methods make my head spin. Rock to sleep? Hold until sleepy but not asleep, then put in crib? Put in crib wide awake and let baby fall asleep on their own, learning to "self soothe"? Some say its impossible to spoil a baby at this age, that they cry for a reason and need the reassurance of their mothers and that ache mothers feel when their babies cry is also for that same reason. Others say let them cry it out and it'll do 'em good and not hurt anything. Others say that crying it out will teach babies that bedtime or their crib is a scary place because they're alone and unhappy when they get there.


Right now, when it comes time for an evening nap or for bedtime, I hold Audrey until she falls asleep. I WANT to, because our time in the evening is so limited - yet at the same time, I don't want to create a bad habit for later. My husband and I personally know several babies who are 2 years+ and still have to be held, in the dark, in the quiet, every single time they go to sleep, sometimes with a comfort bottle or toy or food, and I personally do NOT want that to be the case with Audrey when she is that old.

But when does one start a new sleep routine?

Baby websites are full of contradicting advice. Some say that 6 months (Audrey's age next week) is too young to try the "cry it out method" of letting them put themselves to sleep in their bed. Others say its the perfect age and that's what I should do. Others agree with how my heart feels - that its too painful for me to listen to her cry for an extended period of time. I don't feel that's right for us! Yet again, I don't want to create a bad habit.


Every baby is different, and so is every Mom, I'm sure. I'm torn before following advice of others and textbooks, and following my own instincts. Its hard to trust myself since I've never done this mom-thing before. I want Audrey to sleep soundly and through the night, and most nights she does just fine. Sometimes she still wakes up, not to eat, though, just to be comforted. Those times I give her the pacifier back that fell out of her mouth, and pat her for a second until she calms down and she immediately goes back to sleep without having to be picked up, or fed. I feel like that's a good thing. Same with naps.

But the actual act of falling to sleep - I'm not sure what to do. Thoughts, opinions? I'm open to your personal stories or advice. I'm praying about which way to go and could use extra prayers, please!!


Catherine West said...

Hey Bets!
Well, I've always been a big believer in routine. I think it gives kids, even at Audrey's age, that extra sense of security. At six months I don't think you're doing anything wrong by holding her for that extra hour, but later I'd recommend putting her to bed before she falls asleep so that she will learn that's what she's supposed to do when she goes into her crib. When we decided to take Sarah's pacifier away, I think she was about eight months, she howled. It was horrible but we decided to let her cry it out. After two nights, she went to sleep on her own with no problem at all. Just remember, if you want to be in charge of your life (i.e. actually HAVE a life) then you need to set the rules. If you want to be up for all hours and put her to bed 'when she's tired', then you'll probably still be dealing with a fussy child at 11pm at night - believe it or not I have had friends who did this - it drove me nuts!! But like you said, you have to do what feels right for you. Right now I think you don't need to worry - in a few more months then yes, I think that's when you need to think about habit forming etc...
Just enjoy her!!

Erica Vetsch said...

As you said, every mom has to decide what is best for herself and her baby, what works best for their family.

One thing to consider though, is, what will you do when baby #2 comes along. What do you want Audrey's bedtime to look like when that happens? Then take little steps to head in that direction.

Stacy Gibbs said...

Hey girl! I've been meaning to send you a comment on this post for a few days, so please excuse my tardiness! sounds like she is doing great and I was going to tell you alot of things that you have already done. With Anna she has a little lamb snuggle that she loves to rub on her face and we have the Fisher Price Rainforest Soother and she watches it and then dozes she may make a fuss so sometimes I rock her or bounce her. Put like your other friends said we try to stick to a routine like a bath, book, and then bed. It sounds like Audrey is doing great! Aren't those 12 hour stretches great!?! I enjoy it when Anna does that