slleeepppp my baby
I have written so many posts on sleep. Why? Because it’s what we all dream about as moms, right? Dream // dread // fear // desiresodeeply.
to name a few.
Generally, we’re in the attachment parenting group. We follow Dr. Sears on most things. We don’t do cry it out with babies. Once our kiddos hit 12 months, we night wean and gently work on letting them cry for a few minutes alone before comforting them, then letting them cry a little again. You’re thinking:
WHO HAS TIME FOR THIS???
And I can only laugh and agree I’m crazy. And yet, somehow, it has worked so far for our family. My big kids screamfightplay if I’m nursing the baby down for his nap. They don’t get screen time because I’m (crazy) and (not nice) not a huge fan. They learn to deal with each other and are old enough to be left unsupervised a room away from me for a little while. They learn to negotiate, freak out, and come and bother me 53 times and be told again and again to work it out.
I follow the same basic pattern with my babies for sleep that doesn’t involve sleep training. My kiddos are good nappers and good at night, eventually. This system works for me with babies–it might not for you. My $.02, as it were.
1) Wear babies in a carrier.
They fall asleep! It’s so great! It’s like I’m magically rocking them down while nursing but I don’t have to stop what I’m doing! Up til 6 months or so, my babies don’t seem to care where they pass out, nursing–loud, soft, dark, light, whatever.
I love my Sakura Bloom ring sling and my Ergo. Those are the only two I own/need/i-want-all-the-carriers-but-can’t-justify-buying-more.
2) Watch for tired signs.
Rubbing eyes? Cranky? Rooting to nurse/be bottle fed? The typical pattern for the first 6 months is three naps a day, 9, 1, 4 or 5. Naps range from 30 minutes to 2 hours, right? They’re usually awake for about 2 hours before they want to sleep/eat again.
3) Intercept before meltdown.
I may hurry the big kids upstairs so they can screamfightplay in their rooms before they’re quite ready to come up. Too bad. The baby needs to sleep and if I don’t start nursing him down now laying in bed together, he will either need to be in the carrier (see number 1) and go down there, or start screaming. Pick a location and go for it.
4) Nurse them to sleep.
If you have one child, you’re probably desperate for sleep advice and have searched the internet and all sleep books. All the advice is contradicting. All the advice says if you don’t follow it, you will forever more screw up your baby’s brain. I nurse my babies to sleep and might even sneak in a quick burp before they totally pass out.
Some books say NEVER DO THIS THEY WILL BE DEPENDENT FOR LIFE. Others say THE SUCKING REFLEX MUST BE SATISFIED BY ONLY A REAL LIVE NIPPLE.
I promise you will figure out what works for you & baby. Being an informed parent is important, but ultimately, you gotta do what you gotta do (in the realm of loving, tender parenting, of course).
The reasons I nurse to sleep are because they love it; they get a great feeding in; they pass out from a fully milk belly. They are not crying. They are satisfied. And nursing releases happy hormones in my brain. Counteracts the screamfightplaying noises.
5) Lay with them or rock them while nursing.
Another highly controversial idea. Movement to fall asleep or no? Will your baby be forever more dependent on it?
My question: does it work? If yes, do it. If no, do something else. I side nurse BabyLoves. I rocked & nurse the older two. Both methods worked: sleeping baby = success.
If they’re fighting sleep badly, I might pack everyone up and go for a walk. That motion puts even the most hard core non-sleeper to sleep.
6) Low expectations for the day.
When you have a tiny baby, they nurse and poop and spit up and fuss. It happens all the day long until someone comes along to relieve you of your duties. When you go back to work, they still do the same thing. When you stay home with them, ditto. I have very low expectations when I have a nursling baby who needs to constantly eat and sleep and be held.
Dishes? Nope. Dinner made? Maybe. House tidied up? Maybe. Kids alive? Yes.
It’s hard. You just want them to go to sleep so you can finally shower. Or finally respond to emails. Or finally get your work done. Or just not be holding/nursing/listening to crying all the time. Sadly, or happily, this is my stay-at-home-mommy-blogger life. It revolves around happy sleeping baby.
The bigger kids? Oh, they protest nap all the time. Ha!
Helpful? Remotely? I hope. Many many of my friends do cry-it-out or a modification thereof. I’m not passing judgment here; I’m simply sharing what’s helped me survive three kids without screen time and with lots of napping and without baby crying. BabyLoves is an easy keeper–but I really credit wearing him, nursing on demand, and this approach to sleeping (and no acid reflux, thank GOD) to him being so easy and generally happy.