Dear mothers everywhere,
Here is something I am mad about. All throughout my pregnancy I read up on a variety of topics I was under the impression I needed to know about: pregnancy symptoms/care/exercise, labor signs, birth process, unmedicated births, breastfeeding, vaccines, developmental milestones... I thought I was going into mommahood pretty well prepared. Right?
Wrong. With a capital w. Why? Because none-NONE- of you told me I should read up on baby sleeping habits, training, cues. I had always heard that babies do 4 things: eat, sleep, poop, cry. So, I was under the impression that my little bear would sleep whenever he or she was tired, and it never crossed my mind to learn how to help G sleep. I took it in stride that my sleep would suffer and that was that.
Well. Enter last week. An atrocity of a week. I'm looking back and thinking, maybe she wasn't teething? I mean, yeah she's drooling a lot and I can see where the teeth will be...but maybe she just had a cold or virus and was OVERTIRED.
About 2 months ago, a friend mentioned how she swaddled her daughter for naps and rocked her to sleep so that she would nap. I thought that was interesting, because G just slept whenever/wherever... Um, I guess I forgot that my daughter was 3.3 months younger than hers. So when G hit a point where naps were hard and she wasn't sleep well period because she'd wake herself up, I thought...hm, maybe we'll try that swaddle. This was over a month ago and she's been sleeping a lot better-at night. The day time has been a crap shoot for a while. I had no set nap times, no clue when she would sleep; we are feeding on demand & I thought she would just sleep after a feeding (wrong). I also was ignorant to bed time. That same friend (shout out Caroline) said something to me to the effect of, "so when's her bed time?"
What!? Bed time? I didn't think babies had bed times. (see above, I just thought she'd go to bed whenever)
So that little seed planted in my head and it kind of festered for a while...a few weeks later I told Justin that G's bed time would be 9:30. So I worked on making that happen. We'd go about our evening and then around 8 something I'd try to feed her so that she'd be ready for bed and asleep by 930 at the latest. Worked pretty well, except that it affected her days. She developed a bad habit of not really napping, and when she did it was one 2 hour nap or two shorter ones. Then she'd have a witching "hour(s)" between 5-9. And then there's last week.
Eventually I googled something about babies and sleep and found out about 'sleep training.' Now, I've heard about "Ferberizing" and knew about crying it out, but there are a lot of other ideas out there. When the time comes for drastic measures, I may revisit the crying it out idea...but she's too young for that now, so I'm attempting a method from this book, "The Baby Whisperer." Basically, from what I've gathered, it's teaching G to go to sleep on her own, with a bit of help from me. I do "pick up and put down" to soothe her, since she's technically not able to do it herself yet. I go in her room and pick her up, pat her back/calm her and then put her back down. Then she should magically be asleep. Right. Better in theory than practice so far. I started on Tuesday (11 weeks)...and I'm hoping not to give up, but it's hard.
Regardless, I thought I'd put it out there for all moms to know: babies older than a month do NOT just sleep, unless you're lucky like my friend Kacie.