Saturday, December 10, 2011

Sleep Through The Night? Unheard of.


I'm laughing as I write that but that is exactly how I feel.
Baby Scarlett slept through the night for the last 3 nights! If any of you have been reading my blog for awhile, you know the struggles I went through with Scarlett and sleeping. She has never been a sleeper. Since she was born, she gets up anywhere from 3-6 times a night.....not a good night sleep for Mama.

And you all know how I feel about sleep training. Letting her "cry it out" is hard for me, as it is for lots of mothers, I'm sure. I had been trying to do some sleep training but always gave up. I just couldn't let her cry for 45 minutes straight. (Which is what she would do) I started reading up on alternative sleep training and came across a Dr. who believed in picking them up every single time they cried in the night, but not feeding them. She said to pick them up simply to comfort them until they stopped crying and then put them back in their bed. I decided to try something similar and incorporate it into my sleep training.

Baby Scarlett had the habit of waking up and crying until I fed her every 2-3 hours. My doctor assured me she wasn't hungry and that even though she may get up for one feeding at 10 or 11 pm, she can sleep through the night by six months. Feeling confident that she isn't hungry, I began my sleep training my style.

Baby Scarlett would wake up at about 11 and I would feed her for the last time. Then, when she woke up at 1:30 crying, I picked her up and rocked her for just a moment, patting her back. After she was calm, I laid her back down. If she started crying after that, I would let her cry only a few moments. That way, she knew I was there  but that I wasn't going to run to her every time she whimpered. If she was still crying after a few minutes, I would pick her up and calm her down again, rocking and patting. Then, lay her back down with her Sugar B (blankie)  and Sock Monkey. I was VERY consistent with this pattern. I didn't alter it in any way. I think that is the most important part.

This took a bit longer than the traditional "Cry it Out" method (which is supposed to take 2 or 3 nights) but I am happy to say, that after one week of my own style sleep training, Baby Scarlett sleeps through the night, only waking up once around 11 pm!

My point in this story is that Dr's tell you what is right, magazines and books can tell you what you are supposed to be doing, friends give their advice, but all you really need is your own instinct. I knew that sleep training didn't work for my baby so I made my own changes and it worked. What worked for Scarlett might not work for your baby. You have to listen to your instinct and adapt to your baby.

As a lot of you knew, I was scared to bring Baby Scarlett home from the hospital. I actually wanted to stay in the hospital because I didn't know what to expect or what I would do with her once I got home. I laugh now because, just like many mothers told me,  it came so naturally. God equipped us with everything we need to nurture, protect and love our babies, including instinct.

My advice to any mamas out there with babies who won't sleep or any issue, for that matter: Take your own advice. Go with what your Mama Instinct tells you. Try what you think will work, be CONSISTENT and don't give up.

    Yours Truly,
A Happy, Well Rested Mama

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