Thursday, September 22, 2016

Babywise with a Completely Different Child

Carson is now 10 weeks old. By this time with Miles, he was sleeping through the night and I was back at work. With Miles, we sleep trained him using the Babywise philosophy. I am a huge fan. It worked so well with Miles and throughout most of his life, he's been a great sleeper. He's had a few rough patches along the way, but I hear of kids his age getting up several times a night. We don't have that issue and I attribute it all to Babywise. Since Carson was born early and has been dealing with some stomach issues, we haven't done any sleep training. I tried a few times to lay him in his crib while he was still awake and he cried so hard that he choked.

Carson is very comfortable on his stomach. I think he would do so much better if he could sleep like this, but it's just not safe yet. We let him have some tummy time when we are able to keep a close eye on him. Once he can roll over by himself, we will let him turn himself over and go to sleep if he puts himself there. 


I started telling myself that he has a different personality than Miles and that maybe Babywise just wouldn't work for him. However, if I'm being honest, lately he's been wearing me out. He wants to be held all day, every day. I love to snuggle with him, but it's exhausting to be needed all day. I picked up the Babywise book to see if they had any advice for babies like Carson. Of course they did. I read chapters 7 & 8, "When Your Baby Cries" and "Colic, Reflux, and the Inconsolable Baby". I was immediately reminded that Babywise will work for every baby. It just takes persistence, and the end result is 100% worth it. A few notes that stood out to me:

- "The American Academy of Pediatrics recognizes crying as a natural part of a baby's day."
- "Tears shed from crying help to eliminate chemically activated stress hormones from the body."
- {Paraphrased} Some research shows that infants who were allowed to cry during the normal times in infancy were active problem solvers at one year of age. When presented with obstacles separating them from their parents they were able to maneuver back to them. Babies whose parents routinely suppressed their cries tended to sit and wait to be rescued. ***This alone is HUGE motivation for me as I want deeply for my children to be self sufficient and problem solvers.***
- "Crying for some children seems to be an art form, despite the fact that he is nurtured, loved and cared for with great devotion and intensity. Some babies have a greater propensity to cry, especially when being put down for a nap. This is not a signal that their basic needs are not being met but of the fact that some babies have a disposition to cry that we wish they did not have!"

Armed with these thoughts and a new motivation, I decided to start sleep training Carson on Tuesday. I go back to work in 3 weeks and it's important to me that he's in a better, more predictable, sleep routine. I don't do well with the unpredictability of his days now and I think kids of all ages thrive with structure. I reached out to some friends that also used Babywise to get some advice. You have to love friends that care enough to walk you through stuff like this and check on you along the way. My friend, Bethany, recommended this projection/noise machine that she used with her daughter. I told Bethany that she is my parenting advice soul mate. We worked together when Miles and her son were younger. We share many of the same thoughts on parenting and walked through many phases together. I bought the noise machine the very next morning. He can't seem to follow the projection yet, but I think the noise is making a huge difference.

The Babywise routine goes like this...bottle, then some play/awake time, then he goes down for a nap in his crib while he is still awake. The goal of Babywise is to teach children to fall asleep on their own, and get themselves back to sleep if they wake up in the middle of nap time or night time. Carson really enjoys play time. He plays on his stomach and his back.

Our first day to begin the sleep training was Tuesday and it was awful. I started it later in the day, which is also his fussy time, and he cried two times for an hour each before falling asleep. I went in every 15 minutes or so to give him his pacifier, pat him, and make sure nothing was wrong, like a dirty diaper or too hot or cold. It literally turned my stomach to listen to him cry. Plenty of people feel the 'cry it out' method is heartless, but trust me, it's the farthest thing from it. It broke my heart. I just believe so strongly that it's for his good, so I push through it. I was very happy to finally look on the monitor and see him fast asleep.

Yesterday, he only cried for 30 minutes two times. Progress! Another time he got directly in his car seat to go get Miles from school. That is never a problem for him. Surprisingly, he goes right to sleep after his last feeding of the day around 9pm, and his middle of the night feeding.  I was really happy to see him asleep with his arms so relaxed to the side one time yesterday. We are also trying to ween him from his swaddle during the day b/c I don't think that's a feasible option at daycare. He's plenty big enough to regulate his body temperature now.

Today, he is 2 for 2 with NO crying! I am amazed and relieved and also hesitant to get too excited yet. I'm reminded that sleep training doesn't take long if you are consistent. It's brutal, but the hardest period is brief. I've learned a few things with Carson. First, a monitor makes it worse. We didn't use a monitor with Miles. Now that we have one, I find myself looking at it all the time, he asleep? moving? about to wake up? The slightest whimper sounds like a harsh cry. I'm trying to turn the monitor off during the day as long as I can still hear him as I move around the house. I've also learned that if he's crying and I know there is nothing wrong, to stay busy and get things done around the house rather than just listen to him cry. It's too hard and minutes feel like hours. Lastly, he needs to be sleepier when I lay him down than Miles needed to be. Carson seems to enjoy wake time and being around people more than Miles. Miles was content to sit in a bouncy seat, but Carson likes his activity mat much more. He fights sleep big time. I've started letting him stay up a little longer and then holding and rocking to relax him before laying him down.

While he's doing a much better job of going to sleep, staying asleep is a different story. He is the ultimate cat napper. But, that is a fight for another day. Our first goal is learning to fall asleep. Staying asleep will be our next challenge. If he wakes up before I think he should, I try to let him go back to sleep on his own. If he doesn't I check on him and give him a pacifier. If that still doesn't work, I let him get up. He's been napping while I'm writing this and he's woken up and gone back to sleep on his own 3 times.

It hasn't been a fun week, but it has been productive. I feel so strongly about teaching my boys to sleep, so I'm willing to put in the work. I think it's essential for their growth, behavior, and health, both physical and emotional.  I've been doing a lot of praying this week. Obviously there are much more pressing issues than sleep training, but one of my favorite thoughts is that God cares about what we care about. Right now, I care a lot about teaching Carson to sleep. It is so important to me that he knows how to sleep when I drop him off at daycare in 3 weeks. The verse I've been repeating in my head is Psalm 5:3 "In the morning oh Lord, you hear my voice. In the morning, I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation." So, I'm praying and waiting in expectation for Carson to figure out this sleep thing.

No comments:

Post a Comment