Sleep Training, Part 4: The Gentle Way

I am obsessed with baby sleep right now and I’m on my fourth book on sleep training. Not that I’m having a lot of trouble, I just find baby sleep fascinating! Two books were dumped on me when I was pregnant and had no real idea about what to expect about the lack of sleep I would soon be getting. Looking back, I did not take people seriously when they told me I would be sleep-deprived for months on end. How could I possibly focus on sleep when I was about to give birth and prepare for a new baby? The first book I got was On Becoming Babywise from a coworker. She said it didn’t work for her because in Korea everyone lives in apartments and it would be really hard to just let your baby cry. I read it here and there while I was pregnant but I was totally confused by it. Unless you are directly experiencing baby induced sleep deprivation, you really can’t fathom the purpose of sleep training. The next book I got was Save Our Sleep. This book was not for me. Too regimented and the author’s time made her seem like a know-it-all to me. I also found her schedules for breastfeeding a little off. I don’t understand why she says to express your breast on the right side at one point in the day, then express from your left at another. I think this book is better suited for bottle fed babies. Then I got Sleeping Through the Night, which I found pretty reasonable. Her writing is based on real science of how babies sleep. The only trouble with this book is you might have to let the baby ‘cry it out’ but she does offer some flexibility and some options for those who do not wish to use the CIO method. Finally, after reading on DR. Sears’ web page and from a suggestion from a friend, I got The No Cry Sleep Solution. I really like this book and it actually made me cry a couple of times! I found this book to be much more laid back and it offers gradual plans so you’re not stressing your child and yourself out. If you’re nursing or cosleeping and are having sleep issues, then this is the book for you. She is also nonjudgmental and flexible in her plans. She puts things into perspective and is honest in a very loving way. I read online that a lot of people had trouble with this book because you have to do some logging of your baby’s sleep patterns and you have to make a plan and routine to put your baby to sleep, so it requires some patience and effort. I actually like this because it looks very organized and everything is written out, that way, in your sleep-deprived state you can’t miss anything. Ok well I’m only on day one, so I might get mad later on and throw it out the window but for now I like it.

Now each of these books share some common advice. First, you need a solid schedule, you should introduce a lovey, you should put your baby to bed when he/she is sleepy not asleep and make it a habit when he/she is born, and a good bedtime ritual and early bedtime is imperative to a good night’s sleep.

My main problem right now is that my baby needs me for her naps and she nurses through her naps. I kind of enjoy it but I also would like the option of setting her down in her crib. My other problem is that she has gotten into this weird habit of waking up exactly 45 minutes into her sleep at night. So if I put her down at seven, she will inevitably wake up at 7:45 and then be wide awake. According to Babywise, this is the “45 minute intruder” it’s as scary as it sounds. I can’t wait to see the 45 minute intruder go.

The first step in Elizabeth Pantley’s book is charting naps, bedtime routine, and night wakings. I completed my logs yesterday and last night. Yesterday was a particularly bad day for baby sleep so I have some good info to work with. Based on my logs, I can see that my bedtime routine needs to be more consistent, I need to keep my house dark and quiet one hour before bedtime, and I need to implement some strategies to help my baby stop sucking to sleep. Also, my baby gets about two hours less than the average baby her age.

So, Patenly’s shtick is the ‘Patenly’s Pull-Off Method.’ And you use this is your baby always needs to nurse to sleep. The way I understand it is that every day you gradually pull the baby off the nipple by holding her mouth shut for longer intervals until she can go to sleep without sucking. But if she cries or fusses, you should be real chill about it and let her nurse.

Much like the other book I read, Sleeping through the Night, you are not to mess with Baby’s naps because naps affect nighttime sleep. So as I write, my baby is sleeping on my lap!

In ten days, I will log my progress and compare it to where I am now. I can’t wait to see what kind of progress we can make or I might get mad at this book too and just give up on baby sleep! See you in ten days!

2 thoughts on “Sleep Training, Part 4: The Gentle Way

    • Thanks! Well last night was day one and she was not crazy about the Pantley Pull-off but today at nap time she let go of my nipple so that’s something! And thanks for the video, we tried CIO for a few days but it was just too upsetting and then she got a cold so I had to stop. I think Dr. Sears may really be onto something! Wow and after eight kids I’m sure he knows what he’s taking about.

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