Sunday, January 27, 2008

Day 127 - Let Sleeping Babies Lie

As mentioned yesterday, we spoke to our pediatrician about developing good sleeping habits for the kids. Andrew is already a pretty decent sleeper. For the past few weeks, he has been sleeping between six and ten hours a night; sometimes longer with an Ambien. Quite often we'll walk to the crib in the morning and he'll be awake smiling and staring at the mobile

On the other hand, Emma is not a very good sleeper. We need to bounce her, rock her, shake her, yell at her, and plead with her. Many times when we think she's asleep, we'll place her in the crib and she'll start to cry immediately. Then we start the whole process over again with one difference: now we're crying.

There seems to be two basic lines of thinking when putting your baby to bed: soothe them when they cry or let them cry it out. The argument against soothing your baby in the middle of the night is that you spoil them and they are unable to learn to put themselves to sleep. Conversely, some people believe if you allow to let your baby cry themselves to sleep, you scar them and a lack of trust is established.

Before getting to what the good doctor told us to do, my opinion on this is based on one simple fact: THEY'RE FOUR MONTHS OLD. I'm not saying that babies are stupid and don't know anything (although find an adult who poops their pants and says "bababa" all day and we'll revisit this thought). All I'm saying is which ever line of thinking you take with sleeping, I think your baby is probably way too young to be affected negatively either way. Which means when your baby grows up he is neither going to be spoiled and expect a BMW nor is he going to be so pissed and want to run you over with a stolen BMW.

So what did our pediatrician suggest? After we told her our problem with putting Emma to sleep, she suggested that we let her cry it out. A few nights (or weeks? gulp...) of crying isn't going to damage our relation with Emma, and it will teach her to soothe herself to sleep. The doctor also suggested that we stop swaddling the kids and remove the sleep positioners from the crib. The main point she said regarding the cry-it-out method is to NOT pick her up at all. You can go in and visit and pat and massage and reassure, but do NOT pick her up. Which in and of itself is a blessing since she's such a heifer.

We've been trying this method for the past few nights with Emma. The first night she cried for over an hour. We would check her every 10-15 minutes just to pat her and tell her to shuddup. Then a little after an hour the crying stopped. We thought Andrew might've taken his bunny blanket and smothered her, but Emma was just in the crib staring at the mobile. And after another 5-10 minutes, she fell asleep.

On day two, she was a little fussy after her last feeding. We put her on a blanket in the living room while we were cleaning up and getting ready for bed. And the next thing we know she was asleep!

On day three, she was once again a little fussy (you see a pattern here?). After I calmed her down, I put her in the crib. And whatd'ya know? She fell asleep!

Today is day four, and Lisa is next to me holding her because she was a little...yes...fussy. It's a little past 11pm so hopefully we can calm her down and plop her in the crib

I grabbed my trusty video camera and took this little clip of what it is like for us every night. I decided to film the kids because I'm sure you're wondering how Andrew reacts to all of this crying since they still share a crib.


kevin said...

It looks as though Andrew has learned how to completely tune out women ...

A useful life skill taught to him by his father? =D

mynameisanne said...

emma just wants some chicken!

Anonymous said...

Andrew is sooo cute! Ten years from now, you'll forget how hard it was to get them to sleep at night, trust me.