Tuesday, April 07, 2009

maybe I'll just write a book

I wouldn't be writing the book because I think I'm in any way an expert. On anything.

Just that sometimes it helps me to write things down... it organizes my thoughts and makes things seem more concrete when I put words to the floating notions in my brain. (Hence the blog, right?)

My thoughts the past few nights have turned toward my philosophy on babies and sleeping. Hazel had a rather rough first year of life when it came to sleep - naptime, nighttime, you name it - we struggled. But somewhere around her 1st birthday we began to hit a rhythm, and she's been doing (mostly) really well since then.

Except for the slightly undesirable trend of the past few nights... which is to wake up sometime between 2:00am and 4:00am, and proceed to NOT fall back asleep for an hour or more. Usually more.

In the wee small hours of the morning, this tired mama has plenty of time to ponder what I'll affectionately dub "Sleep Tactics."

I read just about every sleep-baby book out there. Lots of great ideas, none of which work in entirety. Trial and error and piecing together bits of "expert" advice have led me to these conclusions (at least in reference to this particular baby of mine...):

1. I DO NOT believe in letting a baby cry it out. I have a physical reaction when my child is screaming, and it actually pains me to not provide comfort.

2. That being said - I do believe in letting a baby FUSS it out. There's a big difference - and Hazel often needs a few minutes of fuss-time in order to unwind and fall asleep. I think it's akin to the tossing/turning/pillow-shuffling we often do before falling asleep. I don't go into Hazel's room as soon as I hear a peep or two... but I will go in once "peeping" becomes screaming.

3. I believe that babies probably will learn to fall asleep "on their own" faster if you let them cry it out. However - I mostly believe that they're learning that you won't come and answer them if they cry - not necessarily how to self-soothe. I know that I've created a Sleep Tactic system that is more work for me by NOT letting Hazel scream in the middle of the night... but I'm okay with that.

4. Learning to ignore the shrieks of my child is not a lesson in which I am interested. I want her to trust that I will comfort her when she cries, and that her daddy and I are nearby. Sometimes a kid just needs an extra snuggle or two to fall back asleep. And since my little lady will only be little for a short while, I'm willing to oblige.

5. EVERYTHING I've just said works for me - not necessarily for any other mama. Or any other baby, for that matter. I could be totally changing my tune in a few months. But this is what I've developed with Hazel and I - and even though I'm sleepier today than I want to be, I feel confident in the choices I've made regarding how to handle our nighttime dates. And that's a good feeling.

However, if I happened to find an instruction book that God wrote just for Hazel's Mama... I'd throw away all my own nonsense and follow it letter for letter. :)

3 thoughts:

Dilyn said...

hey katie!
one of my greatest role models, Missy Phillips, was my athletic trainer back in high school when i had all my knee problems...i just found her babies blog today and thought you might like reading it!i think you guys are about the same age and her baby girl is two months younger than Hazel...she is the athletic trainer at East Lansing HS now and she and Derek live in Laingsberg, so i'm not sure what church they are involved in, but they are a great fam! :)


his wife, their mama said...

Isn't it great to be able to come to terms with how you parent and knowing that what you and Mark do is best for you, no matter what the "experts" say? I feel like I've spent more time second guessing myself than being comfortable in my/our decisions because of so many baby experts! If you wrote a book that simply stated paragraph 5, I'd buy it in a heartbeat, although I guess I probably wouldn't have to since you just released the info here! That's just the reassuring I need every now and then, that I really do know what's best for all my wee ones and it's different for each of them! Oh, if you do happen to find an instruction book from God, please let me know where so I can hunt mine down too!

Julie said...

I think you've already found the book that God wrote just for you!

It all comes down to doing what is best for your family. What 'works' for some family's doesn't work for others. Sure, it's fun to swap stories and ideas with each other. But, you make the decisions. And, those decisions are always the best!