The morning after CIO
Emily slept through the night last night, although I did not.
I was awake on and off all night, thinking about how she cried herself to sleep and how horrible it made me feel. I was exhausted all day today but Emily seemed her normal, happy self. She napped on schedule and ate on schedule and was talkative and smiley. I see that she is "fine" today after last night but I am not and I have decided that CIO is not right for Emily because it is not right for me. I have always been a fairly laid-back parent as far as I believe in following my gut-instinct and doing what feels right for me, rather than following some rigorous schedule dictated by a book or website and it has served me well thus far. I didn't feel right about last night and my anxiety over it kept me up most of the night.
I did some research and found an exerpt about Dr. Sears on Babycenter.com:
William Sears is the nation's chief proponent of "attachment parenting," an approach to child-rearing that emphasizes physical and emotional closeness between parent and child. Sears, a pediatrician, has developed his parenting philosophy over years of experience working directly with children and families. His approach is also informed by non-Western childrearing practices, and by his own experience as the father of eight children.I was intrigued so, I decided to go to AskDr.Sears.com and read more about his philosophies and I found an article he wrote called; 8 INFANT SLEEP FACTS EVERY PARENT SHOULD KNOW. I was so moved and inspired that I decided to purchase his book about sleep and just started reading it tonight.
He is not a fan of the Ferber Method or any method that allows an infant to CIO because 30 years of research has concluded that these "insensitive" sleep trainers lead most children to associate sleep with feeling abandoned and anxious. It is also his position that there is nothing wrong with these methods if your child's temperament is accepting of them... not all babies/children have success with these methods. He instructs that sleep is supposed to be a healthy, positive, comfortable, safe part of the day and it is our job as parents to make it as such.
In his opinion, the best bedtime routine is for baby to fall asleep is when they are warm, just as they were in the womb:
- Warm bath
- Warm breast/bottle
- Warm arms
- Warm bed
Give baby a warm bath or a gentle massage to begin the bedtime routine. Nurse baby or give warm formula. Then, cuddle baby in mom or dad's warm arms. Finally, place baby to sleep in a warm bed by throwing his/her sheets or blanket into the dryer for a few seconds.
He goes into detail about all the various ways you can put baby to sleep (rocking, swaddling, "wearing down" and "driving down", singing, rubbing/patting, etc.) and he calls it all "parenting to sleep", which basically means mom and dad helping put baby to sleep, not just putting them down awake and letting them self-soothe. This is the method we have been using all along but were unaware of and had begun to doubt was correct because Emily's sleep habits have been inconsistent. After reading parts of his book tonight, I realized that we are doing what we feel is right for Emily and, that because her sleep habits have been so inconsistent, she may be experiencing growth or is teething.
I like Dr. Sears' philosophy a lot because he starts out by saying it's OK to use any method you feel most comfortable with, even if it's not one of his because he strongly believes that what works for one baby will not work for all babies.
His book made me feel OK that we have to "parent" Emily to sleep, that she wakes up to eat once during the night, that she needs help going back to sleep several times a night and that she co-sleeps with us part of the night... he validated my feelings that some babies need more help getting and staying to sleep than others. His book helped me to understand that some babies are "high-needs" babies and others are not, which is why there are so many different methods and techniques to begin with. I also really like the fact that he uses research and his experience with his own eight children to support his ideals rather than just saying; "It's my way or the highway", like some other sleep trainers do. He helps you to be open to all possibilities and encourages you to try everything, even things you were originally against (like co-sleeping) and he reminds you that parenting doesn't stop at nighttime; it's important to keep parenting at night, even though all you really want is to sleep!
It's so hard being a mother and feeling pressure from society, your family, your friends with babies, your Pediatrician and strangers that feel the need to offer their unsolicited advice regarding your baby's sleep issues and your parenting style!
I'm just glad I found Dr. Sears and am hoping that I can find peace within myself and allow myself to believe there is nothing wrong with Emily and there is nothing wrong with our parenting style.