ahhhhhhh, sleep. to sleep-train or not? to provide a super-quiet insulated environment, or teach the baby to cope with background noise? to put her down drowsy/awake/already passed out? paci or no? when to swaddle -- and when to ditch the swaddle?
the only things i've figured out over the past 6 months about baby sleep is that:
a) babies REALLY vary -- from those little magical munchkins who STTN ("sleep-through-the-night") at 4-6 weeks* to those who want to throw a party every night at 11 pm. and 1 am. and 2, and 3, and 4, and 5.
b) everyone is really passionate about what they think is right.
i will say this: i'm guessing that most babies lie in BETWEEN the two extremes, including ours.
so i'll just dedicate the rest of this post to describing our experiences, and saying what has worked for us. remember, BABIES ARE DIFFERENT! but i do think it could be helpful to read a few different perspectives to really see that, and to get some ideas. so here are some of our experiences . . .
consolidation of sleep: at 6.5 months old, miss a. has yet to sleep through the night. FINALLY she is getting close -- last night she made it 10 hours (7 pm - 5:15am!). but that's recent. before, nearly every night of her life has been broken into 2-3 pieces by feedings, and i truly believe that she's been hungry and has needed to eat at those times! i chose not to try sleep training for four reasons:
a) i'm a wimp
b) she has always been very good about going RIGHT back to sleep after eating, so it hasn't been that bad. and it's 1-2 wakeups per night, not 6.
c) i thought it would help my breastmilk supply to keep these feedings, especially if she naturally wants to do them. and you all know how i feel about this issue :)
d) i really think she was hungry at those times -- perhaps due to my inability to pump out 20+ oz/day, but also because she can't handle huge feedings at once (at one pont she was spitting up so much on just 5 oz bottles that she went through MULTIPLE costume changes daily at day care).
she has naturally started to go longer as solids were introduced, so right now i'm glad i've just gone with the flow. will we have to train later to get her to REALLY go through the night? maybe. but i'll worry about that when the time comes.
swaddling/sleep environment: miss a LOVED her swaddles until they just couldn't contain her anymore! we finally gave them up at about 4 months and switched to sleep sacks. this wasn't nearly as terrible of a transition as i was expecting. we had a harder time getting her adjusted to the crib from the rock 'n' play basinet -- but that happened at around 5 (i think?) months and now she seems very comfortable in there. if i had any regrets, it's that i wish i had stressed about these transitions less!
soothing to sleep: we were HUGE proponents of the 5 S's during the early months: suck/swaddle/side/ssshhh/swing. a didn't have colic but sometimes the bedtime hour was a struggle and it was defnitely her fussiest time. with all 5 in full gear, though, she usually succumbed to sleep. i've always let her breastfeed to go to sleep, and still do this every night at bedtime and for most naps. some might say i'm building a bad habit, but honestly it truly feels like a natural part of the routine, and weissbluth says it's ok! josh sometimes does put her down for naps on the weekend without any milk involved, so she's not 100% dependent.
daytime sleep = nighttime sleep? so i love dr. weissbluth and his ideas of sleep begetting sleep -- but i honestly haven't found this tenet to hold true for miss a. sometimes her day care naps are HORRENDOUS, and other times they are good. but her nights don't seem to vary much, and i can't make out any sort of pattern. clearly it would be better for her to take solid naps, but not doing so every day hasn't been the disaster that healthy sleep habits makes it out to be. and i'm thankful for this, since i otherwise love day care and think it is a great place for a.
that about sums it up! i know i'm opening a can of worms but . . . if you have experience to share (especially if they have been unique/outside the norm) i know that other moms (and mothers to be) would love to read them. (as would i). please, no fighting over CIO though! we as mothers ALL want the same thing for our kids: health and happiness. i truly believe there are MANY ways of getting there!
* apparently both josh AND i were like this. our lucky parents!Check out the Huggies Mommy Answers Facebook app and find more posts from bloggers sharing their experiences of motherhood on the Huggies page on BlogHer.com.