Ask any mom, and she will tell you, the sound of her baby’s voice is the sweetest symphony one can hear. The coos, the giggles, the incomprehensible babble….all of it, pure poetry. But despite the sweet serenity of those moments, inevitably, night falls and it is time for sleep….at least that is how most of our internal adult clocks are programmed. Baby clocks? Well, suffice to say, they are often very different than our own. When the moon rises, the coos and giggles often turn to cries, screams, and mournful grumbles. As days blend into nights and nights inevitably turn to dawn, the sleepless hours can become tiresome (in more ways than one) and eventually the lack of rest will take its toll on even the most “super” of the Super Moms.
So, the question that comes next….How do we get this sweet babe to sleep through the night? I mean, we love them with all our heart and soul, but oh, what we wouldn’t give for 8….or 7….OK, we’ll take 5, hours of solid sleep. Do we let them “Cry it out” and subject ourselves to the heart-wrenching period of hearing our little love cry? Or do we swoop in and sooth them but sacrifice that precious amount of “alone” time? The question is not an easy one and one that moms often have very strong opinions about one way or another. Today, as we strive to Love More and Judge Less, we hear from Krystle and Nichole on this topic and how they came to the decision that was best for their families. Because, as we know, that is all that really matters…..
Krystle – Baby-lead Training
“I always pictured myself being a “cry-it-out” mama. I thought I would love having a set schedule and would have no problem letting my babies cry for a little bit in order to promote good sleep. Once I had babies though, that all changed, as most other parts of motherhood do too!
Since I nursed my children, most times they would just fall asleep. I would just lay on my bed and nurse them into milk-drunk sleep! As I had more than one child, this served as a resting time for me too! Since I found it to be really peaceful and restful for the baby and I, we decided to just go with it. This did mean that I was up many, many times at night nursing. I almost didn’t even realize it since I would just turn to the other side, and my baby and I would fall right back asleep once they started nursing. I actually found that I got MORE sleep doing this than if I were to wake myself up to get up, feed the baby, then lay them back down to sleep.
Ultimately it was the crying that stopped me from doing the “cry-it-out” method. It was so hard to hear my baby cry when I knew that I could comfort them and help them back to sleep so easily. I decided after my first, that with future babies I would just start them in my bed from the get-go that way we were both getting the maximum amount of sleep at night! It was just so much easier and went with the natural flow of our family.
Since all my kids have slept with me from the start, it has ended up that we co-sleep as a family. There are five of us and our bed is FULL to say the least! It makes for some sore bodies and restless nights on occasion for my husband and I, but I do sleep much better with my babes at my side and have given into that rather than fighting it.”
Nichole – Sleep Training (“Cry it Out”)
“With only 336 hours left of my maternity leave (2 weeks), I knew that sleep training my daughter was the way to go, most days I was lucky to get in a shower as I often chose naps over daily douses under the water. Sleep exhaustion became a way of being and I couldn’t imagine returning to work that tired, I knew it wouldn’t work for us. Luckily, I had been preparing for sleep training since week 2, first by identifying a natural sleep pattern during the day, scheduling her feedings, ensuring she was a healthy weight, and finally by decreasing our dependence on “The five S’s,” starting at about 8 weeks. So, on the day she turned 10 weeks old, all snuggly in her pink pajama, I nursed her and still awake but groggy I laid her softly in her crib in her room. I tip-toed backwards out her room, closed the door as quietly as I could and nervously walked downstairs. I handed the device to my husband who was stationed on the couch, and rushed to my room as to not see the expected flashing red lights on the monitor. I did not last even five minutes before I thought I heard her cry for me, my cheeks flushed and my ducts were activated, I creeped out into the living room and tried to sneak a peek of the screen. “She’s fine.” He said. “She’s CRYING isn’t she?! Just tell me!” I responded. “Just relax, she’ll be fine.” I went back to the room, counting down until 10pm – dream feed time! “BEEP! BEEP! BEEP!” the alarm on my phone woke me up. I hadn’t even realized I’d fallen asleep. I practically ran upstairs, and there she was, arms out to her side with tight little fists nestled next to her ears. I picked her up, her head landing perfectly on my shoulder – I breathed in. There it was, THE most perfect smell.
I had to do my best to rouse her, this would be our last and only feed for the night.
I placed her gently in the crib, keeping the room and environment as dark and quiet as I could.
This time as I descended down the stairs, I heard her – a muffled cry.
I went to bed, this time a little bit of joy in the freedom of my night or at least the next 8.5 hours to myself. I fell asleep, and was startled by alarm.
7am. I shook my husband’s arm – HARD.
“Oh my gosh, check the monitor . . . is it on? I don’t hear her.”
“She is asleep.” He said.
“She did it!” I jumped out of bed and practically flew up the stairs.
Kisses upon kisses were delivered. We made it.
Three days later and it was done, not a bleep of red or cry to be heard from the monitor.
For our family, this was the best decision we made, for both our girls and ourselves.”
There you have it mamas. Cry-it Out or Baby-lead, choosing how your family will approach sleep-training is a difficult, often unanticipated, decision. And when it boils down to it, we once again do what is best for our families. Regardless of what our friends, our foes, our neighbors, or our families believe to be the “right” thing to do, we follow our mama instincts and usually, they are right. Join us….let’s Love More and Judge Less.