Thursday, October 2, 2008

more interruptions

I don't remember exactly WHY it was so very important that I sit down here and write this post (interrupting both the WORK that I've been working on and the 30-word posts) - but here we are. Upon my request, Chip has forbidden me to search the internet for any more "baby sleep nap pattern" business because OH MY HOLY MOLY I CAN'T TAKE ANY MORE INFORMATION. Just when I'm thinking, Okay, this is going to work, this feels right --BAM-- I make the mistake of reading another "helpful" article about baby sleep patterns and I'm spinning again.

What is "normal"?
What is "typical"?
What is "should"?
These little nuggets of comparison are enough to make a person absolutely stinking crazy. How about that one, experts: WHAT IS "CRAZY"? Me me me. That's what crazy is. The mother who is trying to find some kind of pathway through this thing and she's totally overwhelmed with a million conflicting bits of information, most notably: her daughter, who seems to defy common "normal" "typical" "sense".

Some of my favorites:
Babies will sleep until their typical wake-up time, with no relation to when you put them to bed. In other words, you can put a baby to sleep early and she'll still wake up at her typical wake-up time, if at bit more rested.
You say? Really? Because I have a little one who has a remarkable internal clock that starts dangling madly at the 9 1/2 hour mark. Put her to bed at 7pm, she wakes up 4:30am. Put her to bed at 8pm, she wakes up at 5:30am. And so on.

I put my baby to bed at 7pm, but wake him at 11pm for a night feeding - and then he sleeps through the night, waking at 7am. Works like a charm.
And again: REALLY? Because I wouldn't dream of waking Bean up. For any reason. Because dude, if I woke her to feed her she'd be ready to party for a good few hours. I'm not doing that madness at midnight. And quite frankly, I'd be afraid to even TRY IT for fear that she'd decide that midnight was a good time to resume the middle-of-the-night snacking.

And another:
If you find that your baby has flipped over in the night, don't worry. Most babies at this age (7 months) will move during the night - there is less need to worry as her risk of SIDS is drastically decreased.
I don't know about SIDS, but if Alice is moving enough to actually flip herself over in the night, she's awake. And she lets me know about it. There is no "moving through the night". There is only "smacking oneself in the head at night" and also "gouging one's ears during the night". We still swaddle her, and I'm of the opinion that she still needs it because darn, she is a restless little sleeper.

I'm so sorry. This whole week has really melted into a pool of sleep-related goo, hasn't it? Don't get me wrong - so far, the whole getting-Bean-to-nap-in-a-more-consistent-way plan is going absolutely swimmingly. She's a natural, and there has been very little coercing Alice into anything, excepting keeping her awake longer than normal. And she's a trooper. So I have very little to complain about here. It's just... doesn't this whole Sleep Landscape just give you HIVES? I mean, there are some Very Big Opinions out there about baby sleep. REALLY BIG. And if you're not a mom, let me just tell you that if that time comes for you, you're going to hear a lot of these opinions. The CIO (cry it out), the Ferberizing (a dot on the spectrum of CIO), the attachment parenting model. And everything in between. It's a lot of information. A lot of opinion. A lot of experts telling you that you might ruin your kid if you don't do things their way. A lot of stuff to wade through until you get to the other side and think, I'm going to have to feel my way because no one (NO ONE) has the one single answer that is going to fit.

I should just come clean and tell you that I fall on the somewhat hippie free-wheeling end of the sleep spectrum. We co-slept until Bean was nearly five months old (and she slept in our bed, not even in the bassinet that we had set up in our room). We have practiced attachment parenting in all its glory: night feedings, baby wearing, and soothing baby to sleep. We have ignored our pediatrician every time she has told us that letting the baby cry herself to sleep was normal and was perfectly safe, if we could handle it. I don't think that anyone is the devil for doing this stuff themselves, I'm just saying that this wasn't for us.* Alice is a pretty sensitive little kid. And whatever, maybe every mom says this about her baby, but I'm standing by it: I'm a wee bit sensitive (you: REALLY?), as is Chip. So it would make sense that we have a little emotional bundle of joy. She's amazing and special. But she needs a little bit of finesse.

So here we are. With all my free-wheeling sensibilities I also know that things need to be done: house needs to be cleaned, work needs to be completed, meals prepared, showers taken. And for momma to do any of this, little baby girl needs her beauty rest. Which is why I'm trying to urge Alice into a more humane (to me, anyway) sleep pattern. So what do I do? What does any well-meaning, blogging, twenty-first century person do? She checks the internet. And then hits herself over the head with a shovel. Repeatedly. Because my goodness, the sheer VOLUME of opinion.

In the end, I've had to do what I've done when buying our digital camera or car. Set a limit. Do my research. And in the end, close my eyes and pick the one that feels best.

I'll let you know if any of the small parts get lost in the mail, okay?

*As disclaimery as a disclaimer can get: Whatever works for you. Your mileage may vary. I'm not going to judge. I don't want to set off any sort of sleep war over here at The Creamery because we're all too nice and civil for that, yes???? Let's just be friennnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnds, regardless of our sleep theories!


Kathy said...

I love reading your posts! I slept most of my kids on their stomachs because that was how they slept best. Felt terribly guilty about it but the need for sleep won out! Kylie slept in bed with me across my stomach because that was how she slept best. After 5kids I can tell you there is no normal. Do what works for you.

Maggie said...

I'm so glad that it's working for you! I hope that you come out at the end of the week with a perfect for you nap schedule!

wandering nana said...

I'm sorry but I have to say this. QUIT reading, throw out all those stupid books which are the opinions of the person who wrote them and they use the research they believe in. I have raised 5 children and have 11 grands. I'm not an expert but they all lived and have turned out to be wonderful people. All 5 of my children slept on their stomachs. My car seat was the carrier and it was strapped in next to me in the front seat (now I do support the car seat rules as we drive faster). I didn't read one book. I had family that had children so if there was something I didn't know I would call them. I had Dr. Spock's book but I only used it for illness questions. That was the book everyone had been using to raise kids and then they came out and said throw it away as the Spock generation were a waste. I just think we are getting too caught up in what is normal. Some children walk ar 9 months, others ar 14 months. Which one is the norm or should we let the child be successful no matter when they do it.There are tooooo many theories out there for you poor moms. My mom was in another state when I had my first. I tried to do the best I could and made sure she was fed, dry, and loved. I really think you're a great mom and you have done a great job and you're not doing anything wrong. Throw the books away, because the one's writing the books don't know your sweet little girl and what she is like. She is not like anyone else, she is unique and you are her mom who knows her best. You are wonderful.

Whimsy said...

You're all very sweet - and yes, I am OFF the internet about the sleeping because it was making me nuts. Luckily I felt pretty darn sure of myself before reading anything - it was the little theories and opinions that were so totally OPPOSITE of what Alice does that just mystified me. That, and I wanted to see what other people were ***doing*** just because this whole deal is so new to me.

tearese said...

Yes, people are VERY opinionated about sleep methods. We also kept Elora in our bed for about five months. She started sleeping better in the crib, but it may be that I couldn't hear her.
Josh slept in our room (But in the bassinet) for eight months, at which point I sometimes put him in a crib in the other room. But he still occasionally slept in our bedroom until I was scared he'd fall out of the bassinet.
I've heard the 'wake the baby at 11' thing numerous times, but I too was scared to ever do it. Besides, my kids have never gone to bed at the ridiculous hour of seven. Ha!

Kristi said...

I think each kid is different, and there is no right answer. I was super lucky because Kaeli never had any sleep issues. She went from the bassinet to her crib, and slept throught the night.

Kids are different. Different things work for different kids, and it's most important to feel comfortable in you method.

angelalois said...

I woke Wes-man once at 10 pm and it backfired and he was up every 2 hours after that. So never again. Ahh baby sleep. I love it and I hate it. Good luck. I know how you feel. The thing that gets me is "they" say this is something we have to "teach" our children, the same as we teach them to eat or go potty or brush their teeth. As if I didn't have enough to worry about, now they can't even sleep without my gentle hand.

Eleanor Q. said...

I read loads of books and talked to all my friends with kids and I finally decided that you just have to play around and find something that works for you. We're on a good daytime schedule but now our nights have gone to pot. I have no idea why (food? growing? just because?) but I think with this whole "sleep" thing you have to be flexible and take a long term view of things.