Baby Sleep Challenges: Update.

This post doesn’t count as a post because it’s an update.  I know I said something about food next, and there is plenty of fodder fighting to fill that slot, but quickly, a word from sleep baby central.

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We just completed our fourth night of Dub sleeping in his own crib.  I am amazed and grateful and excited for the future.  He seems really cool with it, even though he protested a bit a few times.  I’ll spare you the details of minutes of crying and hours of sleeping, and just give you the lowdown on what I think I’m learning.

What I know is working in my favor regarding night sleep is that I waited to let Dub cry alone, ever, until just the other night.  He is over 6 months now, and when I go in to comfort him he knows the sentiment of what I’m saying.  I’ve repeated it to comfort him for months now so he absolutely seems reassured and even if it doesn’t work right away, he eventually does let go and go to sleep.  He hasn’t cried longer than 13 minutes in a row these last four days, and that once was the only time it was over 10 minutes.  I didn’t just leave him either.  I set times and went in and would pick him up and soothe him back down.  He is a baby, I get that, but he also has a very clear preference to be with me so I get that he is protesting not having me.  He is not scared, wet, or hungry.  Just plain tired.

I mention his age because I don’t think I could have handled letting him cry when he was younger and he really didn’t know what was happening.  I am happy I waited until now, and that am not waiting until he is a year or older and is very set in what he prefers.

Here is Dub the morning I went in to get him.  He woke up happy a whole hour after his normal 5:30am wake up.

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I think that once you reach a point, and especially if you really know your baby, the CIO isn’t as horrific as it seems.  This is only my opinion, and I’m lucky that so far Dub doesn’t cry a ton.  I can’t imagine if he were to cry for a whole hour, and I know some parents have to deal with that and it’s horrible, and I’m not speaking to that.  I just never thought I would allow any crying at all, but I’ve come to see that some crying is okay.  Some.

IMG_0633(Dub: “Oh my gosh, you detachment parent!”)

Someone recently told me that African mothers let their babies cry because it’s good for them.  I’m like “The entire continent of Africa?  All of them?  You have nothing more specific for me?”  I hardly ever believe people unless they have a youtube video to back up their story these days anyway.  I have no idea what the specifics are to this African mother thing, but from what I’ve witnessed it could be that crying releases energy that an immobile baby just can’t get out, because they can’t just get up and run around.  Learning to soothe themselves to sleep is a talent they will use for the rest of their lives.  Crying is an emotional outlet, and sometimes it just feels good.

I say all of this because until now I thought it was bad bad bad.  I do think there is a bad way to do it, but with attentiveness, love, and vigilance I think transitioning my baby to his crib was a really good thing for him in the long run (and definitely for me).

It’s just that sleep is what babies need almost more than anything else in order to grow and develop and thrive.  Their brains need it, and sometimes they need help to get it.  Sometimes help looks kind of strange, like telling them they need to sleep when they don’t want to, and letting them cry when they protest.  It’s just so worth it when my guy is well rested and truly happier than he has ever been because he got some much-needed sleep.

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He cries, my heart hurts for him, but then he wakes up and has this kind of day?  WORTH IT.

-Bee

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