mercredi 17 août 2011

More on sleep training for babies

A friend of mine is going through a rough period with her daughter, who refuses to sleep. As her husband said, "sleep has become a daunting event," several times a day (it's the same at naptime and nighttime). My friend told me they had started trying the Ferber method - a.k.a. the "check-and-console" method - because everyone told them it worked and they just didn't know what to do anymore. Like I said in my last post on the subject, I know a lot of people end up letting their child "cry it out" because they are at the end of their rope and it does end up working. I'm not saying I'll never do it. But of course, I don't *want* to do it because it goes completely against my maternal instincts.

Several years ago, I started buying baby books because I wanted to "read up" in advance. I do that with any topic that I want to know more about -- and raising kids is one of them. Some of the books I've bought more recently include baby sleep books, because to me, that's one of the scariest parts of having a baby: getting them to sleep so that I can sleep too! I offered to lend one of my books to my friend, _The No-Cry Sleep Solution_, since it's not like I really need it now. She said someone else had lent it to her and it didn't work for her. Which led me to googling the book title and reading another review by a parent who said it didn't work for her. Well, I knew there was no miracle solution, which is why I'm doing so much varied reading...

I ended up on a really interesting site, the "Baby Sleep Site" (, where the author writes many interesting articles about baby sleep training. She claims that "sleep training" is not the same as "letting your baby cry it out". She also says that parents should take everything they read with a grain of salt.

That's exactly what I plan to do: as I'm reading about parenting, I'm thinking that I'll make whatever method work for me without compromising my parenting philosophies. I don't think you should absolutely-never-let-your-baby-cry-at-all. I also don't think you should just go into the shower or turn loud music on so you don't hear your baby crying. I'm looking for tips on a method that's between those two extremes -- a method that works. I figure I'll use the parts of books that I like and not use the parts I don't like. For example, I bought a book called "Babywise" because someone said it had worked for her. I haven't read it yet, but apparently it encourages strict feeding routines. I think feeding on demand is healthier (just like I think eating when you're hungry is healthier, even as an adult). On the other hand, the book also recommends an eat-play-sleep schedule, which seems like a good idea.

My friend says she doesn't like to read baby books because she prefers to follow her instincts and make up her own mind rather than be told what to do. I suppose some people may read just one book and then feel obligated to follow it to the letter. I, on the other hand, want to read as much as I can, getting tips and tricks from pediatricians and other mothers. I think THEN I can make up my own mind and use whatever I feel good about. In a way, it's harder to do it this way because you DO have to deal with conflicting opinions. I'm reading several books and analysing them critically, comparing methods and not choosing just one. For example, the one thing that everyone seems to agree on is the importance of being consistent. I've also learned about the concepts of "sleep association" and the idea that nursing your baby to sleep may not be a good one if *you* want to sleep through the night. I've learned the difference between the true Ferber method (which encourages you to let your child cry for short periods of time at first, then longer and longer periods of time, going in to check on them periodically, so the child learns to fall asleep on their own) and the "cry-it-out" method, which encourages parents to simply let their child cry until they fall asleep from exhaustion.

I'm sure I'll come back to these baby posts one day and laugh at myself for thinking that I could plan ahead, but anyway...

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