Thursday, September 11, 2008

The No-Cry Sleep Solution

by Elizabeth Pantley

I am not a big fan of self-help books, but I thought I'd give this one a try. It's not that Jack doesn't sleep, it's more that he doesn't stay asleep for long (or so it seems). He seems to do a lot of cluster feeding in the beginning of his sleep cycle, waking to nurse a number of times between 8-12, and then sleeps in longer stretches from 12-8. He will not go back to sleep unless he is nursed... even if it's only for a few minutes (I let him go as long as he wants/needs too, but he typically falls asleep within 3-10 minutes).

I really don't believe that he is hungry every time he wakes up (and neither does the author), it just seems to be his only mode of comfort. Given what I've read so far, it seems this book will help me to change that so he can more easily soothe himself to sleep when he stirs at night. I've already read interesting info about sleep cycles, and why/when babies wake. One interesting thing Pantley noted was something about how she'd cry too if she woke up in the middle of the night and was laying on the kitchen floor. I didn't get her point at first, but she went on to explain how baby falls asleep all nice and cozy nestled next to mum and nursing, and then wakes alone in a crib. He probably wonders how he got there, and where his mum went (by the way, Henry calls me "Mum" so that's how I refer to myself ;o))!

I have let Jack cry it out a few times, but it never sat well with me, and I always caved long before it worked. The results were just more agitation and an even longer time to settle. Not fun. Pantley quotes another author (Jean Liedloff) and her desciption of a baby waking in the middle of the night:

"He awakes in a mindless terror of the silence, the motionlessness. He screams. He is afire from head to foot with want, with desire, with intolerable impatience. He gasps for breath and screams until his head is filled and throbbing with the sound. He screams until his chest aches, until his throat is sore. He can bear the pain no more and his sobs weaken and subside. He listens. He opens and closes his fists. He rolls his head from side to side. Nothing helps. It is unbearable. He begins to cry again, but it is too much for his strained throat; he soon stops. He waves his hands and kicks his feet. He stops, able to suffer, unable to think, unable to hope. He listens. Then he falls asleep again."

Yeah, so, anyway... pretty sure we'll never be trying the CIO method again. Like, ever. That paragraph almost moved me to tears. I can't even imagine doing that to a baby. I know people have had success with this method, but it is not for me. Just like some of the things I choose to do with my children may not be for them. We all have to find our own way, and this No Cry Sleep Solution is mine.

I've read as far as I can for now. I'm to the "homework" part of the book (this is where the self help books always lose me, but I'm sticking with this one). I have to log his sleep patterns three times. At naptime, before bed, and through the night. I will do separate posts for each of them as I'm planning to use this not only for information to any readers who might drop by, but also for my own reference as I work my way through the program.

From now on, I will refer to the No Cry Sleep Solution as NCSS, and will also make a separate label for these posts in case you'd like to track the progress in one place.

Wish me luck!

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