Thursday, October 11, 2012

sleep right sleep tight - a review

if you're not a parent to a baby with sleep problems, stop reading this post now! [it'll be boring]
this is a review on the "Sleep right sleep tight" book by Tweddle health 

like most other new parents we were anticipating sleepless nights before our baby was born, was never in a milion years would i have anticipated getting only 1-2 hours of sleep every day for months! When our baby was 4 weeks old i was so sleep deprived i was constantly in a zombie-like state, cranky, miserable and couldn't concentrate on anything, much less enjoy our baby.

everyone gave us advice but they mostly didn't work because either
1- i was too tired to concentrate on listening to their advice anyway or
2- they were just telling me what worked for them so i had to bear in mind that every baby is different, and every mother has different needs, temperaments and priorities or
3 - it being our first time, i was so unsure of myself that i wasn't willing to let him cry himself to sleep in case it could be wind, pain, sickness, whatever! or
4 -even when/if their advice was right, it wasn't comprehensive enough and didn't come with the 24/7 troubleshooting support needed to properly train a baby to sleep. like just "pat him to sleep" wasn't enough when i didnt know what to do if he cried while i was patting him, for example. or just telling me to put him in bed when he shows tired signs wasn't enough when he'd still cry when i did so, because i needed to know WHY he was crying.
5 - online forums were useless coz they were full of unthinking people who were into judging others and thinking everyone was like them or have the same values as they do, or that all babies are the same!


so, i tried this and that, read this and that, suffered for months and months, not being able to hold a proper conversation because my brain was fried from lack of sleep. i read save our sleep, gina ford, dr sears, babywise, pinky mckay,etc.

i was told not to feed him to sleep or rock him to sleep and to always put him to bed awake - but what i wasn't told was that if i didn't do these things, he'd scream and scream and scream, which made me really stressed/have my blood pressure through the roof/distressed. which is what happened with the babywise/save our sleep/gina ford/routine based methods, so i had to quit them, not because i thought they'd be harmful to him, but because his crying was driving me mad. also i couldn't stick to routines because i was never a routine sort of person, so wasn't disciplined enough to follow them. Routines are just not important to me, in fact i hate having a strict schedule! so, they didn't work for us. for those who like routines though, i reckon they'd be a lifesaver.

 then i tried the Dr sears approach of never letting him cry, and holding him all day - which resulted in him not napping at all, all day - staying up 12 hours at a stretch often, leaving me thinking that the child health nurses must be wrong when they said babies his age should only be awake around 2 hours at a time. of course he'd be cranky, clingy and need holding all the time but i put it down to "sensitive character". he continued needing to be fed to sleep, waking every 2-3 hours at night, and taking 1-2 hours every night just to settle him. this was taking its toll on me and i got crankier and more miserable as time went by.

who knows what the problem really was? but finally at 5 1/2 months old, i tried this method on him and this is what worked for me.
This book recommends recognising tired signs and giving them opportunities to settle themselves, but not leaving them to cry alone for longer than a few seconds before comforting them with patting, stroking and gentle talking. although it involved some crying, i could stomach it because i was right there with him. the first time he cried nearly 20 minutes, [all with me next to him of course] then 15 minutes, then 5. on the 2nd day, he slept through the night after the 11.30pm dreamfeed and had to be woken up at 7am the next day!
he's noticeably smilier, more content, less fussy and enjoys playing more. [before he'd cry every time i put him down so he'd seldom play with his toys]

so, for us this book was the answer. i'd recommend it IF you have a similar temperament and similar values to mine -  hate routines, not able to stomach leaving them crying alone, don't want to have to feed them to sleep, etc. and if it suits baby of course. always remember that what worked for someone may not work for you, or even if it would, it may not be in line with your values. dont do anything you don't want to do.
don't judge others if they're doing something you wouldn't. parenting is hard enough without us making it harder for each other by judging!

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