Tuesday, September 13, 2011


There are SO many different ideas out there about how to get your baby to sleep.

With Hadley, I was determined to get her to be a good sleeper (whatever that means). Someone recommended the book "The Baby Whisperer". I tried it...and tried it.....and tried it. Man did I ever stress out about that stuff. So dumb. I was kind of impatient so it didn't work out so well. I couldn't handle her crying so in the end she slept in the swing until she was too big for it, and then I bounced her to sleep until she was around a year old. By then I think she would go to sleep relatively well on her own....I can't really remember actually....foggy mom brain.

With Brian and Elijah, I was pretty much in survival mode. They slept in their swings or in their bouncy chairs. We would swaddle them and then bounce the chairs with our feet while reading or on the computer. It worked well for us, until the week where both swings and bouncy chairs broke! Awesome. Elijah slept well on his own, but I ended up bouncing on an exercise ball to put Brian to sleep. Majorly bouncing! Besides the bonus of getting a workout, it was way lame and would take forever. Enter baby whisperer tactics. It kind of worked, but not really. I would still give in and bounce him to sleep every once in a while. By the time they were about 14 months old, John decided to take matters into his own hands and just laid them both down and walked out and closed the door(this was after doing the baby whisperer for a couple weeks). They did great and didn't cry. They just jabbered for a bit and went to sleep. I think having each other in the room together helped for sure, AND they were old enough to sooth themselves.

With Sam I figured I would do whatever to help him sleep. They are only babies for a short while, right? And, I only had one this time! So, I would nurse him, and if he was still awake I would bounce him in his bouncy chair until he fell asleep......until last week. While John was bouncing Sam to sleep, our $3 used bouncy chair broke. I was planning on just bouncing him to sleep until he was around a year old and then figured he'd be old enough to withstand the baby whisperer deal. Close enough, I guess. He's 10 months old now and is actually doing alright without mr. bouncy chair.

This is how I do my own version of "the baby whisperer" for Sam:
1. Nurse him and hope he falls asleep.(btw - the real "Baby Whisperer" says NOT to do this.....whatev)
2. Lay him down if he fell asleep nursing.
3. Exit the room as quietly as possible, trying to avoid the floor creaks (which is pretty much impossible)
4. If he doesn't fall asleep while nursing, I lay him in his playpen
5. Sit by his playpen where he can see me.
6. He cries/plays around
7. When he stands up and is crying, I pick him up and the second he stops crying, I lay him back down.
8. Sometimes I leave my hand on him so he knows I'm there
9. repeat steps 6-8 until he falls asleep
10. sneak away and do a happy dance

There are few reasons behind the method of our put-to-sleep madness. I've always had an issue with the "cry yourself to sleep" method. The issue mainly being.....I can't handle it. So we've adopted the "doing whatever you can to help them sleep with minimal crying" method, which usually results in a LOT of bouncing......

After reading the book "The Science of Parenting", I felt good about my new found "method". Here's an excerpt from this book:
"Earlier generations of parents let their babies cry because it "exercised their lungs," having no idea how vulnerable the infant brain is to stress. In a crying baby, the stress hormone cortisol is released by the adrenal glands. If the child is soothed and comforted, the level of cortisol goes down again, but if the child is left to cry and cry, the level of cortisol remains high. This is a potentially dangerous situation, because over a prolonged period, cortisol can reach toxic levels that may damage key structures and systems in a developing brain. Cortisol is a slow-acting chemical that can stay in the brain at high levels for hours, and in clinically depressed people for days or even weeks."

"--it is not crying itself that can affect a child's developing brain....It is prolonged, uncomforted distress. So I'm not advocating rushing to your child as soon as her bottom lip starts to wobble or after a short burst of protest crying that lasts a few minutes....Prolonged crying is the crying that any sensitive parent...will be able to recognize as a desperate calling for help. It is the type of crying that goes on and on and on, and eventually stops when the child is either completely exhausted and falls asleep or, in a hopeless state, realizes that help is not going to come."
Now, I'm not claiming to be a baby expert. I'm far from that. I've let my babies cry before. Sometimes I just can't handle it and need to let them cry for a few minutes while I relax or else I might do something I regret. Obviously, that is the best thing for me to do at that time. However, this book has opened my eyes a little bit and has fortified my ideal of comforting my babies to sleep.

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