Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Breaking all the Sleep Training Rules

When your baby wakes up in the wee hours of the morning, you might go check on them. You may feed them, you might pull them into bed with you, and depending on your own philosophies, you might let them cry it out.  Regardless of personal preferences, it is a pretty steadfast rule that you do what you need to do to encourage sleeping and not stimulate the baby lest you be left with a wide awake baby. This is pretty sound and universal advice.
H has always been a fabulous sleeper so we have not had to put forth much effort into sleep training. By 6 weeks of age she slept 6 hours, would wake up to eat and then would sleep another 6 hours. A little past 4 months, she was sleeping twelve hours in a row with an occasional 5AM feeding still sprinkled in once or twice a week.
I admit that I have rebelled considerably against the aforementioned golden rule. During the occasional 5AM feedings, I sit in the glider in H's room basically asleep while she takes her time. Once she is done, I throw out the rulebook and talk and laugh with my baby. I didn't initiate this, it is her own fault for being so happy and charming at five in the morning. She starts it by giving me a sly smile and saying "goo!" Or even worse "mamama".  The first few times she did this I smiled at her and layed her back down in her crib. One night I couldn't help myself so I babbled back at her. She was so excited and proceeded to giggle. She is consistently in a fantastic mood right after her early morning feeding.

A few weeks ago we had to stop swaddling H which increased her 5AM wake ups to most nights (4-5 times/week). I find that one wake up per night like this really doesn't effect my day so I have fully embraced it. 5AM is H's and my time to spend a little mother-daughter time without the hassle of anything else interrupting. We talk back and forth, laugh, sing, and check out the animals on her wall for roughly 15 minutes on these nights. She makes great strides in her babbling thanks to this time because I can actively engage her without any distractions. I really cherish this uninterrupted time I get to bond with my baby girl. She doesn't have the luxury of frequent undivided attention that first born children often get, so rules be damned, I will give it to her when I can.

Lucky for me, my then over-stimulated baby goes right back to sleep when I do put her back down.  Our little arrangement wouldn't work if it threw her sleep off, but it doesn't for now. I can honestly say that I hope she doesn't start sleeping through the night regularly for a while longer. For me it is about embracing those sweet little moments because these babies grow too fast. One day you find yourself looking at their newborn photos for whatever reason and find yourself wondering where your itty bitty baby went. I might even get a little misty eyed thinking about it.
 Two day old H above & 2 day old K below.
Makes me want another right now, sniff.

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