We have been attempting a variation on the “cry it out” sleep training technique, which sounds horribly cruel and premature since she’s so young, but the sleep books we’ve been reading recommend that at 6 – 8 weeks you start the tough process of breaking some of the newborn sleep habits. We aren’t doing the all out version, but we have started putting Natalie down to bed when she’s still awake (after bathtime, story, and an evening of clusterfeeding), and have forced ourselves to leave her there for a limited amount of time to try to soothe herself to sleep. Our rule is that she is allowed to cry or fuss unhappily for 8 minutes before we go get her. It has been brutally hard to hear her crying and not do anything about it… by the time 8 minutes are up Mike and I are usually racing up the stairs practically crying ourselves. We have done a lot of apologizing and cuddling at the end of that 8 minutes, but have been able to suffer through these first couple of days without giving in and just getting her when she first starts to fuss.
We haven’t had any luck yet in her actually soothing or crying herself to sleep, but we really haven’t expected that. We’re mostly just trying to get Natalie accustomed to going down to bed awake at a regular time. I hold no hope that our new sleep training is what resulted in Natalie’s fantabulous night’s sleep last night, but it is definitely encouraging to know that she is capable of a long stretch of sleep (usually we’re lucky to get 4 consecutive hours, 2 – 3 is more common). We actually both woke up about 4 hours into the night and frantically checked to make sure she was still alive and breathing before allowing ourselves to go back to sleep…. and then we both nearly had heart attacks when we woke up next and realized how much time had passed! I was, of course, lying in a puddle of milk because it had been so long since I’d fed Natalie, but it was a small price to pay for achieving REM sleep for the first time in 8 weeks.
Here are a couple of Natalie pictures for your Wednesday:
On a completely different note, I was disappointed and offended to read about a Better Homes and Gardens article called “The 10 Commandments of Dining with Little Kids.” I heard about it on a blog I follow, and was quick to read the actual article, which has since been amended after an apology from BHG. The long and the short of it is that the [moronic] author included the commandment “Thou Shalt Not Breastfeed at the Table” on her list of things that parents of young children should do/not do when at a restaurant, and went on to describe the ways nursing in public makes others feel uncomfortable. I’ve gotta tell ya, reading this was like a sucker punch to the gut. Despite being the kind of gal who isn’t afraid to post pictures of her “mammalia” (as my father so eloquently put it) all over the interwebs, nursing in public hasn’t been the easiest part of motherhood for me. There is usually a running commentary in my head while I’m feeding Natalie at a restaurant or on a park bench that goes something like “Relax, nobody cares that you’re doing this / Nobody is looking at you / Nobody is even noticing you…” Reading that, in fact, there are people out there who are not only noticing but judging, feeling uncomfortable or disgusted, and are not at all understanding of the fact that, um, my baby is hungry and I’m the meal, is disheartening and a bit of a confidence blow. The one positive of this article is the outcry from commenters (moms and non-moms alike) who expressed their outrage over such an offensive statement, which prompted BHG to acknowledge that it was a “patently inappropriate” sentiment to publish. I’ll say. My advice to BHG? Stick to grilling recipes and home improvement tips, and leave the parenting stuff to actual parents.