Book #1- Happiest Baby on the Block
Book #2- On Becoming Baby Wise
Book #3- Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child
I really liked this book. I started reading it after Jackson was born, and I should mention that I did not start using the information in this book until he was about 7 months old. In the book the author goes on to talk about how important sleep is to infants and how if they don't get enough sleep during the day, it can make for a more sleepless night than normal. I had always assumed that if Jackson didn't nap well during the day, he would be exhausted and would sleep extra good. Turns out, for me at least, that the book is correct. The author says that we should put the babies to bed drowsy, but not asleep. He also says to never wake a sleeping baby. I had heard this, but I was neurotic about Jackson nursing enough times per day that I did wake him up. After reading this book, I definitely stopped it. Jackson was a pretty good sleeper from day one. We had to wake him to feed him and initially he wasn't gaining weight as he should, so I guess it was ok to wake him. When Jackson starting teething, his sleeping schedule got off course. He had been sleeping through the night, but all of the sudden was waking up at 1am or 3am. I had just gotten used to not waking up to nurse/pump that when he started waking up in the middle of the night again I felt like a zombie. That is when I finally decided to implement what I had read. The author said that once you put the baby to bed, you leave him there until 7am. So, one night I laid on the couch while my sweet baby cried. I knew if I went in there and left him again he would only be more angry, so I just waited. The book says to let them cry for no longer than an hour. I was determined to do this. My husband had to get up early for work the next day, so I didn't want to wake him just so we both could listen to the baby. Jackson cried for 32 minutes and was back to sleep. I almost started crying again, because I was so proud of him. I should let you know that I had tried this "cry-it-out" for an hour method a month prior and he cried for the entire hour. We had made huge improvements when he only cried for 32 minutes!!
Now, for naps I rock him for 5-10 minutes and put him in the crib whether he is asleep or not (most often he's already asleep). At night, he nurses to sleep and I'm fine with that. I have a number of friends who say that I need to put the kibosh on that, but I don't plan on doing that anytime soon. There are occasions when he wakes up from naps or doesn't go to sleep right away and he plays/cries/whines. As I write this, he's crying in his crib. He hasn't had a good nap all day and I know that is why he is having a tough time going to sleep now. We're getting close to the hour mark, so I'll go in there and get him. By the way, the book says to let them cry for an hour and after that if they are still crying to get them. Sometimes they'll be so exhausted from crying so long that they'll fall asleep in your arms and sometimes not. Jackson has never gone to sleep after a crying spell. I definitely could not have let my newborn cry for an hour. I cried the whole hour that Jackson cried when he was 6 months. The book also mentions going in to soothe the baby every five, then ten, then fifteen minutes, but do not pick them up. For me, this didn't work. It was an all or nothing thing for us. Every time I went in there to "soothe" Jackson, he would settle down but as soon as I left he would go ballistic. I knew when I was going to let him cry it out that I had to be prepared to leave him for an hour. I started off with 30 minutes and we kind of worked ourselves up to an hour one day. After the hour of crying at 6 months we waited a month or so and then it was down to 30 minutes and it wasn't hysterical crying like it had been. My advice, like I've said in another post, is that you will know what to do. You'll know what feels right and what feels completely absurd. Even now, there are days when I can handle the crying and then there are days when I can't. And just when you think you've got that baby all figured out they will go and totally change everything:) I hope this helped someone out there. Sorry it's so long:)