Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, and I
tromped around through the trees
and got lost several times because
it seemed like the best idea at the time
Last night I nursed Jolene to sleep for the first time in about three weeks. I was so tired and just wanted to sit in the kitchen and chat with my family and not go through the put down pick up wait outside the bedroom door and then RUSH IN when she cries game that has been Jolene’s bedtime. Sometimes I also sit downstairs in the kitchen and turn up stuff on youtube. loud and let her whine and sniffle upstairs. We are not crying it out, to be clear. I totally get it, by the way. I’ll bet it works but its just not for us.
So the goal: to get Jolene in the habit of soothing herself to sleep, so I can (eventually) put her down in the crib, sing a little song, say “goodnight” and go on my merry way. The approach: Tromping around in the woods of sleep training, with out straight up crying it out. I have done some googling, and I am into Elizabeth Pantley (of The No Cry Sleep Solution) who recommends slowly talking away sleep aids, such as nursing, setting up the environment for sleep and using a phrase, like “its sleepy time” that the baby begins to associate with sleep. I also like Tracy Hogg (Secrets of the Baby Whisperer… yeah i know) who picks up a baby each time they cry, to reassure them that it is okay to fall asleep, then puts them back.
Someday I might read these books. For now, bedtime goes roughly like this… I hose Jo down from dinner or at least wash her face. Then I change her diaper and give her a little massage with some fancy organic baby massage oil that my aunt gave me. Then I attempt to read a book, but usually Jolene is just groping me to nurse so we do that till she’s a little sleepy but by no means asleep. I put her down in her crib with “Lovie,” this cuddly blanket monster dude that my friend gave Jolene. From time to time I put a dab of my perfume on Lovie or rub some of my sweat on him (sorry if that’s gross) so Lovie smells like me. I sing to her and then leave and come back in 5 minutes for a little back rub. Then I kind of improv, listening outside the door to if her crying is accelerating or decelerating. If it’s accelerating, even if she isn’t “crying” very much, I come in, pick her up and cuddle and hold her and put her back down. If she starts really crying (not just whimpering) again I pick her right back up. Tracy Hogg wrote that she once picked up a baby 157 times in one night. The next night it was only 30. The next night it was only 10. If she’s just whimpering or making little near crying sounds, I putter around downstairs.
Its funny, getting to know a new routine, especially one that you are doing with someone else. For fear of sounding like an awful person, its like of like working with a horse or a dog. Reading body language, vocal tone, and generally exuding calm and confidence. I notice that just before Jo falls asleep, she turns away from the door and rolls back and forth in this certain way.
Anyhow, that’s what seems to work for us. I think my larger point is that there are all these parenting styles and philosophies and you can’t be afraid to go with your intuition and combine them and guess and experiment. I have been all about BLW business in theory but sometimes it is simpler to spoon feed. When no ones watching.