Ever since I had a baby, the most popular question I get asked when talking about her has been “Does she sleep through the night?” Most people seem almost disgusted when I tell them that she doesn’t, as if because of her sleep patterns I’m not doing something right. Or they have a thousand tricks to get her to sleep through the night, like it’s something that has to be done for her to be considered a “good” baby. I’ve heard all kinds of off the wall comments about K-Kitten’s sleep patterns.
- Put cereal in her bottle. She’ll sleep longer, because her tummy will stay fuller longer.
- Don’t let her naps go to long during the day. Wake her up so she’ll be more tired at night.
- If you put her to bed and she cries, don’t pick her up, she’ll learn to put herself to sleep.
- She doesn’t need to eat at night, she’s only doing it out of habit.
I will admit that some of those suggestions may work, some may not, and all are simply opinion, even researchers can’t agree.
I will never feed my baby cereal in a bottle, I’ve yet to feed her baby cereal, and she certainly wouldn’t get it in a bottle. There are too many dangers associated with cereal in bottles. Cereal is an empty calorie and apart from being an aspiration hazard in a bottle, it could lead to a child that over eats regularly. It can throw a babies full/empty tummy meter completely out of whack. Leading to…. you guessed it! Increased risk of Obesity.
Napping too much through the day could logically cause a baby to sleep less at night. I don’t have a problem with waking up my napping babe if we have to go somewhere or if it’s apparent she’s pooped all over herself (she’s notorious for not caring a lick about how dirty her diaper is). However, waking her up early from her naps usually leads to an extra nap before bedtime and actually causes her to stay up later than she would because of that extra nap. So, that still doesn’t affect the amount of time she sleeps at night for me.
Crying it out, or the Ferber method, has been fought for on both sides of the fence more times than I care to think about. There are a number of reasons for us and many others that cry-it-out is just not the solution. I’m sure there are those that would argue that there’s nothing detrimental with the cry-it-out method, but I just can’t listen to my little girl cry for us for any reason and ignore her on purpose. Everyone comments on how she’s such a happy baby, and I think our prompt response to her needs when it’s warranted is a contributing factor. I don’t rush to her rescue when it’s apparent she doesn’t need immediate attention (yeah, I know what she’s wanting when she cries), I do however console and remedy the issue before she gives up hope.
I see the Ferber method as “breaking” a child. Convincing them that they have no choice but to stay there and either amuse themselves or go to sleep because no one is coming. I think it backfires on parents as well. A parent that listens to their child cry and forces themselves to ignore it have a tendency to block out the cry in varying degrees all throughout the day and night.
In the case of eating at night, my little K-Kitten does need to eat at night. How do I know? Because she asks to eat. Other than her cues, she reverse cycled when I went back to working full time. On average a baby over 12lbs would eat 19 – 32 oz (estimates and a big variable), K-Kitten averages 8 – 15 oz while I’m gone to work. She nurses when I get home, once at bedtime, and once about 12am and then again at 6am. So she wakes up once at night to nurse. I’m OK with that, so it shouldn’t be an issue right? Unfortunately, everyone doesn’t see it that way. But I really don’t care about them.
So what’s a momma to do?! There are lots of more gentle way’s to get a baby to sleep, to stay asleep, and to put yourself in a better frame of mind to deal with night-waking. Some of those ways include:
- Create a routine. Babies thrive on routine, and are more likely to go to sleep when they “know” it’s bedtime.
- Fresh air and exercise. Maybe not for the fresh air, but being in a house all day is boring. Engage their minds.
- Consistent napping, one missed nap could lead to a lot of trouble. Cranky babies are a lot less likely to go to sleep without a fight.
Most of all, there’s no right and wrong way to do things as a parent. What I do for my children could be exactly what you would never do. If everything was one-size-fits all, then there wouldn’t be so many different ways to do things. Just don’t do something because someone else thinks that’s how the world needs to be. Be informed, make up your own mind. Please though, get the information, and remember that just because what I do wouldn’t be what you would do, it doesn’t make me a failure/bad parent/monster.
My baby doesn’t sleep through the night, and I’m not gonna make her.
Has someone looked at you like you were a bad parent because of a milestone like sleeping through the night? Does your baby sleep through the night? Did you use cry-it-out with success? Does night-waking bother you?