2 Camps- but no sleep.

There seem to be two camps in the baby sleep issue.

The first camp is the cry it out camp. This camp believes that babies have got to learn to soothe themselves. If they don't they won't learn how to calm themselves down. That means with love and periodic reassurance you let your baby cry. And then those babies become independent well functioning and capable little people and big people

The second camp is the attachment parenting camp. This camp believes that babies need to have their emotional needs met and will learn to self soothe with time. Responding to your babies every cry is essential to their emotional well being.

Like anything that seems black and white I am both attracted and repulsed by the simplicity of the message. Hoenstly, I want to be in the second camp. It would be magical if we could co-sleep with our little person. We could have nights of sleeping cuddled up and sharing the intimacy only a family bed can provide. But give me a break. This is not reality. People snore, kick, need space, roll over and frankly 1 little person wakes up- a lot!

So the reality is that I only know probably 2 people who fit firmly into either actual camp. Everyone seems to be moving from on to the other. It's a bell curve really. Most people are doing something in between not following a rule book on one extreme.

For the most part Sean and I have been in the attachment parenting camp. But we are starting to pack our bags to move over a bit. So here's what our typical night looks like:

7:15-7:45 She goes down for the night. Our routine works really well. We can put her in the co-sleeper when she is awake and she'll put herself to sleep.

10-12 Between 10 and midnight is our first wake up. She wakes up crying. Usually we bounce her and back to sleep. However the transition from arms to bed is often quite rough.

2-3 Between 2 and 3 is our second wake up. Usually I feed her at this point. She's a wee-one so I think a midnight snack is good.

4:30 It seems like she instinctually knows to get up at 4:30. At this point Sean and I are desperate to sleep. I often feed her because it is easier on both of us. If I feed her she transitions to the co-sleeper very very well.

5:30 is our wake up time and we are lucky if she isn't awake by 6:00.

If we sleep in like on weekends or days off she is universally up by 7:00am.

So our primary problem seems to be that she cannot go back to sleep on her own. In fact, she cannot even go with a little bit of coaxing. It is either food or bouncing. Sean and I are overtired and want to do something about this. We read a couple sleep books and picked up some pointers, are more aware of our baby and her issues.

So one important thing that we've figured out is that Junia is totally normal. Baby sleep cycles are much shorter than grown up ones but like grown-ups they get shorter throughout the night and they go in and out of depth and lightness of sleep. The problem is that when she gets into those light phases of sleep she wakes up and cannot go back to sleep on her own.

So last night Sean and I made a shift. We are going to try being done with getting up with her. No more bouncing. No more unnecessary feedings. When she wakes up and wants comforted we will offer her patting on the side or rump and soothing words and noises. We will be with her. But ultimately we are not going to respond in the same way. We will not be offering her bouncing back to sleep or soothing meals she isn't hungry for. This means we are going to have some really bad nights ahead of us. We also still need to figure out what we are going to do about the pacifier. It kind of works (sometimes) but are we just going to create a baby where we have to put her pacifier in all the time. Or should we work on that battle later...TBD.

So here are our stipulations:

*If she escalates and will not calm down we will bounce her into calm-ness but not sleep- then we will put her back in her bed- awake and will be with her.
*Since this will likely take several nights (weeks?) I am sure we will have cave ins. It's not great for conditioning her- but we are humans not robots.

Sounds like we are camping in the middle huh?


  1. It won't be weeks--I promise. I KNOW how rough this is, as we're in it ourselves (sort of). T never liked sleeping in our room (I think I would have been a co-sleeper otherwise), so he's been in his crib for awhile...but we honestly got to a point where we turned off the monitor and would only go to him if he was screaming (not even check on him otherwise) because, like Junia, he woke up and wouldn't go back to sleep. He would start playing or get really excited to see us if he saw our faces.

    Anyway, you guys are in my prayers and thoughts as you go through this.

  2. I say fight the pacifier battle later. Mary and I fought it...and won! Our friends had a baby so we took all of pacifiers and gave them to the new baby, and she seems to understand pretty well. She asked Mary once, and when I came home last weekend, she tried to trick me into giving her one. We tried the cry it out method too, but when she cried like that, my heart would literally start racing, and it was just to stressful, so I seemed to be the one jumping out of bed 4 times a night. Good luck!


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