Sunday, December 27, 2009

Time limits

I have been coaching a friend of mine (who will remain nameless--because I would hate to throw her under the bus! ;) ) with getting her 5 month old to get her sleeping patterns back in order. Her baby is a great baby and was sleeping through the night at a very early age, but just recently starting waking up a few times during the night as well as fighting some of her naps. My friend, (we will call her Milly) had gotten in the habit of putting her in the swing for some of her naps and then realized that she wouldn't go down well if she wasn't in the swing. So, we talked through letting her sleep in all different areas (because you also don't want her to HAVE to be in her bed) but setting up rules that she feels like she can live with. So, we agreed that 10 minutes would be fair...lay the baby down when you know that she is full and dry and then let her fuss for 10 minutes. If you need to go in after that, soothe her however you need to--and once she is calm (not asleep--calm) lay her back down and push the time a little longer--not a minute--something like 15 minutes the next time.

Well, a few days later when I talked to Milly, her daughter was doing great! But, a few days after that, she had a few bad days and Milly really struggled with setting up good solid timelines. She was letting her cry for 3 minutes and then going in a soothing her...then 4 minutes...
She SAYS that it was because the baby needed her pacifier, and she would go in a put it back for her.
*This is my solution to the pacifier issue: Put a bunch of them in the bed with the baby and then set the same timelines--let the baby find the pacifiers as they need them. The whole point of the crying out is to teach the baby to self going in every few minutes gets in the way of that...
Milly is a great mom---GREAT mom! Honestly, we don't even realize sometimes when we are getting in the way of our children being able to do something for themselves. Even infants are capable of self soothing.

All that to say: Set up rules that you know you can stand by--but also will push your baby to self soothe. Raise the bar on yourself as well.