Sunday, April 27, 2008

Taking your cues from baby.

One observes that in many aspects of motherhood, things just seem to go smoother if you take your cues from baby. I have found this to be true for sleeping and napping. For sleep training I use and unequivocally recommend “Good Night, Sleep Tight.” I follow Sleep Lady’s sagely teachings not quite to the ‘t’ but certainly to the ‘s’.

With Longlegs I was able to soothe him without picking him up from the crib. Sweetpea demands that I pick her up and rock her from side to side. (But heaven forbid that I try and sit in the rocking chair!) In both cases I am not allowed to leave the room and leave them to their own devices until they give the say-so. This is where you really have to observe your baby closely (don’t look them in the eye tho’, don’t engage them directly) and learn when they start to relax.

I wait until they stop sobbing. I wait until their breathing slows down. Oh yes, they’re still awake, quite alert and even whipping their heads around, pulling your hair. Getting them to fall asleep in my arms is not my aim. Relaxing them and waiting for the cues that they’re ready to fall asleep on their own is my aim. I wait until their bodies uncoil. I wait until they cuddle into me. I wait until their thumb finds their mouth.

Aha. Finally.

The thumb stuck may as well be an offhanded hand wave akin to “you may leave now”. I lay baby down in the crib slowly but don’t dwell after that. Yes, baby is still awake but if you’ve successfully gotten her to her personal point of Zen and you’ve made the connection between darkness and sleepiness then chances are pretty good she’ll finish the job and fall asleep on her own.

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