Babies crying in the middle of the night, a topic we parents know all too well. A topic that creates much debate. Should we console them or let them cry it out? Should we go to them right away, check on them every five minutes, or let them be? Should we sit in the room until they fall asleep, bring them into our room or even our bed, or again, just let them be? Should we play soft music, give them a lovey, change their diapers, nurse them or give them a bottle, pat their backs, take them for a car ride, etc., etc., etc. So many options, no wonder there's a lot of debate on the subject.
Laurel was (notice the use of a past tense verb) a good sleeper. She would usually sleep through the night from about 8 p.m. until 6 a.m., when she would let me know she was ready for a drink. Once done nursing (she takes all of five minutes to nurse!), she would go back to sleep until about 7:30. A good night's sleep in my opinion. She would wake up rested, cooing and babbling.
That all changed a couple weeks ago. While sick, we obviously went and checked on Laurel every time she cried. Heck, taking it one step further, I slept in her room that first night of sickness. There was really no choice, she was vomiting almost every hour. Subsequent nights, Laurel wasn't vomiting as often, but I needed to nurse her every chance I got to prevent dehydration. Again, no decision to make there.
Here we are, a full week of good health, but Laurel continues to cry throughout the night. It's time to do something about it. For all of our little family's health, we cannot permit her to continue this bad habit. Yes, it's a bad habit! She acquired this behavior while sick, and now it's become involuntary. It's time to reprogram our little lass to sleep through the night again.
So now the question is, what do I do to get Laurel to stop crying in the middle of the night? How do I convince her that she really doesn't need to depend upon my breasts to fall back asleep? Of all the choices out there, which ones should I try to remedy this situation? To whom do I look to for guidance? Sears? Ferber? Weissbluth? Mom? Friends?
In all honesty, I don't believe there is one absolute answer that fits every parenting style. Parents have to decide how to tackle this subject in a manner that suites their individual needs and strengths. Anyone out there telling us there is only one way to do it, is ignorant. What I do appreciate, are the people out there saying that there are choices, try something and if it doesn't work, try something else.
We are lucky to live in a time where information is just a click away. Whether it be by computer or a phone call to our own moms and dads, friends, or a professional organization, advice is just minutes away. Yes, the road to getting our sweet babies to sleep through the night may bumpy, but with some determination and inquiry, we will eventually find a smooth highway to Slumberland.
So what approach will I use on Laurel? Hmmm, thinking, thinking, thinking...
Any guesses as to the approach I will try?