I thought I knew exactly what I signed up for when we found out there was a third baby on the way. Tiny baby clothes, breast-pads, infant car seat, golden poop, wonderful baby smells, and night feeds. Since I am responsible for mixing up a good bottle of go-back-to-sleep milk for Amelie who still wakes like clockwork every 5.58am, night feeds are going to be a breeze, right? Right.
WHO WAS I KIDDING?!
With Theodore being the last baby (this factory is closed, y’all), I am extra determined to see through the ‘breast-feed as long as you can’ idea, only if because it is the last time I get to savour this whole attachment-parenting phase (excuse me while I sit in a corner to sob). Teddy latches on demand, which sounds scary but really it’s just convenient because I don’t have to worry about pumping and bottles and sterilising. Night feeds are usually twice or thrice, but thankfully it’s all good after my boob is offered as sacrifice as he lops back to sleep without much fuss. Yet, I have found it increasingly hard not to doze off in the day time! Sleep deprivation is real, people. So much so that I am treading cautiously into the dodgy waters of Google Searches for HOW TO SLEEP TRAIN YOUR BABY and DOES SLEEP TRAINING REALLY WORK. Mom to kids who are now 6 and almost 2, you’d think I have this by now. The truth is, I ain’t got this! These babies of mine have such different personalities, there really is no one-size-fits-all approach to getting these babies contented and willing to sleep according to schedule.
Aidan was generally a sound sleeper and rarely fussed. Set him on his bed and voilá, he drifts off to ZZzs all on his own. Amelie was fine for the first few months, but as she got into the latter half of her first year, no amount of patting, shaking, or cajoling worked. I remember carrying her in our ErgoBaby carrier and walking around the house for HOURS. I ended up doing modified squats with Amelie still straddled to my chest, to make my time as baby-toting mommy-prisoner walking-machine count. If I stopped moving, I was bestowed with an onslaught of needy so-tired-but-just-cannot-sleep wails.
Then came Theodore. I couldn’t bear to let him cry for more than 2 minutes and wound up in a cycle of carrying baby, walk around the house, sing songs, baby getting drowsy, put baby down, baby cry, carry baby, repeat. Sounds familiar? Thus came Google. Sleep train a 6 week old baby?? Are these parenting articles supported by evidence-based research, or even tried and tested on actual babies???
There are hundreds of methods recommended online and preached to parents on how to
cure them of their own sleep deprivation help baby sleep better, but I have summarily categorised it into two:
- Let them CIO (Cry It Out)
This one, I just cannot. How can you bear to hear the sad cries of your baby, all by his lonesome, just begging to be snuggled and soothed? In intervals of 15min/10min/5min, go into the room where the crying baby is and give some reassuring pats, then leave. What??? How??? I’d feel like a horrible parent!
- Don’t let them CIO
This method calls for parents to give baby all the attention baby wants in a firm and consistent manner but don’t overdo it. OK… Question, when is it considered overdoing it? Cry, pick up, pat, calm down, put back down, cry, pick up, pat, calm down, put back down, repeat… you get the idea. Apparently one parent did this for 146 times one night, and 30 the next night, then 4 the night after. OK, I definitely prefer this over the CIO method, but 146 times?? HOW????
After an hour of carry/walk/sing/pat, Teddy sleep until ‘lao nua’ (drool)
While I continue to try and wrap my head around thiswhole sleep-training business, if you have any tips on how you helped your baby to sleep better (which does not include the ingestion of alcoholic beverages), please feel free to share!