Sleep Book Review #3 The No-Cry Sleep Solution:
Gentle Ways to Help Your Baby Sleep Through the Night
by, Elizabeth Pantley
This was the first book I read. I was really having a hard time with the idea of "the shnook" crying, and if he doesn't have to cry, why should he? That's what the book says, right? "No-cry" was handed down to me, and was also being passed around my group of mom friends. It seemed like everyone was using it. Despite the fact that I found Pantley's tone a little crunchy for me, and the description of her home having a "family sleep room" was a tad bizarre (is there also a 'sex' room?), I figured I should keep reading to see what was so great about this book.
So when I first read this book, I think "the shnook" was around 2 months old, and I was headed down a steep slope that would probably not level off until he was really 5 or 6 months, but of course I didn't know that at the time, and thought I was already at the bottom. I was fully aware that he slept less than other babies, even the ones that woke up every 3 hours slept more than he did. This is around when I realized that his naps were basically non-existant.
What I liked about this book is she made me feel like it was OK that he was waking up this much and that more often than not, babies wake up a lot more than many parents are willing to admit. In fact it is the exception when they DO sleep through the night, not when they don't. So again, I didn't feel alone, but ok lady...where are the solutions?
After reading the first few chapters and seeing all the logs and crap I was supposed to fill out, I kind of glazed over. I was way too tired to fill out some logs! No way, dude!! I know he sucks as a sleeper, I'm going straight to the solutions. In this way, I may have done myself a disservice because already I'm not fully invested in the process, but I digress. Back to the solutions.
Solutions solutions solutions, where are they? hmm...
Frequent night wakings. Solution? Cosleep. "During the night, when you and your baby are in your brief awakening periods, he may simply breathe noisily or move around, and you'll automatically attach him to the breast; the two of you will both drift back off to sleep." (pg 77)
You can almost hear the singsongy hippy-like tone of her voice. This is not how night wakings played out for me. Somehow I found it really difficult to fall back asleep when there was a parasite clamped onto me. Even now, although it is way less painful than the beginning, I find it very uncomfortable while sleeping to have him on me. It wakes me up, doesn't put me to sleep, despite the hormones.
Short Napper. Solution? "Set a timer or keep your eye on the time. About 5 or 10 minutes before the usual waking time, sit outside the bedroom door and listen carefully. (Use this time to read a book, knit or do some other peaceful, pleasant activity. Or be practical and fold laundry or pay your bills.) The minute your baby makes a sound, go in quickly. You'll find him in a sleepy, just about to wake-up state. Use whatever technique helps him fall back to sleep-- breastfeeding, rocking or offering a bottle or pacifier. If you've caught him quickly enough, He'll fall back to sleep. " (pg 113)
Yeah. this never worked. Ever. By the time I caught him he would nurse all right, but he'd be up. UP. Also, although I have been known to knit, the concept of sitting in a dark hallway on the floor with my knitting, or a pile of bills for that matter, just seemed too depressing. Wait, I thought I was supposed to be napping when he napped? Not knitting. This is all so confusing.
Help My Baby Learn How to Fall Asleep Without Help. Solution?
1.Make the sleeping area a "nice place." (pg 114) I used to put "the shnook" in the crib so he'd feel comfortable there. Initially, he felt comfortable as long as I was there, and would only lose it if I stepped away. Eventually he did understand that the crib was for sleeping, until we traveled that is. However, sometimes he would fall asleep without help, but it was a RARE occasion.
2.Introduce a lovey.
I started putting "Pedro, the Lazy Horse" in "the shnook's" crib right before naps and bedtime. At first, he liked him, thought he was cute and smiled everytime Pedro gave him a goodnight 'kiss.' But about 2-3 weeks later "the shnook" got wise...he started smacking Pedro and crying everytime he saw him. Pedro=Night-night. No dice, mom.
There are other solutions in this book but at the time, I was over it.
Then, recently, I picked up this book again thinking that 1) I needed to review it for the blog and 2)perhaps I didn't give it a fair chance. The truth is that each time I have reread one of these books I secretly wish that I didn't give it a fair chance and perhaps this time it will work for us. Wishful thinking.
First off, the 2nd time, I kinda got stuck on Chapter 1- Do a safety check. Yeah. Chapter ONE. Why? The first time I read the book we were not co-sleeping, now we are, so our 'safety check' is completely different. Our current sleeping situation breaks EVERY freaking co-sleeping rule there is. We are a poster of horrification for the anti-SIDS coalitions: pillows everywhere, down comforter, gap between the wall and the bed (bed on wheels), no railing, kid between the two of us, the list goes on... We don't do drugs or drink and then get into bed with him and neither one of us is obese, so at least we've got that part covered. I probably shouldn't be writing all this on a public blog because I'm sure to be flamed, but as guilty as I feel about it, I also feel that we watch him like hawks (maybe part of the reason I don't sleep anymore?) and there is little chance of him suffocating now that he's almost 11 months old, but perhaps we've just been lucky.
Safety hazards aside, I decided to press on. I even went as far as filling out the logs for three days. All three days were wildly different, partially because we had just come back from a trip to the east coast and I'm sure "the shnook" had jet lag, but the 1st two days were actually WAY better than the third day. But I did conclude that I had the same issues- shnook was waking to nurse too often, and couldn't go to sleep for me without a boob in his mouth. He was also still a crappy napper, but I decided to deal with the night wakings first.
Then I read "Pantley's Gentle Removal Plan" which basically says that you should nurse for a bit, then remove the nipple from his mouth and gently 'hold his mouth closed.' This doesn't sound very comfortable to me. I'm not sure I want my baby to learn not to nurse by holding his mouth closed. That seems like more torture than the crying! Also, it seemed like he would REMOVE my hand- since he's savvy enough to do so and fuss until I shoved the boob back in his mouth. So, this didn't seem like a solution either.
I think one of my problems is that I often feel like I have multiple personality disorder when it comes to sleep. Rationally, I really do NOT want my child to cry, it feels wrong to me. Then when "the shnook" is shnooking around and refuses to go to sleep and only wants to play/nurse/play/nurse/play for like WAY too long, I get super frustrated and think," maybe he just needs to cry to get tired enough to go to sleep?" Then I feel guilty. Oy the emotional turmoil.
So again, I've abandoned The No-Cry Sleep Solution as I don't think I have the right temperament to institute the 'solutions' offered.
End note: The second time around, although TNCSS was not the right fit for me, there were a couple of good pieces of advice that sunk in. The first is to have patience. Eventually, the kid will sleep, no matter what plan I use. Sounds simple, and easier said than done, but now that I've been doing this for 11 months, it makes perfect sense. Patience is the number one skill every parent needs, and I'm told sleep is only the beginning. I'd like to add that many of you (Alexis, you come to mind) have told me this as well, so I guess I cannot give Pantley a ton of credit for that statement. Another piece, that's a little too late for now, but hopefully good for child #2 should I be masochistic enough to have another: Accept Night Wakings. I would always be stressed about when "the shnook" was going to wake next, and this anxiety fueled my insomnia. Pantley says to recognize it's a FACT that your baby will be waking you up, so just accept it and make yourself as comfortable as possible, and try not to stress about when it will happen. It's a waste of time, precious time that you could be using to, I dunno, SLEEP?
Oh, and the experiment mentioned in the previous post was to try this book again. It failed. :-)