Wednesday 19 October 2011

Dr. Sears, my new friend

There is a new situation happening in our home. My sleeping through the night baby (8:00pm - 5:30am) now wakes up at about 1:00am...for the past 2 weeks.

Yes, I'm a bit more tired but this is not the end of the world (especially since I'm not working...hello afternoon snooze). I breastfeed her (10 minutes), put her back in her crib that is still in our bedroom (or sometimes she stays in our bed) and she falls asleep by herself, without fussing, in less than 10 minutes. End of the big deal.

Monday was Alice's 6 months checkup and our doctor asked us about her sleep schedule. I was all happy to report that she has a great routine: naps between 10:00am-11:00am and 3:30pm-4:30pm, goes to bed at 8:00pm, sleeps until 5:30am to drink and falls asleep again until 8:00am...with a tiny nightwake at 1:00am.

This is when we received the talk about baby manipulation, not feeding her at night, giving her a transitional object (ex: baby bottle with water?!?)...blah blah blah! Well, I'm sorry that I, new mother with pretty much zero experience with babies, don't agree with that! However, her speech made me doubt my mom instinct so I started to read on the subject. This is when I found an interesting article from Dr. William Sears web page.

According to the article: "Decades ago, every parent just took it for granted that babies wake up at night. It was expected, and therefore, accepted. Sometime in the 70's someone got it in their head that babies SHOULD sleep through the night...Today, parents are led to believe that if their baby doesn't sleep through the night, something must be done about it."

The author, a pediatrician who support attachment parenting, claims that it is a norm for babies of Alice's age to wake up at night and as parents we signed up for this. Strangely enough, this doesn't shock me at all!

Again, I'm a stay at home mom so my situation is not the same as a 9-5 working one. Also, there is a difference between a 30 minutes nightwake and a "omg, the baby wakes up every hour screaming her little lungs out and I feel like putting her in a garbage container" situation.

The web page offers a great list of ways to get your baby to sleep and stays asleep. The first tip: Develop a realistic attitude about nighttime parenting.

I like that! I will let you know how things went in a near future.

Hand Screen Printed Fox in Burnt Orange from Robin and Mould

* * * * *

nadyne k: I should totally call you for an appointment

daniela: Dan said : Oh, thank you!

the franglaise: Totally. I can be a total bitch sometimes! Like you said, I couldn't have done it without my man by my side.

anna of (green gable): And you should see her winter oufit...-40C!

jen: Her little fox hat is awesome. So sad that it is getting too small.

giselle: Thank you so much.

tallulah maggs: Cool, maybe?!? I do, however, get a lot of wtf looks when I wear it.

anneemall: Thank you...those comments are good for my self-esteem :)


oneeyedrabbit said...

I agree with you. You should do what you feel is right. There are so many people telling you what to do and how you should raise your child. And you don't know what to believe. I think the best thing is to give the care and attention that you feel your child deserves and needs. Mahalo!

taryn said...

Dr. Sears is the man. I got his "The Baby Book" as a gift and I use it a lot. I'm like you, a trust your instinct kind of mom, but sometimes it's nice to have someone backing you up.

luke and pamela said...

totally supporting you on this! with my first little one i felt like responding to crys, co-sleeping, baby-wearing and in general attachment parent was right for us but when i would mention it to my family they insisted i was spoiling my baby! then i picked up dr. sears' the baby book and i was so happy to see so many of my instincts justified in print. good for you for following your instincts!

Kara said...

Dr Sears is my go-to guy as well. He seems so sweet and his advice sounds so logical. Emelia will be 18 months this week, and she still stirs for milk at least once per night (usually around 5 a.m.), sometimes more. Part of it is that we co-sleep, and I just immediately respond. The other part is that she is such an active toddler that she gets HUNGRY! Even if I nurse her before bed (an hour or 2 after she's had a full dinner), that's still 8 hours later and her tummy is empty. We don't wake all the way up, I just roll over and lift my shirt, she nurses for 5 minites or less, and we both go back to bed right away. I do work full time, so some days I'm very tired if she was very restless (cutting teeth or just lots of dreams). But this part of her babyhood will transition soon, so I don't mind too much. Like you said, it's not like she is screaming or wide awake. Plus, it's a chance for a middle of the night hug and kiss.

jamie said...

so when we were pregnant we went to pick up a general baby book. i knew that we wanted to try co sleeping, so i looked for one that talked about it positively, and that ended up being dr sears!

i had no idea about the rabbit hole of attachment parenting we would fall into, but we love it.

man, alice's sleep sounds like a dream. H wakes a lot more, but oh well. honestly it doesn't bother us THAT much and i DO work a 9 to 5. i just go to bed early! and, since he is in bed with us i dont even have to get up when he wakes. :)

one thing we did was find an AP friendly dr. mostly because we wanted someone who was very pro BFding and willing to accomodate delayed/alt vaccine schedules. but so far she is pretty mellow!

Sid. said...

Hearing about doctor's giving that type of unsolicited advice makes me so angry. Why would a doctor look at a healthy happy momma and babe and think they had to offer ANY advice at all? Grrr. Our daughter just had her 2 year check-up and the doctor asked if she was drinking milk (as in cow). We told her she was still drinking human milk so we didn't think that she really needed to be consuming milk designed for bovine babies. I think she was a bit startled. Just like when I told her that the LLLI doesn't discourage starting with fruits as solids because breastmilk is very sweet so the old "you'll condition them to only like sweet things" wisdom she was pedaling was illogical and outdated. I'd love to see her face if we told her we still sometimes co-sleep and my daughter hasn't ever slept more than 5-6 hours a night without nursing (she's dayweaned but not nightweaned).

I have all sorts of respect for docs but they need to stick with what they know and butt out everywhere else.

Hoola Tallulah said...

Ah and isn't it the first questions old ladie's ask, and then they tt and shake their heads when you tell them no, my baby doesn't sleep all night, and no, I don't let her cry, and yes it is making me crazy but hey ho, it passes, SO quick.
A lot of people have strong opinions on the sleeping subject, after 4 kids mine is still the same - they cry, I tend to them.
Trust your mama instincts <3

emily said...

great post. i think that instinctive mothering is the best mothering alice (and ramona) can receive. no one knows our babies better than we do!

AND, if it's working, why fix it?

for instance, today we went to bean's three month check-up and talked about how she is exclusively nursing but has, on the rare occasion, taken a bottle just fine. the nurse practitioner didn't even ask how we felt about that (or asked if i was a SAHM) and said that it would be good for us to give her a bottle once in a while so that she can get used to it if i need a break. I DON'T NEED A BREAK (and know how to get one if i do) and never said i did! her "advice", though probably harmless, was unnecessary and had nothing to do w our situation.

keep on doing the fabulous job you're doing!

Rebecca said...

You've got an "amen sister" from my corner! I've been thinking a similar train of thought along my journey (3 months in). You see, the thing is, we are raising BABIES, not ROBOTS. Babies (little people!), need food when they're hungry, and lots of love. Let babies be babies just like the article said!

Tulsiana said...

For a 6 month old, Alice is sleeping really well! And it IS NORMAL for babies to wake up anywhere between 1 and 3 times per night. We got that same speech from our pediatrician at 9 months, granted, our sleep routine was far more stressful than yours. We were co-sleeping, even though we never intended to, but Juliette was waking up every hour or two to nurse, and after 10 months of this, and feeling like I was going to lose my mind, fights with my husband in the middle of the night, etc, we decided we had to gradually "train" her to sleep better and in her own crib in the other room. We actually ignored all those who told us to let her "cry it out," and eneded up consulting with a pediatric sleep specialist in St. Louis who was pro-attachment parenting, and who carved out a more personalized and gentle plan for us. It took 3 weeks to gradually make the transition, with dad, and then mom, sleeping on the floor with J, then sleeping next to her crib, and then eventually, she slept in the crib on her own. She is 1 year old now and sleeps about 11 hours per night in the crib. There is no crying involved (naps are still challenging). Occasionally, she will cry in the middle of the night, and I will get her out of the crib, nurse her, and give her some water, then put her back to sleep. I wouldn't dream of ignoring her cries. Chapeau to you for sticking to your guns!

sara said...

Since August sleeps in his own room, I decided not to use a baby monitor so I only hear him when he cries (and not every time he wakes up, play, talk, etc...).
I am pretty sure he wakes up a few times without crying and I don't hear a thing. When we co slept, I would of course hear every sound and more often than not I would just bfeed him. The transition to his own room/bed changed that: from 5-6 feeds a night, we usually have 1 or 2 for a 12h night.
I breastfeed him (my favourite time to do so, because he is so calm and peaceful) and he goes back to sleep right away. I know that babies that age don't NEED to feed at night, physiologically speaking, but often they just don't know how to go back to sleep on their own, or they want to be reassured, or... many reasons.
Sometimes, it is true, you don't need to take them out of their crib. Because if you turn on the lights and make this time "fun", they'd rather want to be awake than to sleep. But it is of course only if the baby is fine and not crying.

As for the bottle of water, I don't really see the point!? I mean, if you are going to get up and all, you may as well bfeed him, right?
Transitional objects: August has the most adorable stuffed rabbit and it's as much for him than for me (when he is at day care, it reassures me to know he has something to cuddle when it's time to nap).

Jennifer said...

In our breast feeding class, they said babies have a growth spurt around 6 months and to be prepared if our sleeping babies start waking up more wanting to be fed. If that's true, Alice is on schedule. Since we are only at the 2-month point, we still wake once in the middle of the night.

sara said...

I thought about you the other day, and about your recent "issue" with night sleep. August started to wake up at night on days where he ate solid food. I think his tummy had to get used to digestion, causing sometimes a little pain??? I am not sure, all I know is that since I give him food before 4 pm and in very little quantity, he doesn't wake up as much.
... just a thought!