Thursday, April 5, 2012

Terrible Sleep Advice

Have you guys read some of the sleep advice out there? It is all like, "you're doing it wrong" and "our way is the only way" and "if you mess this up, your child and family are doomed. DOOMED."

Like have you heard that Mayim Bialik just wrote a book? I mean, I want to like her, because the Big Bang theory is funny, and Blossom was awesome (or her hats were awesome, I don't know, it was a long time ago, I was probably about seven), and she has a PhD in neuroscience. But she is all: I don't use diapers or nannies; we cosleep with our kids and never go on dates. I'm like, whoa whoa, whoa. I think my kids will actually be happier if their dad and I have a happy marriage. And that means we will use diapers and babysitters and all that craziness. But she is all for cosleeping and never letting kids cry. Which I'd love to get on board with, but eh. Blossom goes so far as to say, "The notion of babies being smothered (while cosleeping) is simply not true." Meanwhile, doctors everywhere (besides Dr. Sears) are all, "I beg to differ" (caution, that story is traumatizingly sad).

On the other hand, Baby Wise. I read it when I was pregnant and was like, hmm. That sounds reasonable. Until I read ANYTHING else and realized, uh, that is not OK, Baby Wise. (Here is why.) For example, they are against demand feeding, which has been shown to make your kids smarter and just generally happier. You know, because they aren't hungry and all. Anyway, it is all about making your kids sleep through the night as a fetus. A hungry, sad little fetus.

And somewhere in between, there is No Cry Sleep Solution (neither "no cry" nor a "sleep solution." discuss). And Ferber and Weissbluth with their "cry it out" styles.

Honestly, I like bits and pieces of all of them. And hate bits and pieces of all of them. {Like even Weissbluth, who I sort of trust the most but follow not-so-well lately, he goes off on how babies need to be stationary when they sleep. But then this study came out and I was like, oh really, Weissbluth? You totally made that rule up, didn't you? DIDN'T YOU?! Answer me, book man!}

So here is my synopsis of baby sleep:
  • If your baby sleeps just fine without any intervention, let's not be friends. Not really. But please, just quietly enjoy your special baby and spare me the details of how great you all sleep. But most of all, don't judge anyone else who has sleep trained their kid.
  • If your baby doesn't sleep, here are the timing factors to consider: it makes it a lot easier if they can't stand up or cry out for "Mama!" Trust me. But if you aren't ready, don't do it! You will sabotage your own efforts and all the crying will have been for nothing. That is pretty much on par with the agony of spilling a bunch of freshly-pumped breast milk. Not cool.
  • If you're not sure what sleep training method to use, I say there is just about equal amounts of crying and angst no matter what you do: "no cry" techniques, graduated extinction (checking on the baby at progressively longer intervals) or rapid extinction (they just cry and cry and so do you). It is either all at once, or drawn out over time. I say do what feels right for you and adjust if you just can't handle it anymore.
  • Finally, if you are my child, just sleep. Please. All night. And then well into the morning on weekends. Come on. I carried you for nine months, that is the least you can do for me. I will never expect a mother's day gift for the rest of my life.


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