For several weeks, Sage was doing very well with sleeping. Ann and I had developed a pretty good routine. I would give Sage her last feeding of the day, usually around 11 pm, and then I would put her in the bassinette. When she needed to eat next, Ann would take over. For a while, this meant that Ann was getting up about 3 or 4 am, but then Sage developed the ability to sleep for a good long while. It was not unusual for me to put Sage in the bassinette about midnight and Ann wouldn’t have to get up with her until 6 am.
For some reason, this week, this has not been working.
For one thing, Sage has started to be very needy. According to the information I can find, she has probably just developed the concept of individual identity — in other words, she now realizes that it’s possible for her to be somewhere and for Ann or menotto be there. This is the age where a lot of babies develop separation anxiety. Sage doesn’t have memory developed enough to understand that every time we’ve left her before, we’ve come back. All she knows is that she wakes up and she is not in our arms. And this is not acceptable.
For the past several nights, if we manage to get a full hour with her asleep in her bassinette before she wakes up and starts to get upset, it’s a blessing. She will sleep just fine — as long as one of us is holding her.
(This has often also been the case during the day; some of the time she’ll fall asleep in her swing or in her bouncy seat, but usually she wants to be held if she’s going to sleep. She’s okay with being awake and being in the swing, etc… just not happy about sleeping without being in our arms. Since Ann has been taking Sage to her office a couple days a week — one of the benefits of working for a family business where the office is run by Sage’s Grandma — this has made it nearly impossible for Ann to get her work done efficiently.)
The nights have blended together so that I can’t even remember when Sage went to bed, when I went to bed, when she woke up first, who got her, and so on. I do know that last night, I got up with her about 2:30 am and fed her a few ounces of milk, and she passed out hard… until she had been in the bassinette for five minutes, at which point she screamed. I stayed up with her, and she fell asleep in my arms about 3:05. I waited until 3:25 and put her in the bassinette… and she screamed.
I settled in to the recliner with the Boppy™ pillow, her in her swaddle wrap and positioned in such a way to support her head, neck, and back. And then, I fell asleep. She woke me up the next time she was hungry — some time after 7:00. It may have even been 7:30. Ann got up and took over, and I went to bed.
Truth is, I sleep just fine like that.
I don’t want to be giving Sage bad sleeping habits, and I’ve read a ton on various sleep “training” methods for babies… but most of what I’ve read has suggested that it really doesn’t even work until they’re four months old. Sage will be four months old in about two and a half weeks, but she was born five weeks early… and it’s possible that she might not respond to sleep training until she’s at least four months beyond her due date. That would be late May.
But either way, she doesn’t seem ready for it now. And to be totally open and honest about it… I really like being able to soothe her, even if it means sleeping in the recliner with her carefully swaddled and placed in my arms so that she couldn’t possibly fall.
So many “experts” out there tell us that what we do when they’re babies can mess them up for life. Hold them too much and they’ll never learn to sleep on their own and maybe they’ll never even learn to be independent people. Hold them too little and they’ll never learn to express their needs and maybe they’ll never even learn to trust or befriend others. Discipline them this way, and they’ll become violent. Discipline them this way, and they’ll become spoiled brats. Discipline them this other way, and they’ll never learn when to use “lose” instead of “loose,” or “breathe” instead of “breath.” (Okay, that last one isn’t one that I’ve been warned about, but it is a significant concern of mine.)
Bottom line? We can only do what we can do. We can only do what we think is best. We’ll do the necessary reading. We’ll certainly aggravate some people with our choices in childcare, and we’ll certainly impress others. But this week?
This week, I’ve been able to keep my daughter happy by holding her. I’m doing something right.