Thursday, May 22, 2008

This week's lesson: Yet to be learned

Not every weekly lesson can be learned without a little help. Not every lesson is specifically about me, so here is the lesson I'd like to learn this week:

We all have horror stories about our kids. Currently, my horror story is about how Sophia is refusing to eat in the kitchen. My last situation, so to speak, was when Sophia was sick and refused to sleep alone. It was an awful two week for the entire house. Both Jon and I were up at all hours of the night trying to comfort her and Ryan when she would cry loud enough to wake him. But it only lasted a week.

During those two crazy weeks, I shared my story about Sophia not sleeping well with a friend and that's when she told me her horror story. Her 15-month-old daughter simply refuses to sleep on her own. My friend was complaining that she hasn't slept in the same bed with her husband since her daughter was born.

How sad, I thought. But, it gets worse. I saw her yesterday and she asked me how Sophia was sleeping. I told her she was sleeping fine, but it was hard breaking her of the habit of waking in the middle of the night. She then proceeded to tell me that her daughter is still not sleeping on her own and has developed a nasty habit of making herself throw up after being put to bed.

How awful. I feel terrible for this poor woman. She says she "knows it's her fault" but she doesn't know how to stop it. So, my friends, anyone have any suggestions? I did a quick Google search on the topic and found lots of parents who are suffering in this same situation, but I haven't found any real answers to the problem.


Hopey said...

I'd recommend this book -

"Good Night, Sleep Tight: The Sleep Lady's Gentle Guide to Helping Your Child Go to Sleep, Stay Asleep and Wake Up Happy"

A friend (who has two little girls who are 53 weeks apart!) recommended it.

I got it before I had Jane, and tried to start with some of the techniques right when she was a newborn.

Now she's 5 months and gave up her night-time feeding this week, so she's consistently sleeping from 7 PM until 6 AM with limited help from us (we maybe change a diaper or give her a pacifier or her teddy bear and she's right back to sleep). So far so good until the next illness, growth spurt, whatever.

I don't know if I can take credit for her sleeping so well or if she's just an easy baby.

And, I'll put in my $.02 that a lot of people don't accept - sometimes they just have to Cry It Out. There are times when we don't get her into bed in time and she gets overtired...she gets wired and can't settle down. The more we try to soothe her, the worse she gets. Finally, back when she was 9 or 10 weeks, I just let her cry it out. I sat on the bed and cried while I listened to her on the monitor. Tom's job was to remind me that she wasn't in pain, had a clean diaper, and wasn't hungry. Our agreement was that if she was still awake in 20 minutes, I could go to her and comfort her. 7 or 8 minutes later - silence. And she slept like a rock.

Now I just get that feeling that she's overstimulated and I'm not helping by rocking, singing, trying to feed her, giving her a pacifier, etc...and I just let her cry. It never goes past 10 minutes. It's difficult, but it works.

I know that method is not for everyone.

HOWEVER, this Sleep Lady book gives an alternative to the Cry It Out method, where you're not abandoning the baby, just not giving in to her protests. I believe it directly addresses babies who make themselves throw up to keep their moms there (but since i haven't had that problem I haven't read that part.) The book gives advice broken down into age groups and specific problems.

All right...that was a LONG comment!


Diane said...

Thanks Hopey. I'll suggest the book. Every suggestion helps.

Hopey said...

I came back to just clarify that I KNOW that you can't do the CIO method when the baby has gotten sick in crib! But I think that book has some techniques for preventing the vomiting in the first place.

I was just trying to suggest that I don't think this mom is going to be able to get this baby to sleep without some tears and a backbone.

OK, now I'm done.

Hopey said...

OK, another follow-up: I checked out my copy of that book, and it didn't address self-induced vomiting as sleep refusal directly. I can't remember where I saw that...maybe Dr. Spock? Anyway, great book, but didn't have direct info as I mentioned before. I just didn't want your friend to buy it and be dissappointed.