Last week, I shared with you about my change of heart regarding the well-known infant scheduling book, Babywise. Again, you must know that I do not completely disagree with it. I’m not even opposed to it in any way, and if it works for, please, please keep doing it. I don’t believe in throwing the baby out with the proverbial bathwater. Like much of life, you take what works and toss out what doesn’t. I’d like to tell you about why my thoughts have changed.
Baby #1 and Baby #2
When I was pregnant with our second baby, I asked my husband what we should change and do differently with our second baby. His response? Nothing. Especially when it came to infant sleep. Our first baby began sleeping through the night consistently at 3 weeks. She slept the clock ’round, from 8 pm to 8 am, though I would wake her up around 10 or so to nurse before heading to bed.. And yes, she was exclusively breastfed. I called her my Babywise Success Story and happily blogged about it.
Baby #2 arrived and we followed Babywise just as we did with Baby #1. We kept everything exactly the same. Only this time, it didn’t work.
What was the difference this time? The babies.
Babies really do have different personalities. Tracy Hogg, in The Baby Whisperer, would label Baby #1 as an Angel Baby, achieving those sleep milestones early. Baby #2, by contrast, would be labelled a touchy baby. You could also call him Mr. Cranky Pants, because that’s what I still call him sometimes.
When our first baby had a cold, she would sleep more and I would get ahead on housework, make homemade bread, sew, or read. Those were the good ole days!
When our second baby had a cold, he was completely miserable and grouchy. I used my Moby-style wrap frequently with him because I couldn’t just sit around holding him all day, as much as I’d like to. In fact, even since my third baby has been born, I’ve had to put the baby down and wear the toddler in my baby carrier. Crazy!
Teething was another area where these two were opposites. Baby #1 literally woke up one morning with a tooth popping out. She did this with all of her teeth until her molars came in around 15 months. I truly thought all the hype about cranky kids and teething was quite ridiculous. Until Baby #2 arrived. I learned all about the non-standard teething remedies, including teething tablets and amber necklaces. I would’ve tried anything to get this kid to be happy, and I do believe we did!
We tried the Cry It Out (CIO) method over and over again with our second baby, starting around 6 months (after recovering from lung surgery and outgrowing reflux). CIO wasn’t that hard because he would cry for about 15 minutes the first night and 5 the second. By night 3, we were done and he was sleeping fairly well, with little to no night waking. Until something happened to disrupt his schedule once again.
Between lung surgery, reflux, teething, colds, bronchiolitis, a couple of collapsed lung issues, and even a few ear infections as his first birthday arrived, we dealt with it all. This kid wasn’t sleeping and I was one tired mommy, sometimes waking up 4 times a night.
Finally, at 10 months, something huge happened that changed everything. I got a positive pregnancy test.
So now I was exhausted from the sleepless nights and I was dealing with pregnancy exhaustion. Breastfeeding often exacerbated morning sickness nausea and sometimes, I would even vomit during or after nursing him. Within a week of the positive pregnancy test, I simply refused to nurse him anymore at night. I slowly started cutting back on nursing him during the day, and he really didn’t mind. I would go into his room and give him his pacifier instead of nursing him. After a couple of nights like this, he stopped waking up altogether and I was well-rested again. Sort of. I was still pregnant, of course.
With my third baby, I’ve given him little option on being flexible. He has to be flexible to our family’s activities. He’s also the happiest baby on the planet, so that makes life a little easier.
I haven’t worried so much about a hard and fast schedule because in many ways, I’ve needed him to be flexible. He takes a morning nap and an afternoon nap, and he nurses every three hours, except maybe a little more in the evenings. All of my babies have done that.
He’s happy. We’re happy. And I see no need to change anything. He’s still not sleeping through the night, and some nights, that bothers me more than others. He has also battled ear infections off and on for months now, so I really can’t bear to let him cry if I think it could be related to ear pain. So maybe I’m a softy now. I really don’t mind at all.
Have you noticed that different children respond differently with nighttime sleep?