As you may know if you've been following this blog for a while, Little Mama is a champion sleeper. Scratch that: WAS a champion sleeper....
Until I ruined her.
From early on, she slept soundly through the night, soothing herself back to sleep quickly by sucking on her two favorite fingers.
Then, in January, it all went south. Well, actually it went west. But that's confusing, right?
We went to visit family in California and she started waking in the night. Probably it was due to some combination of factors: time change, portable crib, too much light, too cold in our room, not enough quiet. Who knows exactly.
What did I do? I rewarded her. (Bad psychologist. Bad, bad psychologist!)
That's right? I nursed her back to calm composure, then popped her back in bed. The consequence? (It doesn't take a behaviorist to figure this out, right?!) She got hooked on "boppy." That's her new word for breastmilk "Boppy."
The vicious cycle set in. She cries; I nurse her. She goes to sleep. I toss and turn. Often for two hours of more. Before I go back to sleep...
She wakes again. I want to let her cry. But I. am. so. freaking. tired. And so I nurse her, again.
Before long, she's up every two hours all night long, nursing like a 3 week-old baby.
In a recent effort to turn things around (and find the energy for my plan to achieve total world domination higher-level writing goals), I've redoubled my resolve. And so it was just in the nick of time that sleep journalist and Parenting Squad expert Malia Jacobson asked me if I'd review a final draft of her new e-book "Ready, Set, SLEEP: 50 Ways to Help Your Child Sleep, So You Can Sleep Too."
I'm happy to say that within a week, I'd recaptured some of that earlier baby magic. Turns out I didn't ruin Little Mama completely, and -- surprise! -- she's still just as capable of self-soothing as she ever was. Last night she slept from 7 p.m. to 7:20 a.m. (BLISS!) I just had to get out of her way. And stay out.
What I liked best about Malia's book was it didn't teach one specific strategy for sleep training (like Ferber and friends). Instead, Ready, Set, Sleep debunks several misperceptions parents have about sleep and helps you study your child's sleep "system" and tweak it until it works. For them. And for you.
If a one-size-fits-all approach is what you're looking for, don't read Malia's book. If you want to learn the ingredients of good sleep and build your own bedtime (and nighttime) routine, buy it NOW. Her wise advice will help you rethink your beliefs and behavior. Plus, she provides tools to study (and change) your situation.
Disclosure: I received a free review copy of Malia's book "Ready, Set, SLEEP" but all opinions are my own.
Photo Credit: NEWBORN SLEEPING © Denys Dolnikov | Dreamstime.com