At this point I’m pretty sick of hearing myself talk about sleep but I also can’t think of anything else to say. Therefore, I’m going to rant about the worthless sleep expert industry again. I know I already poo-pooed the whole sleep begets sleep fad, but here is the cold hard truth about all the other “expert advice”.
Sleep begets being awake
B went through a pretty long phase of taking stupendous naps. We are talking 3 or even almost 4 hours sometimes. I thought maybe he was finally making up for the past 2 years so I’d let him sleep. You would think he would have been so well rested that bedtime would have been a breeze. Ok, no, no one thought that. Of course this resulted in B going to bed at 10 or 11. There was no begetting. Overtired, undertired, whatever, he always sleeps the exact same amount.
Early to bed early to rise
The other lie they tell you is that the earlier you put your kid to bed the later they will sleep. The experts warn: if you want your kid to sleep in, don’t think you will accomplish this by putting them to bed late! More lies. When B was going to bed at 10 or 11 he was sleeping until 7:30 or 8, rather than his usual 6. Putting him to bed late was in fact the exact ticket to getting him to sleep in.
Break the sleep association and they will still want it
This is the one I’ve read the most about. Every single book from the hard core let them cry for hours until they go to sleep, to the gentlest of gradual sleep coaching methods, they all say that you need to break whatever sleep association your kid has in order for them to be able to put themselves back to sleep when they wake up at night. However they fall asleep at bedtime/naptime is supposedly how they will want to fall asleep again when they inevitably wake up in the middle of the night. I cannot tell you the last time B nursed to sleep but it’s been quite a while. So let’s go ahead and consider that sleep association broken. For naps and for bedtime we say night night, I lie there with him, and he rolls around and babbles until he falls asleep. Then every single time he wakes up at night he wants to nurse. And not a dry boob comfort suck either. If he finds the offerings lacking he will scream, “Other side!” If I tell him the milk is all gone, he says, “Maybe! You try it!” (Remember, he doesn’t get pronouns so you means him.)
Fill up the daytime tummy and they will still be hungry at night
It’s possible he’s just hungry at night and it’s not a sleep crutch. Every book acknowledges that nursing is more than just comfort, it’s also sustenance so make sure they aren’t hungry at night by feeding them more during the day. Well, if it was that simple to just feed him more, B’s weight gain would not have stalled and reversed itself for the past 10 months but I digress. He is finally eating more during the day and has even gained a pound. He is still just as hungry at night.
I know intellectually, although I can’t fathom it, that there are actually people for which all of these things are extremely helpful. Does anyone have a favorite sleep book I maybe haven’t heard of? I still get some sort of sick pleasure out of reading them.