Sleep Training

I am not sure what is up with Emma this past few days. She has been strongly protesting sleep, especially naptimes. I have started a routine, which I thought would help. But this baby is too playful. As soon as I step foot in the room to wind her down … she screams. She knows sleep is coming.

Have I created a negative association with sleep for her? All I ever wanted was for her to sleep better. I thought all this tips and routines will help her sleep. The funny thing about parenting in this day and age is the constant flow of information readily at hand. I used to read up on every single baby sleep training method. When something is not working as expected, I fall back to my iPad, looking on the Internet again. Even though my mind is screaming silently “Stop reading!”, I think it is an addictive way of reassuring myself that I haven’t done anything wrong.

I realized every mother out there has gone through the same thing. Sure, there are the few lucky ones who claim their baby just eats and sleeps peacefully. Still, this points to the fact that all babies are different. Some are better sleepers than others. This leads to the point that there is not one surefire method that works for all babies. While the approach may be the same for most babies, at the end of the day each has a unique solution.

I hope this is just a rebellious phase for Emma at . I know there’s so much to see, and explore that she doesn’t want to shut her eyes and get some rest. However, I’m worried. I foresee a day where I will be resorting to the cry-it-out sleep training method. While her night wakings are still considered reasonable, I think it is slowly taking its toll on me. She goes to bed at around 7 pm, sometimes earlier if she’s had a tiring day without good naps. Then she does sleep for a long stretch of 5-6 hours. After that, she will wake up 2-3 hours later. I’m sure it’s not for a feeding. I have been giving her back the pacifier to delay my response in picking her up. Usually this works and stretches her sleep by another hour or so. Then, she wakes up again with stronger cries, and I resort to feeding her milk. There’s one theory by Dr Weissbluth that advises not to go to the baby at her 5 am waking. The baby may get used to waking up for the day at this hour. He advises to delay the response until 6 am. To be honest, I’m so tired during those early hours of the morning that I am starting to be complacent of any routine or method. I just want her to go back to sleep. Emma is dependent on the pacifier, but it keeps falling out when she’s trying to sleep. So I end up bringing her onto the bed with me to sleep until we wake up at 7.30 am. My mother who occasionally checks in on both of us said we were both fast asleep. To me, all I remember was hearing her fuss when I was falling back to sleep, and waking up. So I had no idea if she did sleep at all. Perhaps, it would be easier to ignore her cries if she was sleeping in a separate room. We co-sleep with her as my parents do not have an extra room for us to use.

Such a dilemma. I am constantly questioning myself …

All these decisions I’m making for her, are they right? I’m constantly being judged as well, even by my own parents.

“Giving her a quiet, dark environment to nap in the day will not teach her how to fall asleep outside the room in a noisy environment.”

“Carrying her too much will spoil her. She won’t get used to the stroller.”

Emma needs extra help to sleep. She’s so distracted by everything that she gets overwhelmed by not being able to sleep even when she is tired. Yes, I wish my baby was a great sleeper too. But she’s not. And people around me don’t understand that her lack of restorative, good-quality sleep in the day, causes her nighttime sleep to be poor. I have to say, even when she falls asleep in the baby carrier or stroller, it’s not that good of a sleep as compared to when she is in motionless sleep (i.e. crib, flat surface).

I do want to bring her out for walks, and to the mall so badly. But it all interferes with her need to sleep. She doesn’t realize it herself, of course.

Sometimes I wish I was still living back in Houston. I could just bring her downstairs for a stroll in the neighbourhood. Here, I can do that too. But it’s mosquito central. It rains most days. And there’s no one else walking about. People here are either at work or indoors. No children play at the playground. It’s quite sad, really.

Tomorrow, I am going to attempt to bring her to that playgroup again. Hopefully, her mood will be better. I know staying at home everyday is boring too.





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