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My Technique for Cosleeping Through the Night

Ha! I’ve read or perused so many sleep books and sleep plans that I can summarize most of them. What I’ve learned from all this information is that every child is different, every parent is different, and there isn’t an expert out there who can get my child to sleep. Only I can. But I have taken bits and pieces of what I’ve read to come up with my own slightly haphazard plan. I actually wouldn’t even call it a plan. I just decided to start something, anything, to get myself and my daughter more sleep at night.

I guess I’m pulling much of my inspiration from Dr. Jay Gordon’s method of nightweaning and changing sleep habits in the family bed, and Elizabeth Pantley’s No Cry Sleep Solution, a favorite of exhausted AP parents. But I am also influenced by the Australian Baby Whisperer, especially her ideas of how to talk to a baby. She suggests that instead of always asking our baby questions that aren’t really questions (“you ready to have your diaper changed? You ready for your nap?”), that we tell them what’s happening and what we expect from them. So I tell my daughter now about things that I previously asked her about. “I’m going to change your diaper now. I just need you to lie on your back for two minutes while I change your diaper.” It’s not fair to ask a child a yes or no question that isn’t really a yes or no question. I’m going to change my daughter’s poopy diaper whether or not she’s ready. I should be honest with her about it. I also am slightly influenced by Harvey Karp’s Happiest Toddler on the Block, but I never read it. I just read people’s reviews of it on Amazon (see how I work?), and I have tried to implement the idea of talking to my daughter when she’s really upset with a similar tone and facial expressions. Instead of whispering “shhhh. It’s ok. You’re ok,” I’ve found that it really works to say “Amelia is MAD! Mommy knows that Amelia is MAD!” She feels like I hear her, and, so far, it calms her down immediately.

This isn’t a no-cry solution, that’s for sure. She is going to cry. She is going to be very upset. But I will be there with her, cuddling her, talking to her, stroking her, whatever she needs. Just not nursing her. Even though people swear by letting their babies cry it out, I can’t do it. I blame it on some of my own issues that I won’t bring up here, but I am incapable as a mother of letting her cry alone in a room. Luckily her dad feels the same, so we’re both willing to help her learn new habits this way, even though it’s not as quick as cry-it-out, nor quite as slow as the no-cry sleep solution.

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