I think every family with children, especially babies, has their “thing” that is always a problem. For us, it’s sleep. Specifically, getting Roo to sleep anywhere where we are not.
She sleeps just fine at childcare during the day without much adult intervention, but she refuses to sleep in her crib or to fall asleep on her own while at home.
Yes, yes, yes, we’ve heard it all from those who mean well.
“Just put her down and walk away. It worked for my kids.”
“Just let her cry. She’ll get tired.”
and the list goes on.
Now I’m not saying we have an impossible case here. I have yet to meet a 25-year-old whose mother has to rock him/her to sleep, so obviously this is something we grow out of over time. But, we have tried the things mentioned above (yes, more than once. yes, for longer than five minutes), and they simply are not working for our child and for our family at this time. Regardless of what worked well for your children, it is not working well for mine.
Roo has a terrible case of FOMO – “fear of missing out.” She will drift off to sleep on her own, without help, while sitting in her carseat at a noisy restaurant, in church, in the car or in some other place where action is happening. She will fall asleep in someone’s arms while that person is watching TV with the lights on and someone else is vacuuming four feet away. Noise and action and lights do not bother her.
But if you take her into her room with the lights down low and start to rock and soothe her quietly, she goes nuts. She will not fall asleep on her own or sleep in her crib, period, even if she was in a dead sleep when I put her in there. As soon as her back hits the mattress it’s go-time again.
(And for those who keep telling me to just walk away and she will eventually drift off… no. We’ve left her in there for an hour and a half before and she chatters and rolls and eventually cries herself into a hiccuping frenzy and gets hungry again, and by that point it’s been almost two hours and there’s just no more point to it.)
But take her back into the living room and sit on the couch – she’ll be out in five minutes. Stay on the couch and hold her, she’ll nap for three hours. Take her into her room and she’s instantly awake and wired. And actually, if we need her to go ahead and wake up for some reason, we just go put her in her bed. There’s no more sure-fire way to get her moving.
It may not be the book’s best parenting advice, but for whatever unknown reason, it’s working for us.
**Important note: Roo does not and has not ever slept with us. I am not an advocate of co-sleeping. She sleeps in a small rocker next to our bed, which she accepts quite well as long as she is already asleep when you put her in there. It’s specifically the crib that she hates so much.