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New sleep book

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

Hi mamas-


We're cooking our third, and while we are proud and happy to have been given this chance again, we were researching adoption and fostering when the positive test came.  A decision to adopt/foster is always multifaceted, and ours was too... but there was one really selfish reason for which I preferred adoption/fostering to pregnancy: sleep.


At first, I thought the reason I wanted to adopt a baby older than 1 year was because I am just not a "baby person."  It's true: I did not really enjoy either of my son's babyhoods.  Isn't that awful?  But it slowly has dawned on me in the last year WHY I did not enjoy their babyhoods.  I was exhausted.


Our boys are 2 years apart, almost to the day (2 days between their birthdays).  Neither slept more than 3 hours at a time until they were 2.  My husband was in medical residency until the last one was 18 months.  In short, I never slept more than 2 hours at a time either for 3.5 years.  I was/am an extremely responsive nighttime parent.  There has never been any attempt at any type of sleep training.  They wake up, I seek out any problems, and try to put them back to sleep.  I feel good about that-- don't get me wrong.  I'm proud of it.  But proud of it almost in the sense that someone would be proud of fighting in a war.  It's not something I really wanted to do, but I acted according to my ideals within an extremely trying and less-than-ideal situation.  


I was super responsive at night... and drop-dead exhausted everyday, for 3.5 years.  


I've had about 1 year of more or less solid sleep, often getting woken up  no more than 1 time in a night to change wet sheets or calm a nightmare.  It's glorious.  I am exercising again.  I am reading again. I have a social life.  And even more importantly: I don't want to divorce my husband and I PLAY WITH MY KIDS.  I could go on, but my point is that when well-rested, I am a bad-ass daytime mama.  


So I am worried about what the year beginning in April will bring.


It's true that my husband is no longer in residency.  It's also true that we now live closer to supportive family.  But I'm also now fully committed to finishing a dissertation by January 2014, and I no longer want to sacrifice my full and happy days for the sake of one of the five members of our family.  It just doesn't seem like a fair exchange.  In short: I cannot envision waking up every 2 hours for another 2 years.  So I'm trying to piece together a plan.  Just in case.  Because I know-- not every baby wakes as often as my first two did.


So... to come to the broader point: when I saw this new sleep book advertised on Ohdeedoh.com, I instantly clicked through to amazon and bought it.  (And so did a lot of folks apparently, as it seems to be out of stock today.)  It arrived last week, and I'm having a hard time not reading it cover to cover.  I want folks to discuss it with, so I'm hoping some of you have it or are interested in getting it so we can discuss.


The major premise of this book (which for the most part, 3 chapters in, seems quite AP acceptable) is that babies wake frequently at night because they are fearful for their safety.  They experience "survival anxiety."  Having a full tummy helps, she says, but "protecting" your night-crying baby by picking him or her up reinforces the idea that the baby was NOT safe where it lay, and that it was right to wake up so it could be "rescued" by you.  The main philosophy of the book is to provide your baby with peace and security so that he or she can learn to enjoy sleeping.  She claims that applying her method will lead to a baby as young as 4 months old sleeping 12 hours at a time.


Yeah.  I'm not so sure either.  


But I can't help but be hopeful.  I just want a new approach that doesn't entail my baby crying by himself for any period of time.  Pantley didn't do much for us, though believe me, I tried.  So I'm hopeful.  But cautiously so.  But I would so appreciate a few other readers!


So let me know if you can get ahold of a copy and want to join me in discussing the book.

post #2 of 13

I have not read the book, or heard anything about it other than what you said, but I was wondering if this idea is supposed to be applied to babies sleeping with their mother. All four of mine slept with me; I had two good sleepers and two not at all good sleepers. But I think that having baby in bed automatically creates a safe space and if baby needs tending, s/he needs tending... there is nothing much to question, KWIM? A baby laying in a crib crying and waiting to be picked up and tended is not the same thing as a baby in bed that fusses and gets snuggled closer, even if it also needs diapering, nursing etc.

I do think there is a big energy shift when a baby is in it's own bed and is picked up and moved somewhere else to be tended to (even if somewhere else is in mom's arms being nursed in a rocking chair). I can see how that kind of shift could possibly be disruptive on a large scale and create uncertainty. But when the space doesn't change because baby is in bed with mom, the only energy change is a positive shift towards meeting it's needs, which would be reassuring and comforting.

Some babies sleep well, some don't. With four totally different experiences, I can't find any rhyme or reason except that they have different temperaments  and biorhythms.

So that's my 2cents.gif but I am definitely interested to see what others say about this.

post #3 of 13

Ok this is definitely interesting to me. DS is a horrible sleeper in the sense that he has needed help falling back to sleep every 3 hours or less since birth.  We do co-sleep and I do all of the night time parenting because 1) until recently DS just wanted to nurse and go to sleep and 2) it is hit or miss as to whether DH will even be home before 2am.  I am at the exhausted stage of kind of freaking out about having a newborn and still having to help DS back to sleep.  This has been greatly magnified by the really intense night time parenting that DS has required in the past 1.5 weeks with being sick and DH not being home to help at all for the past three weeks because of work.  Honestly, it has been a rough and dark week. Ds has had to literally sleep on me to get any sort of fitful sleep and my body cannot take that while pg.  He thrashes around and cries inconsolably if I try to do anything else.  Anyway, that is obviously not my normal night but it has made me really wonder what I can do to foster good sleep for DS.  I am honestly terrified of how I will feel emotionally and mentally if DD is as bad of a sleeper as DS.

Any tips on getting a 22 mo old to sleep are welcome and I am interested in ideas? I am curious as to what your book says and as to if it is something feasible with AP or not? I think my issue has been that any alternatives that I have run into in the past suggest things that DS was just not developmentally ready for.  He is getting to the place that he doesn't really want to nurse at night, and I don't seem to have a lot of milk right now anyway, so maybe nightweaning is the next step? I don't know. On a good night he wakes up 3 times.

post #4 of 13

Stuff like this worries me.  Are you familiar with Dr. James McKenna?  Babies sleep cycles and habits are very much tied to their safety.  All of my babies have slept with us and all of them have slept differently.  My youngest slept better from the start than his older sisters ever have!  He's had his moments, though.  Oy.  Growth spurts, illness, etc.  Sleep really is imperative for the entire family, I completely agree.  However, I think it's safer to adjust our lives rather than try to train our babies.  They are biologically wired to survive and I don't feel good about messing with that.  A guarantee by a certain age just sets off my hinky meter. 



post #5 of 13

wwisdomskr - I love that you have a hinky meter.  winky.gif 


Aletheia - for some reason when I click on the link you provided it brings me back to this thread.  What is the name of the book and author?  I'm curious to take a look and find out more.  Generally I agree with wwisdomskr, and her comment about Dr. McKenna.  A 4 month old sleeping 12 hours straight seems rather unnatural to me. I'm sure there are a few babes out there who will naturally fall into longer sleep patterns, but most don't seem to without some strict sleep training/non-response to cries.

In my grand experience of having one child (LOL), I found that breast-feeding and bed-sharing really helped with night time waking.  I could be responsive to my DD without needing to move her or myself much at all, which also made it much easier for us both to fall back asleep.  I probably woke up every 2-3 hours, but only enough to pop a nipple into a mouth most of the time.

post #6 of 13

 I was concerned about nighttime when I was expecting #6. Our fifth child is extremely high needs and especially so at night. He literally slept in my arms until the night before I gave birth to #5. (He self-weaned when my milk got low, so we didn't have to worry about nursing two at night.) When the new babe was born he curled up right behind me, against my back, and went right to sleep. I had worried for months for nothing.


He never saw the baby as an interloper because we made sure he wasn't pushed aside. It was really a non-issue.


Having said that, I have not had decent sleep for, oh, six years at least. Out of the 21 years I've had children, I've had maybe five years of good sleep without a kid in bed with me. Yes, it can be exhausting. The best sleep I get is on Saturdays when dh keeps the kids upstairs and I go downstairs and nap with the sound machine blaring. It is what it is. I am unwilling to 'train' if it involves CIO. Period.


I would like to know the name of the book, as well. It might be helpful to me, but I have come to realize that - while this season seems long when one is in it - it is truly only a season. It will pass.

post #7 of 13
Thread Starter 

So sorry about the link!!  The name of the book is A Good Night's Sleep by Anna Wahlgren.  


Oh!!! I so wish you all were reading the book right now at the same time as me.  I especially value wwisdomskr's term "hinky meter."  I'm right there with you.  My hinky meter is pretty sensitive, too, and I'm fairly certain that I would not have bought this book so quickly before my first child was born.  But I have done 4 years of co-sleeping, night-feeding, even night-EC'ing, and I'm brave enough to say I just don't want to do it again.  But if the only other option is CIO, I will do it again.  Every last waking.  


I am familiar with Dr. James McKenna.  Moreover, a good family member is a sleep disorder specialist, an MD.  I've done the research.  It's true-- babies cycle through deep sleep more quickly than big people do, and the best theory behind that is because babies are wired to be worried about their safety.


The thing is, that is the same premise of Wahlgren's book: babies wake frequently because they are worried for their safety.  The co-sleeper's answer has been to show the baby she is safe by being near, by being responsive, and by providing comfort.  The CIO school seems to think that ignoring those wakings is the best way to teach baby she is actually safe at night.  But Wahlgren has a third approach: she insists that we can communicate safety and security to a fretful night-waker by using a combination of techniques that do not involve nursing and holding.  Or much crying.  But yes, friends, it appears there is some crying.  But it seems very different than CIO.  Kind of like when Dr. Jay Gordon talks about the difference between crying out of fear and abandonment versus crying out of frustration and anger when he talks about nightweaning (a good article, btw, flavorfull1).


I would have walked away from the book right then four years ago-- crying?  No way a baby of mine is going to cry in the night if I can help it!  But I am going to read the whole damn thing with an open mind.  She seems tricky to place.  On the one hand, this is not going to be a La Leche League approved book: her sample schedules seem to advocate for introducing solids to a 4 month old, and not nursing ALL NIGHT from a very early age.  That rankles me.  And there is the prohibition against picking your baby up when he or she cries at night.  That rankles me too.  Or sets off my "hinky meter," ala wwisdomskr.  But.... on the other hand, she makes a very, very compelling case for the idea that even young, tiny babies WANT to get a lot of peaceful, enjoyable sleep-- and that the reason that they often DON'T is because they are fearful for their lives.  Yes, it's one thing to constantly say to them, with our cuddles and our boobs, at every nightwaking, "you are safe! I am here!", as the co-sleeper or even just ultra-responsive crib-user does... but it's another thing to PROVE to your baby that they are safe by saying with our actions "there is no need to pick you up right now, because where you are is safe and secure, and you can hear me right here, close to you, keeping watch through the night so that you do not need to fear that a wolf is going to eat you up."  I do find that compelling.  She uses the analogy of going on safari and hearing animals out moving and roaring in the night while you sleep in your tent.  She asks if you would be more comfortable with the guide inside the tent, cuddling you, or clomping about in a circle around your tent holding a gun while you slept soundly and safely inside.  I get that.  I want the guide outside.  The best I can hope if he is inside is that he will be eaten up first, and that's not that reassuring.  That makes sense to me.  And having seen my little people be tired all day as little things... that was almost harder for me than being tired myself.  After four years of co-sleeping, I couldn't honestly say that I believe that "young children get the sleep they need naturally."  I just don't buy it anymore.  My kids had pale skin and dark circles a lot of the time.  And now that they sleep through-- they don't.  And they are more joyful.  


This book IS weird.  Not least of all because the lay out is so... non user friendly.  More than the first half consists of a rather haphazard presentation of the "why" behind the "how to."  And it is jam-packed with testimonials, and seems somewhat repetitive.  But she insists that reading this is important, because the "cure" she presents in the last half, I suppose, is not something many of us would give a try.  And she wants us to, because she seems to really firmly believe that the health and happiness of our babies is at stake.  I feel that she is motivated by the same sort of energy I am when I read the post on Facebook of a distant college friend saying she was ready to begin CIO with her 5 month old that night.  I wanted to write and tell her NO! DON'T DO IT! and could almost justify it because I was thinking not of her, but of her poor little baby, lying there in the dark not getting her needs met.  So I want to keep an open mind if what Wahlgren is saying is said with that same feeling.  


I just wish I had other crunchy mamas to discuss it with.  I do not want to take a decision to follow her protocol lightly AT ALL.


I just began the "how to" half last night.  It's competing with my studying for a huge oral exam I have to take on Monday morning.  :)

post #8 of 13
Thread Starter 

BTW, the review in which I originally learned about the book is here.

post #9 of 13

I think you are very wise to take sleep seriously and to make a plan for your health and well-being.  It all trickles down from Mama.  And, as the cliche goes, there's a reason why sleep-deprivation is used as a form of torture! 


My oldest was a preemie, with reflux, and it felt like Hell!  We had to keep her upright all the time and I seriously remember feeling like I was going to die.  I really get it.  She's 11 now and just told me that it's time for her to start seriously preparing for Veterinary School...dizzy.gif  I feel blessed to have a taste of the long view and to know how short that sleepless time is in the grand scheme. 


I definitely make sleep a priority, though!  I go to bed early--whether I feel like it or not--and I don't get up for anything, except to pee, until I've somehow patched together 8 hours of sleep.  After rough nights, this means that my older kids have to fix their own breakfast and watch some TV.  Not ideal, but also not that big of a deal.  My husband is a champion co-parent.  He does everything except breastfeed.  If I'm sure that the baby is really full, I know that I can ask him to take over while I get some rest.  He's in the military, so it's not always possible, but he always will do what he can. 


That's what works for us, though, and who I am to say what works for anyone else!  I guess I don't have as open of a mind as I should  I'm sorry.  I sincerely mean what I said about your foresight and hope that you do find what you need from this book.  I hope that you have a much, much easier time with this baby and that you don't get so sleep deprived!  We each have to find what works for our families and sometimes it's even different for each child.  It's so good to be thinking this through ahead of time!

post #10 of 13

I really recommend Sleepless in America:  Is your Child Misbehaving or Missing Sleep.  It's a really comprehensive book and talks about the childs personality and how it affects sleep, how to work with the personality etc.  It's helped me a ton with our 2 year old.  He's so active it takes him a long time to wind down enough to fall asleep.  He generally sleeps pretty well recently, but since he's just about 2.5 he's starting into another growth spurt (developmental) and that always affects his sleep.  This book talks about that as well, along with different ages, how to help baby get into a good sleep pattern etc. 


It doesn't give a schedule you have to follow, it just helps you find your childs schedule.  I know with DS I found he has to go down around 7, not 7:30 or 8 like I had been.  By then he's over tired and takes a really long time to fall asleep and was even harder to put down than he is at 7.

post #11 of 13

Still thinking about you and want to hear more thoughts about the book.  I hope I didn't come across as a total jerk in my last message.duck.gif

post #12 of 13
Thread Starter 


Originally Posted by wwisdomskr View Post

Still thinking about you and want to hear more thoughts about the book.  I hope I didn't come across as a total jerk in my last message.duck.gif


Oh, not at all!  I could have written the same thing not very long ago-- in fact, I did, to a close friend who was in the pits of despair about her little one's sleep schedule.  If I hadn't had that same mentality, consisting of a recognition that a) at least my baby was not at all feeling abandoned, b) this was a temporary chapter in a very long life, and c) that i just had to take it one day at a time, I would have never gotten through those four long years.  It's important to be able to commit to the path you are on, I think, because often the anxiety about changing paths while your journey is underway is more than we can bear.  It would have been for me.


The nice thing about where i am now is that I am NOT on that sleep-deprived, one-day-at-a-time path.  I can reevaluate.  DH is surprised that I am still reading the book, as I've quoted sections of it to him.  It definitely introduces a totally different path.  And yes, that does make me nervous.  And no, I probably won't follow it in every detail.  But now is the time for evaluation.  I won't be able to think this through after the birth.  I know that.




Originally Posted by Blueone View Post

I really recommend Sleepless in America:  Is your Child Misbehaving or Missing Sleep.


Thanks for this rec, blueone.  I'll take a look when I finish the GNS book.



If anyone does find a copy of the book, let me know- I'd love to discuss.  I plan on exerpting some passages here to get y'all's input, but only if you can retain an open mind!  If you are not reading the whole book, you'll have to give it (and consequently me) the benefit of the doubt as much as possible.





post #13 of 13

Thanks for this thread. I'm learning quite a lot. I don't have "plans," just lots of stories of others' experiences. My friend's twins were sleepy babies, and eventually started sleeping through the night before 6 months. She didn't CIO, but she did a lot of soothing without picking up. And she was feeding bottles (breastmilk) at night rather than nursing. I know she didn't follow this book's method, but it sounds similar? She fed exclusively breastmilk but I don't think nursed at night after they were a couple weeks old. For the longest time she woke up to pump while her babies slept right through. 


I know each baby is different but I aspire to her outcomes. If I can't get any sleep, I won't be able to get research or coursework done, and I'll be screwed. Aletheia - I know you know what that's like!


Side question - Sounds like theory adds up, but is there any research to back up the theories in the books? I was trying to figure out how one would test such a theory; maybe fMRI study, maybe hormone serum levels in blood? Neither easy for babies...but...

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