Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Sleep: Part 2

I am going to preface this with a warning- I am taking on the often controversial subject of sleep and parenting and while I have no intention of offending anyone out there, I am certain I will. We all do what we think is best for our families and I am just sharing my honest personal thoughts...)

So back to what I was saying in the last post: sleep, parenting, having twins, etc, etc...

I guess I really have to start with the fact that I gave birth to my children very early and rather unexpectedly. Seven weeks prior to most mothers due dates- we are reading up on childbirth, what to pack in our bags for the hospital and last minute name ideas. When I went into labor (6.5 weeks early- I hadn't really made it to the part about what to do once the baby arrived. So once the babies arrived- I didn't have a whole lot more than vague ideas about what parenting would look like once we got home with our little bundles.

I am currently 5 months into this crazy thing called twin parenting and I can tell you with all honesty that my life looks nothing like I had envisioned. No surprise really. We new parents have all of these unrealistic romanticized versions of what it's like to have a baby floating around in our subconscious minds. They magically fit into our lives, going wherever we go- the absolute picture of a contented, docile, cooing little mound of flesh that drifts off into dreamland all on their own. So wrong! While some parents are blessed with a reality not too far off from what I have just described, the vast majority of us are left scratching our heads when our well meaning (childless) friends ask us if our baby sleeps through the night yet.

By the way- this whole sleeps through the night thing is a myth. Aside from the occasional angelic baby or the parent who has decided to do the cry it out method and has successfully managed to "sleep train" their child- most babies do not actually sleep through the night. A baby is actually considered sleeping through the night if they have a stretch of 5 hours or more. That means that we parents are still waking up at ungodly hours of the night; and I do mean ungodly. Waking up at 2 or 3 am has a tendency to reveal the not- so- nice sides of a person.

So here I am- 5 months in and I have 2 babies (not 1) who are in need of constant attention when it come to sleeping and they are waking every 2 hours to feed all night long (I think I mentioned this before, but it is worth noting again to elicit your sympathies). In an effort to regain sanity, I have obtained all major sleep books and started reading about methods that span the styles- super attachment parenting methods (no surprise these folks don't have twins with reflux), the cry it out crowd, the Ferber method, and so on. While I have gleaned helpful bits of information from each book- I would have to say that none have left me feeling all that comfortable or excited to take on the task of "sleep training".

Then I came across this book by Tracy Hogg called Secrets of the Baby Whisperer. She has a unique middle of the road perspective that I appreciate. So far, this book has resonated with me the most. It teaches you how to help your child learn to sleep on their own without employing any extreme tactics. No crying it out alone, no schedules mapped out to the second, no sleeping in the parents bed until the age of 3 with demand feeding at all hours, no allowing children to set the tone in the home, etc. I realize in reading this book that we have a lot of bad habits to undo, but I finally feel good about how we can undo them and what we can put in place of them.

Of course, what looks good in a book may look entirely different in practice- but I'll keep you posted...

Oh, and the next time you are invited to a baby shower- give the parents to be, Secrets of the Baby Whisperer as a gift. (author is in no way shape or form- paid by Tracy Hogg or any of her affiliates ;)

1 comment:

Caren Hunter said...

I felt the same way about that book. It was really helpful for us.

Although I think nothing prepares you for the 'death' that parenting is. I read that newborns rob their parents of 450-700 hours of sleep in the first year. You probably get to double that.

I say death, because there is so much dying to self that you have no option in. You have to feed them, sooth them, help them sleep, change them, dress them, all at the expense of your former independent self.

And yet, the dying remakes you.