Every mother teaches her children, whether you have just a few minutes a day or 24/7 to be teaching, you CAN and DO teach your Children!

This is just a little notebook tucked away on the web for all the little things I'm learning as I teach my children, but mostly learn from them, and especially the things I wish I could have known 6 children ago! Becoming a Mother is such a beautiful and strenuous process that unfolds line upon line.

Enjoy and please feel free to contribute thoughts, links, and ideas you have or find!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Mother - teach the baby to sleep

The past few nights have been long.  I'm sure I'm not the only one who have had nights when a little one has a tough time staying asleep!  Andrew (9 months) was waking up every 2 hours and only going back to sleep through rocking and nursing, then repeating that multiple times.  Any mother (and father) knows that wears you down after a bit and you start wondering what to do.  I sometimes wish I knew the things I know now with my first baby, and I am sure I'll think that again as the years pass by.

So I sat wondering what to do and how to help all of us get a better nights sleep, I pondered over the many different "solutions".  Everything from cry it out, to give up and let him out for a little bit and then try again, to continuing to be waken every other hour.  None really seemed such a great idea.  I have sworn off the cry it out solution forever if I can help it.  We tried that with Michael & Matthew and not only did it break my heart to pieces, it taught Alex - then 2 - that it was okay for them to cry... not a good thing.  And I'm sure it wasn't the most emotionally healthy thing for them.  I hope that it isn't a scar they carry for life.  The continued rocking to sleep thing isn't the best either, that is what I did with Alex and there comes a point where it just doesn't work anymore and that is a hard transition.  Plus I really need my sleep to keep up with life.  And we've always had the rule (that breaks now and then) that once it is bedtime we don't come out of our rooms til morning... and we start that with our babies.   There go all those options...  so as I sat rocking him at 12:30 the second night in a row I was pondering and my thoughts came back to "Mother, teach the children"... hmmm how does that apply here.  And I decided that I needed to teach Andrew how to go back to sleep if he stirs or wakes during the night, teach him to "fish" so to speak instead of giving him a fish.  I remember reading some things in a book called "The Lull-A-Baby Sleep Plan" a very good book in my opinion, and decided to try some.  So at 2:30am when Andrew woke again, I went in and calmed him down by giving him a hug, but without picking him up out of the crib.  Then when he had settled down a bit, I sat next to the crib and put my arms through the bars.  Over the next hour I worked at soothing him and keeping him from standing up on the side of the crib, laying him down at times (though he'd sit right back up), and just working on helping him stay calm but not playing.  I kept patting the mattress with my hand, next to him as he sat there, trying to encourage him to lay down himself.  He laid down a couple of times then would sit up then I'd pat the mattress and he'd lay down again and finally he stayed down and started breathing heavily.  And after about an hour it all worked.   Success!  Or so I hoped.  I hardly had laid down in my bed when he started crying again.  Obviously he wasn't completely asleep yet.  So I went back and did the same things over again, this time it only took about 15 mins.  And this time he slept through the night!!   This was the second time I tried this, I did it a few weeks ago too, I need to be more consistent with it, but usually Andrew does sleep through the night.

So why is this so important?  Well, one - though it did take longer initially than feeding and rocking him to sleep, I didn't have to be getting up every other hour again through the night!  And hopefully it won't take too many of these mommy teach me to sleep sessions, til he can help himself back to sleep and know that night is for sleeping. Two - He went to sleep!  And he didn't have to cry until he zonked out from sheer exhaustion (which really doesn't teach him anything very fast... and we'd end up having the same situation night after night for a long while.)  Three - I don't feel like I'm deserting him when he is crying for me and I'm not coming, we both feel validated and loved and respected.  My heart is NOT getting ripped out of me as it would if I was laying in bed listening to my baby crying.  We all feel better and happier in the end.  And I feel like I'm following the Savior's example of having Christ like love and charity as the guiding factor in my life as a mother.  As I said to my husband, "This is what Mom's are for" and what being a mom is all about.

Hope you can find what works for you and your baby!  And here's hoping that we can keep finding what works for us, as any mother knows the minute you think you figure something out that works... the child grows and changes and so you are able to grow and change again too!

AFTERTHOUGHT:  Just wanted to say... that that was what worked for me that night, that child, that place in time.  It won't always work, there are no quick fix, one size for everyone solution that will do the "trick".  You have to take into consideration your child, his/her age and temperament, your self, your family, your situation.  If my thoughts helped, great, if not, don't worry about it, find what works for you and your little one!

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Every child and every adult is individual and different! When you are doing your best and seeking inspiration as to what is best for your child(ren) you will be given the guidance that you and they need. It likely will be quite different than what I or someone else is doing, but you need to do what is right and best for your child. I hope that some of my experiences can help someone on their quest to learn how to become all that they can become, I am glad that I have recorded them!

Please join in and share thoughts, tips, and things that will help uplift and enrich mothers, children, and families!