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Should I let my baby cry it out?


By Elizabeth Pantley
Excerpted with permission by McGraw-Hill/Contemporary Publishing from The No-Cry Sleep Solution: Gentle Ways to Help Your Baby Sleep Through the Night by Elizabeth Pantley, copyright 2002

What does it take for your baby to fall asleep? Does he or she fall asleep if you breastfeed, give a bottle or pacifier, rock, carry, swing, take a ride in the car, or perform other elaborate rituals? Does your baby wake up frequently throughout the night? Are your sleep issues further complicated because your baby won't nap easily, or takes very short naps?

Do you ever feel like Leesa, mother of 9-month-old Kyra who said,

To gain that perspective, ask yourself these questions:

Where will I be five years from now?

How will I look back on this time?

Will I be proud of how I handled my baby's sleep routines, or will I regret my actions?

How will the things I do with my baby today affect the person he will become in the future?

Once you have some perspective about your baby's current sleep issues, it is important to be realistic in determining your goals and to be honest in assessing the situation's effect on your life. Some people can handle two night wakings easily, while others find that the effect of even one night waking is just too much to handle. The key is to evaluate whether your baby's sleep schedule is a problem in your eyes, or just in those of the people around you.

Begin today by contemplating these questions:

Am I content with the way things are, or am I becoming resentful, angry, or frustrated?

Is my baby's nighttime routine negatively affecting my marriage, my job, or my relationships with my other children?

Is my baby happy, healthy, and seemingly well rested?

Am I happy, healthy, and well rested?

What is a reasonable expectation for my baby at his/her age?

What naptime and bedtime situation would I consider 'acceptable'?

What naptime and bedtime situation would I consider 'pure bliss'?

Why do I want to change my baby's sleep patterns? Is it truly what's best for me and my baby, or am I doing this to meet someone else's expectations?

Am I willing to be patient and make a gradual, gentle change for my baby if that means no crying?

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Once you answer these questions, you will have a better understanding of not only what is happening with regard to your baby's sleep, but what approach you will feel most comfortable using to help your baby sleep better.

In addition to my two-year-old son Coleton, I have three older children, and they have afforded me the perspective I lacked the first time around. My children have taught me how very quickly babyhood passes. I struggle now to remember the difficulties of those first couple years, so fleeting are they. And I am proud that I didn't cave in to the pressures of others around us to do what felt was right; instead I followed my heart as I gently nurtured all of my babies. That time is long gone for us, but those memories remain. And now, all four of them sleep through the night. And so do I.

Excerpted with permission by McGraw-Hill/Contemporary Publishing from The No-Cry Sleep Solution: Gentle Ways to Help Your Baby Sleep Through the Night by Elizabeth Pantley, copyright 2002

© Elizabeth Pantley
Elizabeth Pantley is a author and parent educator and frequently quoted expert who presents lectures across the United States. She is the mother of four children. Check out her website at www.pantley.com! Her newsletter, "In Touch With Elizabeth Pantley," provices valuable parenting tidbits and advice, plus advance notice of book releases and appearances. Sign up at her site!

 

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