She seems to have ceased the screeching over the past few days (THANK GOD) and has discovered a new sort of back-of-the-throat growl.
We are trying to teach her to fall asleep on her own. This is one thing for which nannying has left me ridiculously unprepared, as most of the babies I used to mind would fall asleep soon after being put down for naps, no problem. Now I wish I’d kept in touch with their parents so I could ask them HOW??
We are anti-CIO (Cry It Out). We reckon that if she’s crying, it’s because she needs something, and not meeting her needs can be traumatic at that age. Therefore our routine is:
- Bedtime ritual, aka – darkening the bedroom and singing her a lullaby while patting her or holding her hand, sometimes while holding her if she’s clingy (she’s increasingly not-clingy, so we must be doing something right).
- Once she’s drowsy, leave her in her bed with dodie (pacifier)* and lovey (comforter). She may or may not be growling to herself, or whining at this point.
It is important to differentiate whining and crying. Whining is a sort of half-hearted complaint – “I’m tired, why am I not asleep yet?” – whereas crying is a call for help. Sometimes, especially when we’re tired, we have trouble differentiating the two. I prefer to be safe and go to her. My boyfriend used to do the opposite and wait until she was really upset, but I – or maybe the consequences of doing that – have pretty much convinced him it’s not a good idea.
- When we go in, we try to comfort her without picking her up at first (which is usually possible if we’ve responded promptly). If that doesn’t work, we pick her up until she calms down. The aim is to leave once she’s a bit drowsy (again, growling away to herself), but not asleep.
If I am writing this blog tonight, it’s because it has worked. Tonight she fell asleep pretty much on her own, losing her dodie only once. I fully expect her to give us hell tomorrow night, because when it comes to sleep she does tend to take two steps back for every three steps forward, but still – PROGRESS.
And now I’m going to bed myself.