I read and love this book. The 5 S's: Swaddle, Shhhh, Swing, Suck and Side/Stomach have been invaluable, but the book, BABY WISE, has been even better and I wish I had read it before Samuel came. Now I have a few bad habits to break.
There are so many theories on feeding and sleeping for babies that it gets overwhelming, but as soon as you find the one that fits your personality, I think you just know it. Cosleeping just seemed wrong from the beginning, Demand Feeding would have been too demanding and unrealistic with my work schedule and Clock Feeding is too strict. I knew Parent-Directing Feeding or PDF was the thing for me as soon as I started reading. Basically it involves "a healthy mix of structure with flexibility." I love the way he categorizes things by how many weeks old the baby is.
Here are the basics of what I have learned:
#1. Establish a feed/wake/sleep routine: During the day feed your baby, have some awake time and then sleep time. I've done this some, but I've also allowed Samuel to fall asleep from feeding, which is a no-no. Doing his routine will help develop healthy nighttime patterns.
#2. Rocking your baby to sleep interferes with your child's learning to fall asleep on their own. Seemed harmless enough at the beginning, but now it seems logical that if he never has to fall asleep on his own, how will he ever learn.
#3. During the late evening and nighttime feedings I've been doing it right in putting Samuel right back to sleep. I have the lights low or off, I don't talk to him and the other stimuli are very low. During the day, I keep the noises and lights at daytime levels.
#4. Walks and bath times (which I have also done...yah for me...I've actually done a few things right.) are great awake activities and help to relax and wind down from the business of the day.
#5. "Crying for 15-20 minutes is not going to hurt your baby physically or emotionally. If you want a fussy baby, never let him cry, and hold, rock and feed him as soon as he starts to fuss. We guarantee that you will achieve your goal." (p. 131) THIS IS THE ONE I NEED TO FOCUS ON! I come by it honestly, though, because my sister and mother have a hard time here too.
He also says, "Think of crying as a signal, not a statement against your parenting." (p. 137) It felt so good to hear this, because this is exactly how I was feeling.
The "why's" of his crying are more important. I do know the difference between his hungry cry, gassy cry and wet cry. What I wasn't allowing for was his, "I'm tired and I need to sleep," cry. I would rock, carry, swaddle, or whatever to "help" him fall asleep. I've never just fed him and put him in his crib, allowing him to cry himself to sleep. The author says that if you want to change this habit, do it with the daytime naps first, so you don't have a horrible nighttime sleep. I think I want to try putting him in his crib, turning off the monitor and let him cry for maybe 10 minutes and then check on him. Once he's asleep I'll turn the monitor back on. That way the crying will be easier to get through. I'm sure for a lot of you this seems like a major, "WELL, DUHHH, TRACEY!?!", but for this new mom it took 6 weeks to realize.
#6. He also talks about infant slings being great for shopping, hiking or taking a walk, but that they should not be used as a substitute for the crib. (p. 209)
So, any "soon to be" mothers out there, read this book before your baby comes and you'll have a much easier time. The next 4 weeks before I go back to work will be focused on continuing the great things I've started, but correcting some of the bad habits too, especially #5.