The Why and How of a Good Night’s Sleep (Part 2)

July 27th, 2009

I must confess that I woke up this morning feeling very defeated on the whole sleep front. Miss Mouse was up twice again in the night last night. Which leads into the second piece of the sleep puzzle — how to handle it when she wakes up in the night.

Now, I can already see the words forming on the lips of many a well-meaning reader. So let me be clear right off the bat: I don’t do Ferber. The whole “cry it out” school of thought does not align with my parenting philosophies. Period.

I know many a parent who swears by the method. “It’s hard the first few nights,” they say, “but then you never have a problem again.”

Which may be true. But I am willing to give up a half an hour of sleep each night rather than subject my child to that. I simply can not and will not leave her in her bedroom, alone in the dark, screaming for hours with absolutely no idea as to why her mother isn’t answering her cries. Nope. Not doing it.

And here’s why: reread the previous post. I don’t know for certain why she’s waking up. Maybe she’s yanking my chain and just wants to spend time with me. But maybe she genuinely is hungry (growth spurt?). Maybe she’s had a diaper leak and is soaked (ewww. Who wants to sleep in that?).

Maybe she’s in pain. This afternoon, a visit to the pediatrician brought the news that the ear infection we thought she’d kicked was still hanging on. Which is a pretty darned good reason to be up crying in the night, actually. Can you imagine if I’d left her to cry it out last night only to discover she has a really painful infection? Just sign me right up for the Bad Mother of the Year Award.

If Miss Mouse is still not sleeping through the night when she’s five, we’ll revisit the “cry it out” conversation. But probably not until then.

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