My Letter To Suzy

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I’m trying to sum up our experience with Vi’s screaming that began around week four…  I sent pregnancy book recommendations to my friend, Suzy who recently got pregnant.  After Viola was born, I had to send an amendment to my book recommendations…primary in reference to BabyWise.  After Vi was born, I wanted to burn that book.
The following is describing the process that led us to begin sleep training Vi at night.  It helped her a bunch.
Now that we actually have a baby, its changed a lot of what’s been helpful, primarily Babywise.  Babywise was not helpful for us because it assumed a lot about the habits of babies that aren’t true for all babies.  One example is the sleeping.  From around three weeks, Vi resisted napping during the day but consolidated her sleep fairly well at night.  That throws off the rhythm that Babywise takes, assuming that babies nap between every feeding.  Vi didn’t.  There are other things concerning “sleep props” that are good to know, but aren’t necessarily helpful if your baby goes through the phase that Vi did…
This phase is a normal developmental phase most babies go through where the baby can scream for several hours without cause.  Its really distressing hearing your baby cry like they’re in pain for hours into the evening.  There were nights when Vi wouldn’t settle until 10 or 11.  Then she would repeatedly wake up into the night.  After that, I took her to the pediatrician swearing it wasn’t normal for an infant to cry like that if there wasn’t something wrong.  The pediatrician said it was probably reflux, told me to stop eating dairy, and wrote a prescription for an acid reducer.  The meds didn’t work, so I got some counsel from some parents i knew.  They directed me to the book:
Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child.  This was the first book I read that described the normal phase infants go through that resolves itself usually by 8 weeks.  And it has some great information about a child’s need for sleep.  It suggests using sleep props–whatever you can do to help your child get the rest they need.  I started working on getting her to nap during the day as much as possible.  That worked inconsistently, and she began to get less intensely upset at night.  But I could tell she needed more sleep.  So I called another parent friend of mine who I knew “sleep trained” her children.  She walked me through the Ferber Method–Dr Ferber wrote How to Solve Your Childs sleep problems.  This method involves letting your child cry for increasing intervals and eventually you can put them down at bedtime, and they will sleep.  We did it, and it works.  Its the most effective book we’ve read so far.  I got my evening back with Eric–it will save your marriage!!!  I havent done it during the day yet, but as I documented her daily sleep, I see how much better she sleeps at night.  I havent pushed the crying for naptimes.  Another really useful tool is a DVD called Happiest Baby on the Block. I think its a book too, but if you can locate the DVD, it takes 30 minutes.  Its the most effective methods to soothe a crying baby.  It really helps you use certain tools well, but not rely on them solely to make your baby sleep. I no longer think pacifiers are evil 🙂  But we use them sparingly.
Anyway, I wrote all of that to say your baby will be unique.  This is the journey we had.  You will have a different one, so I hope this helps!  Call me anytime!!!  I’ll forward you this helpful article too that puts a name to the evening crying fits.  
PS…most babies will be fussy in the evenings anyway.  This article refers to the constant inconsolable screaming.  Thats where the Happiest Baby on the Block stuff will work well until your baby grows out of it.  Vi was only bad for 2-ish weeks.  The sleep training helped a lot.  Lots of people dont believe in sleep training your baby so young, but I liked Ferber’s method of consoling your baby at increasing intervals.  You dont pick them up or speak, just rub their back so they know you havent left them.

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One response »

  1. I can second The Happiest Baby on the Block DVD. I am still amazed how effective even just the Shushing/White Noise is.

    I too was leary of pacifiers. We waited until Week 9 to introduce him. He receives a great deal of comfort from it. And since he typically gets his breastmilk from a bottle, it keeps him from overeating when all he wants to do is relax and suck. Now we even have a dedicated car pacifier. It never ever ever leaves the car. 🙂

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