I love me a sleeping June. It's about the cutest thing in the world. My heart melts, my insides turn to puddy, and every little thing that's been annoying me throughout the day suddenly doesn't seem so important anymore. All is right in the world when you're staring at a perfect sleeping babe.
Unfortunately, getting June to sleep isn't always such bliss. The past couple of weeks she has given us a run for our money when it comes time to go down. When she was just a newborn she would fall asleep anywhere, anytime and she would stay asleep. Now that she's growing up a bit (it makes me want to cry just typing that) she doesn't fall asleep quite as easily. If we're in the car she'll always konk out, and she loves to fall asleep in my arms when nursing. That's the thing with June, though, the naps are always on her terms. Her timing. Her place. If she gets to choose the conditions, yah, sure, she'll sleep like a dream. But when it comes time for sleep on my terms- at 7:30 pm in the bassinet- she will have none of it. Don't get me wrong, June will eventually fall asleep at bedtime, but not without the deluxe treatment. You know what I'm talking about, right? The bouncing, the rocking, the shh-shh-shhing in her ear. The holding of the pacifier, the cuddling close, the half an hour of pacing and rocking and soothing. And don't even think about putting June down until she is in a heavy, deep, almost comatose state of sleep. If you put her down a minute too soon, she'll wake up and start crying, wanting to be cuddled and rocked and soothed all over again.
I am making it sound worse than it is, I'm sure. June is a really good baby. Which is why I've been so alarmed the past couple weeks at her growing insistence that she be held and rocked to go to sleep. The first couple of months she would fall asleep in my arms right after our last night nursing session, and when I put her in her bassinet, she stayed asleep. Now she isn't as sleepy as she was as a newborn, and getting her to sleep that deeply has proved itself to be a lot of work.
Before I had June I was sure I would be a "cry it out" parent. Just throw the baby in the crib and let her figure it out on her own, it won't kill the babe! I still think along those lines- essentially that the baby needs to learn to self soothe- but putting it into practice is so much easier said than done. June is still so little, and when I put her down and she immediately starts crying at the top of her lungs it absolutely breaks my heart. She's just an itty bitty baby- I can't leave her by herself in there to just cry and cry! I normally try it for ten minutes (and one time even did twenty minutes), but it is to no avail. She is still screaming, and after listening to my baby cry for that long, all resolve is gone and I run to soothe her. When I run to comfort her, I am mad at myself because I feel like I am creating bad habits- training my baby to need me to go to sleep. But then I don't want to let her "cry it out" for an hour because she's still so little. But if I continue to rock her and soothe her to sleep then I'm afraid that I will just further encourage the bad habits and create some kind of terrible June monster! I don't want no June monster!
It is really important to me to have a baby who is a good sleeper. I know some of that is just luck, but I have always believed that you could train and teach a baby to become a good sleeper. Maybe I was just being naive?
How do you get your baby to fall asleep by him or herself? Is three months just too young to try to start training? Should I be punished for even trying to get my child to self soothe so early? Or am I making it harder and harder on myself every time I rock her to sleep? Should I give her more than 10 minutes to fall asleep on her own?
(But seriously, is there anything better than a baby falling asleep in your arms?)
(But seriously, is there anything worse than a baby who demands to be rocked for half an hour for every nap and bedtime?)