So, after a month of sleeping through the night, Noah decided to wake back up, two to three times per night. Sometimes gabbling, sometimes crying, but always very well awake. He used to go to sleep by himself at bedtime but was not able to soothe himself back to sleep at these middle-of-the-night awakenings. Which is why I immersed myself yet again in the bottomless pit of the Cry-It-Out method studies. I was ecstatic when I found a new study that gives the green light for parents applying the Cry-It-Out Method: an apparently harmless way to teach them to sleep and recover our sleep independence.
Lead by Weinraub, an expert on child development, the study found a couple of very interesting things not taken into consideration in other studies. It appears that the majority of babies that awoke in the middle of the night were boys, who also had a tendency to have a difficult temperament. The findings of the study include (1) the possibility that genetic factors implicated early sleep problems (2) the need for babies to learn how to self-soothe, critical for creating healthy sleeping habits and (3) the likelihood that prenatal depression may affect neural development and sleep awakenings. It is important to note that Weinraub comments: “Families who are seeing sleep problems persist past 18 months should seek advice.”
Of the three important findings, only the second one resonated with my personal experience but I’m sure there are many parents out there trying to find solutions to their baby’s sleeping problems and I hope this study lightens up their findings. I do believe that the most important finding of the study is that we should resist the urge to comfort our babies when crying at night, (for babies over 6 months old). After we gave Noah the opportunity to self-soothe in the middle of the night, without entering his room and giving him a pat or his pacifier, he discovered he could do it on his own. For the past 4 days at least…
Day Three of Ferberizing our child: Hell on Earth.
What can I say besides that at that moment I thought Noah hated me for leaving him alone in his crib every time he had to nap, he hated napping, his room and our whole house. I had to take him out of his crib on two consecutive naps after one hour of crying because he still did not want to fall asleep on his own.
I began feeling like a failure. Then I thought the “Cry it out” method was a fiasco and juggled the idea of putting an end to all this madness. A firm believer of the benefits of sleeping, I even felt it was too much crying, for both of us, and that he would learn to sleep eventually. However, I only had to remember his tiredness and the importance of naps to calm myself down.
Did you know that a NASA study found that naps gave military pilots and astronauts a boost in mental keenness; improved working memory, performance and sharpness. Not enough?
Naps help babies recover from a bad night’s sleep.
Naps increase learning capacity. A tired baby looses concentration. A well-rested child uses his time awake to learn.
A nap improves brain development. When babies sleep, their little brains convert new information into memories, thus leaving more space for more learning. Because babies are able to absorb more information, naps also increase their attention span.
Naps also provide the time for their bodies to release growth hormones and repair bones, tissues and muscles.
Naps turn that little monster throwing tantrums back into your adorable sweet angel. This is because when babies nap, they release cortisol, a stress marker, avoiding a build up of uncontrollable levels of unpleasant behavior. A rested baby is a happy baby, and behind every happy baby, there is a happier mom.