Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Ferber vs. Ask Moxie vs. KellyMom

Who knew the “experts” could disagree so diabolically on interpreting and addressing infant sleep patterns. Last week I thought I was sold on Ferber, and now – after a little more reading – I’m more confused and torn than ever before.

What one expert calls a sleep problem, another calls a completely normal sleep pattern for a breastfed baby. What one expert calls poor sleep associations, another calls reverse cycling. What one calls cause for sleep training, another calls a natural and unavoidable four-month wakeful period or sleep regression.

I’m completely torn between the breastfeeding experts’ advice to just keep on plugging through -- confident I’m responding to Cayden’s needs appropriately, and eventually he’ll make these sleep breakthroughs on his own -- and CIO, which could very well solve our sleep issues in a matter of days, but could sacrifice breastfeeding success or his comfort.

I’m really proud of successfully overcoming the physical and psychological challenges of breastfeeding, and I am absolutely terrified of drying up before he’s 1. I want my body to keep doing what it was meant to do for him. Because as tough as it was (and is) at times, it has worked very well for him and has been unbelievably rewarding for me.

So I’m beyond worried that if Cayden is reverse cycling (eating less during the day, then feeding more frequently at night to get close to mom) -- which he seems to be – and I don’t feed him at night, my milk will start to dry up. After all, nature’s rule proscribes that decreased stimulation results in decreased production. Besides that, I hate the idea of letting him fall asleep hungry and scared, if he really is just waiting to snuggle up with me.

I’m (selfishly) content to bring him to bed with me for the foreseeable future, but I completely understand and respect that Brian opposes co-sleeping as fostering bad habits. I just can't help but think, that at least for a little while longer, it's good for Cayden to find comfort and reassurance with me and nursing, even if it’s multiple times at night. Call me crazy, but suddenly some of the attachment parenting ideas I found so hippie-dippie, granola-lovey a few short months ago are now really appealing.

But I don’t know how to fish or cut bait on this one; both options (parent led sleep training vs. baby-led developmental progression) have some serious potential consequences. What if my supply tanks? What if we set up sleep habits that are impossible to break in a few months?

And how the hell am I supposed to know enough to make these decisions that will shape my infant’s life over the next year, if the so-called “experts” can’t get their shit together to agree on a plan of action???

The bottom line is that I’m terrified of doing the wrong thing, yet I have no idea what the right thing is. And I can’t bear the thought of Cayden being scared or hungry at night. Unhappy about learning to sleep is one thing, but scared and hungry are another.


Becki said...

I could have written this 10 months ago. I kept saying that at 6 months I'd feel comfortable letting DS CIO. The truth, I still get up with him when he wakes in the middle of the night, but that only happens once in a blue moon. Honestly, I think my advice would be to listen to your instincts. You'll know in your heart (and head) when it is right to let him fuss a little because he's manipulating you. For the time being if your instincts tell you he's not ready, then do what you think is best! Good luck!

nsees said...

I second that you need to follow your instincts. IMO, you know your son better than everyone else. As mom's we pick up subconsiously, what they NEED. I also think that there is a gray area in between all these experts. You need to do what you feel is best for your son and your family. I'm not a big advocate of hard-core cry it out but I have let my babies fuss it out for a few minutes to get themselves back to sleep. I always go right in though if full on crying ensues. I think that there is a big difference between a 1 year old manipulating you at bedtime and a 4 month old who doesn't know what he's doing. My friend's pedi believes that you can't "spoil" them until at least 6 months. If I were you, I would probably focus on getting more feeds in during the day and focus on your milk supply. Maybe that will in turn ease some of his sleep issues. I think if you try a little of this and that, you'll find what works for you and Cayden. GL!

C and M said...

I also could have written this post a few months ago. It's a very difficult decision and is different for everyone. We decided to focus on feeding and milk supply vs. sleep training at that age. Yes, we were tired but time passes so quickly. Eventually he was eating enough during the day, didn't need to eat at night and started sleeping better...until something like teething, illness, or allergic reactions disrupted sleep...but then it improves again! Hang in there and trust your instincts :)