By: Heather Somaini
Once we decided to have kids, life changed – incrementally at first and then in large swings into uncharted territory. No matter what we thought kids and parenting were about, we were wrong. That’s the one thing no one really tells you. The moms tell you all about the cute parts like buying baby clothes and how they smell. The dads tell you all about the hard parts like lack of sleep and poopie diapers. But no one tells you that what you’re about to experience is so outside your realm of understanding that it’s not even worth trying.
Each phase ratchets upwards like some sort of rollercoaster from a planet where rollercoasters are a mode of transportation from the ground to the top of a high-rise building. At first, they hand you this newborn that does nothing but eat, sleep, and poop. You burp them a lot and hope that they’re ok because you have no idea what they need or want. My only thought was to keep moving forward every day. The jolt to my normal sleep pattern was severe. Just. Keep. Moving. Forward.
After three months of that, they sleep less, eat more, and poop like crazy. There was a brief few weeks of euphoria – we made it through the first three months and it was easier! The babies were more than pet rocks, which helped. Life was better. I started talking about having more children. If we could manage so well with twins, one or two more would be a breeze, right? After six months, the euphoria had worn off; we were exhausted and I started to realize that this was like…forever. They weren’t going away.
We had to start sleep training. We had started. Don’t think we hadn’t but we needed to get serious about it. Tere chose the Sleep Easy Solution by Jill Spivack and Jennifer Waldburger. She searched high and low and really felt it was the best combination of sleep training and lack of torture for the parents. I use the term “parents” loosely because the only one who is really tortured during sleep training is the mom. The mom is the one who just can’t stand to let them “cry it out” like in the Ferber Method. In the Sleep Easy Solution, sleep training can start when a baby is a combination of age and weight. At 4 months and 14 pounds, they should be ready but some babies may take longer to hit that goal weight. There’s no crying it out and that’s what Tere liked best.
We read the book and did everything we were supposed to do. It would work for a bit but then it wouldn’t. Tere heard that Jill Spivack was doing a “talk” to promote her book and I happily agreed to go. After listening to story after story, many of their techniques suddenly made sense!
My favorite was the “dream feed”. Jill and Jennifer’s system requires that you determine when your baby actually needs to be fed at night and then “dream feed” them. Dream feeding allows you to feed the baby, usually with a bottle, while they’re sleeping. It avoids not only them waking up hungry and crying their heads off until you wake up, but also you spending a ton of time feeding them and getting them back to sleep. With a dream feed, they eat while they’re asleep and NEVER WAKE UP! It’s pretty awesome because you’re back in bed and asleep in less than 30 minutes.
Although life with babies would change again soon, at least for the time being we were getting a little more sleep and the babies were learning how to sleep through the night! Yippee!