How To Wake A Sleeping Baby
Dealing with the feeling of helplessness can sometimes enable you to cope with the tears better, to reduce his crying and also to help him to sleep better.
If you have always gone to your baby as soon as he cried, being told to leave him to cry himself to sleep can seem cruel. But is it? Tiny babies cry because they need something: food, cuddles, warmth, stimulation – it would be cruel to ignore that plea. They also cry to protest at the unexpected, or at losing control – being put down, or as they fall asleep; opinion varies about whether it is cruel to ignore this cry. By the time your baby is seven months old a sleep problem may be aggravated by his fear that when you disappear you will never return. If you’ve never done it before, leaving him to sleep on his own at this time may be cruel, because it plays on his very real fears. Alternatively, see page 118 for a method that helps your baby cope with separation anxiety and yet sleep better.
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Some parents, who suspect that they don’t love their baby, feel cruel whenever their baby cries because they feel it proves that they haven’t loved him enough, or that they have failed as parents. Such feelings make parents extremely anxious to avoid any crying, and can be difficult to escape. But remember, even babies who are loved cry. Loving parents show they care by accepting what their baby says and helping them to cope with the tears.
Doing Nothing is Doing Something
When nothing works, do just that. Some parents find that the less they do to help their baby dry his eyes, the more their baby likes it.
I put off trying a controlled crying technique for months, because it seemed so horrible. In the end we tried it and it did only take a couple of nights. I was feeding Harry maybe eight or nine times a night, a good night would be four or five times a night. I still carried on breastfeeding him but only last thing at night and first thing in the morning. That first night he screamed for four hours and then later he woke up, again for two hours. The next night it was the same. But within a week he was sleeping through. In retrospect I wish I’d done it a lot earlier. ’