As someone who writes about attachment parenting and general parenting from the Dad’s point of view, I get email. A fair bit of email, actually, and it’s great stuff, but sometimes I really don’t have much of an answer.
One of those messages arrived this morning from an exhausted mom:
I need to find someone to connect with. I practice attachment parenting and my 6 month old sleeps with me…but he wakes every hour…I need help!
My first reaction was to suggest that she check with her pediatrician, but then I wondered if her baby wasn’t nursing properly and was just perpetually hungry, or perhaps the sleeping arrangements were such that the little squirt was cold/hot or otherwise uncomfortable.
A bit of Google research reveals another possibility too: perhaps the baby is teething?
This is also where people will pop in and share various approaches to progressive desensitization, also called “Ferberization” after the parenting expert who suggested it. In this approach you ignore your baby’s crying for a progressively longer period of time night after night until they presumably just give up and pass out again when waking.
My take is that I never wanted to teach my baby that I wouldn’t be there if they cried, so when we had issues with one or the other of our babies not sleeping well, we tried to make waking up really, really unexciting (no walking around, no lights, nothing much at all) and got through it fairly quickly.
But that’s our approach and, frankly, my youngest is now 6yo so it’s been a while since I was trying to get a 6mo to go to sleep… so, dear readers, what are your suggestions for this weary mom?