Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Clean teeth and sleep-filled nights

Despite my dislike of having my teeth cleaned, I went to the dentist last week. After I was finished being tortured having my teeth cleaned, I asked my dentist how he was enjoying being a first-time dad. “She’s three months old and we’re having a ball!” he replied. And I asked the question everyone asks new parents: “Getting any sleep?”

He said they were doing great. The baby was sleeping through the night. “But we’re not lucky. We worked for it.”

I was pretty sure I knew what he meant, but I asked a few more questions and hit pay dirt: he told me they had read Babywise and it had helped them establish a good sleep routine. I said after nearly 22 years, I am still a huge advocate of the routine discussed in that book. He was so encouraged to hear that we had two decades of peaceful, sleep-filled nights, due in large part to what we learned in that book.

On the drive home, it hit me: we read Babywise (previously Preparation for Parenting) almost 22 years ago. And the material that revolutionized our sleepless home was still helping new parents get their babies to sleep. It reminded me of what I wrote in 2008:

When Michael was born I was thrilled. The thrilled feeling quickly passed as I realized I had no idea what the heck I was doing. When Sean left for work in the morning, I was in tears. When he came home, I was still in tears, and usually the same clothes. Neither Michael nor I was getting much rest and by his three-month birthday I felt like I’d lost my mind.

Then two good friends invited us to their home for a meeting about parenting. At that point I would have listened to anyone who could help me figure out this mothering thing. Actually, the mothering thing I got; I mean, I felt great, intense love for that little bundle of joy. I just couldn’t figure out how to get him to sleep! And that was one thing this parenting class addressed, so I was bound and determined to go.

The information we heard during the six-week class changed our lives. We learned how, by following a simple routine, Michael could learn to sleep for naps and through the night. After one week of being on the routine, Michael was taking three naps a day and sleeping 12 hours at night. And the program was so simple; I just had to keep three activities in the proper order: feed time, wake time and nap time. As long as those three things went in that order, Michael ate and slept at regular intervals. And the wake time we had was so enjoyable…

Fourteen years and three kids later, I am still incredibly thankful that we were invited to learn about a wonderful, loving way to help our baby order his days so his nights could be peaceful.

Now nearly 22 years later, I am still incredibly thankful I was introduced to that material. And I’m grateful it is still being used by new parents to bring order to their little one’s lives.

Wanting to hear how my dentist's daughter is doing makes me almost not dread not going back for my next cleaning. Almost. 

Need some help getting your little one to sleep? Have questions about your baby’s routine? Drop me a line!

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