A few weeks ago Nathan's special education teacher asked if I had put Nathan in bed while he was awake and could he soothe himself to sleep. At the time, we had not - we never saw a need to. Nathan generally fell asleep early - we'd put him to bed and he'd sleep through the night. Nathan was sleeping and we were sleeping - the Terry house was resting just fine for having a newborn among us - why change that? I am from the school of thought that - "if it ain't broke - don't fix it." This situation didn't appear to me that it needed any fixing.
She explained that it was very important for Nathan's development that he be able to calm himself and go to sleep. So, we gave it a try one night and as we suspected Nathan didn't cry - instead he just spit-up all over his bed! Monitoring him with the television/camera system, or the KandiCam as some call it, made this test a little more tolerable.
A few days later I tried again at nap time. This time he cried...and cried...and cried some more. I was told that most babies will "cry it out" for a few days and then be fine. I was trying to give it a chance but then he spit up again and that was the end of that experiment.
The following week the teacher asked if we had tried. I told her we had and explained the outcome. She didn't say much but instead gave me a book by Dr. T. Berry Brazelton titled Sleep - The Brazelton Way.
I've finished reading the book and am now a little more knowledgeable about sleep patterns in children. There are two pieces of information that Nathan and I will certainly benefit from. First, is that babies don't have to "cry it out" to learn how to self-soothe. The book gives some very practical advice on how to stand by and help your baby learn to put him/herself to sleep. Secondly, that the developmental milestones can and do disrupt a child's normal sleep patters. For example, if a child learns to rollover, pull himself up, crawl or walk they can have issues sleeping. Makes sense, I just never thought about it.
The book gives some other useful sleeping advice for children of varying ages and is a very easy read. There is information on fears and dreams, night-time separation anxiety, and tips on how to soothe older children and protect them from the monsters under their bed.
I'm eager to take what I've learned and put it into practice. However, I'm not overly concerned nor will I lose sleep if this doesn't go the Brazelton Way.