October 8, 2007

Lessons learned

Google this. Baby help. What did you get?

My search turned up 304,000,000 results. That should be a solid starting point for whatever I need help with concerning Annabelle. Out of over 300 million hits, there has to be one that will help me get some shut eye tonight. First I’ll hire a research staff and when they compile the data I should be in good shape. I think that maybe I’ll narrow this down a bit.

Now Google this. Help baby sleep. What did you get this time?

Hmm…20,500,000 results. I may need a new plan. If someone out there is going to give me advice on getting Annie to sleep through the night, I will need to really hone this search to her specific issue.

Got it! Google, help baby sleep more than three hours, and see what you get.

Much better…2,390,000 results. I’ll stop now. You can see my predicament in finding a solution to Annie’s sleep problems.

Maybe a smarter route is checking Barnes & Noble to see if there are any books that can help me. Hey, great news. There are 125 titles that involve “help baby sleep.” I’ve got them all in my cart and I’m ready to pull the trigger. My total is only $1240.81. Even better news, if I become a member I save 10% on the 117 items in stock, and my total is a manageable $1140.81. That baby is going to sleep all night on Wednesday; because this Dad will be armed with best advice money can buy.

Alright, I’m going to make my point now. There is no help out there for you. Your baby, like my baby, will sleep through the night whenever she decides to. I have purchased some of the more famous sleep remedy titles from the very list that Barnes & Noble just gave me. My wife, the fastest reader I know, has not finished any of them. By the time you get through more than a few chapters, you realize that each anecdote contradicts another. The “cures” that work for one family do nothing for the next. These books rank right up there with any other self-help title you can buy, from “coping with anxiety” to “fixing your slice.”

Here are some reviews on the web site for the three most popular titles, all of which I own:

“This book saved my life and my sanity! My daughter was 6 weeks old when I read this and the first time it worked, she was asleep in literally 10 seconds.”

A little hyperbolic, no?

“What a fantastic book this is! I have read 2 other baby sleep books but this is the one.”

Weak. And no doubt written by the author’s mom.

“The title says it all. Since 6 months old, my daughter has slept 13 hours a night straight.”

C’mon, that’s not even healthy.

Despite what the reviews say, there is one lesson that I have learned from each and every book…you have to find your own solutions. Annie and I have developed our own rhythm, one that we both trust. And I’m sure it is completely different than every other family’s. The only choice is to be diligent about your routine and let your baby fall into whatever pattern works for her. I can live with her sleeping three hours in a stretch, so that’s what we do.

One of the issues with this is that you will go through many options (read purchase many items) that will not work. My family has two slings, two carriers, one bouncer, one swing, seventeen pacifiers, two well worn pinky fingers, three types of formula, two strollers (though at one point it was five), two breasts, four lotions, two bath soaps, four baby cd’s (though Feist works best), a crib, a co-sleeper, a glider, a queen sized bed and last but not least, some frayed nerves.

Do you know what all of the above has gotten us? Precisely three hours of sleep at a time, a thinner wallet, and a lot of lightly used items around the house. I will confess that sometimes she will sleep for four, or even five hours in a stretch. But, nine times out of ten it is three hours…timed almost to the minute.

So hang in there and do what I do. Take a 3 p.m. nap with your baby in your arms. You’ll get the two hours back you lost last night and your baby will get some much needed time snuggled up to the only crib with a heartbeat money can buy. Or not…http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20070085695.html


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