There are parenting practices that are probably, in truth, good
ideas, but somehow they've become de rigeur for parenting?
Breastfeeding (yes, I do, so back off), self-soothing (don't nurse to
sleep! your child will never learn to read). I guess I'm feeling a little snarky.
I got it into my head that Lentil must be able to soothe herself to sleep. Now. I read my first sleep book when she was about four weeks old and immediately freaked out. (Weisbluth's Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child, if you must know.) We weren't keeping a schedule! We didn't have a nighttime routine! Our daughter would become a drooling drug addict who hates us if we didn't fix this problem.
We created a bedtime routine (bath or wipe down, lotion, jammies, good nights, books, song, bed). We had to change the song because the first one made her cry. She loves Yellow Submarine so, barring a few biffed lines, that's her good night/nap song.
The Books, whatever differences there may be, all give the same message: your baby will be a happier baby if she can put herself to sleep. But do we really have to make the baby the unhappiest baby on the block, even for only a couple of days, to make it so?
Our pediatrician said she'd had no luck herself, nor knew anyone who'd successfully used The No-Cry Sleep Solution: Gentle Ways to Help Your Baby Sleep Through the Night. She recommended Sleeping Through the Night, Revised Edition: How Infants, Toddlers, and Their Parents Can Get a Good Night's Sleep
which I've read and Mister is reading. She also gave us a one pager that gave a gentle approach (similar to Mindell) which suggests going in about every 30 seconds to soothe baby.
The "soothe" kills me. You go in, touch, pat, poke screaming baby. Leave. Go in, touch, pat, poke. Leave. If baby becomes hysterical, pick her up, pat her, but put her back down as soon as possible. Gah.
Is it a problem if we rock Lentil to sleep? Will our house collapse around our ears? I suspect not. But, she is putting herself to sleep and playing in her crip when she wakes up in the morning and after naps. I'm can't say that those couple of brutal nights of crying and patting were worth it. I'll let you know after her teeth come in, or she gets a cold, or we go on vacation and she's knocked out of her routine.