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Pickle Me This

May 6, 2010

Horizontal Parenting Vol. 2: Sleep Solutions

My self-published book (via about my parenting method Horizontal Parenting (TM) was a huge success when it came out last Fall. Built around the tenets of The Five Ls, it showed parents how to care for their babies while exerting the bare mininum of energy (and fitting in a little yoga at the same time).

Well, now I’m pleased to be taking my Parenting expertise one step further with the latest volume in the Horizontal Parenting series, Sleep Solutions.

How to get your baby to sleep through the night? It’s simple, with these three easy steps. It’s called (somewhat confusingly) the TWO process.

1) T is for Take it easy and do whatever you can to remain horizontal at night. When your baby cries, bring her to bed and feed her. Sometimes she will eat all night. Don’t worry about this, even though books will tell you it’s causing tooth decay and that you will be feeding her this way well into her college years. If you happen to wake up again, stick her back in her crib. At some point, she will refuse to be put back in the crib. So just keep her in bed with you. Buy a bedrail so she doesn’t fall out. Don’t feel too bad about being a dairy bar. The alternative is being upright, which makes you want to kill yourself at three in the morning.

2) W is for Wait. This is the hard part. Dr. Sears (as we all know) had a child who did not sleep through the night until he was three. When your baby only sleeps for two hours at a time, the prospect of “through the night” is unfathomable, and you will think everybody whose baby does this is lying. People will propose “sleep training”, but you disagree with this on a philosophical level, because it is impossible to sleep train in a horizontal position. Cry It Out is reprehensible, because how could a mom expect to sleep through that racket? Sleep training requires will and discipline, and horizontal parents are lacking in both of these departments. So you wait. And it’s hard, and it sucks, and sleeping with the baby beside you has done something weird to the alignment of your shoulder. But at least you’re lying down. And then…

3) O is for One day it will happen. Baby will sleep through the night. WITHOUT YOU DOING ANYTHING TO PROMOTE IT (though it may have something to do with her learning to crawl and finally deciding to roll over onto her tummy to sleep). She won’t do it every night, but she’ll do it most nights, and she’ll also decide she doesn’t like sleeping in your bed because the cramped space prevents her from doing her 360 degree spin all night long. You will be reluctant to announce this too widely for fear of jinxing it, but now that it’s been a month, you think you really might be onto something. That your child wasn’t necessarily not sleeping properly because you’d failed to teach her good sleep habits, and maybe you don’t even control everything in the universe after all.

In all my sleep agony over the past eleven months, I wanted to read somewhere that the problem would fix itself without me bothering to do anything about it. Because, of course, I am a horizontal parent and therefore profoundly lazy (particularly come the middle of the night). But to all you other lie-abouts out there, let me send you a message of hope– Take it easy. Wait. One day.

Everything is going to be okay.

9 thoughts on “Horizontal Parenting Vol. 2: Sleep Solutions”

  1. Gillian says:

    I wish you’d been around when I was up all night with my two. maybe we could have had horizontal phone calls over bedtime drinks at three in the morning. good for you. cheers!

  2. Nathalie says:

    Oh, you are so far ahead of the game. Do you know how long it takes some folks to settle down to the kind of common sense you have? This too shall pass, and then you will have the next baby, and sleeplessness with that one will pass. And there will always be two steps forward and one step back, and, invariably, when the baby sleeps through the night, the toddler wakes up. But one glorious day, you will all sleep, all night, and in the morning, you will bound out of bed and sing the praises of your clever, clever babies.

  3. Kerry says:

    I guess it’s easy to have the common sense now that the baby has started sleeping. Six weeks ago, I might have tried sleeping in a handstand if someone had suggested it might work. It all seems so easy after the fact, doesn’t it?

    Note: writing this post didn’t ruin things. Last night Harriet slept from 8:00-6:30. Seriously.

  4. Charlotte says:

    Brava! I can happily report that after 22 months of following your method, Maggie is now starting to experiment with *wanting* to sleep in her bed without *any* encouragement from me!

  5. Frances says:

    That photo could have been of me many years ago. Oh, the bliss of sleeping, once the baby joined me in bed.
    Was this the practice many years ago? Someone told me of their elderly Aunt Alice who, when her mind wandered, would start searching her bed anxiously looking for the baby.

  6. melanie says:

    This had me laughing because nothing is more stressful than a baby who doesn’t sleep and a world of sleep advice that doesn’t apply to your situation (which makes me wonder how any advice could apply to any situation). People keep promising me that the next one will sleep because the first one didn’t – as though this is a proven fact amoung babies that the second must be exactly the opposite of the first. Maybe Moira is communicating with Sprig about sleep schedules while she lays her head on my belly? “Hey little sis, you need to be the one who sleeps because most nights I still like to have a good screaming fit and have Mum run into the room before she wakes up. I’m the older sister here so my word is law!”

  7. Kerry says:

    I am now obsessed with the image of elderly Aunt Alice and think I need to write a story about her. (Also, when Harriet was first born, I kept thinking she was in my bed when she wasn’t and looking for her to no avail. Also, one time during those awful, crazy weeks, I totally saw her head on my husband’s body. It was terrifying).

  8. Susan Telfer says:

    Brava with your advice. I did that a long time ago (skipped the put them in the crib if you wake up step with second and third babies) and they all sleep way too much in their own beds now (ages 11, 14 and 17) and sleep deprivation is a vague, distant, and unimportant memory.

  9. Alex says:

    In the early days I totally saw baby hands in place of my own.

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