I have two daughters (4 and 1). My wife and I have raised both of them to the best of our ability following the AP principles. We are strong believers in this most natural and loving life practice and have great relationships because of it. Our daughters are very different! The older was so easy in comparison. She is easy going and dreamy with great social skills 4 going on 10. We are constantly reminding our selves that she is only 4 and thus responding appropriately as best we can. Our second daughter is feisty, exploratory, determined and sweet when she is in a good mood which is not very often. I think she is more of a high need baby. As an infant she always slept through the night but she was kind of colicky so it took a while to get her to sleep. She also really struggled with her 4 front teeth. So it has been a harder first year with her than our first daughter.
We've used the same AP methods but they have reacted differently to it and us. Our older daughter developed a trust with us that all her needs will be met and that put everyone at ease. The younger one has not developed that trust and is much more needy. She always wants to be held to the point that it is difficult to get anything done. So things are done but with one hand and we do give her the attention she requires.
She takes only 1 or sometimes 2 half-hour naps and wakes mom up several times at night. Lately though she is waking up more frequently, every hour and we are all pretty exhausted. It has been escalating to the point where she cries and bucks even though mom is holding her tight and breast feeding her. We do co-sleep but lately mom has been sleeping in the kids room so I can get some sleep for work and our older daughter sleeps with me.
During the day she cries for no apparent reason so we pick her up and hold her which soothes her for a bit but then she pushes us away and starts crying again. So it seems like you can't win. I suggested to my wife a few weeks back that we should let her cry and see if she can work it out on her own. Mom was skeptical so I dropped the thought. At her checkup we mentioned her behavior to the pediatrician. She checked out physically fine. The pediatrician agreed with my assessment and said this is a good time to let her cry if she needs to and also to let her sleep on her own a bit.
Two nights ago she had a bad night, woke up early and continued to cry all morning even though mom and I were holding her. So we put her in the play pen and sat next to her and she cried. She cried for about thirty minutes and throughout the time seemed to be getting calmer until finally she stopped and got into a much better mood. It has been two days now and she is almost a different baby, we're kind of shocked how much calmer she is. It seems that during her crying in the crib she learned how to calm herself down.
Anyways sorry for the long post, was wondering if anyone has had any similar experiences. We'll see how it goes from here but I am inclined to give her more room to cry if she wants to. I don't think picking her up every time is the answer. If all her needs are met and she still wants to cry then we're thinking we should let her and not interfere with that. We're feeling like we are in uncharted waters. We know about meeting an infants needs and not letting them cry it out but our experience with our one year old has told us it it is okay if all her needs are met and nothing else is soothing her. She emerged from her cry a a lot calmer and for two days now. Last night we all slept soundly and the little one even slept in. It seems that self soothing is at odds with AP. from what I've read or is that not the case?