Wednesday, May 23, 2012

the ebb & flow of sleep scheduling

After a lot of trial and error and a lot of crankiness from my baby, we tried to put a schedule in to place.  Some days it works like a dream, other days it doesn't, but it has helped lengthen naps most of the time, so it was worth my effort.

Some sleep tips I've compiled from books that have been helpful in gaining perspective:
1.  "Junk food is not healthy for our bodies.  Neither is a "junk sleep" schedule.  You try not to let your child become overly hungry, so don't let your child become overly tired." Dr. Marc Weissbluth, Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Baby

2.  Your aim should be to never let a baby under 6 months be awake for more than 2 hours.  More than that and they end up "over tired" and sleep worse.

3.  Babies who are overtired may not scream (like my son), but they will struggle to get good sleep and feel rested and happy. 

4.  Many times my son will be crying because he is tired, yet people mistake it as hungry, which can be discouraging as a breast-feeding mom.  I'm almost always secretly concerned as to whether or not my son has gotten enough milk.

5.  It's best to avoid using sleep props (i.e. rocking and/or nursing to sleep, always giving paci, a long ritual before sleep).  These things hinder baby from learning to fall asleep on his or her own.  Sleep skills are vitally important.

6.  Following something similar to the E.A.S.Y. plan that Tracy Hogg lays out in her book, Secrets of the Baby Whisperer, is a good idea.  It disassociates eating with sleeping as to not create dependency on eating in order to be able to sleep.

7.  I was worried (as I'm sure many people are) that if baby was sleeping "too well" during the day, that he would not sleep at night.  Through my reading, I've discovered the contrary to be true.  The better day sleep baby gets, the better his night sleep.

Through all the reading a perusing, I'm still unsure of all the ends and outs of sleep.  But I do think it's actually a lot more important than most people think.  Finding a good ebb and flow of getting out and about with baby and allowing him to get healthy sleep is trick and is an art I am still learning.

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