The importance of sleep (both to you and your baby)

I know sleep is an issue that practically every new mom struggles with. How do you get your baby to sleep and how do you get some extra time to sleep? I have struggled with this issue since day one. As you all know, if you’ve been reading my blogs thus far, Cubby was not the best sleeper. For about three months, she was feeding every hour to hour and a half throughout the night and I was a zombie! I kept thinking that she would outgrow that phase, or if she reached a certain weight, she would sleep through the night. This never happened. We moved her to the crib in her nursery at about 3 or 4 months and I started getting a little more sleep as I was not waking up at every sound she made. She was breastfeeding probably every 3 hours until about 2 months ago.

I had spoken to everyone about sleep training and how to get her to sleep through the night. I read numerous books including the “Baby Whisperer” and even paid to join the Baby Sleep site online (www.babysleepsite.com). The website was great and I watched the online webinars, listened to their sound bites and even took notes about sleeping through the night, napping and weaning off of night feeds. All of her advice worked well and I got Cubby sleeping through the night about 2 months ago by turning down our baby monitor, trying to feed her more solids during the day, and giving her a 2-3 oz. dream feed between 10:30-11 pm. I feel better now that I have taken back the night!

The only dilemma now is that Cubby seems to love her crib and has gotten used to it. I did a lot of sleep training and now she won’t sleep if we are at anyone’s house. I know people have been mocking me and laughing at my strict drill sergeant sleep schedule for Cubby, but I know how important good sleep is for her and the repercussions for the next day if she does not get enough sleep. According to one website, they list the importance of sleep for babies as the following:

+ proper brain development requires enough sleep and good quality of sleep

+ babies dream for most of the time while sleeping and research shows that this dreaming stimulates brain development

+ the first 6 months are crucial for babies to develop good sleeping skills

+ poor sleep in infancy has been linked to childhood obesity

+ good sleep in babies decreases the chance of health problems and emotional problems

(www.baby-sleep-advice.com/why-is-sleep-important.html)

Cubby was on a 7 pm to 7 am sleep schedule until recently so she was getting 12 hours of sleep at night and was well rested. She was like clockwork; she would start to get cranky around 6:30 and I would prepare her for bed. She would be fast asleep in her crib by 7:15 pm. Now, with the time change, it is staying brighter longer and she has to have her dinner before we do the night time preparations, so she is going to sleep anywhere between 7:30 pm to 8:30 pm. Like clockwork, she is up between 6:45 am to 7 am every morning. So she currently gets about 10-11 hours of sleep a night. What people don’t realize is that babies don’t sleep in. They have a strong internal clock, so even if we are out and we get home and get her to sleep by 10 pm, she has missed 2 1/2 hours of sleep and will still wake up at the same time. I know it doesn’t seem like a lot, but the next day, she will be cranky, fussy, rubbing her eyes, crying a lot and have difficulty settling.

Up until now, I’ve been Debbie Downer and if we are out, even if we are enjoying ourselves and having fun, I can’t enjoy myself because Cubby isn’t sleeping. She is like a little performer, if there are people are around, she is smiling, waving and laughing. People always comment: “Look at her, she’s not tired at all. She’s so happy”. I know it may look that way, but I know she is exhausted and those people don’t hear her wailing in the car and wailing and throwing a fit when we get home and we have to take her out of her carseat and resettle her. I wish she could sleep anywhere. And now, with summer approaching and events coming up, it would be nice to stay out later than 8 pm. My husband and I discussed this last week and decided that we are going to start dropping Cubby off at my parents and my in laws’ house once a week. I think she just too used to only her and I. She needs to get over this separation anxiety and practice sleeping elsewhere.

Cubby will be 10 months next week and her new thing is that she hates napping. She used to be such a good napper and now, it is like pulling teeth to get her to take a nap. Take this morning for example. I could clearly see that she was tired and rubbing her eyes. I tried at 11 am to rock her in the rocking chair and nurse her until she fell asleep. After about half an hour, this worked so I gently placed her in the crib. I was about to walk away and she opened her eyes. I froze, like a deer caught in the headlights. I quickly dropped to the floor and went on all fours. I hid by the foot of her crib and listened to her oohing and awwwing and watched as she turned her head side to side and played with her mobile. I was on her floor for 20 minutes, not wanting to move or else she would see me and start crying. All of a sudden, I had to go to the bathroom. I was forced to lay down and commando crawl on my elbows to get past her crib into the hallway. It was a real mission to say the least! Cubby didn’t fall back asleep, but quietly played in her crib by herself for an hour so I left her there.

I finally just got her to sleep for a nap (the third attempt) and she has been sleeping for 45 minutes. I have been able to eat, clean the kitchen, blog and put some squash in the oven so I can make her baby food. Ohh the life of a mom! When am I going back to work again?

Please feel free to comment or let me know of any sleep training tips for naps or getting her to sleep when we are out. She will sleep on the go in her carseat or stroller but not at anyone’s house, and not if there are a lot of people around.

**Some people have been asking and wondering how much sleep is adequate for babies of different ages. I have been using the following chart that I found on Babycenter.com:

Age Nighttime Sleep Daytime Sleep * Total Sleep
1 month 8 8 (inconsistent) 16
3 months 10 5 (3) 15
6 months 11 3 1/4 (2) 14 1/4
9 months 11 3 (2) 14
12 months 11 1/4 2 1/2 (2) 13 3/4
18 months 11 1/4 2 1/4 (1) 13 1/2
2 years 11 2 (1) 13
3 years 10 1/2 1 1/2 (1) 12
*Note: number of naps in parentheses

http://www.babycenter.com/0_how-much-sleep-does-your-child-need_7645.bc

Hope that helps!

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About newmom78

I am a mother to 2 beautiful girls with a degree in Occupational Therapy. After suffering a miscarriage of my second child at 5.5 months pregnant, I have decided to change and simplify my life. This blog is about the chronicles of my daily life with my daughters as well as the laughter and frustration that goes along with trying to be "super mom" and play numerous roles; wife, mother, daughter, employee, friend, and student.
This entry was posted in Health and Your Baby, Sleep and Your Baby, Your Baby's Development and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to The importance of sleep (both to you and your baby)

  1. Jennifer says:

    haha! I know the drop and crawl – I’ve been there way too many times!

  2. sofiasmum says:

    With my first daughter we did the “attachment parenting, co-sleeping, nurse all night long” routine and we ended up with a baby who didn’t sleep, was sooo over tired, and had two sleep deprived parents. With our subsequent kids, we were really strict about a schedule (we still are), the results were dramatic…our kids never give us a fuss at night (well, never may be pushing it!) and we have happy energetic kids in the morning..no more middle of the day meltdowns from fatigue (talking about kids and mom!)

    • darlene says:

      Attachment parenting is what i have been doing so far with my 9 month old son. Any suggestions on what may work to get him sleeping thru the night or taking batter naps. I have to get him to self sooth, but I find it hard to let him cry too long.
      Thanks
      Darlene

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