|This is what good nap hair looks like!|
I'm reading "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy kids" and it is very interesting. Now Mario teases me all the time for all the books I read on everything from organization tricks and relationship stuff to self improvement/self help and baby stuff. And I always tell him that since I was a little girl, I've loved to read and the love affair continues. SO whenever I come face to face with a circumstance, problem, challenge, or interest that I am unsure of how to solve, I turn to books. Others might take a class or look it up on the internet. I get a book. Some have more answers than others. Some get skimmed and some get read more than once. Some get halfway read then put down with the intention to try again, to glean something from the pages...but alas, there are a lot of resources out there and if it doesn't speak to me, I usually move on.
In most of the books, I gain a few takeaways that I tuck away for the next time I need it. I rarely will take every suggestion word for word like a robot, but to be honest, I do like step by step advice. I am quite literal and I usually follow a recipe when cooking. I like dance lessons where they give me the steps to memorize and then when I am comfortable, THEN I can feel the music and let go a little bit more. Some of that may be a lack of confidence. Some of that may be my natural stiffness (thanks Dad). Some of that is just definitely me.
So in this book that I am reading, he gives me some good specifics on how to help my babies (and me) sleep better. AND it seems to be helping. AND it seems to be raising my confidence in other areas of parenting. AND it makes me happy.
Every time I am able to put Nico down for sleep time, AWAKE! successfully, I feel like super mom. It is so liberating and so empowering. How does a simple thing mean so much? Well, I was never able to put Xavi to sleep awake and even if I had him sound asleep, his sleep intervals were so short and he was so sensitive to noise, etc etc...that I always felt like I had done something wrong, ate something wrong, said something wrong. Xavi is obviously a different baby than Nico and I don't regret how I've parented him. But I'm happy to learn new skills that are helping my babies and me get better AND get more sleep.
Now of course, I hope I am not jinxing myself (keep us covered with your prayers) but the core message seems to be...our kids are over tired, over stimulated, and over "activitied" (my word not his). They may also be over "held" when it comes to sleeping. Bottom line is that babies need much more sleep than we give them opportunity to do so. More sleep = happier, healthier babies. I learned that from Nico because he would often be fussy until we put him down..THEN he would relax. Xavi was always the opposite. He needed, wanted to be held ALL the time. And I did. But he still cried. He still didn't sleep well. What was I doing wrong?
Sleep fosters more sleep and sleep deficits fosters irritability, hyper activity, and lack of quality sleep. Move the bed time earlier (6-8pm). Protect age appropriate nap time: 2-3 for babies less than 9 months old, 2 until a year or so, and then 1 until 3-4. Naps need to be in bed, stationary, not on the run. Awake time needs to be less than 2 hours, especially in the morning or else they can become overtired. Babies cry at nap or bed time when they are over tired. If you can catch them at that "magic" moment, crying will be limited. During awake time, be awake! Be outside in the sun and wind, exercise and play. Don't expect the baby to really flourish if he is expected to follow your schedule, your life with minimal sacrifice on your part.
|getting sun and fresh air during our awake time|
There are of course things that don't ring true and set off my mama radar. He basically discredits any other reason for awakening (except for ear infections), including diet and teething (WHAT?). He does advise shutting the door at night and not opening it again for any reason until morning. He basically bashes attachment parenting. He offers other options but isn't very enthusiastic and obviously goes for the "well, it works"defense of letting a baby cry for as long as it takes to get them to sleep at night. Thankfully, so far the longest Nico fussed for was 10 minutes. And we did it! He slept!
The first time I put him down awake was by accident. Xavi came crashing into the room while I was trying to get him down. I quickly put Nico down before Xavi could jump on top of us and shooed him out. I came out too to get him busy with something else, fully expecting that I would have to go back in to get him back to sleep. Except there wasn't another peep! We did it! He fell asleep after I put him down awake! I did it!! Yay!
Sleep is as important, if not more so, as good nutrition, exercise, and a positive mental/emotional outlook. We do need to help our babies sleep and sometimes that is "letting" them sleep and making it a priority to establish healthy patterns. AND mamas need sleep too. This mama is getting happier with every good night sleep. I'm so thankful for new skills, new info, and new hope....and for books, too.