Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Healthy Sleep Habits

If anyone is having sleep issues with their baby, I really recommend reading "Healthy Sleep Habits, Healthy Child," by Marc Weissbluth. I haven't even finished reading it yet, but I've learned so much from it. He talks a lot about the science behind sleep and the importance of catching those times with baby is tired.

Last night I was having a bit of a freak-out because Grace was up so late and I was frustrated from not having a lot of success with her day time naps. After Sejin got home I gave her to him, and sat down with this book and it put my mind at ease somewhat. I didn't know that naps at certain times of day "develop" at certain ages. For example, the morning nap develops first, which is probably why Grace wants to sleep all morning. I was worried about this, but now I know it's OK to let her sleep. Also, the afternoon nap doesn't develop 'til 3 or 4 months old, which may be why this nap is harder for her to get in. Generally day time sleep doesn't regulate 'til 3 or 4 months old. I also learned about sleep inertia and other stuff. I'm not even 1/5 through the book, but I can see it's going to be very useful.

The best thing about it is that he doesn't believe crying is a good way for a child to fall asleep. He says that "sleep begets sleep" and no crying is needed if you carefully observe your baby and put her to sleep before she becomes overtired. Some books I have read push the crying to sleep idea. "Babywise," for example, was a good read, and I picked up some good ideas from it, such as the "eat, wake time, nap time" pattern, but they do support crying to sleep.

I'm also reading "The No-Cry Sleep Solution" by Elizabeth Pantley, which is good, but it's written from a more emotional point of view. But I like the honest advice she gives, like to lower your expectations and try to treasure the time you spend feeding your baby during night wakings. I like that she doesn't claim to solve sleep problems overnight. She admits that it takes time to change sleep patterns and associations, sometimes weeks or months. There is no overnight solution.

Anyway, I'm dealing with sleep problems now (she gets overtired easily and goes to bed too late), but Weissbluth's book is making me understand where these problems are coming from -- much of it is simply biological...and like many people keep telling me --> it will pass! Sometimes it's hard to accept that though.

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