November 29, 2012

Baby Sleep

A coworker recently had her first baby and a few of us got together last week to catch up and enjoy baby snuggles. She mentioned how elusive sleep is with baby feeding every hour and I felt so bad for her. Unfortunately I didn't gain my first-hand knowledge of sleep deprivation from parenting as both my kids slept through the night at five weeks. Yes, you read correctly. 5 weeks. Both. We were blessed. I know how difficult sleep deprivation is due to more recent circumstances ...makes it hard to enjoy anything/anyone. Isn't that what prisoners are subjected to when they won't give up their secrets?! Are you holding something back? After our visit my coworker reached out for advice. I don't know how wise I am, I just know what worked for us. Two kids, one boy, one girl, six years apart. Could be genetics ... maybe Hubby passed on the good sleep gene :) Anywho, following are my two cents worth on getting baby to sleep and restoring parent sanity.

Our method was routine and we never deviated except to adjust as baby grows of course. Our theory was they are smart little creatures of habit and like knowing what to expect. Same time every night - Food, Play, Bath, Book, Bed. No sleeping one hour before food or between food and bedtime - keep baby up so they want to sleep for a l-o-n-g time and recharge for more fun the next day.

We also believed in a full tummy. This is hotly debated in the parenting/medical community. We didn't do demand feeding past a certain time so baby was good and hungry for dinner; also supplemented at 3-4 weeks with very weak cereal (gradually increasing as needed). Both our kids were big at birth (Sassy 8 lbs; Chunky 10 lbs - ouch!) so we were comfortable with them being developed enough to handle it and both our moms said they did cereal early - it doesn't appear to have scarred us too badly, though that's certainly up for debate :)

We also used a crib aquarium - best buy ever!!!!!!!! Everyone should get this as a shower gift. We turned this on religiously as we left the room at bedtime and back on for soothing if needed. The key for us was no talking or picking up - don't engage or they get their little hooks in you. Even in the middle of the night, we turned on the aquarium and left. The theory again was routine and learning to self soothe.

We made a very big deal about waking up in the morning (aka 5 am diaper change and breakfast) and sleeping through the night. Super happy (sickeningly so). Part of the whole routine thing.

That's it. No judgement - you have to find what works best for you and yours. If you're sleep deprived, may the force (and sleep) be with you!

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