Thursday, September 1, 2011

"Is She Sleeping Through the Night?"

That seems to be the most common question any new mom gets.  It gets old after a while and I honestly feel like I have an obligation to fill people in on babies and how they really sleep.  So, here it goes from the beginning, as they are entering sleep.  This is straight from my baby bible, The Baby Book by Dr. Sears

Adults can go from being awake to sleep, a deep sleep, pretty quickly.  Babies can't!  Instead, they go through a period of light sleep that lasts about twenty minutes, and then they enter into deep sleep and become difficult to wake up.  But, after about an hour, babies go through another phase of light sleep.  Baby's sleep cycles are not only shorter than adults, but they have 2 times as many periods of light sleep than adults.1  "Most restless nights are due to difficulty getting back to sleep after waking up during this vulnerable period." 2  Audrey has this problem and sometimes can take quite a while to get back to sleep in the middle of the night.  She has always been like this.  Like Dr. Sears says, "Good sleepers are partly born, partly made, never forced." 3

As a baby, my parents used the cry-it-out method, I got two 2 hour naps a day, went to sleep at 11pm and woke up around 6am, I was also on a feeding schedule although I was breastfed.  Audrey is parented to sleep, gets three 45-1.5 hr naps a day, goes to sleep between 6:30-7:30pm, has 2 night wakings (2am and 5am) and wakes up around 6:30am.  Of course, we have days, like today, where she didn't nap.  She woke up late which threw her off and she simply would NOT go down.  I am constantly hearing if she would just get one 2 hour nap, well when she gets a 2 hour nap she is overtired and unbelievably cranky, everyone is miserable.

Babies reach different milestones at different times, so why are we all so set on this whole "does she/he sleep through the night" thing.  If babies are different then why can't their sleep be different??  It took me a while to realize that my sweet little princess is who she is sleepwise.  When Audrey was 3 months old, I read Elizabeth Pantley's  No Cry Sleep Solution and Nap Solution books because  45 minute naps are simply not long enough.  At least that's what I was hearing over and over again.  Well, I now feel secure in what I am doing with naps and sleep and I know my little girl and what she needs.  45 min. is plenty enough time for me to get stuff done around the house, relax a little, and recharge, I wouldn't dare force her to oversleep simply so I could get stuff done, that is absurd.  Of course, she tends to wake up at 20 min, but I am still working on that! :-)  

Note: Sorry my citations are in turabian. I am a musician, and we use turabian/chicago.  It's all I know!

1. William Sears, M.D. et al., The Baby Book (New York: Little, Brown and Company, 1992), 313.
2. Ibid., 314.
3. Ibid., 317.

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