Tuesday, March 08, 2011

About those naps...

Here is why sleeping is on my mind. There's an infant group I go to with Max on Friday mornings at our local community center, and this past Friday there was a sleep "consultant" who came into speak to the group. This woman makes her living, from what I can tell, by being hired by desperate families who need help teaching children to sleep. I totally get that--not having a kid who sleeps can seriously change the quality of your life, as does having a kid who does sleep. All throughout Theo's infancy, people at work would ask me, "Getting any sleep? You must be exhausted!" But the truth was, Theo was a good sleeper from the get-go, so we didn't really have that sheer exhaustion most new parents have. We didn't have to learn how to put our kid to sleep, really--he did that for us himself.

Then along came Max. Max was pretty much up every hour on the hour the first couple of weeks we brought him home. I think this is normal behavior for a newborn, but just so not what we were prepared for. Fast-forward three months, though, and we have a boy who is a good sleeper, usually waking up only once during the night. Our problem is that we haven't really set a routine to get him to go down to sleep, but we're working on it, and not worried.

So Miss Sleep Consultant made me feel really bad because I didn't put Max down at a regular time to sleep at night. She says that babies need 12 hours of sleep--excluding the time they're up to feed in the middle of the night. Then, there are the naps. Naps are necessary. One need only look at our toddler when he misses naptime to understand that. I think I mentioned last post that Max is not a great napper. Sleep Consultant looked at me like I was nuts when I mentioned that Max doesn't really nap when we're at home. Or, like, ever really. The last couple of days I tried following her advice and just putting him down sleepy. He slept for an hour-ish each time. That's it. Can some babies really just not want to sleep? It doesn't seem like a priority for Max like it is for the rest of us.

Thus ends my sleep rant. I know this can be a big issue for people, so if anyone has any ideas that worked, by all means, fire away. I am pretty much depending on our babysitter to whip Max into shape (Napping Boot Camp, as S. calls it) when he starts there in a couple of weeks, which leaves me feeling like a failure that I didn't manage to at least get my kid to sleep during my weeks of maternity leave.

Now, for cuteness.

Tolerating (barely) tummy time

Are YOU talkin' ta ME?


Theo and his cousin F. holding Max. Actually, Theo just wanted to be in the picture and probably could have cared less about holding the baby!


Karen Lee said...

Sleep, ah sleep.

Sammy would nap when she was a baby, but instead of taking 2 or 3 solid naps, she'd nap for 45 minutes or so, 5 times a day. It drove me nuts.

At night, she'd go 2-3 hours at a time. There was one stretch of 5-6 hours we could count on for a month or two around 3-4 months, but that dwindled to 3-4 at the most until she was a toddler.

She dropped to 2 naps around 5 months, then 1 nap around 10 months. But they were still short, like 1-1:15. She's still napping once a day, but it got longer when she was a toddler (then shorter, then longer again). Now it's almost always 2 hours, sometimes even 3.

The kid is a light sleeper, and a sleep fighter. She just is. She was never a good car sleeper, either. But, she's 27 months now and has been sleeping through the night pretty well since around 20 months. I mean from 8:30 or 9-7:30 or so.

I honestly think that she was such an enthusiastic breastfeeder that it was the weaning that helped the most. First nightweaning, then day - her sleep improved after each one. But I wouldn't have weaned just for that.

S said...

Babies are different and "sleep trainers" always make someone feel bad for "doing it wrong". The truth is if he and you are healthy and happy then whatever you are doing it WORKING and you don't have to mess with it unless you want to for some reason. Also, there are huge myths out there that most babies will sleep for 12 hours at night plus 2+ hours of naps. This is garbage and it is an unusual baby that will do this. (See http://www.parenting.com/article/baby-sleep-chart for averages).